Resources for Spouses/Partners

Below is information on Harvard University organizations that offer services to spouses and in some cases qualified domestic partners. There is information for English classes that includes organizations not affiliated with Harvard University as well as volunteer opportunities outside of the university.

Library Privileges

Spouses or qualified domestic partners of students and scholars in the Harvard community may apply for borrowing privileges at Harvard libraries. To apply for a Special Borrower's card, please fill out an application that can be found on the Harvard Library Visitor Access website.

Once your application is approved, they will contact you to complete the application process. You will be asked to show the following documents:

  • your government-issued photo ID
  • a copy or photo of your partner's Harvard ID
  • both your and your partner's I-20s or DS-2019s
  • if your and your partner's last names differ, you must also bring a copy of a lease, utility bill, marriage certificate or other piece of official mail with both names listed as residing at the same address.

The Harvard Library Access and Borrowing Office is located at Widener Library, Room 130. For additional information please call (617) 495-4166 or email the Access and Borrowing Office.

Auditing or "Sitting In" on Courses

Adult family members of international students and scholars may sit in on regular lecture courses in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and some of the other graduate schools, at the discretion of the faculty member. Arrangements for auditing are very informal. Choose the course by first consulting the FAS course catalog online. Then send an email message to the professor introducing yourself and explaining why you are interested in the course. If you don’t hear back, you still can attend the first lecture. After the lecture is over, introduce yourself to the professor, explain your status at Harvard, and ask that you be allowed to audit the course. This privilege does not apply to small seminars or language courses. Please note: auditing courses is not possible at the Harvard Extension School, Harvard Summer School, and some of the professional schools.

English Classes

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.

Athletic Facilities

Students, faculty, scholars, and staff can use the athletic facilities by showing their Harvard ID. They need to check with Harvard Athletics regarding how their family members can access the facilities. Students need to check with their respective schools to see if they need to purchase a participation sticker. For more information check the Harvard Athletics website.

Center for Wellness and Health Promotion

The mission of the Center for Wellness and Health Promotion is "to create a Harvard community where all members value wellbeing. We cultivate individual and collective growth through educational experiences that develop and enhance holistic health." The Center offers a wide range of workshops, services, and classes available to all Harvard affiliates and their family members. Schedule a massage or acupuncture appointment; try one of their exercise, meditation, or yoga classes.

Religious Services at Harvard

Harvard has a rich variety of opportunities for religious participation. During the academic year chapel services are held every weekday morning from 8:45 to 9:00 and on Sundays at 11:00 in the morning at the University's non-denominational Memorial Church, located in Harvard Yard. The weekday service normally includes a short address by a member of the Harvard community. From time to time, religious leaders of various denominations throughout the United States are invited to preach.

Schedules for services, concerts, group meetings, and lectures are announced in the Harvard Gazette. In addition, the Harvard Chaplains has an association of chaplains who work together in interfaith ministry for the Harvard community and who offer special programs of worship, discussion, and personal counseling to Harvard students, faculty, and staff of many faiths and traditions. They will also provide chaplains for weddings, baptisms, and memorial services.

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE)

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) is comprised of the Harvard Extension School, the Harvard Summer School, the Harvard Professional Development Program, and the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.  DCE offers open enrollment courses, degrees and certificates, as well as professional development programs at reasonable prices.  Courses are offered in a variety of formats: online, on campus, or blended.

Language Exchange at the Harvard Language Center

The Language Exchange Program offers the opportunity to exchange informal conversation in your own language for conversation in your target language with another member of the Harvard community. Spouses and partners of faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars are eligible to participate in the exchange.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering with an organization often can bring unexpected benefits not only to the people or organization you are serving but also to you. You may learn how organizations are different or similar to those in your country. You may improve on some of your technical skills as well as learn new ones. It usually is possible to obtain a recommendation from a supervisor regarding your volunteer work. All of these potential benefits to volunteering can be helpful when it comes time to finding paid employment. Here are a few websites to help you find volunteer opportunities:

Boston Cares - the largest volunteer agency in New England - a database of job, internship and volunteer opportunities searchable by your local community

VolunteerMatch - a database of volunteer opportunities searchable by your local community