Tips for Moving to Boston for a Degree Program
Guest post by JP Knapic, degree program assistant
Boston and Cambridge are vibrant, energetic, and rich in history. There are nearly 100 colleges and universities in the area, along with renowned museums and theaters, historic homes and parks, and a superb transportation system.
We encourage you throughout your coursework to take some time out for yourself to explore the wonderful landscape that Boston, Cambridge, and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Housing location and cost
Areas to consider relocating to include Allston, Arlington, Boston, Brighton, Cambridge, Somerville, and Watertown. Average monthly rents in these areas range from:
- $800 to $1,200 for a studio apartment
- $1,200 to $1,800 for a one bedroom
- $1,800 to $2,200 for a two bedroom
Rent is lower outside of Boston and Cambridge. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods and towns in outlying areas and consider commuting, in particular those communities along the T’s Red Line. Boston has an extensive, affordable, and efficient public transportation system.
Harvard Housing Office
Housing is available for admitted graduate students.
You may also browse the Harvard Housing Office’s online listings of apartment, sublet, and roommate opportunities. In addition, this office provides Cambridge maps, public transportation information for Cambridge and surrounding areas, and the Harvard Off-Campus Housing Guide. To visit the office, you need to present proof of current registration (a registration confirmation).
Extended stays for January and Summer School sessions
We understand that it may be difficult to leave your current residence to attend Harvard.
Harvard Extension offers a three-week intensive January session, during which you can complete up to 1 course toward your residency requirement.
The Harvard Summer School offers a seven-week session. You can complete up to two courses to count toward your residency requirement. For international students, this could be the perfect way to fulfill this requirement, as the Summer School issues 1-20s (the Extension School does not).
There are several hotels and bed-and-breakfast guest houses in the area, such as Hotel Veritas and Harding House. Visit Harvard Square to see all available hotels and guest houses in the area.
Helpful hints for finding housing in Boston
- Massachusetts has a high cost of living. The website www.homefair.com offers a salary calculator that can help you estimate cost of living. It also provides helpful information about moving.
- Know your tenant rights. Refer to the Tenants Rights & Responsibilities.
- Actually view the apartment. The amount of rent does not always indicate the quality of the apartment. You will gain a better sense of the surrounding environment if you view an apartment during both day and night. Consider noise, cleanliness, traffic, neighborhood safety, etc.
- If you plan to bring a car, find out about parking availability in the area (on-street, off-street, permit-only).
- Allow extra time for your search if you have pets. Rentals that accept pets are often harder to find.
- Neighborhood Legal Services contains information on Massachusetts laws regarding housing.
- Consider obtaining renter’s insurance, which can cost as little as $30 a month.
- Don’t forget to forward your mail! Ensure all federal and state department agencies are notified before your move as some correspondence from these agencies may not be forwarded—most notably, financial aid documentation.
Housing listings & references
Harvard Extension School does not endorse any of the following books, agencies, or services. They are provided only to serve as aids in your housing quest.
- Craigslist: Boston
- Boston’s Preferred Properties
- Mass.gov Search: Tenant’s Rights & Responsibilities
- Frommer’s Boston
- Newcomer’s Handbook For Moving to and Living in Boston: Including Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville by Jon Gorey, et al.