Harvard College adheres to the purposes for which the Charter of 1650 was granted: "The advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences; the advancement and education of youth in all manner of good literature, arts, and sciences; and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the … youth of this country." In brief: Harvard strives to create knowledge, to open the minds of students to that knowledge, and to enable students to take best advantage of their educational opportunities.
Harvard College offers academic opportunities to its students that are virtually unsurpassed at American universities. Courses taught by world-class scholars are available on topics that span the globe, cover the latest scientific discoveries, delve deeply into the realms of art and culture and into the past. Harvard College students pursue knowledge both broadly and in depth, intellectually tasting a range of important topics and approaches to human knowledge while they also undertake advanced work within a special area of concentration.
Harvard contributes to society through two primary activities — teaching and research — in which the University's range and quality are superb. Harvard's faculty and academic facilities — laboratories, libraries, museums, and research centers — are unsurpassed by those of any institution. The depth and breadth of the curriculum are vast, extending well beyond course offerings to many other special programs and research opportunities. Perhaps most important, Harvard offers its undergraduates the privilege of studying with exceptionally talented and motivated peers from all around the globe.
Among Harvard's most valuable intellectual assets are its students. Although they come from many different places and backgrounds and have a striking variety of talents, ambitions, and convictions, all possess a passion for learning. That energy can be felt in and out of the classroom. At least as much learning occurs in dorm rooms and dining halls as in labs and course lectures. Because undergraduate enrollment is comparatively small, there are many opportunities to get to know fellow students well. Late-night talks and dinner-table debates are very much part of the daily experience of the women and men at Harvard College.