Northeastern vs Harvard: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a curly girl thinking while holding her pencil and notebook

Northeastern vs Harvard: A Comprehensive Analysis

Harvard and Northeastern are two of the most renowned universities in the world. While Harvard is considered one of the most prestigious universities globally, Northeastern is known for its co-op program, which allows students to get hands-on work experience while simultaneously earning their degrees. This comprehensive analysis will explore the various aspects of Northeastern vs Harvard, including their histories, curriculum, faculty, job prospects, campus facilities, and extracurricular activities, to determine which university is the better fit for students.

The History of Northeastern and Harvard

Harvard has a long and rich history that dates back to the colonial era. It was founded to train Puritan ministers and has since grown to become a renowned research university. Northeastern, on the other hand, was established in 1898 as the Evening Institute for Young Men. It has since evolved into a comprehensive research university known for its co-op program.

Despite their different origins, Northeastern and Harvard have had some interesting connections throughout history. For example, in the early 20th century, Northeastern offered courses that were taught by Harvard professors. Additionally, Northeastern’s law school was originally a part of Harvard Law School, before becoming its independent institution in the 1960s.

Today, Northeastern and Harvard continue to collaborate on various research projects and initiatives. In 2019, the two universities announced a partnership to establish a joint center for the study of race and democracy. This center will bring together scholars from both institutions to explore issues related to race, inequality, and democracy in the United States and around the world.

Cost of Attendance at Northeastern vs Harvard

The cost of attending Northeastern and Harvard varies significantly. As one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, Harvard’s tuition and fees can be quite high. It costs $57,261 per year. Northeastern, on the other hand, is on the higher-end spectrum of university fees costing around $60,192.

However, it is important to note that both Northeastern and Harvard offer various financial aid options to help students cover the cost of attendance. Harvard has a need-blind admission policy, which means that a student’s ability to pay for tuition is not taken into consideration during the admission process. Additionally, Harvard offers generous financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need. Similarly, Northeastern offers a variety of scholarships and grants to help students cover the cost of tuition. Prospective students need to research and compare the financial aid options offered by both universities before deciding on which one to attend.

Campus Life at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both Northeastern and Harvard offer students diverse campus experiences, but they differ in various ways. While Harvard’s campus is relatively small, Northeastern’s campus is more extensive, and students have access to more facilities to aid their social and academic life.

One of the significant differences between the two campuses is the student population. Harvard has a smaller student body, which allows for more personalized attention from professors and a tight-knit community. In contrast, Northeastern has a larger student population, which provides students with more opportunities to meet new people and engage in various extracurricular activities.

Another difference is the location of the campuses. Harvard is located in Cambridge, a bustling city with a rich history and culture. In contrast, Northeastern is situated in Boston, a vibrant city with a diverse population and numerous attractions. While both locations offer unique experiences, students at Northeastern have more opportunities to explore the city and engage in community service projects.

Curriculum and Academics at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both universities offer students a comprehensive and rigorous academic experience, but their approaches differ. Northeastern University places significant emphasis on co-op education to equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in their future careers. Harvard, on the other hand, is known for its liberal arts curriculum, which emphasizes critical thinking, communication skills, and a broader understanding of the world.

Additionally, Northeastern University offers a wide range of experiential learning opportunities, such as study abroad programs, research opportunities, and service-learning projects. These opportunities allow students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations and gain valuable hands-on experience. Harvard also offers similar opportunities but places more emphasis on research and independent study projects.

Faculty and Student Body at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both universities employ top faculty members who are well-respected in their fields. Harvard boasts over 1,600 full-time faculty members, while Northeastern has more than 1,400 full-time faculty. However, Harvard is more selective in its admissions process, and its student body is more diverse and intellectually diverse than Northeastern’s.

View of a man talking to a teacher.

Despite the differences in student body diversity, Northeastern has a unique advantage in its co-op program, which allows students to gain real-world experience in their field of study before graduation. This program is highly regarded by employers and often leads to job offers for students before they even graduate.

On the other hand, Harvard’s reputation and network of alumni can open doors for its graduates in various industries. The university has produced numerous successful leaders in fields such as politics, business, and entertainment.

Job Prospects after Graduation at Northeastern vs Harvard

With their extensive and well-regarded programs, graduates from both institutions have a competitive edge in the job market. Northeastern graduates, however, have the added advantage of work experience through their co-op program, which prepares them to succeed in their careers.

Furthermore, Northeastern’s emphasis on experiential learning and industry partnerships means that graduates are often recruited by top companies in their fields. A recent survey found that 90% of Northeastern graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within nine months of graduation. While Harvard graduates also have strong job prospects.

Campus Facilities and Resources at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both universities offer students access to extensive resources and facilities, including research facilities, libraries, laboratories, and academic support services. Northeastern has more modern and expansive research facilities, while Harvard has one of the most extensive university library systems globally.

In addition to these resources, Northeastern also offers students access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, which includes a rock climbing wall, swimming pool, and various exercise equipment. Harvard, on the other hand, has a renowned museum on campus, the Harvard Art Museum, which houses over 250,000 works of art from around the world.

Research Opportunities at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both universities continuously strive to encourage research and innovation among their students and faculty members. Harvard’s focus is on discovering new knowledge, pushing boundaries, and finding solutions to pressing global issues. Northeastern is known for its experiential learning approach, which prioritizes real-world problem-solving.

one person holding a pen to point and the other person typing on a wireless keyboard plus an inlay art of line and bar graphs

However, despite their different approaches, both universities offer a wide range of research opportunities for students. At Northeastern, students can participate in co-op programs, where they work in their field of study for six months to gain hands-on experience. Harvard offers research assistant positions to students, where they work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Both universities also have well-funded research centers and institutes that provide students with access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources.

Extracurricular Activities at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both universities offer students diverse extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations. Harvard has more vibrant and established extracurricular activities, and students have access to an exclusive social network. In comparison, Northeastern’s student body is more active in their communities through service-learning and experiential opportunities.

Furthermore, Harvard offers a wider range of sports teams and facilities, including a state-of-the-art gymnasium and Olympic-sized swimming pool. Northeastern, on the other hand, has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with numerous resources available for students to start their businesses or pursue research projects.

Another key difference is the availability of performing arts opportunities. Harvard has a renowned theater program and a prestigious a cappella scene, while Northeastern has a thriving music and dance community, with regular performances and events throughout the year.

Admission Requirements, Acceptance Rates, and Selectivity at Northeastern vs Harvard

Harvard is more selective than Northeastern in its admissions process, with an acceptance rate of about 4%, making it one of the most selective universities globally. Northeastern, on the other hand, has a lower acceptance rate of 18% than most universities, although it is significantly higher than Harvard’s.

However, despite the difference in acceptance rates, both Northeastern and Harvard have rigorous admission requirements. Northeastern requires a minimum GPA of 3.0, SAT scores of 1430 – 1550, and ACT scores of 33 – 35. Harvard, on the other hand, requires a minimum GPA of 4.0, SAT scores of 1480 – 1580, and ACT scores of 33 – 36. Additionally, both universities consider extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation in their admission decisions.

Alumni Network at Northeastern vs Harvard

Both Harvard and Northeastern boast extensive alumni networks with well-placed individuals in various fields. Harvard’s alumni network, being a more established and reputed institution, is well respected in professional networks worldwide. Northeastern’s alumni network is more focused on innovative fields, with its co-op program alumni located in significant US businesses.

However, Northeastern’s alumni network also has a strong presence in the non-profit sector, with many alumni holding leadership positions in organizations such as Teach for America and the Peace Corps. In addition, Northeastern’s alumni network has a reputation for being highly supportive and collaborative, with alumni often providing mentorship and networking opportunities for current students and recent graduates.


Choosing the right university can be a daunting task. However, analyzing institutions like Harvard and Northeastern based on various factors can help students make more informed decisions. This comprehensive analysis has shown that both universities have unique offerings, and ultimately, the choice between Northeastern and Harvard will be defined by the needs and preferences of each student.

Students need to consider factors such as location, campus culture, academic programs, and extracurricular activities when making their decision. Additionally, financial aid and scholarship opportunities should also be taken into account. By carefully weighing these factors, students can make a well-informed decision that aligns with their personal and academic goals.

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