the Institute

Close up of decorative open iron work on a kiosk that features two interwoven  Rs
Decorative ironwork on kiosk outside Fay House in Radcliffe Yard bears a pattern of Radcliffe Rs. Fay House has been at the heart of Radcliffe College, and now the Institute, since its very earliest days. The historic Fay Mansion was purchased in 1885 to provide the first permanent quarters for the growing college. It now houses the offices of the dean, the executive dean, communications, development, and finance. Photo by Kevin Grady

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University—known as Harvard Radcliffe Institute— is one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary research and exploration.

The Institute’s work is shaped by its history as the former Radcliffe College—a school founded to ensure that the standard of education embodied in Harvard was accessible to women, who were then excluded from the University. Radcliffe’s defining commitment to women and the study of gender endures in the Institute’s programs and the world-class collections of its Schlesinger Library. But the legacy of Radcliffe College is not simply coeducation at Harvard; it is the recognition that universities will always be greater when they draw wisdom and talent from the widest possible pool. This principle has guided Radcliffe’s work for nearly a century and a half. Among the many distinguished schools of Harvard, the Institute is unique: interdisciplinary by design and animated by a legacy of promoting inclusion.  

Dean Brown-Nagin's Welcome

Portrait of Tomiko Brown-Nagin

History, Mission, and Values

In the late 19th century, an era in which women were barred from attending Harvard, a group of educators came together to help qualified women scholars to access instruction by Harvard faculty. This effort eventually led to the founding of Radcliffe College.

It was not until 1999 that Radcliffe would officially merge with Harvard University, and today's Harvard Radcliffe Institute would be established.

Although Radcliffe ceased to be a women’s college in 1999, its history and values are alive and well. Indeed, Radcliffe College’s legacy is at the heart of the Institute’s work today.

The Harvard Radcliffe Institute is unique among the many distinguished schools of Harvard: interdisciplinary by design and animated by an institutional legacy of promoting inclusion.

Read the Institute's Founding Mission Explore Radcliffe’s History: From College to Institute

Our Work: Featured Areas of Inquiry

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Who We Are

Harvard Radcliffe Institute is an interdisciplinary community of students, scholars, researchers, practitioners, artists, and others committed to pursuing curiosity-driven research, expanding human understanding, and grappling with questions that demand insight from across disciplines.

Landscape of Radcliffe Yard.


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