University of Wisconsin–Madison
SoHE Common Area

5 of the best places to study on campus

You’re about to seriously hit the books. So if you’re looking for that perfect study nook on campus, we’ve got 5 suggestions for you. Whether you’re looking for the best view, quiet and isolation, or ready access to creature comforts, you may find your ideal study spot on our list.

Contemporary and Artsy


If you need an open, beautify space to do your best studying, this is the space for you. Offering indoor and outdoor studying space with food and drink options, SoHE has an artistic atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re studying in a boutique art museum.

Monastic Isolation

Memorial Library Cages

Officially called carrels, they are what they sound like—minus the guard with key and no way out. These self-imposed spaces force you or your study group to stay on task. Reservations are required for locked carrels, and the open ones cannot be reserved. Only available to graduate students.

Where Silence is Golden

Law Library

If you really need to get work done but the cages at Memorial Library aren’t appealing, you’ve found your second home among future lawyers. While the study rooms are only available to Law School faculty/staff and students, you can still take advantage of its floor-to-ceiling open space. Just be aware that silence is golden here.

Ambiance and Creature Comforts

Shannon Sunset Lounge at Memorial Union

If the outdoors isn’t your thing but you still like the lakeside views and don’t mind the bustle around you, step inside from the terrace to the lounge. You have year-round views of Lake Mendota plus all the food and drink amenities of the Union to keep you there for hours.   

Cramming Around-the-Clock

College Library

Open 24 hours most days, Helen C. White Hall has all the resources you’d expect from a top-tier academic institution—research guides, tech labs, printing services and course reserves—plus reflection spaces to give your mind a break and WisCEL, multi-use spaces to encourage collaborative learning. And if you’re really hibernating, there’s a café to keep the caffeine coming while you take in a view of Lake Mendota.

Honorable Mentions on and off-campus

  • The Student Activity Center covers two floors of their building on East Campus Mall, and offers accommodations for group work as well as independent studying.
  • Memorial Library has designated study spaces other than cages.
  • Union South offers plenty of food and drink amenities, plus computer lab and ample tables.
  • The Discovery Building provides group and private study spaces and food and drink amenities.
  • Grainger Hall provides all the amenities for studying you’d expect from a top-tier business school.
  • Ebling Library is not just for bio or med students and has the quiet you need to get things done.
  • Kohler Art Library in the Chazen Museum of Art has tables for group and individual studying.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society Library featuring many tables with ample space in its Library Reading Room and is tech-friendly too.
  • Upper House is Christian organization that welcomes all students to their space, although check-in is required.