Best Study Spots on Campus

To help you on your academic journey

By Esther Hur November 21, 2023
Best Study Spots on Campus

Finals week is on the horizon — study groups are in every corner, libraries are filled with students, and laptop keys are tapping endlessly. Whether you're currently a student or simply getting ready for your future college adventure here at U-M, chances are you’re still going to be looking for the perfect study spot. It can be hard to focus on studying within the comforts of your apartment, house, or residence hall. I know the struggle of trying to escape the distractions of your cozy bed or the temptations to raid the fridge (it’s a shared experience). Finding the ideal study spot is a difficult yet essential pursuit for the perfect balance between focus and comfort.

Amidst all of the end-of-semester activities and stress, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best study spots on campus, including some you may or may not know of already. Whether you're looking for privacy, collaborative spaces, or simply a change of scenery to help your focus and creativity, this list should help!

Along with descriptions of each study spot, I’ve also provided its location, hours, availability, and some pros and cons.

This list contains broadly accessible locations across campus. Additionally, since these are all over campus, reaching some of these spots might pose transportation challenges. I recommend visiting the Campus Transit website to explore the most suitable travel options for you.

Shapiro Undergraduate Library (The UGLi)

  • Hours: Monday-Thursday (Open 24/7)   
    Friday (Closes at 6 p.m.) 
    Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) 
    Sunday (10 a.m.-midnight) 
    (Note: An Mcard is required for access from midnight to 8 a.m.)
  • Location: Central Campus, 919 S. University Ave.
  • Availability: The UGLi gets busy so availability may be limited
  • Pros: Third floor has been fully renovated, has computers and reflection rooms, good for collaboration, Shapiro Design Lab, Computer and Video Game Archive, Bert’s Cafe
  • Cons: Seat availability is limited due to popularity, may get loud depending on where you do find a seat

The Shapiro Undergraduate Library (the UGLi) is an extremely popular library and study spot amongst undergraduate students. Outdoor seating invites fresh perspectives, while the workspaces inside are great for collaboration. Given its popularity, the first and second floors of the UGLi are often busy, and the noise level tends to get high. However, it is quieter on the newly renovated third floor and fourth floor.

The UGLi is also home to the Shapiro Design Lab, the Book Arts Studio, Conservation Lab, Digital Preservation Lab, and the famous Computer and Video Game Archive! There are even creative tools like accessible 3D printers and soundproof recording studios that students can use. The library's computers and reservable reflection rooms also provide additional resources. And if you need a snack or a drink, Bert’s Cafe is at your service!

Harlan Hatcher South Carrels (Harlan Hatcher Library South)

  • Hours: Monday-Thursday (8 a.m.-midnight)     
    Friday (8 a.m.-6 p.m.)     
    Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.)     
    Sunday (1 p.m.-midnight)
  • Location: Central Campus, 913 S. University Ave.
  • Availability: Very good, there is almost always an empty carrel to study in
  • Pros: Private study rooms on almost every floor (you do not need to reserve most of these carrels although some are only accessible through reservations), noise level is low, amazing collection of books and research 
  • Cons: Study carrels on certain floors don’t have doors while the reservable ones do

The Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is also a great library to study in. However, the south section, in particular, has secluded spaces where you can focus privately. There are individual study carrels on almost every floor. There are open rooms on the fourth and fifth floors and reservable rooms on the third floor. There are weekly reservable carrels located on the sixth floor.

Since these are separated carrels, the noise level is always low. There are desks, chairs, and outlets provided in every room. However, most of the spaces in the third, fourth, and fifth floors do not have doors and those that do are limited. Additionally, the weekly carrels on the sixth floor do have doors, but these must be reserved in advance.

And for those that are interested in literature, the Hatcher Library has an amazing, extensive curated collection of books and research!

Harlan Hatcher South Carrels
Harlan Hatcher South Carrels

The Duderstadt Library (The Dude)

  • Hours: Sunday-Saturday (Open 24/7 although hours may differ on breaks and holidays)
  • Location: North Campus, 2281 Bonisteel Blvd.
  • Availability: Very good
  • Pros: Reservable study rooms located on the second floor, wide range of studios (audio, video, recording etc.), Mujo Café
  • Cons: If you don't live on North Campus, you will have to drive or take a bus

The Duderstadt Library, known as the Dude, is a vibrant hub located on North Campus. There are reservable study rooms on the second floor, providing a personalized space for focused collaboration or individual study sessions. There is also a range of studios, including a multimedia studio and recording studios. You can also refuel at the Mujo Cafe! There is good seat availability and the noise level is always low. However, if you are located on Central Campus, a drive or a bus ride will probably be needed.

