Where to Live
Live as close to the GSD as possible, or as close as you are willing and can afford to live. A good radius would be within a fifteen-minute walk. The rough limits of that are Central Square to the southwest, Inman Square to the east, Kirkland Street at Beacon Street to the northeast, and a little below Porter Square to the north. If you have a bike, it's about a five-minute ride.
Although you might wish to live alone, studio and one-bedroom apartments are at least $1,000/month. Quite a few GSD students enjoy living with graduate students from other Harvard schools.
Housing at Harvard
The GSD is allotted a number of rooms in GSAS (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) dormitories. Students live with other students from GSAS, HKS (Harvard Kennedy School), GSE (Graduate School of Education), and some students from other programs. This housing type consists of single graduate rooms with basic furniture and offers one large single-sex bathroom and a kitchen on each floor. All halls except Conant have a lounge on each floor and some lounges have a television. Phone service, laundry facilities, a study room, a computer room, and free internet access are also available. Students living in the dormitories are required to sign up for a meal plan at Dudley House (GSAS dining hall and student center) for the entire year at an additional cost. This housing type is particularly helpful to international students and those not familiar to the area. Every floor has a resident advisor to assist residents and the halls can provide a lively and social atmosphere. All for halls are within close proximity to the GSD.
- Obtain additional housing information and fill out an application.
- The application and $60 online application fee must be received by APRIL 24, 2013.
Cronkhite Graduate Center
Housing in the Cronkhite Graduate Center is offered by Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The institute also allows students from GSD, GSAS, HKS, and GSE to live within the center. Housing is similar to a dormitory, but offers a more private setting. All floors are co-ed and have either single rooms or two-bedroom suites. All rooms provide basic furniture. Each floor provides several separate bathrooms for men and women or residents in single rooms. Each two-bedroom suite has a bathroom and small living area between the two bedrooms. Laundry facilities, phone service, and internet service are available to students. Four Residential Advisers live within the center to provide assistance to the residents and a reception desk is open seven days a week until 10pm to also assist residents and visitors. Residents are required to purchase a meal plan and residents eat Monday-Friday at the Cronkhite Center Dining Room. A 10 meal-per-week board contract is mandatory. The dining hall offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Get more information and fill out the application.
- The application and a $75 fee must be completed online by APRIL 8, 2013.
Harvard University Graduate Commons
The Graduate Commons program was started in 2008 by Harvard Real Estate Services in collaboration with Harvard Graduate and Professional Schools. This unique program provides an opportunity for Harvard graduate students to step across school boundaries in a relaxed setting and interact with students outside of their own academic programs. This cross-discipline collaboration and social interaction outside of the classroom fosters a greater sense of community for the Harvard graduate student population.
Each property has a Harvard faculty member living in-house who is the intellectual leader of the community and hosts several events throughout the academic year. Leases include heat, hot water, electricity, central air-conditioning, and RESnet internet connection. Fitness, Common, Study, and Recycling rooms are also available on-site. Two of the properties in the Graduate Commons program—10 Akron and 5 Cowperthwaite—are LEED Certified buildings.
Programming includes Social Events (Holiday Party, Sunday Night Dinners with Faculty, Wine Sessions…), Intellectual Events (Meet the Scholar Lecture Series, Fireside Chats, Author Events…), Cultural Events (Iftar Dinner, Sushi Rolling Party…), Outings (Theater Performances, Boston Pops Holiday Show…), Wellness Events (Clothing Drive, Flag Football, Service Days…).
Harvard Affiliated Housing
Affiliated housing is offered by Harvard Real Estate Services and is open to full-time Harvard students, faculty, and staff. These Harvard-owned apartments are offered at prevailing market prices and within a one-mile radius of campus. Affiliated housing is not necessarily cheaper than other privately offered housing. Each apartment has a variety of different amenities such as air-conditioning, internet service, and on-site parking. A complete and accurate application is required in order to apply for affiliated housing. Because of the large amount of applications and limited apartment availability, many applicants are placed on a waiting list and assigned a random computer-generated number. Heat, hot water, and electricity are included in the rent. There is no security deposit, application fee, or finder's fee required. Affiliated housing is not furnished. (Note: The Graduate Commons program is within the Harvard affiliated housing options.)
Some of the closest Affiliated Housing Apartments to the GSD are: Kirkland Court, 472-474 Broadway, 22-24 Prescott Street, 20-20A Prescott Street, Haskins Hall, and 9-13A Ware Street.
You can share your HUHousing apartment with another Harvard affiliate to reduce housing costs. View and post free roommate listings.
- HUHousing options are available via an online application. Applications can be submitted at anytime, but space is limited.
- Learn more or contact HU Housing.
GSD Housing Facebook Group
The GSD Housing Facebook Group is a great way to connect with other incoming students and current students. Students have found roomates, sublets, and rooms using this site.
Cost of Heat
When looking for an apartment, it's important to note whether heat is included in the price of rent. Often in Cambridge, it is not, and cold winters can make for high heating bills, especially if the furnace is powered by oil. (Note: Heat and hot water are included in all Harvard or Harvard-Affiliated housing options, as described below.)
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
If you are moving from another city, the 'Tenant Rights and Responsibilities' is a helpful pamphlet that outlines your rights as a tenant under state law.
Many apartment rentals in the Boston area charge a broker's fee to be paid by the tenant. This fee can be avoided by looking for 'no-fee' apartments on Craigslist, but note that you may be limiting your search. If you are hunting from afar, the broker's fee can be worth it: getting your broker to email you additional photos, measurements, and information can save you an additional trip to Cambridge. The fee is typically one-half month to a full month's rent.
Please note: In addition, landlords often ask for the first and last months' rent as well as a security deposit (usually equal to one month's rent).
Harvard Housing Office
The Harvard Housing Office is a great place to search for non-Harvard-owned housing, including houses, apartments/condominiums, and rooms for rent that have been listed by local landlords and real estate brokers. It maintains lists of Roommate Cards (but does not provide roommate matching), sublet offerings, and a listing network. Several hundred listings are available each year, especially during peak months of May through September. Remember to bring either a valid Harvard I.D. or a letter of admission and a photo I.D. in order to enter the Harvard Housing Office.
Harvard Housing Office
7 Holyoke Street (Harvard Square)
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-3777 or 800-252-5020
Online and Print Resources
Many realtors and students list their housing online. You'll have the greatest variety of options for apartment location, price range, number of roommates and pets. Note that broker's fees may apply. If you think you'll be away from Cambridge over the summer, and will want to sublet your place, you can ask your potential landlord ahead of time if they allow subletting (as many do).
You may find the following websites useful for obtaining housing:
Local newspapers are a good source of information on available apartments in the Cambridge/Boston/Somerville area. A housing supplement is distributed by The Harvard Crimson in April. Extra copies are available at the Crimson office on 14 Plympton Street. Other papers available at Out of Town News in Harvard Square are:
Boston Sunday Globe