Established in and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard , Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States  and among the most prestigious in the world. The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court , authorized Harvard's founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. 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. The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard's alumni include eight U. As of October , Nobel laureates , 18 Fields Medal winners , and 14 Turing Award laureates have been affiliated as students, faculty, or researchers.
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Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. Harvard faculty are engaged with teaching and research to push the boundaries of human knowledge. Established in , Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20, degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than , alumni around the world. Browse free online courses in a variety of subjects. Harvard University courses found below can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee. Select a course to learn more.
It is one of the Ivy League schools. The main university campus lies along the Charles River in Cambridge , Massachusetts , a few miles west of downtown Boston. At its inception Harvard was under church sponsorship, although it was not formally affiliated with any religious body. During its first two centuries the college was gradually liberated, first from clerical and later from political control, until in the university alumni began electing members of the governing board. Eliot made Harvard into an institution with national influence. The alumni and faculty of Harvard have been closely associated with many areas of American intellectual and political development.
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