Oxford Vs Harvard: Which Is The Better Choice For You?

Oxford Vs Harvard

Choosing the right college is crucial as it significantly impacts your academic, personal, and professional career path. The right institution offers proper facilities and quality of education and aligns with a student’s personal and professional career goals. The social environment, campus culture, and support services are vital to a student’s overall well-being and growth. That’s why making an informed decision is extremely important for your career. Two of the top universities in the world are Oxford Vs Harvard. But how do you know what’s the right choice for you? Refer to our guide below to get help in figuring this out!

Oxford University Overview

Source: Britannica

Established in 1096, Oxford University is one of the oldest universities and is still a renowned teaching institute today. Located in England, Oxford has more than 30 semi-autonomous colleges that offer 5,500 courses in science, medicine, technology, arts, law, business and humanities. More than 23,000 students study across 11 academic divisions. Oxford University has produced 20 Nobel Prize Winners, 3 Prime Ministers in the UK and several impactful global leaders.

Harvard University Overview

Source: Britannica

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest educational institutes in the United States of America. It has a large expanse of degrees granted from 12 schools. Harvard offers more than 46,000 courses to over 23,000 students. Harvard has produced more than 150 Nobel Laureates and 8 US Presidents. Thus, Harvard is an institute of excellence and dedication where students can pursue everything from engineering to arts and humanities.

Oxford Vs Harvard: Rankings

Global rankings accurately estimate an institute’s reputation, standard of education, facilities, teaching staff, etc. The table below shows the global rankings of Oxford and Harvard, respectively.

RankingsOxford UniversityHarvard University
QS World University Rankings 202434
US News Rankings 202351
Times Higher Education Ranking 202414
The Guardian Ranking 202421

Oxford Vs Harvard: Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate, or admission percentage, is the number of students enrolled in the university compared to the total number of students who applied. This isn’t necessarily an indicator of how good the university is, but it helps us get an estimate of the competition around the university’s admission process. Harvard’s acceptance rate in 2023 was noted to be around 4%, whereas that of Oxford was 9% for international students. Thus, when applying to either of these institutes, it’s clear that Oxford presents a higher chance of admission.

The following table contains a detailed analysis of the acceptance rate at Oxford vs Harvard over the years.

Admission YearsOxford UniversityHarvard University

Popular Courses At Harvard University Vs Oxford University

Although both Oxford and Harvard are popular universities with top-notch education, the popular courses might vary slightly depending on the kind of aspirants and crowd that apply to the universities. Considering the popular courses also helps to estimate the programmes that might have a low acceptance rate.

Popular Courses at OxfordPopular Courses at Harvard
African & Middle Eastern StudiesAccounting & Finance
AnthropologyEngineering & Technology
Art & DesignMBA
Asian StudiesMechanical Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering
Biomedical SciencesPerforming Arts
Business & Management StudiesPharmacy and Pharmacology
ClassicsPhysics and Astronomy
EnglishPolitics and International Studies

Eligibility Criteria Between Oxford Vs Harvard

Eligibility criteria are essential to analyse before applying as they can hamper your chances greatly. Having good scores but not fulfilling all the admission requirements can easily cost you a seat. Thus, to make an accurate comparison of Oxford vs Harvard, we must look at their admission requirements, too.

Oxford University Admission Requirements

  • A minimum GPA of 3.7 on a scale of 4.0 or 4.3/4.5 on a scale of 5.0
  • Official Academic Transcripts of High School
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Proof of financial support
  • Passport
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • PTE (76 and above) and IELTS (7.0 and above)
  • Test scores of GRE (650 or above) or GMAT (160 and above) 
  • Resume or CV showing work experience 

Harvard University Admission Requirements

  • A minimum GPA of 3.9 to 4.1 on a scale of 5.0
  • Official Academic Transcripts of High School
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Proof of financial support
  • Passport
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • A recognised higher secondary school certificate
  • A 1580 SAT score or 35 ACT score
  • IELTS (7.5 and above), TOEFL (109 and above), PTE (75 and above)

By analysing the admission requirements of Oxford vs Harvard, it is evident that Oxford requires a higher GPA, whereas Harvard needs higher grades on standardised tests. Thus, there might be a tie between these two aspects.

Oxford Vs Harvard: Finances

Source: Daily Express

Finances include three major aspects – the cost of tuition, scholarships or other financial aid and the cost of living. Analysing all three is equally important when deciding which university is the best for you, Harvard University vs Oxford University.

Comparing The Cost Of Tuition At Oxford Vs Harvard

The average cost of tuition at Oxford University is around GBP 38,650. However, this figure depends on the chosen course or programme, duration, credits, etc. To get an accurate estimate, consider the table below, which shows some of the most popular Oxford courses among international students.

ProgrammeAnnual Fee in GBP
M.Sc Advanced Computer Science30,330
M.Sc Social Data Science28,560
PhD Computer Science28,560
M.Sc Law and Finance42,120

Similarly, let’s now look at the cost of tuition at Harvard University. The average cost of tuition for undergraduate courses is around USD 60,500, whereas for postgraduate courses is around USD 52,456. Take a look at the below table for some of the popular Harvard courses and their fees.

ProgrammeAnnual Fee in USD
Business Administration48,800
Computer Science49,700
Environmental Science and Engineering48,200
Digital Media19,800

After comparing the average annual cost of tuition for popular courses offered at both universities, we can conclude that Harvard is more expensive than Oxford. Thus, when looking at Oxford vs. Harvard tuition fees, Oxford has an advantage.

Comparing Available Scholarships At Oxford & Harvard

Oxford University has a wide range of scholarships available for both domestic and international students. More than GBP 8 million is disbursed yearly as scholarships or other financial aid. This stipend is sometimes dedicated to course fees, living costs, and travel fares. Some of the popular scholarships offered here are:

  • Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Reach Oxford Scholarships
  • Oxford-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann Scholarships
  • Oxford and Cambridge Society of India (OCSI) Scholarship
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • GREAT Scholarships

To apply for financial aid at Harvard University, students must go through Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Scholarships are typically merit-based, need-based, country-specific, college-specific, and student-specific. Some of the top scholarships are listed here:

  • AFCEA Hawaii Scholarship
  • Aga Khan Scholarship
  • Boustany MBA Harvard Scholarship
  • Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship
  • The Robert S. Kaplan (MBA 1983) Life Sciences Fellowship
  • HGSE Financial Aid
  • The Banyan Impact Fellowship

Scholarships and financial aid are easily acquired at both institutes. Thus, there is no clear upper hand that any one university gains when comparing Oxford vs Harvard scholarships.

Harvard Vs Oxford: Cost Of Living

As an international student, the cost of living will be an essential, non-negotiable expense you must incur when pursuing your degree. Thus, it is prudent to analyse this expense and ensure you’re well-prepared for it beforehand. The average cost of living in Oxford is GBP 19,848 annually. On the contrary, the average cost of living in Cambridge is USD 29,628 per year. Consider the table below for a detailed breakdown of both the figures,

Particulars Monthly Cost Of Living In Oxford (GBP)Monthly Cost of Living in Cambridge (USD)
Off-Campus AccommodationGBP 824USD 1,808
On-Campus AccommodationGBP 850USD 1,103
TransportationGBP 74USD 96
FoodGBP 480USD 406
GroceriesGBP 128USD 30
ClothesGBP 108USD 85
EntertainmentGBP 40USD 44
Total Cost Of Living With Off-Campus AccommodationGBP 1,654USD 2,469
Total Cost Of Living With On-Campus AccommodationGBP 1,680USD 1,764
Annual Cost Of LivingGBP 19,848USD 29,628

After comparing the cost of living in both cities, we can conclude that Oxford is significantly cheaper than Harvard in terms of living costs. Thus, Oxford University comes to the top again.

Oxford Vs Harvard: Placements & Job Opportunities

Ultimately, the entire comparison of Oxford vs Harvard boils down to one thing – the future scope offered by these universities. Note that both universities have an incredible placement percentage that is almost guaranteed to give you a great job. Look at the below table for a detailed idea:

AttributesOxford UniversityHarvard University
Total Placements88%86%
Average Salary GBP 83,410USD 120,000
Top Industry for PlacementConsulting: 31.9%Finance: 33%
Highest SalaryTechnology: GBP 89,554Consulting: USD 190,000 

What Should You Choose: Oxford Vs Harvard?

Deciding Harvard or Oxford which is better depends on personal preferences, career goals, financial aspects, and the preferred programme. Both universities offer top-notch education, although they differ in certain specific aspects.

Oxford, with its rich history and a more affordable cost of living and tuition, might be more suitable for those looking for a traditional college experience. The university’s slightly higher acceptance rate for international students makes it a more accessible option. Harvard, on the other hand, has a higher average salary for graduates. Harvard also comes on top for its financial aid options, which can balance its higher tuition and living costs.

Ultimately, the university you choose depends on where your preferences lie. Both are exceptional institutes but if you have a specific goal in mind, it might be wise to analyse the finer differences and decide which is right for you.


Q1.  Is Oxford the number 1 university in the world?

Ans: Oxford University has been ranked among the top 10 in all ranking parameters by the top ranking platforms in the world, making it one of the best universities worldwide.

Q2. Why is Harvard so famous?

Ans: Harvard is known for its academic excellence, social impact, inclusivity and commitment to change. The university has incredible standards of education and continues to educate global leaders and reformers.

Q3. Is Oxford better than Harvard?

Ans: One prominent aspect of Oxford’s being better than Harvard’s is its focus on research in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Conversely, Harvard has a better funding system.

Thank you for reading our guide to Oxford vs Harvard! Which is your preference? Let us know in the comments section below!

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