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The Best Places to Study for Finals

A guide to some of the University’s lesser-known haunts


The semester is nearly over. Regular classes wrapped up Wednesday and the study period began Thursday, with finals scheduled for May 8 through 12. Students are pouring into Mugar Memorial Library, the GSU Food Court, and nearby coffee shops to finish papers and presentations and begin cramming for exams—and finding a seat in those places is often difficult. With that in mind, BU Today asked students their favorite places to study (besides Mugar), and we’ve put together a list of the most popular. The brand-new CAS Think Tank, opened just this week, makes its first appearance on the list. Do you have a spot we didn’t include? Add it in the Comment section below.

Exterior shot of Kilachand Hall.

Kilachand Hall Study Lounge
91 Bay State Road, ninth floor

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours

Visitors to the top floor of Kilachand Hall will find a study lounge with panoramic views of Boston and the Fenway. Reminder: Kilachand Hall’s study lounge, like those in other residences, is open only to students living on campus and available only to Kilachand residents after 2 a.m.

Private room in the Educational Resource Center.

Educational Resource Center
Center for Student Services
100 Bay State Road, fifth floor

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Saturday; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

The Educational Resource Center (ERC) offers both casual study nooks and private study spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. To book a private study room, visit the ERC’s fifth floor office. Open to all students with a valid BU ID.

Statue in Pickering Library.

Pickering Educational Resources Library
School of Education, 2 Silber Way

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Sunday

One of the smaller libraries on campus, the Pickering Library, in the basement of the SED building, offers a quiet place to study. Open to all students with a valid BU ID.

Inside of Science & Engineering Library.

Science & Engineering Library
38 Cummington Mall

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to midnight

This library is convenient for anyone living on or near East Campus seeking a short commute. It offers cubicles as well as communal tables for studying. Find more information about finals week hours here.

Top floor view from study lounge of 575 Commonwealth Ave.

575 Commonwealth Ave., eighth floor

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours

This top-floor study lounge is for those who want a view while hitting the books. The residence hall also offers a first-floor multipurpose room with chairs, couches, and a pool table for when you need a break. Open to students living on campus.

CAS Think Tank

CAS Think Tank
College of Arts & Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Ave., Room 105

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Think Tank ribbon-cutting ceremony was May 1, making it the newest study space on campus. With individual study cubbies, communal tables, and team meeting rooms with whiteboards, it offers a tranquil spot to meet and study, can accommodate up to 134 students, and is open to all BU students.

School of Theology book stacks.

School of Theology Library
745 Commonwealth Ave., second floor

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Sunday

The STH Library offers carrels as well as communal tables for studying. There is also a conference room that can be booked for groups of students needing a place to gather. To book the conference room, email sgsmith@bu.edu. The library is open to all students with a valid BU ID.

Students at work in the Ziskind Lounge.

Ziskind Lounge
George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., second floor

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, noon to midnight

The Ziskind Lounge is a good place for study groups to congregate. You’ll find communal tables as well as comfortable easy chairs throughout the lounge, which is open to all students with a valid BU ID.

Window-side desks in Dean’s Study Lounge.

Dean’s Study Lounge
George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., third floor

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, noon to midnight

This study lounge is one of the best-kept secrets at BU. It’s quiet, offers seating for approximately 60, and even has a physical therapy athletic training table for Sargent College students who need to do practice exams.

Students on their laptops at Buick Street Market & Café.

Buick Street Market & Café
10 Buick St.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to midnight

Here’s a place for those who study best surrounded by food and a crowd. Choose from the market’s ample selections of sandwiches and salads. As an added incentive for those in need of fresh coffee, the Dunkin’ Donuts will have extended hours during study days and finals, closing at 11:30 p.m. The market and café are open to all students with a valid BU ID.

View of Boston from the StuVi II study lounge.

StuVi II Study Lounge
33 Harry Agganis Way, 26th floor

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours

Many consider this to be Boston University’s premier location for studying. The lounge offers sweeping views of Boston and Cambridge (a fascinating distraction when you need a break from reading) and is popular with students living on West Campus. Open to students living on campus.

