We believe that rankings are one point of data among many.

  • We believe that students should seek a program that best meets their needs, using rankings as one criteria. We have found this to be true, as told to us by our students, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • Many of the individual components that make up a given ranking (for example, program size, student/faculty ratio, research $/faculty member, or citation index) might be weighted differently depending on the particular needs and desires of a student or researcher.
  • "Un-ranked" factors such as the location of a program, cost of living issues, weather, and proximity to other institutions and cultural offerings should be considered when making a decision.
  • In many cases, a school or program resides inside of a larger university. When evaluating a particular school or program, it is critical to look at the entire picture.
    • At SEAS, undergraduates in engineering and applied sciences are enrolled in Harvard College (not directly into the School).
    • At the graduate level, degrees are administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Research at SEAS is highly interdisciplinary; faculty and students spend significant time collaborating with colleagues in other areas, programs, and schools (from medicine to business).
  • However you use rankings, be sure to read the fine print. Who is ranking the programs? How are they ranked? Are rankings data-driven or based upon qualitative assessments? Who makes those qualitative assessments? What factors are weighted most heavily and why?

Select Rankings

CWTS Leiden Rankings, 2015

The Leiden Ranking, compiled annually by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, ranks the top 750 universities worldwide with the largest publication output in the Web of Science database.

Impact is determined by several indicators, including the average number of citations of the publications of a university, and the proportion of publications that belong in the top 10 percent most frequently cited. The ranking does not use data from reputational surveys, or data provided by the universities themselves,

Based on 2010 to 2013 numbers in the Web of Science database and when normalized for size, Harvard ranked first overall and fourth in physical sciences and engineering.

U.S. News and World Report Graduate Schools, 2015

Best Engineering Schools (ranked in 2014, based upon 2013 data)

Harvard's graduate engineering programs ranked 24th in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report Graduate School Rankings.

The schools ranked immediately above Harvard included Northwestern University and the University of Maryland, College Park; Pennsylvania State University ranked immediately below.

The top 10 engineering schools have remained relatively consistent over the past several years.

Of particular note are SEAS' research expenditures per faculty member ($717,301), especially high given our relatively small size; high percentage of faculty members in the National Academy of Engineering (15.3%); low acceptance rate (10.1%); and the low Ph.D. student/faculty ratio of 5.4 to 1.

The complete data (representing stats from 2013) from U.S. News are below:



Peer assessment score (5.0 highest)


Recruiter assessment score (5.0 highest)


Average quantitative GRE score (new test) of entrants in master's and doctoral programs


Overall acceptance rate


Ph.D. student/faculty ratio

5.4 to 1

Faculty membership in National Academy of Engineering


Engineering school research expenditures (in millions), FY 2012-13


Research expenditures per faculty member (in thousands)


2012-13 Ph.D.s granted


Total graduate engineering enrollment


Other rankings of related specialty programs in engineering and applied sciences include...

  • #2 in Environmental / Ecology
  • #14 in Materials Engineering
  • #18 in Computer Science
    • #7 in Theory
    • #11 in Programming Language
  • #26 in Mechanical Engineering (tied with Columbia University, Duke University, Rice University, UC Santa Barbara, the University of Florida, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California)
  • #26 in Biomedical Engineering / Bioengineering (tied with Purdue University, UC Irvine, and Yale University)
  • #27 in Computer Engineering (tied with Duke University, North Carolina State University, and Virginia Tech)
  • #27 in Electrical / Electronic / Communications Engineering (tied with Arizona State University, Duke University, Northwestern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, and Virginia Tech) 

Rankings of related Harvard programs include...

  • #1 in Biological Sciences (tied with MIT and Stanford)
    • #1 in Biochemistry/Biophysics/Structural Biology
    • #1 in Microbiology
    • #1 in Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics
    • #1 in Molecular Biology
    • #3 in Cell Biology
    • #3 in Immunology/Infectious Disease
    • #5 in Neuroscience/Neurobiology
    • #6 in Ecology/Evolutionary Biology
  • #2 in Physics (tied with CalTech, Princeton, Stanford, and UC Berkeley)
    • #2 in Elementary Particles / Field / String Theory
    • #3 in Quantum
    • #3 in Atomic / Molecular / Optical
    • #4 in Cosmology / Relativity / Gravity
    • #7 in Condensed Matter
  • #3 in Mathematics (tied with UC Berkeley)
    • #1 in Geometry
    • #1 in Algebra/Number Theory/Algebraic Geometry
    • #4 in Topology
    • #9 in Analysis
  • #3 in Biostatistics (tied with the University of Washington)
  • #4 in Chemistry (tied with Stanford University)
    • #1 in Organic
    • #3 in Theoretical
    • #4 in Biochemistry
    • #7 in Physical
    • #10 in Inorganic
  • #7 in Statistics (tied with the University of Washington)
  • #8 in Earth Sciences (tied with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Texas, Austin)
    • #7 in Geophysics and Seismology

U.S. News and World Report Undergraduate Programs, 2014

Best Colleges / National University Rankings (ranked in 2013 based on 2012 data)

Harvard College, ranked #2 for 2014, has consistently ranked among the top 1 or 2 programs in the country. Undergraduates pursuing degrees in engineering and applied sciences are admitted, enrolled in, and receive degrees from Harvard College. The College was also ranked #1 for "Best Value" among national universities.

For undergraduate engineering programs, Harvard was ranked #7 for "Engineering Science / Engineering Physics," and #23 overall (tied with the University of Maryland, College Park; and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities). Note, the rankings are "based solely on the peer judgments of deans and senior faculty who rated each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished)."

Times Higher Education Supplement

World University Rankings (ranked in 2010/11)

  • Harvard University ranked # 1 in World Reputation Rankings 2011
  • Harvard University ranked # 1 in World University Rankings 2010

QS World University Rankings (2014)

Harvard University ranked...

  • #2 overall worldwide
  • #1 in Mathematics
  • #1 in Biological Sciences
  • #1 in Medicine
  • #1 in Economics & Econometrics
  • #1 in Earth and Marine Sciences
  • #2 in Environmental Studies
  • #2 in Physics
  • #4 in Chemistry
  • #4 in Statistics & Operational Research
  • #5 in Computer Science & Information Systems
  • #8 in Mechanical Engineering
  • #9 in Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • #12 in Materials Sciences


  • Graduating seniors concentrating in engineering and applied sciences have recently been accepted to graduate programs at MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Georgia Tech, University of Cambridge, and Harvard.
  • Our Ph.D. graduates have gone on to take positions at research institutions including: Ben Gurion University (Israel), Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, MIT, National University of Singapore, Princeton University, University of California–Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Sydney (Australia), University of Virginia, and Harvard.
  • Those pursuing careers in industry and government have been hired by technology companies such as Pixar, Google, and IBM; defense contractors such as Northrop Grumman; policy and research organizations such as the National Institutes of Health; banking and investment firms like Citigroup; non-profits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and environmental consulting groups like Boston-based CDM.
  • Others have become entrepreneurs. Our graduates started Microsoft, Zappos.com, Tacit Knowledge Systems, and SupplyWorks. In fact, some of the most well-known companies in the world were started by Harvard graduates—for example, Electronic Arts, 3Com, and Sun Microsystems.

After Harvard *

Primary Occupation Post Harvard
Computer Software, Hardware, Systems
Banking, Finance, Communications
Engineering & Science
Full-time student
Medicine, Healthcare, Public Health
Arts, Government, Politics
Other     18


* data from 2007 (most recent) alumni survey, for all degrees