University Benchmarks

Ranking the Top 100 Academic Universities ranks the universities that attract and produce the best academic students.

There are many 'University Rankings' on the internet. Most rankings rely heavily on subjective metrics like 'reputation' and 'selectivity'. UniversityBenchmarks is purely an academic ranking model. The rankings are based on the reported academic and financial metrics of the colleges. There are no subjective factors like 'reputation' that are used. The calculations are performed using normal statistical models. All universities are considered equal and there is no weighting of the ranking categories.

The university 2014-2015 dataset is comprised of over 2400 US Universities & Colleges and comes from multiple sources using the most favorable reported metrics for a university.

The universities are ranked against each other in each filtered set. It is an iterative process whereby lower ranking universities are removed and the set is re-ranked until the final set of 100 is reached.

Selecting 'Rank Top 10 Only' will show the Top 10 for each filter category ranked against each other.

The academic rankings of the universities within the major conferences (ACC, Big12, Big10, Pac12, SEC) are available.

The 2017 rankings will be available in August.

  • It is possible for universities to be ranked higher/lower than one another depending on the filter set.
  • Conference averages are based on the top 8 schools in the conference.
  • Public Schools are highlighted
  • Clicking on the university's seal icon will take you to the university's website.

Ranking Fields

Rank - Overall rank based on the average of the ranking fields (Scores, Difficulty, Smartest, Brainpower, Faculty and Research).

Scores - SAT & ACT scores. The university's test scores are corrected for dropout rate when score level is Good, Excellent or Elite. This will slightly boost scores for highly competitive schools.

Difficulty - Academic rigor is estimated based on how difficult it is to get an "A" at the university. An estimated GPA at the university is calculated for the average US Student. University grade inflation, average GPA, and STEM density are factors.

Smartest - University that can field the highest scoring students based on the average US University size. Higher Smartest Rank = "Smartest for the Average University"

Brainpower - The average "smartest" rank using 5 reference populations (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, GaTech and Berkeley). Higher Brainpower Rank = "Higher Density of Smart Students". The university ranked higher can mathematically field 'X' number of smarter students than universities ranked below them.

Faculty - Ranking based on number of % of faculty with awards and academy membership.

Research - Ranking is achieved by iteratively ranking the average of 3 research metrics (r-pop, r-stem, r-other ). The lowest ranked college is then removed and the new set is re-ranked. The result is the schools with potentially the strongest research environments per student bubble up to the top regardless of size or research budget.

  • r-pop - Average research spending for student population
  • r-stem - STEM research spending
  • r-other - Other/Medical/Health research spending

Salary ROI - "Salary Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. Using the undergraduate average starting and mid-career salaries, the rank is based on a 20yr salary accumulation (with raises) minus the cost of a 4 year education at the university. Salaries are normalized across the country using the average COLA for the university's geo-economic region (7 regions total). The COLA effect is diminished by the level of the university. Elite, Excellent and Good universities have a greater distribution of graduates across the country and a diminishing COLA effect. The resultant value would be the graduate's spending potential over the 20yr period.

Overall ROI - "Overall Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. The average of Overall Rank and Salary ROI. This would be the "Best academic bang for the buck". Colleges that produce the best education, at the best price, with the best return will be ranked higher.

Color Key - ranks are colorized as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100

The 2016 University Academic Rankings

Harvard University

2016 University Academic Rankings

Harvard University is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts (US), established 1636, whose history, influence and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Established originally by the Massachusetts legislature and soon thereafter named for John Harvard (its first benefactor), Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and the Harvard Corporation (formally, the President and Fellows of Harvard College) is its first chartered corporation. Although never formally affiliated with any denomination, the early College primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's long tenure (1869-1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.

The University is organized into eleven separate academic units-ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study-with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area. Harvard's $37.6 billion financial endowment is the largest of any academic institution.

Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The nominal cost of attendance is high, but the University's large endowment allows it to offer generous financial aid packages. It operates several arts, cultural, and scientific museums, alongside the Harvard Library, which is the world's largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries with over 18 million volumes. Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, several foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, 335 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. To date, some 150 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists and 13 Turing Award winners have been affiliated as students, faculty, or staff.

