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The Best Places to Study for Finals

A guide to BU’s best-known study haunts and best-kept secrets


Another semester has flown by. Study period begins Thursday, December 13, and everyone is gearing up to cram for finals week, which starts Monday, December 17, and concludes Friday, December 21. Students are pouring into Mugar Memorial Library, the GSU Food Court, and nearby coffee shops to finish papers and projects. But finding a seat in those places is often difficult. With that in mind, BU Today asked students their favorite places to study, and we’ve put together a list of the most popular, including some new additions on the Fenway Campus. Hours, as noted, are for Thursday, December 13, through the end of finals December 21.

Charles River Campus:

A student studies among the bookcases in Mugar Library

Photo by Dana J. Quigley

Mugar Memorial Library
771 Commonwealth Ave.

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours

If there’s a Ground Zero during finals week at BU, this is it. As the main library on campus, Mugar is the most popular place to study. It has seven floors and will be open 24 hours a day during finals week. It also houses the largest computer lounge on the Charles River Campus. The ground floor bustles with activity, so to find a quiet spot, head to one of the upper floors.

Starting Thursday, December 13, and running through Thursday, December 20, the University will provide free late night van service from midnight until 6 am. Vans will leave from in front of the library and take students to any destination on the Charles River, Fenway, or Medical campuses. For more information, call the Mugar security department at 617-353-4015.

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 am.

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 am to 9 pm; Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday; Sunday, noon to 8 pm

The Educational Resource Center (ERC) has 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
Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, 2 Silber Way

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 am to 10 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; closed Sunday

One of the smaller libraries on campus, the Pickering Library, in the basement of 2 Silber Way, 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 Saturday, 8 am to midnight; Sunday, noon to midnight; Friday December 21, 8 am to 7:30 pm

This library is convenient for anyone living on or near East Campus seeking a short commute. It has 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 has 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, 8 am to 11 pm

One of the newest study space on campus, the Think Tank features individual study cubbies, communal tables, and team meeting rooms with whiteboards, providing a tranquil spot to meet and study. The space 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: Thursday, December 13, 7:30 am to 11 pm; Friday, December 14, 7:30 am to 8 pm; Saturday, December 15, 10 am to 9 pm; Sunday, December 16, 1 pm to 7 pm; Monday, December 17, and Tuesday, December 18, 7:30 am to 11 pm; Wednesday, December 19, and Thursday, December 20, 7:30 am to 9 pm; Friday, December 21, 7:30 am to 5 pm.

The STH Library has 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 am to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am 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 am to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to midnight.

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

The African American Studies Student Lounge offers free coffee and snacks.

African American Studies Program Building
138 Mountfort St., South Campus

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

The small student lounge in the African American Studies Program building, which has both tables and desks, is an ideal location for those looking to hit the books during finals. There’s also a classroom and seminar room available to students. And as an added draw, the department offers free coffee and snacks. The space is open to all students with a BU ID.

Students on their laptops at Buick Street Market & Café.

Buick Street Market & Café
10 Buick St.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 am to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 8 am 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 midnight. 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 studying spot. The lounge offers sweeping views of Boston and Cambridge (a fascinating distraction when you need a break from reading) and is especially popular with students who live on West Campus. Open to all students living in BU housing.

Boston University Dining Services
Marciano Commons, 100 Bay State Road; Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave.; West Campus, 275 Babcock St.

Hours: Sunday, December 16, through Thursday, December 20, normal closing hours extended from 9 pm to 2 am

In an effort to create more space for students to study, the closing hours of all of three of BU’s residential dining halls have been extended into the early hours of the morning. Although there will be no dining services during the extended hours, coffee will be provided and food will be available for purchase.

Fenway Campus:

Wolf room on Fenway campus

Photo by Cydney Scott

Campus Center Student Residences, Room 105 (Wolf Room), 150 Riverway

Hours: 8 am to 11 pm daily

The Wolf Room offers one of the largest study spaces on BU’s new Fenway Campus. During the day, the room is flooded with natural light. It can accommodate more than 100 people.