A student studies for his boards in the Boston University School of Medicine Alumni Medical Library

BU Medical Center Alumni Medical Library
72 East Concord St., 11th, 12th, 13th floors

Hours: For the 11th floor: Monday to Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., Friday, 6 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.; for the 12th and 13th floors: Monday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight.

This Medical Campus library is open to all students with a valid BU ID. Spread over three floors, it offers long communal tables, group rooms for quiet study (available on a first-come, first-served basis), and computers. The 13th floor is reserved for quiet study.

Have suggestions for other study spots on campus? Add them to the Comment section below.

Connor Lenahan can be reached at lenahan@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter at @ConnorLenahan.


12 Comments on The Best Places to Study for Finals

  • Ian Quillen on 12.09.2016 at 7:55 am

    Great article, but there are a few small details that are off:

    The address for Kilachand Hall is 91 Bay State Rd., not 92. Also, even though the study lounge is open 24 hours a day, you can’t get swipe into the building past 2 a.m. if you’re not a resident.

    • Art Jahnke, BU Today on 12.09.2016 at 8:00 am

      Thank you for your note. The address has been corrected. We regret the error.

  • Sara Goodwin on 12.09.2016 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for featuring the Science & Engineering Library! Just wanted to alert potential patrons – we normally close at 7:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, but we will be staying open until 10:00 pm both this, and next, Friday and Saturday for our Extended Hours.

  • holly on 12.09.2016 at 10:02 am

    Are there any on the medical campus?

    • Andy on 12.09.2016 at 11:46 am

      Hi Holly,

      Senior med student here. There is study space at the BU Alumni Medical Library (the library on the 12th floor) and there is a quiet study space in the 11th floor. These spaces are shared with the resident physicians, fellows, dental, public health, and post-bacc students as well, so spots fill up quickly. And often times the stress is very palpable :) Take it from me–I love the med campus (72 East Concord), but the study spaces on the undergrad side are much more pleasant. Of course, you’re always welcome to join us!


  • Amy Limpitlaw on 12.09.2016 at 10:26 am

    Glad to see you included the School of Theology Library, too. One minor update — the email to reserve our conference room for group study is sgsmith@bu.edu, NOT sgmsith@bu.edu.

    Amy Limpitlaw
    Head Library
    Theology Library

  • Alex on 12.09.2016 at 3:54 pm

    Oh great! I’m so glad the best study lounges on campus are only open to those who pay the extortionist fees to BU to live on campus. The rest of us that cannot afford BU housing are forced to study in the places that were last renovated in the 1980s! This rule needs to change. I give $49k a year to the school, but I can’t get inside StuVi??

    • Student on 12.11.2016 at 8:43 pm

      I understand your frustration completely regarding housing costs, but the article lists several places that do not require swiping in. Also, you can be swiped into StuVi by someone who lives there. If you’re focusing on studying why does it really matter if you are in the fanciest building or not? There are so many places to study on campus, truly.

      • Hanna on 05.05.2017 at 7:49 am

        It matters, because in Mugar for instance, it is so freaking cold, that it’s really impossible to focus on studying!

  • Reggie Jean on 05.04.2017 at 11:30 pm

    Great to see SED’s Pickering Library represented. It’s certainly a hidden jewel and the staff is great.

  • Rachel on 05.06.2017 at 8:52 am

    BU Today left out the African American Studies Program Building (138 Mountfort Street–South Campus). Open for individual and group study Mon-Fri 9 AM-5 PM. If any accomodations are needed email afam@bu.edu. It’s a very chill spot, and the faculty and staff usually bring studying students snacks!

  • Marcie Babyatsky on 05.06.2017 at 1:21 pm

    Best place to study was originally named SHELTON HALL. . 91 Bay State Road. Spent my junior and senior year there. Spectacular panoramaic view of Boston and the Charles River. This residence hall has a lot of history and.charm. Hope it is preserved for future students.

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