Harvard was formed in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was initially called "New College" or "the college at New Towne". In 1638, the college became home for North America's first known printing press, carried by the ship John of London. In 1639, the college was renamed Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, who was an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. He had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 books. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

In the early years the College trained many Puritan ministers. (A 1643 publication said the school's purpose was "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust".) It offered a classic curriculum on the English university model-​​many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge-​​but conformed Puritanism. It was never affiliated with any particular denomination, but many of i ... [more on wikipedia]

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Harvard University", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Harvard University Details

Harvard University Details
detail value
conferenceIvy League
overall ROI rank[10
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Harvard University?

1. number 2 for Academics.

2. number 10 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Harvard University?

1. Northwestern University

2. Columbia University in the City of New York

3. University of Pennsylvania

4. University of Notre Dame

5. University of Southern California

6. Northeastern University

7. Cornell University

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Harvard University National Academic Rankings

Harvard University National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI
Div1 Private113111981
Stem Low229111242910
Ivy League112111631
New England Region1151111092
State of Massachusetts113111221
Top Ten Top2502210111283610
Top Ten All226111874
Top Ten Div1114111872
Top Ten Div1 Private113111771
Top Ten Private126111773
Top Ten Stem Low126111784
Top Ten Ivy League112111631
Top Ten New England Region113111841
Top Ten State of Massachusetts113111221

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

(mathematically similar student body, size, academics, stem, salary... etc)

Harvard University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Harvard University

Harvard University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Harvard University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePrivateElite1113
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite742
University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaIvy LeaguePrivateElite127
University of Notre DameIndianaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite3112
University of Southern CaliforniaCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite2281
Northeastern UniversityMassachusettsColonial Athletic AssociationPrivateElite40109
Cornell UniversityNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite1539
Washington University in St LouisMissouriUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite86
Stanford UniversityCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite917
Johns Hopkins UniversityMarylandCentennial ConferencePrivateElite1647
University of ChicagoIllinoisUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite1014
Tufts UniversityMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite2334
Rice UniversityTexasConference USAPrivateElite204
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinnesotaBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3022
University of MiamiFloridaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateExcellent4493
SUNY at BinghamtonNew YorkAmerica EastPublicExcellent65125
Villanova UniversityPennsylvaniaColonial Athletic Association ...PrivateExcellent9968
Vanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePrivateElite148
Duke UniversityNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite133
Brown UniversityRhode IslandIvy LeaguePrivateElite2534
University of VirginiaVirginiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3227
Yale UniversityConnecticutIvy LeaguePrivateElite337
Princeton UniversityNew JerseyIvy LeaguePrivateElite411
University of Maryland-College ParkMarylandBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3460
University of Michigan-Ann ArborMichiganBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent1716
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent2417
Carleton CollegeMinnesotaMidwest ConferencePrivateElite8443
Swarthmore CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite6748
University of RochesterNew YorkUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent3993
SUNY College at GeneseoNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicExcellent111184
Lehigh UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent6932
University of California-Los AngelesCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePublicExcellent2984
Bucknell UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent13193
University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3325
St Olaf CollegeMinnesotaMinnesota Intercollegiate Ath ConfPrivateExcellent144127
Lafayette CollegePennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent165106
Union CollegeKentuckyMid - South Conference / Appal...PrivateBelowAverage162178
Williams CollegeMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite58161
Colorado CollegeColoradoSouthern Collegiate Athletic C...PrivateExcellent149160
Colby CollegeMaineNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateExcellent132155
Grinnell CollegeIowaMidwest ConferencePrivateExcellent114123
Whitman CollegeWashingtonNorthwest ConferencePrivateExcellent153154
Reed CollegeOregonNo Conference AffiliationPrivateExcellent106144
Haverford CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite97182

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Harvard University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Harvard University

Harvard University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Harvard University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Princeton UniversityNew JerseyIvy LeaguePrivateElite411
Yale UniversityConnecticutIvy LeaguePrivateElite337
California Institute of TechnologyCaliforniaSouthern California Intercoll ...PrivateElite15
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusettsNew England Football Conferenc...PrivateElite52
University of ChicagoIllinoisUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite1014
Vanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePrivateElite148
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite742
Washington University in St LouisMissouriUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite86
Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicElite61
Stanford UniversityCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite917
Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League-Conf-Elite-20
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePrivateElite1113
University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaIvy LeaguePrivateElite127
Duke UniversityNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite133