Best study spots on CWRU’s campus


Courtesy of Steven Litt/The Plain Dealer

PBL offers comfortable study spots for students with a variety of different learning styles.

Shivangi Nanda and Noah Henriques

As we enter the second half of the spring semester, many of us are beginning to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of schoolwork being assigned to us. Even as the weather improves, our motivation for keeping up with our classes is quickly diminishing. But sometimes, it helps to change our old habits—as well as study spaces—and seek out new environments. From the peace and quiet of the Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) stacks to the comfortable din of Tinkham Veale University Center, Case Western Reserve University’s campus has plenty of great study spots—you just have to know where they are. So, to help in your journey to getting an A on that seemingly unfinishable essay or studying for the midterm that involves way too many flashcards, we have compiled a list of the best places for you to get in the zone.


Kelvin Smith Library 

The main library on campus, KSL, contains various study spaces that can cater to every student’s optimal learning environment. On the second and third floors, you can find a quiet space to sit down and focus without having to worry about distractions; the first floor and Cramelot Café encourage light discussion and collaboration. For group work, students can use the tables on each floor or reserve a collaboration room. And those looking for a little more privacy may use the personal cubicles on the main floor, which provide a quiet and confined space to do work. 

Allen Memorial Medical Library

Known to students as the location of many undergraduate courses in the sciences and engineering disciplines, the Allen Memorial Medical Library houses Ford Auditorium, the Dittrick Medical History Center, nine floors of books and numerous study spots in the upstairs library. The natural light provided by the large windows facing Euclid Ave., the spacious desks and the large chandeliers provide the library with a cozy yet studious ambiance that is perfect for studying. While you’re there, you can also feel free to check out some books on a variety of topics such as debates in bioethics and the history of plastic surgery. 

Leutner and Fribley Commons

While the high foot-traffic may make these spots seem distracting, both Leutner and Fribley have potential to be great study spaces—provided you have headphones. In Leutner, the room surrounded by windows is frequently empty and the seating that faces the wall provides ample space for laying out study materials. And in Fribley, the renovated seating upstairs is close enough to the main dining area that you can fill up on snacks, but is a far enough distance from the noise that you can get some peace and quiet when you start working. Some rooms even have whiteboards, which is an added bonus.

The Coffee House at University Circle

Coffee shops are a classic study space, and The Coffee House at University Circle on Northside is no exception. Offering a spread of delicious dessert and drink options, The Coffee House is a wonderful place to have a light, tasty snack and also be a space to focus and get work done. Unlike conventional coffee shops, The Coffee House offers designated study spaces on the second floor, in addition to seating on the main floor and outside. These outside seats become even more appealing as the weather warms up, so make sure to think about snagging a spot, sipping a coffee and snacking on a pastry as you study. 

Peter B. Lewis Building (PBL) 

In addition to being the hub for CWRU business students, PBL is a well-frequented study area. However, many people don’t venture further than the lounge area at the entrance. While this area is a nice place to study—due to the lighting provided by the large windows and coffee shop located right next to it—it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to PBL’s potential as a study space. Specifically, located above the main floor is PBL’s student center. Rarely populated, the first floor of the area has comfy chairs, a TV and a central coffee table. Go up the stairs and you can find a quieter area, with cloistered desks and a secluded study space. This isn’t even mentioning the basement level and other places in PBL, where there’s always a chair, a table and quiet space waiting for you.

Thwing Center

A more casual study space, Thwing caters to students who enjoy a more lively work environment. Students are free to take advantage of the tables and couches in the atrium, including the slightly more isolated seating on the side that faces KSL, which serves as a great place to focus. Additionally, private seating on the second and third floors are ideal places for collaboration or studying alone. In between long study sessions, students can even grab food from The Jolly Scholar or try their hand at some board games, provided at the front desk.

Nord Hall and the Sears Library Building

Home to the Einstein Bros. Bagels and many STEM classes, Nord holds various classrooms and open spaces that may be used to study. In the atrium, scattered tables make it great for group study sessions, while sitting on the upper levels or in classrooms are ideal for students wanting privacy. Similarly, the main lobby in Sears, located near Grab-It, is a comfortable spot to collaborate, and the second floor has even more couches and tables to get work done. Overall, both these spaces are especially great for if you have time between classes and would like to stay on the Case Quad. 

Tinkham Veale University Center 

Almost always a crowded center on campus, Tink features a variety of unique study spots. Large tables on the first floor are perfect for collaboration and the seating near the food booths is both great to study and to grab a bite. On the second floor, there are more secluded areas closer to the rear entrance of Tink, and on the opposite side, private armchairs that face the circle in front of KSL. In warmer weather, students often use the picnic benches facing Freiberger Field to catch up on schoolwork while also getting some much-appreciated sunlight.

Benches on the Case Quad

The benches on the quad may seem like mediocre study spaces, but they are actually great for springtime studying. They allow you to remain connected to the bustling nature of the quad, while still being distanced enough that noise is not a huge distraction. Even better, they’re probably close enough to your classes that you can just leave your lecture, sit down, take in some fresh air and then get to work.

Wade Pioneer Room 

Located in the heart of the North Residential Village, the Pioneer Room inside Wade Commons is a favorite among NRV residents. Offering a large collaboration space with a table and couch seating, the Pioneer Room is both an easy-access and comfortable space for students. In addition, its proximity to Leutner means students can easily take breaks to eat before getting back to work.


We hope this guide will provide you with the motivation to seek out new study spots on campus that might make handling the chaos of classes a little less daunting. Consider taking advantage of the spring weather by alternating between indoor and outdoor spaces. Or, simply explore all of them at once like some study-spot charcuterie board until you find the one that sticks. Whatever you decide, hopefully finding that perfect location will help you get through the last few weeks of the semester. 

Happy studying!