With public schools ranked best in the country, excellent health care resources, and bountiful activities to explore, Boston is a great place to raise a family.
Boston University is committed to being a family-friendly campus community for graduate students with children, with many resources and benefits available. If you are finding a place to live, there are many family-friendly neighborhoods around BU. If you’re looking for some family fun in Boston, we’ve listed some favorites below.
Here is a list of resources and benefits available for graduate students and their families at BU.
The Family Resources Office provides resources and services to support families in managing the challenges of work and family life. The office can help you locate resources for in-home child care, babysitting, child care centers, family day care providers, school age care, play groups, summer camps, and eldercare.
In addition to stipend and health insurance benefits, full-time PhD students are covered by the Childbirth & Adoption Accommodation Policy for PhD Students
Boston University makes a host of private lactation rooms available to accommodate the needs of mothers returning to work or school. If you have any questions about lactation rooms at Boston University.
Childcare and Preschool Education Programs
Boston University offers a range of childcare and early childhood education options for parents with children up to 5 years old:
- BU Children’s Center: Charles River Campus, for infants through Pre-K.
- Early Childhood Learning Lab: Charles River Campus, for children between the ages of 2 years and 9 months and 5 years old.
- Little Sprouts: Located on the BU Medical Campus, for children ages 4 weeks through 5 years old. Note: This is not a BU operated facility.
- Summer Camp and School Vacation Programs: Established by the Department of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance and Family Resources, these general recreational camp programs are offered for children entering kindergarten through 4th grade.
Student Health Services
Student Health Services is available to full-time and three-quarter time graduate students, regardless of insurance choice, and any student with the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Part time students may be eligible for SHIP coverage. Online only students are not eligible for SHIP, though all students, regardless of status or insurance, are eligible for assistance with community referrals via SHS.
Depending on your insurance, you may be able to waive SHIP if you have other coverage that meets ACA requirements. Dependent coverage is available only through the SHIP Plus option. Eligible dependents include your spouse and dependent children up to age 26. For more information about enrolling dependents, please visit the Dependent Coverage page on the Student Accounting Services website. Please review all eligibility information carefully before making a decision.
- Gynecological and OB-GYN Care: If you are planning a pregnancy, consult the gynecological services at BU’s Student Health Services at no cost. If you become pregnant while at BU, SHS will refer you to an OB-GYN in the area.
- Aetna Student Health Insurance: Both Basic and Plus plans cover some pre-natal and birth expenses. The child is covered under the mother’s plan up to 30 days after birth. If you are trying to become pregnant, the Plus plan offers significantly better coverage for both pre- and post-natal and hospital expenses at birth. For specific questions, contact SHS’s Insurance Coordinator at 617-353-3579.
- Behavioral Medicine: Behavioral Medicine offers services for students dealing with parenting-related distress.
More Family Support
The Faculty and Staff Assistance Office provides confidential help to Boston University employees experiencing difficulties, including family challenges. The office is also open to providing help and advice or finding referrals and resources for graduate students in need.
FitRec offers a wide variety of activities designed to get kids moving. Take a dip in the pool, hit the climbing wall, do some yoga. Get the family moving at FitRec. Full time graduate students have full access membership, with a nominal monthly fee for spouses and children. Part-time students can join for a low monthly fee.
GWISE (Graduate Women in Science & Engineering) Mother’s Group offers support group for mothers and mothers-to-be in science and engineering. Meetings are held twice monthly for moms to discuss anything and everything about parenthood during graduate school.
There are so many great things to do with kids in Boston. Explore parks, historical sites, festivals, music, and museums. Here are some family favorites to get you rolling.
With the power of play as its guiding principle, the Boston’s Children’s Museum is chock full of hands-on activities. Kids can climb, jump, splash, build, create, and explore in this multi-level mecca of educational fun. Insider tip, members jump the lines and enter early on Saturdays.
Stroll amidst the lovely landscaping and take in a bit of history. At the Boston Common & Public Garden, take a ride on a human-powered Swan Boat, and waddle over to the Make Way for Ducklings statues, based on the beloved children’s book by Robert McCloskey. Cross Charles St. to the Boston Common and splash (or skate) at the Frog Pond, or visit the playground.
A band of historically clad actors bring the American Revolution to life, as they guide you through the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party. With interactive storytelling and video, you can learn about this key moment in American history at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Stop by the tea room for a cuppa and a scone before you disembark.
Lions, tigers, and gorillas, oh my! Explore animals of the jungle, rainforest, and savannah at the Franklin Park Zoo, at the end of the Emerald Necklace. With a centrally located playground and snack shack, the zoo makes it easy to spend the day.
For Brickheads large and small, the Legoland Discovery Center indoor theme park is especially great when the weather outside is frightful. The indoor Lego playground has two rides, a bunch of build and play zones, a 4D cinema and more. The park features a room-sized Lego replica of the city of Boston, complete with a boat race on the Charles River.
Visit live seals and penguins, and observe all manner of aquatic life in the enormous central tank at the New England Aquarium. Watch a movie at the IMAX theatre, or grab tickets for a nearby whale watch.
The Museum of Science inhabits a massive building at the edge of the Charles River Basin. Learn about space, animals, weather, physics, and more as you interact with exhibits. Visit the live animal care center or the butterfly garden, or catch an IMAX movie while you’re there.