The Ivy League is one of the most prestigious groups of universities in the United States. These eight private colleges are known for their rigorous academics, selective admissions, and social elitism.

So when someone asks if Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington D.C., is an Ivy League school, it’s an understandable question.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: No, Howard University is not an Ivy League school. It is not one of the eight private Northeastern colleges that make up the Ivy League. But Howard is still a highly respected university with a strong academic reputation.

What is the Ivy League?

The Ivy League is a group of eight prestigious and highly selective private universities in the northeastern United States. These universities are widely regarded as some of the best in the world and are known for their academic excellence, rigorous admissions processes, and rich history.

Origins and History

The Ivy League was officially established in 1954, but its roots date back to the colonial era. The term “Ivy League” originally referred to the athletic conference formed by these universities in the 1930s.

The name itself is derived from the ivy-covered buildings that are characteristic of many of these campuses.

The Ivy League universities have a long and storied history. They were among the first institutions of higher education in the United States and have played a significant role in shaping the country’s intellectual and cultural landscape.

Many of them were founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, making them some of the oldest universities in the country.

Over the years, the Ivy League has become synonymous with academic excellence and prestige. These universities consistently rank among the top institutions in the world and attract some of the brightest minds from around the globe.

Common Traits of Ivy League Schools

While each Ivy League university has its own unique characteristics and strengths, they share several common traits that set them apart from other institutions:

  • Academic Rigor: Ivy League schools are known for their rigorous academic programs and high expectations for their students. The faculty members are renowned experts in their fields, and the curriculum is designed to challenge and inspire.
  • Selectivity: Admissions to the Ivy League universities are highly competitive. These schools receive a large number of applications each year, but only a small percentage of applicants are accepted. As a result, the student body is made up of incredibly talented and accomplished individuals.
  • Resources and Facilities: Ivy League schools have extensive resources and state-of-the-art facilities to support their academic and research endeavors. They offer a wide range of programs and opportunities for students to pursue their interests and excel in their chosen fields.
  • Alumni Network: The Ivy League universities have a strong and influential alumni network. Graduates from these institutions often go on to achieve great success in their careers and maintain strong connections with their alma maters.

It’s important to note that Howard University, though highly esteemed, is not a member of the Ivy League. The Ivy League consists of Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

While Howard University is not part of the Ivy League, it is a historically black university with a rich history and a commitment to academic excellence.

For more information about the Ivy League and its member universities, you can visit the official Ivy League website at

About Howard University

History and Background

Howard University is a prestigious educational institution located in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1867 and is one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

The university was founded by General Oliver O. Howard and named after him to honor his efforts in establishing a higher education institution for African Americans.

From its early years, Howard University has played a crucial role in the African American community, providing opportunities for education and empowerment during a time of racial segregation and discrimination.

The university has been a hub of intellectual and cultural activity, nurturing the talents of many prominent African American figures throughout history.

Today, Howard University continues to uphold its legacy and commitment to academic excellence, social justice, and the advancement of African American students.

Academics and Reputation

Howard University offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across various disciplines. The university is well-known for its strong programs in fields such as medicine, law, business, communications, and the arts.

The faculty at Howard University consists of accomplished scholars and experts in their respective fields. They are dedicated not only to teaching but also to conducting groundbreaking research and contributing to their disciplines.

Howard University has gained a reputation for producing successful graduates who go on to make significant contributions to their communities and the world at large. The university’s alumni include influential figures in various fields, including politics, entertainment, sports, and academia.

While Howard University is not part of the Ivy League, it is widely regarded as one of the top HBCUs in the country. It consistently ranks among the best universities for African American students and has been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

If you want to learn more about Howard University, you can visit their official website here.

How Howard Compares to Ivy League Schools

Admissions Selectivity

While Howard University is not classified as an Ivy League school, it is known for its competitive admissions process. The university receives a large number of applications each year, making it a selective institution.

In fact, according to the latest data from the university, Howard’s acceptance rate is around 32%. This means that out of every 100 applicants, approximately 32 are admitted. While this may not be as low as some Ivy League schools, it is still a testament to the high standards and rigorous evaluation process set by Howard.

Academic Rigor

When it comes to academic rigor, Howard University is no exception. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including business, engineering, medicine, arts, and sciences.

The curriculum at Howard is designed to challenge students and provide them with a solid foundation in their chosen fields. Howard is also home to esteemed faculty members who are experts in their respective fields and contribute to cutting-edge research. The emphasis on academic excellence and the opportunity to engage in innovative research projects make Howard University comparable to Ivy League institutions in terms of academic rigor.

Post-Graduation Outcomes

While the Ivy League schools are often known for their strong post-graduation outcomes, Howard University also boasts impressive success stories of its graduates. Many Howard alumni have gone on to achieve great success in their careers and make significant contributions to society.

The university has a strong network of alumni who actively support and mentor current students, opening doors to various job opportunities. Additionally, Howard’s location in Washington, D.C. provides students with access to internships and job prospects in government, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies.

According to a survey conducted by Howard University, 90% of graduates secure employment or enroll in graduate programs within six months of graduation. These post-graduation outcomes are a testament to the quality of education and the preparation that Howard University provides its students.

Why Howard Is Not Considered Ivy League

When it comes to prestigious universities in the United States, the Ivy League schools are often at the top of the list. However, Howard University, while highly esteemed in its own right, is not considered part of the Ivy League. Here are a few reasons why:

Historical Context

The Ivy League is a group of eight private universities in the northeastern United States that have a long history dating back to the colonial era. These institutions, which include schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, were originally founded to educate the country’s elite class.

Howard University, on the other hand, was established in 1867 as a historically black university to provide higher education opportunities for African Americans.

Membership Criteria

To be considered part of the Ivy League, a university must meet certain criteria established by the Ivy League Council of Presidents. These criteria include factors such as age, academic excellence, and financial resources.

While Howard University is undoubtedly a prestigious institution known for its academic achievements and contributions to society, it does not meet the specific criteria set forth by the Ivy League.

Distinctive Focus

Howard University has a unique focus on providing a culturally enriching and supportive environment for African American students. It is known for its strong programs in fields such as medicine, law, and the arts, as well as its dedication to promoting social justice and equality.

While the Ivy League schools also excel in various academic disciplines, their focus is not as specific as Howard’s.

It’s important to note, however, that Howard University’s exclusion from the Ivy League does not diminish its reputation or significance. Howard has a rich history, a distinguished faculty, and has produced many successful graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions in their respective fields.

For more information on the Ivy League schools and Howard University, you can visit the following websites:


While Howard University shares some traits with Ivy League institutions, it does not formally belong to this athletic conference or unofficial social group. However, Howard competes at a high level academically and is one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in America.

So while it doesn’t have the Ivy League label, Howard stands on its own as a top-tier university producing talented and successful graduates across many fields.

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