Oxford vs Harvard: Which University to Choose?

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Reem Mohamed

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09 May, 2023

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6 mins read

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University Life

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Oxford and Harvard Universities are two of the most prestigious and well-regarded learning institutions in the world. With a reputation that precedes them, both universities receive hundreds of thousands of applicants each year from both local and international students who are seeking high-quality education. 

With one university, Oxford, focusing more on research and the other, Harvard, having a stronger focus on teaching, it is a challenge for you to choose which one you want to pursue your education at. If you’re someone who wants to be on the receiving end of some of the highest-quality education in the world then you have to ask yourself an important question: Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose?

Oxford vs Harvard: Which University to Choose?

There are many deciding factors that go into the process of choosing the ideal university for you. There’s a pros and cons list, a financial breakdown, a list of desired courses, and a list of universities to narrow down. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to just two, that’s when the hardest part kicks in. Worry not, though, we’re here to help you make the best decision for you and your future by putting you one step closer to answering the question: Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose? Let’s dive in!

Oxford vs Harvard

1. Oxford vs Harvard: The Education

An important factor to consider when choosing which university to study at is the quality and variety of education offered at this learning institution. While both universities are known for their high quality of education, their materials differ and the variety of available courses change as well, here is a simple comparison between the colleges, offered degrees, and available courses at both Oxford and Harvard universities.

Oxford has over 20 different colleges and institutes that provide a wide range of courses and degrees for students. The university has a humanities division, a social sciences division, a medical sciences division, a mathematical, physical, and life sciences division, and a continuing education division. Oxford has around 50 different undergraduate courses to offer, giving students the chance to choose between a variety of courses across a diverse set of disciplines.

At Harvard, there are 15 different colleges and schools that provide students with the highest quality of education in the United States. Offering various degrees, including both graduate and undergraduate ones among others, the university boasts a wide variety of over 3,000 courses in a range of disciplines. The university has online learning programmes as well that are worldwide. 

2. Oxford vs Harvard: The Numbers

Rankings are yet another important factor to consider when answering the question Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose? As both universities are among the most prestigious and highly regarded both in their home countries and worldwide, they tend to share some of the rankings. However, these rankings can help some people make a more informed decision and choose their university quicker. Here are some of the numbers in brief!

As the best university in Europe and one of the best university campuses UK, Oxford is ranked first in Best Global Universities in Europe, fifth in Best Global Universities by U.S. News, and second by the QS World University Rankings.

Harvard, on the other hand, is the best university in the United States with rankings like second among National Universities, first in Global Universities by U.S. News, and first by the Round University Ranking as well. 

Oxford vs Harvard

3. Oxford vs Harvard: Tuition Costs

Money is always an important factor to consider when choosing a university, especially one with such a high status as either Oxford or Harvard. University costs are not cheap, and most students find themselves owing mountains of student loans after graduation, this is why checking whether or not you can actually afford your university of choice is important, and if you can’t, checking if there are any scholarships available that you can qualify for is also essential. Here is a quick breakdown of the tuition costs at both universities. 

An undergraduate program at Oxford, one of the best university campuses UK, costs around 9,250 EUR for local students, and somewhere between 26,770 EUR and 37,310 EUR for international students. The university, however, does offer its fair share of scholarships and bursaries to help students out with their tuition fees. The Crankstart Scholarship, for example, is one of many financial aid programmes for students at Oxford. The cost of the course plus the cost of living can fall anywhere between 1175 to 15390 EUR, making it essential to be prepared and apply for support if needed. 

Harvard University has a reputation for being one of the most expensive universities in the world with the average tuition fees per year being around 78,200 USD. What most people don’t know about Harvard, however, is that a vast majority of the students don’t actually pay this much in tuition. The university offers a calculator on their website that mainly aims to help students calculate how much they’re going to pay and more often than not, their fees get knocked down significantly. Additionally, financial aid programmes, scholarships, and grants are available for those who qualify. According to Harvard University’s website, one in five students pay nothing to attend. 

4. Oxford vs Harvard: Employability Rates

When answering the question Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose? You have to consider not only your education years, but also your life post-graduation: how soon will you get a job, how easy, and how much are you expected to make as a Harvard or Oxford graduate. Here is some brief insight into the employability rates of both Oxford and Harvard as well as some of the expected salaries for both. 

At Oxford, the average number of job postings per year is around 12,000, with major employers like the NHS, ASOS, BAE Systems, and Cisco Systems being on the roster. Oxford graduates make a salary of $100,000 on average, with the highest paying degree being a Master in Management, which pays around $170,000.

As for Harvard, the university’s employability rate is one of the highest and best in the world. The university ranks first on QS’s list of best MBA programmes and has an employability rate of a whopping 89%. 210,000 USD is the average salary of a Harvard Business School graduate, which is the second-best business school in the United States after Stanford. 

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5. Oxford vs Harvard: Rent on Investment aka Is It Worth it?

Making a commitment to either university of those can be scary and a huge financial strain on students, so it’s important to know whether your investment will pay off and be worth it in the long run. Is it worth it? is another question that needs to be answered alongside Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose? Let’s take a look at the future salaries of both graduates and how long it takes to make tuition fees back. 

The average cost of a degree from Oxford University is about 173,000 USD and graduates are expected to make about 41,000 USD per year after graduation, which means students have to work for about 4.2 years before the degree starts paying for itself.

At Harvard University, however,  the average cost of a degree is about 221,000 USD, which is over 2.4 times the salary of someone who makes 91,000 USD annually. This means that it will take 2.4 years, or around four semesters following graduation, to make up for the tuition fees.

The age-old question of Oxford vs Harvard: Which university to choose? can be answered with ease now with all of the points broken down and explained. The quality of education, the costs, the employability, and more are deciding factors to help you in this important life decision! So, what are you waiting for? Get your pen and paper ready and let’s make a decision! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which University is more prestigious Oxford or Harvard?

Both universities have a prestigious reputation and are considered among the best universities in the world. Harvard is ranked second in National Universities, first in Global Universities by U.S. News, and first by the Round University Ranking, while Oxford is ranked first in Best Global Universities in Europe, fifth in Best Global Universities by U.S. News, and second by the QS World University Rankings.

Which University is harder to get into Harvard or Oxford?

Oxford University has an acceptance rate of around 17% which is considered relatively good in comparison to Harvard University’s low 5% acceptance rate, which makes Oxford easier to get into. 

What is the top 1 University in the world?

Oxford University is considered the top university in the world as it has topped the rankings seven years in a row.

Which is more expensive Oxford and Harvard?

The average cost for a degree at Harvard University is about 221,000 USD, while the average cost of a degree at Oxford University is around 173,000 USD, which makes Harvard more expensive. 

What is the richest university in the world?

Harvard University is considered the richest university in the world as it has 40.9 billion USD according to endowment rankings. 


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