Before You Come to Bethesda
Housing, Transportation, and Security

There are a few matters you should arrange before your Fellowship even begins. The information on this page can help you find a place to live, arrange transportation to and from the NIH campus, and get through campus security when you arrive.



Even before you come to campus, you should be in touch with certain key contacts at NIH.

  • Director, Office of NIH History. This person will be your day-to-day supervisor. Read about the Director and other Office of History personnel here.
  • Scientific mentor. This person will assist you in locating sources of information for your project and can help you as a mentor for any future endeavors at NIH.
  • Administrative Officer (AO) of the lab or group where you will be working. This person works for the Institute that pays your salary — not to be confused with the Administrative Assistant in the Office of History.

fellow tips Fellow Tip: “Depending on your funding arrangement, you may have administrative support from an AO in your Sponsoring Institute and/or the Administrative Assistant in the History Office.”

Ask the Office of History Administrative Assistant to go into the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) and register your name. Request that your name be authorized to use the NIH library. These steps make it easier to activate your email and other privileges when you arrive.

It is vital to keep your Administrative Officer from your Institute and the Administrative Assistant in the Office of History up to date on your travel plans and any issues you may be having with housing or other details.



The main NIH campus has grown from three main buildings to large complex of buildings, laboratories and adminstrative offices. Located north of downtown Bethesda, Maryland. Bethesda has many apartments, houses, restaurants and shops within a short walk from campus. Bethesda is located in Montgomery County near northwest Washington DC, an area where housing is quite expensive. Listings for rentals and roommates can be found in the NIH R&W Association newsletter.

fellow tips Fellow Tip: “Find housing on the Red Line and take Metro to work.”



The main campus is directly on the Medical Center stop for the Metro subway, on the Red Line. This makes for easy transit from communities such as Gaithersburg, Rockville, North Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Cleveland Park, and others in Washington, DC. Montgomery County also has extensive bus service. Maps, timetables, and other information for all Metro and bus routes is provided by WMATA. Try the Metro Trip Planner to find the best public transportation route for your needs.

The Red Line is a U shape, with one end in Gaithersburg, MD and the other in Silver Spring, MD. The bottom of the U passes through the District of Columbia, including residential neighborhoods, nightlife areas, transfer points to other Metro lines, and access to Amtrak and commuter trains at Union Station. By transferring to the Blue or Yellow line you can easily reach National Airport. See the interactive map of the Metro system.

Transhare: NIH can provide you with a Metro farecard of $100 value per month. Precise amount is based on your actual commuting costs. Participation requires you to give up the right to a parking permit. Apply to the Transhare program* via the Office of Research Services.

Rideshare and Vanpools: Traffic on roads in the DC area is notoriously bad. Our rush hour is one of the worst in the nation. To share the hassles of driving, traffic, and parking, many NIH workers share rides or join Vanpools. Vanpools are run by a third-party company. One commuter volunteers to organize and drive and the others share expenses.

Parking: Use of Metro trains, buses, Vanpools, or ride sharing is recommended. But if you will be driving to campus regularly, you will need to arrange for a parking permit .*

* If you participate in the Transhare program, you cannot get a parking permit.


Before You Come to Bethesda > On Your First Day > In Your First Week > Day-to-Day Responsibilities > Day-to-Day Resources > Long Term

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Office of History and Stetten Museum | Bldg 60 | Suite 230 | National Institutes of Health | Bethesda, MD 20814-1460
Phone: 301.496.6610 | Email:
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Last updated: 14 February 2014
First published: 2 February 2005
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