Oxford vs Harvard

6 minute read

When you think about the top universities around the world, which are the universities that strike your mind? Harvard and Oxford, these universities are consistently ranked among the top 5 universities in the world. Both the universities offer top-notch education, exceptional research facilities and access to renowned experts in a diverse range of fields. From royalty, politics and entertainment to science, technology, medicine and business, both the universities have produced countless notable personalities in almost every field. Both of these universities share several similarities and continue to top the list every year. This is the reason why the Oxford vs Harvard debate has been on for years. However, there are certain differences that distinguish both the universities. Continue reading to know more!

Oxford vs Harvard – General Comparison

The following table gives an overview of the comparison between Oxford and Harvard universities.

University NameUniversity of OxfordHarvard University
TypePublic ResearchPrivate Research
Established1096  1636
LocationOxford (England)Massachusetts (United States)
Academic AffiliationsIARU, Russell Group, Europaeum, EUA, Golden Triangle, G5, LERU, SES Universities UKNAICU, AICUM, AAU, URA, Space-grant
Degrees OfferedBachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, Diploma, CertificateBachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, Diploma, Certificate
Popular MajorsArts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine, Social Sciences and ManagementSocial Science, Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Business and Management
Student Population24,000+ 19,000+
International Students42%22%

Oxford vs Harvard Rankings 2022

The major similarity that both the universities share is their global ranking. Their specific rankings may fluctuate every year but both the universities consistently remain in the top 5 universities in the world. The table below depicts the global rankings achieved by both the universities for 2022.

QS WUR Rankings#2#5
THE WUR Rankings#1#2

Oxford vs Harvard Acceptance Rate

It is obvious that Harvard has dominance over Oxford when it comes to the universities acceptance rates. 

  • Harvard received 57,786 applications for the upcoming class of 2025 and only admitted about 2,332 applicants. This indicates that Harvard has an acceptance rate of 5%. It is to be noted that none of the students on the waitlist were admitted.
  • Oxford received 24,000 applications for undergraduate studies and over 40,000 applications for graduate studies in 2021. Oxford admits around 3,300 undergraduate and about 5,500 graduate students every year. Oxford has an acceptance rate of around 17%. 

Oxford vs Harvard International Students

Studying at both of these top universities is a dream for many students across the world. But do you know how many international students get this once-in-a-lifetime experience at world’s top universities? 

  • Oxford is home to over 24,000 students with international students mostly hailing from the United States, China, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, and India. Oxford dominates Harvard in this case with a considerably higher percentage of international students i.e. 42%.
  • Harvard is home to over 19,000 students from across the United States and all over the world, with diverse backgrounds, exceptional skills and interests. However, most of the students at Harvard are from the United States and only 22% make up the international student population at Harvard. 

Oxford vs Harvard Admission Requirements

While both the universities have competitive admission requirements, each university has different criteria for admission and prioritize standardized test scores at different levels.

Test/GPA Oxford Minimum Score RequirementsHarvard Minimum Score Requirements
SAT1470 1048
TOEFL iBT100 104 
GPA 4.5/54.0/5

With an acceptance rate of 17%, students are more likely to get admitted to Harvard if they fulfill the score and other eligibility requirements. 

Check out: How to get admission to Oxford from India?

Oxford vs Harvard ROI

Students think that getting admission to any of these universities provides a high salary package. However, the salary expectations after graduation with respect to the fees paid is different for both Harvard and Oxford. The table below depicts the university statistics for both the universities to get a fair understanding of Oxford vs Harvard ROI:

Average International Tuition Fees£27,193 (INR 26.38 Lakhs) USD 75,000 (INR 58.19 Lakhs)
Average Highest Salary Package£90,000 (INR 87.33 Lakhs)USD 394,000 (INR 3.05 cr)
Majors with Highest SalaryBusiness and Management, MedicineAccounting, Healthcare, Alternative Medical Services 

Is Oxford better than Harvard?

While both the universities are known for providing excellent education and employment opportunities, there are several things to consider to decide which university is right for you. Here are a few factors that may help you decide whether Oxford is better than Harvard or not:

  • Global Recognition and Rankings
  • Cost of Studying
  • Return of Investment
  • Score Requirements
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Life and Culture 

Global Recognition and Rankings

Oxford University always seems to achieve higher rankings than Harvard because of the excellent academic, research and learning experience it offers. However, both the universities are among the top 5 almost every year but Oxford wins here as it has been ranked #2 and #1 in the prestigious QS and THE World Rankings 2022 respectively.

Cost of Studying

Harvard has double the tuition fees for international students than Oxford. The average cost of studying at Oxford ranges from £27,840 to £39,010 (INR 27 – 37.82 Lakhs) per annum while the standard tuition fees for Harvard is USD 51,143 (INR 39.66 Lakhs) per annum. If we look at the cost of tuition, Oxford is way more affordable than Harvard.

Return of Investment

Harvard offers an average salary of USD 81,500 (INR 63.21 Lakhs) per annum while Oxford graduates seem to be earning a relatively less amount of £40,000 (INR 38.79 Lakhs) per annum. Harvard is definitely leading here!

Score Requirements

The GMAT/GRE or other test score requirement for Oxford is comparatively higher than Harvard. Similarly, Oxford has a minimum GPA requirement of 4.5 out of 5 while Harvard may accept your application with a GPA of 4.0 out of 5. 

Acceptance Rate

Oxford University has a fair acceptance rate of 17% in comparison to Harvard where only 5% of all the applications received are accepted. You may gain a chance to get admission at Oxford if you have exceptional academic performance and skills. 

Life and Culture

Oxford has a more diverse student culture with an international student percentage of 42% while Harvard falls behind with only 22% international students. Oxford has over 400 student clubs for almost all faiths, political parties, countries, and cultures and a student union named Oxford University Student Union, also known as OUSU. Harvard had various student clubs and 42 intercollegiate sports teams in the NCAA Division I Ivy League, more than any other college in the United States.

Which is better: Oxford or Harvard?

Harvard supposedly seems to admit students on the basis of a student’s overall personality rather than focusing only on the grades or scores. While Oxford tends to evaluate applicants on the basis of their academic performance. Keeping the distinctions in mind, you can come to a conclusion that there is no answer to this debate whether it is Harvard or Oxford. Rather it is a personal choice and everyone’s views regarding this whole Oxford vs Harvard are valid.

If given the opportunity to study at either of these top universities, you are likely to gain a life changing experience that is necessary for your overall development, both academically and personally. 

Also Read


Which university is older, Oxford or Harvard?

University of Oxford is way older than Harvard as it was founded in 1096, almost 900 years ago.

What is the ranking of Harvard in 2022?

Harvard University has been ranked #5 and #2 by QS WUR and THE WUR Rankings, respectively.

How many students study at Oxford?

University of Oxford is home to over 24,000 students from the UK and around the world.

Are you still confused about choosing between the two? If yes, then get in touch with Leverage Edu Experts for study abroad guidance. Call us at 1800 57 2000 and book a free counseling session today!

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