Joining Our Community

HILR Participants must be able to attend class on our Cambridge campus.  If you’re a retired or semi-retired individual residing in the Greater Boston area, we welcome your application.

The most important criteria for admission are:

  • Intellectual curiosity

  • A breadth of interests

  • The capacity to participate actively and collegially in our community

  • The ability to contribute to the program through course leadership and other volunteer roles

A previous connection to Harvard University is not necessary.

The application period for  Spring 2021 is now closed.  Check back February 1 for application details for Fall 2021.  Sorry for the delay, but that is the new go-live date for the application.

Admission season

Application deadline

Notification of decision

 Fall 2021 start



 Spring 2021 start   Was Oct. 25, 2020  End of November 2020

Program Perks and Privileges

For a fee of $500 per semester, program participants enjoy the following:

Academic Privileges

  • Enrollment in HILR courses (up to three per semester)

  • Eligibility for an HILR scholarship for one open enrollment Extension School course per semester

Activities and Events

  • Admission to HILR speaker events and concerts

  • Participation in HILR extracurricular activities

  • Access to events open to the Harvard Community

Discounts and University Access Privileges

  • Harvard University Library Special Borrower privileges for $5 a year

  • Free admission to the Harvard Art Museums

  • Eligibility to ride the Harvard shuttle buses

  • Discounted parking rate at Harvard’s Everett Street garage

Our Location

Our community gathers for courses and activities at our historic building at 34 Concord Avenue in Cambridge, Mass.

Situated amid a beautifully landscaped quad, the renovated building houses 10 classrooms, a computer room, a lunchroom and café, the Dunlop Library, a colloquium room with a grand piano, and common spaces for informal meeting and collaboration.

Requirements for New Program Participants

Before you apply, we ask that you consider if it’s the right time in your life to make the commitment. Once accepted into the program, you must be able to start in the upcoming semester and able to meet the enrollment requirements outlined below, in order to take up the offer.

  • In the first semester, you must enroll in classes for the full 12 weeks.

  • In the second semester, you must enroll for at least a half semester (exceptions are made for medical issues or family emergencies).

  • In the first three years, you may take up to a one-semester leave of absence. But to retain your place in the program, the full semester fee is still due when taking a nonmedical leave of absence. 

If you have questions, please contact us at