Harvard University Housing Advice from a Current HKS Student

Harvard University Housing Advice from a Current HKS Student

By Akshay Mathur MC/MPA 2023

Before coming to Harvard as a Mid-Career MPA student, I was based in

Mumbai, working with think tanks that focus on local, national, and global

policy issues. After I graduate, I plan to return to India to continue working

in the field.

Harvard has been home for last year. I live with my wife, Purvaja, in Peabody

Terrace, a set of apartments managed by Harvard University Housing. It is a 10-minute walk from Harvard Square

and a popular option for HKS students.


Photo courtesy of Akshay Mathur

Deciding where to live while studying here in Cambridge can be

stressful, so I’d like to share some

tips about Harvard University Housing that may be helpful as you plan for your

stint at Harvard. A fair number of HKS

students live in Harvard University Housing, though living off campus is also

an option.

Finding and Selecting an Apartment

  • If budget allows, secure your university housing

    before the lottery begins.

  • Most Peabody Terrace apartments don’t have a washer/dryer

    or dishwasher within the unit. If those are important amenities to you, try Akron, Cowperthwaite, or Soldiers

    Field Park across the river. Be sure to review the amenities on the Housing website.

  • Most apartments are not furnished, so you will have to

    plan to furnish the apartment.

  • Akron and Cowperthwaite are centrally air conditioned

    and heated. Peabody is centrally heated but not centrally air-conditioned. This

    may be a consideration for some of you if you plan to spend the summer here.

  • Peabody Terrace has a children’s outdoor and indoor

    play area for kids which is quite frequently used by parents. It’s a great amenity

    if you are coming to HKS with young children.


  • Peabody Terrace, Cowperthwaite, and Akron apartments are all within 10-minute walking distance from

    Harvard Square. Any of these are great options for HKS students.

  • Most students walk to school, some ride bikes in the

    summer and fall, and some keep a car for groceries, children, and travelling

    out of town or state.

  • There is public transportation in the Boston/Cambridge

    area, so while a car may be helpful, it is generally not a necessity.


  • For Peabody Terrace, Akron, and Cowperthwaite, Whole

    Foods is 10-minute walk and Trader Joes is a 15-minute walk. Whole Foods also

    delivers groceries to the apartment (which is particularly important if you

    don’t have a car or for the winters).


  • There are study areas in all apartment complexes, but

    I’ve found that most students study in their apartments or in school libraries.


  • Those studying in Harvard schools in Cambridge (e.g.

    HKS, HLS, HGSE, etc.) tend to choose Peabody

    Terrace, Akron, or Cowperthwaite because of the proximity to classes.

  • It is helpful to have classmates live in the same

    apartment complex as it allows you to build friendships, do assignments

    together, prepare for exams, convene for dinner, or share information about babysitters.

Maintenance and Repair

  • The response time for maintenance

    requests for plumbing, electrical, and other such issues is fairly swift.