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Life as a Doctoral Student

Immerse yourself in Harvard’s vibrant intellectual life while exploring the best of Cambridge and Boston.

As a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, you get to enjoy three to five years in an intellectual paradise. At Harvard, you are surrounded by fascinating people who care deeply about education (and physics, and literature, and law) and pleasantly distracted by free lectures, open-air concerts, theatre, and more. Then there’s Boston and Cambridge, two of America’s most intellectually stimulating, culturally vibrant, and unapologetically fun cities. In short, life as a doctoral student is good.

Campus Life

Browse the campus events calendar any night of the week and you’ll find free lectures from world leaders, innovative entrepreneurs, and academic giants; Q&As with influential film directors; concerts and live theater; and fun campus events that draw fascinating people together from every academic corner of Harvard. 

Cambridge & Boston

Cambridge makes it easy to relax and recharge with friends. Harvard Square is packed with cozy coffee shops, international restaurants, and friendly bars. If you love to run, bike, or otherwise break a sweat, HGSE is blocks from the scenic Charles River Esplanade. In colder weather, the Hemenway Gym is right across the quad, and open early and late for HGSE students.

Boston is just minutes away on the Red Line. Grab tickets to a Red Sox game or visit the Museum of Fine Arts (for free with your student ID!). Then there’s the entire New England region to explore. Nearby Vermont has great skiing and snowboarding and $30 gets you a bus ticket to New York City for the weekend.

Favorite Destinations

Learn about more of the amazing experiences available to Harvard doctoral students:

Spouses & Families

The spouses, partners, and children of students are valued members of the HGSE family. The HGSE Office of Student Affairs will help you and your family compare schools and find neighborhoods with easy access to parks and after-school activities. HGSE organizes family-friendly outings throughout the year, from Red Sox games to ski trips. And friendships among cohort members quickly evolve into a social support network of playgroups, babysitting coops, and group activities.


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The Campaign for Harvard Graduate School of Education enables HGSE to fulfill its vision of changing the world through education by expanding opportunity and improving outcomes.

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