Fish Bowl room for studying

Photo by Cydney Scott

Campus Center Student Residences, Room 106 (Lincoln Room), 150 Riverway

Hours: 8 am to 11 pm daily.

This conference room may be small, but with a whiteboard and large TV monitor, it’s an excellent space for group study. It’s also known as the Fish Bowl.

In addition to the Wolf and Lincoln Rooms, the Campus Center Student Residences offers several other lounge areas adjacent to the Longfellow Coffee and the Convenience Store.

Dance room to study in

Photo by Cydney Scott

Pilgrim Student Center
37 Pilgrim Road

Hours: Open daily, 8 am to 5 pm and 7 pm to midnight

The Pilgrim Student Center offers various seating configurations. If you’re looking for an enclosed space, head to Room 103, which doubles as a dance studio, with a giant mirror and piano. But during finals, it has tables and chairs that can accommodate up to 50 people and a projector for those engaged in group projects.

Medical 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 am to 11:45 pm; Friday, 6 am to 9:45 pm; Saturday, 8 am to 9:45 pm; and Sunday, 8 am to 11:45 pm; for the 12th floor: Monday to Thursday, 7:30 am to midnight; Friday, 7:30 am to 10 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 10 pm; Sunday, 10 am to midnight. Note: the 13th floor is closed through December and will reopen in January.

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

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


10 Comments on The Best Places to Study for Finals

  • 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!

  • Terrier'20 on 05.08.2018 at 6:41 pm

    as a current student in the midst of finals, can verify that Kilachand (Shelton’s new name) and its 9th flr study lounge is awesome at night!

  • Natalie McKnight on 12.11.2018 at 7:48 am

    Thank you for this article! If you re-run it around spring finals, you might consider covering some of the nice lounge areas we have at CGS: The Katzenberg Center (3rd floor), the Gilbane Lounge (1st floor), and the lobby lounge (ground floor).

    Thanks, Natalie McKnight, Dean, CGS

  • Leslie Gascon on 12.11.2018 at 9:33 am

    The Medical Campus Study Space Finder is also helpful for finding available rooms throughout the Med Campus: http://www.bu.edu/medstudy

  • Andrew Chiao on 12.11.2018 at 2:28 pm

    It’s really exciting the dining halls will be open as study spaces this year. Should have mentioned the work Student Government put in to advocate for this change in cooperation with Dining and Facilities.

  • Nick Rodriguez on 12.12.2018 at 3:42 pm

    What about Marsh Chapel’s rooms?

  • Joe on 12.13.2018 at 1:53 pm

    CAS Think Tank
    “The space can accommodate up to 134 students, and is open to all BU students.”
    Well this is a plain lie, unless you count studying on the floor and the ceiling (if you get taped up there). There are DEFINITELY less than 100 seats in that study area and the majority of the seating doesn’t have a table to study on, making it extremely difficult to do any work.
    In addition (while I’m here), for everyone to know, BU is unfair/cheap (even though we pay more in tuition than Harvard, MIT, and most universities in Boston/the nation), the fact that students living off campus (because of the ridiculous high prices they would have had to pay for their (on majority) small “rooms”) HAVE NO access to a FIFTH of the study areas EVEN THOUGH WE PAY THE SAME TUITION!!! To make matters worse, that 1/5 has arguably the best study areas on campus. Will this change? Doubtful since President Brown keeps raising his paycheck with the cost of tuition.

  • Justin on 01.10.2019 at 3:57 pm

    I am a PhD student working on the 9th floor of the Kilachand Center. That area is supposed to be reserved for those working in research labs in the building. It is off limits for students unaffiliated with a Kilachand Center lab.

    • Kirby Page on 01.30.2019 at 2:26 pm

      You have the wrong Kilachand, this refers to Kilachand Hall.

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