Law Quad (The Courtyard)

  • Hours: Courtyard is always open
  • Location: Central Campus, 625 S. State St.
  • Availability: Good
  • Pros: Beautiful scenery, easy to focus if you enjoy studying outside
  • Cons: Can only go during the daytime and only when the weather is nice enough, may get crowded and noisy depending on the time and weather

The Law Quadrangle is known for its beauty. The courtyard is surrounded by stone buildings that some may say almost reflect the magical nature of Hogwarts. For those who enjoy studying in nature, this is the perfect spot for you. The greenery and open areas provide an amazing environment for you to escape the busy campus life. It's only open exclusively during daytime since there are no lights during the night and also when the weather permits so. On exceptionally warm days, the courtyard is a very popular go-to destination, so it may get busy and loud very quickly.

Law Quad (The Courtyard)
Law Quad (The Courtyard)

Angell Hall Courtyard Computing Center (The Fishbowl)

  • Hours: Sunday (10 a.m.-midnight)
    Monday-Thursday (Open 24/7)
    Friday (midnight.-11:30 p.m.)
    Saturday (10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.)
  • Location: Central Campus, 436 S. State St.
  • Availability: Good
  • Pros: Has numerous computers + printers and lots of seating
  • Cons: Noise level can get high

The Angell Hall Courtyard Computer Center, more popularly known as the Fishbowl, is not just a beautiful architectural creation, but also an area with endless rows of Macs and PCs. It's a go-to location for students who are in need of a digital workspace. There are also several printers that you can use in case you need to print something (don't worry, there are color printers).

(Guide to printing on campus computing locations)

It’s an extremely popular study spot, so the noise level does get quite high here. However, if you’re someone who enjoys working in a louder environment, the Fishbowl can be a good option. I personally like the Fishbowl for collaborative work or group settings.

Pierpont Commons

  • Hours: Sunday (noon-10 p.m.)    
    Monday-Saturday (7 a.m.-10 p.m.)
  • Location: North Campus, 2101 Bonisteel Blvd.
  • Availability: Good
  • Pros: Has a food plaza (Subway, Panda Express, Panera, Sweetwaters, etc.), Barnes & Noble, Tech Shop, noise level is relatively always low, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (Massage chairs on lower level of building!)
  • Cons: If you don't live on North Campus, you will have to drive or take a bus

Pierpont Commons is a great study spot on North Campus in addition to the Dude. It's quite similar to the Michigan Union, its Central Campus counterpart. Seat availability is usually a non-issue, providing students with a quiet place for private studying or collaboration. There is also an array of purchasable food options, and the noise level remains consistently low!

Need a moment of meditation? Explore the reservable reflection rooms or go to the massage chairs provided by CAPS!

Michigan Union

  • Hours: Sunday (9 a.m.-2 a.m.)    
    Monday-Saturday (7 a.m.-2 a.m.)
  • Location: Central Campus, 530 S. State St.
  • Availability: Usually gets pretty busy
  • Pros: Has a food plaza (Subway, Panda Express, Panera, Sweetwaters, etc.), Barnes & Noble, Tech Shop, CAPS (Massage chairs on fourth floor!)
  • Cons: Usually gets busy, noise level is high 

Some may say that one of the highlights of Central Campus is the Michigan Union. The Union is a popular location for students. It has a food plaza on the lower level with many options and a beautiful open space with a fireplace at the Willis Ward and South Lounges. The lower level of the Michigan Union is a more active area and a great option for group work. 

The business of this building can make it hard to find spots for focused study sessions. There is also a Barnes & Noble with books and notebooks if needed. If you need help with anything technology related, there is a Tech Shop located in the Union. If you're seeking a mental break or need to talk to someone, you can visit CAPS! CAPS also provides massage chairs on the fourth floor!

Esther Hur
Esther Hur

Esther Hur is a current sophomore double majoring in film, television & media and communications & media. She is from Palisades Park, New Jersey. At U-M, Esther is involved in several music and film clubs. Outside of classes, Esther is a freelance photographer and videographer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and exploring new areas to capture with her camera!