Services for Families
The following information applies to married couples, unmarried partners and partners with children.
Membership to Harvard Athletics
Harvard Athletics offers athletic facility memberships to its students, faculty, staff and alumni to the Malkin Athletic Center, Blodgett Pool and Hemenway Gymnasium.
Memberships can be purchased online through the Harvard Athletics webpage or obtained in person at the Athletic Ticket Office.
Library Cards for Spouses/Partners
Spouses/partners can obtain library privileges for Harvard College libraries by visiting the Library Privileges Office located on the first floor of Widener Library, Room 130. Additional membership information can also be found on the Harvard College Library website.
Please note, the GSD library is not included. Please click here for information on obtaining a card for our library.
Auditing or "Sitting in On" Courses
Every school has its own policies. At the GSD, only Harvard and MIT students enrolled in a degree-granting program can audit a course with the approval of an instructor. Adult family members may sit in on regular lecture courses at FAS and some other graduate schools, but may not formally audit at the GSD. Arrangements for auditing are very informal. You choose the course and attend the first lecture. After it is over, introduce yourself to the professor, explain your status at Harvard and request that you be allowed to audit the course. If you are an MIT student looking to audit a GSD course, you must have the instructor sign an audit petition, available in Student Services, Gund 422. This privilege does not apply to small seminars or language courses.
Harvard Students' Spouses and Partners Association (HSSPA)
HSSPA is an organization open to spouses and partners of all Harvard students. Since 1896 it has provided a way for its members to make friends, find intellectual stimulation and, most of all, and feel a sense of belonging within the University. HSSPA organizes a variety of events throughout the year for Harvard students and their spouses and families, such as social gatherings, dinners and outings. If you are interested in their events and activities or have any questions, contact them at email@example.com.
Childcare and Schooling Resources
It is so important to get your family all set before school gets underway, because you'll find your disposable time disappearing quickly. Here are some resources; please email Laura Snowdon with any tips you've found helpful to share with other families.
International students should visit the Harvard International Office (HIO) website to find out about its programs and resources for families.
Harvard Office of Work/Life Resources
Students may contact Harvard's Office of Work/Life Resources for information about child care and education. The Office provides information about the Harvard-affiliated child care centers as well as community day care centers and nursery schools, information on local school districts, after school programs, summer camps and school vacation programs.
Childcare resources outside of Harvard include:
City of Cambridge website of childcare and family support services.
Child Care Choices of Boston (617) 542-5437 (KIDS)
Offers a comprehensive listing of caregivers and day care centers in the area.
National Association for the Education of Young Children, based in Washington, D.C., reviews preschools. Preschools that receive a stamp of approval have to have a high-quality curriculum. The group also judges the schools' health and safety, teacher-student ratios, physical environment and a child's experience. Go the the url, and enter your zip code to find out which schools in your area are accredited.
Department of Early Education and Care
Provides a list of licensed daycare centers and care providers.
Massachusetts Department of Education
Provides standardized school profiles of private and public schools.
Activities for Families
Public libraries have free or discounted passes for popular museums and events such as the Science Museum, the Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, Drumlin Farms in Lincoln and some zoos. You should check with your own local library. Passes are popular so plan ahead.
Many institutions, especially those that operate on a non-profit basis, depend on the goodwill of people who contribute their skills and time without pay. Volunteering is an opportunity to become involved in the local community, to meet people from outside the University, and to learn something about American society. Volunteering may also provide a way to keep active in a professional area when paid employment is not a possibility. Information about volunteer opportunities is available from the HIO. You may also consult the web site http://www.volunteersolutions.org/boston/volunteer
For international students, consult the programs and resources at the Harvard International Office (HIO) website. (Other students may also find the information useful).
A Community of International Spouses
There are many groups on campus that may interest spouses. The Harvard Student Spouses and Partners Association (HSSPA) group is open to both spouses of Harvard students and scholars. The Harvard Neighbors group is only for spouses of Harvard scholars.
The HIO has a flyer listing three different types of organizations that offer English classes in the Boston/Cambridge area. Please click here to view the flyer.