Study Guide

Looking for places on campus to work without distraction? Here’s a crib sheet.

Author: Veronica Navarro

Notre Dame is full of nooks and crannies perfect for sneaking away to read a book, write a paper or study for an exam. After two years here, I’ve compiled a list of the greatest (and some of my most secret) study spots around campus. Each spot is tried and true, meaning I’ve done some of my best work while hidden away in these locations. 

Without further ado, here are the nine best study spots at Notre Dame:


Anthro Lounge
Corbett Hall lounge. Photography by Veronica Navarro

9. Second floor of Corbett Family Hall: Anthropology floor lounge

Perfectly located in the center of the department, this lounge is one of the most underused study spots on this list. With windows facing the Joyce Center and minimal foot traffic, you won’t encounter many distractions. Furthermore, this location isn’t near any of the floor’s entrances or exits, so it never gets too noisy. The lounge also offers a printer, a water cooler and many seating choices beyond the typical desk and chairs that you can find in a classroom or the library.


McCourtney Hall

8. McCourtney Hall

Enter McCourtney via the south entrance closest to Library Circle. Go straight, to the right of the elevator. Walk over to the bar stools. Have a seat and start working. No one will bother you, I promise. In addition to the beautiful interior, this location is the perfect environment for working because of how infrequently students visit. If you live on South Quad, consider riding a bike over or taking an electric scooter — unless you’re down for a 20-minute walk.


McKenna Hall

7. McKenna Hall

One thing I’ve noticed about McKenna is that students don’t tend to visit unless they need to, so there will always be somewhere to sit and crack open a book. On a trek to the financial aid office one day, I had the opportunity to enter the newest building on campus and I was amazed at how beautiful it is. Since then, I’ve visited a few times to study for an exam and write a paper.


Debartolo Lounge
DeBartolo lounge

6. DeBartolo Hall lounge

The DeBartolo Hall lounge isn’t necessarily a secret, but it certainly isn’t the most popular study spot. The lounge is connected to the DeBartolo computer lab, so don’t fret if you need to use a computer or print something. Sitting in the lounge is similar to sitting in a café due to the dim lighting and large windows — which are perfect for people-watching during study breaks.


Smc Library
Cushwa Leighton Library

5. Cushwa Leighton Library at Saint Mary’s College

While this spot isn’t technically on campus, it’s too good not to be featured. This library is much quieter than Hesburgh and offers a cozier atmosphere. If you plan on staying into the early hours of the morning, there are also designated 24-hour spaces in the basement (available to female students only) where you can study as long as your heart desires.


Duncan’s distraction-free perch

4. Seventh or eighth floor of Duncan Student Center

If you can manage to get in, be sure to find time to study on one of the top two floors of Duncan before you graduate. Occasionally, these floors are locked due to events or other circumstances, but sometimes they’re free-rein for student use. Similar to the anthropology department, this location is usually distraction-free. I recommend choosing a seat facing the stadium for a perfect view of the field and Touchdown Jesus.


Johnson Family Hall
Johnson Family Hall

3. Johnson Family Hall reading room

To quote my friend Sydney, the Johnson Family Hall reading room looks like “somewhere Voldemort would study.” With walls painted dark gray and tall wingback chairs, this room is guaranteed to make you feel like a student at Hogwarts. Because this room is located inside of a dorm, you’ll have to be accompanied by a friend who lives in the hall — unless you can pass for a resident.


Studying By The Lake
A study “lounge” with especially good light

2. On the ground in front of Moreau Seminary

Hear me out. It might be a long walk, but it’s worth it. Pack a backpack with a picnic blanket and a bottle of water, and start walking to the other side of St. Joseph’s Lake. Make sure rain isn’t on the radar before you get too far. Once you spot Moreau Seminary, lay your blanket down, and start working, facing the lake. Not only is the view beautiful, but you also won’t be bothered by anyone — besides maybe a goose or two.


Top Secret

1. The all-time best top-secret study location on campus . . .  

Did you really think I was going to give away my best spot?

Veronica Navarro, a rising senior and South Bend native, is this magazine’s summer intern.