Academic Life in Cambridge and Boston

Jefferson courtyard
Harvard University's physics students are welcomed into an environment which is internationally renowned for its faculty, resources, and research initiatives. Commensurate with the academic surroundings are the world-class cultural and recreational opportunities available in the historic cities of Cambridge and Boston, which have been thriving on the banks of the Charles River for more than 350 years.

Students can relax on the grass of the Cambridge Common, where George Washington took command of the Continental Army, or stroll the narrow streets around Harvard Square, where bookstores, restaurants and shops buzz with activity while street musicians and performers entertain those passing by.

On the other side of the Charles, the Boston Freedom Trail takes walkers through early American history, winding its way around landmarks from the days of the American Revolution, such as the Old South Meeting House in which the Boston Tea Party was planned, the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read in public, and the "Cradle of Liberty", Faneuil Hall.

Cultural and entertainment opportunities are bountiful around Cambridge and Boston, from world-class orchestras, theaters, museums and festivals, to professional sports of every stripe, to an endless variety of popular entertainment venues, superb dining, clubs, galleries, lectures, and screenings of rare films.

The natural environment of the Atlantic coast offers unlimited choices for recreation and relaxation. To the south are the magnificent beaches of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard and to the north sprawl the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, popular with hikers and skiers. Picturesque towns like Marblehead and Kennebunkport hug the rugged seacoast and provide excellent destinations for weekend getaways. Greater Boston is home to at least six major research universities. Harvard students can benefit in many ways from the area's rich academic atmosphere by taking part in the many seminars, colloquia, and inter-university collaborations that happen on a regular basis throughout the year. Harvard students may also cross-register for classes at MIT, which is 20 minutes away from Harvard by bus or subway.