This article is part of The Diamondback’s 2021 Welcome Back Guide. Click here for the rest.

Let’s be honest — you’re probably more excited for the possibility of tailgates and trips to Washington, D.C., with friends than for homework and exams. But even if you’re gearing up for a fun year at the University of Maryland, studying is still important. 

Although chemistry problem sets and English essays aren’t the most exciting prospect, finding a visually pleasing, comfortable and convenient study spot on the campus can help you power through and succeed. 

Check out The Diamondback’s reviews of these campus study spots and try them out come fall to find your favorite.

– Shifra Dayak, staff writer

Architecture Building

The Architecture Building on Aug. 10, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Tucked away on the edge of campus is the beautiful Architecture Building — you might just miss its low sloping mid-century modern structure on the campus, but inside, there’s a plethora of study spaces. With plenty of tables, cozy chairs and natural lighting, you’re sure to be productive. However, if you’re not an architecture major, the building feels a bit forbidden. The open concept feel of the building can also be distracting if you’re trying to work in solitude.

– Madison Peek, general assignment editor

Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center

The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center on Aug. 9, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

From spinny chairs for solo studying to couches for working on group projects, there’s plenty of options for everyone. The huge windows and glass walls are a plus, and with plenty of natural light streaming in, you (probably) won’t fall asleep. With spacious bathrooms and multiple places to grab a quick bite, the building has everything you could need for a long day of studying. 

– Shifra Dayak, staff writer

Iribe Center

The Iribe Center. (Evan Kramer/The Diamondback)

The Iribe Center, one of campus’ newer buildings, has a sleek, clean feel that’s perfect for when you’re sick of your cramped dorm or apartment. The first and second floors offer plenty of study space and floor-to-ceiling windows. You don’t need to be a computer science major to access the building, but it’s closed on weekends and on weekdays after 8 p.m. If you’re willing to make the trek to the edge of campus, Iribe is a great place to have a productive afternoon.

– Shreya Vuttaluru, staff writer

Knight Hall

Knight Hall on Aug. 9, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

You don’t have to be a journalism major to take advantage of — in my biased opinion — one of this university’s nicest buildings. With lots of natural light, a cafe and couches that are great for getting work done and taking a nice nap in between classes, Knight Hall is a prime study spot. It’s never too crowded, either. And if you ever want to step out for a change of scenery or a breath of fresh air, there’s a courtyard with benches and tables right behind the building.

-Shifra Dayak, staff writer

McKeldin Mall

McKeldin Mall on Oct. 2, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

For fans of outdoor studying, this spot is perfect on a warm fall or spring day. Grab a picnic blanket, your laptop and some friends and stretch out on the lawn in front of McKeldin Library to get some work done. The downside is it’s very easy to get sidetracked by talking to friends or falling asleep under the sun. And unless you like getting drenched, it’s weather-dependent. Still, it’s a classic university spot, so try it out sometime. 

-Shifra Dayak, staff writer

McKeldin Library, Portico Room

McKeldin Library’s Portico Room on Aug. 10, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

The Portico Room — visible right above the Testudo statue on McKeldin Mall —  is accessible from the second floor of McKeldin Library. The room has access to an outdoor patio space covered by a roof and surrounded by big columns. It’s the perfect mix of being at the library and being outside, and the views are incomparable. But it fills up quickly and is often used for events and reservations, so you’re lucky if you can get in. If you have a free morning on a nice day, I highly recommend staking out a spot here.

-Emma Grazado, diversions, engagement editor

McKeldin Library, Research Commons Study Space

McKeldin Library’s fourth floor research commons on Aug. 10, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

For those of you who prefer studying in groups, the Research Commons Study Space in McKeldin Library is perfect. This open room on the fourth floor is a happy medium in terms of volume level. It’s filled with easily movable tables and charging stations fit for group study sessions. Pair that with clean restrooms and the Footnotes Cafe downstairs, and the Research Commons Study Space makes for the perfect study spot. Just be sure to claim your table because it gets pretty crowded on most days.

-Devon Milley, assistant engagement editor and copy chief

Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, located on the first floor of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, on Aug. 10, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

This hidden gem is the perfect spot to catch up on work. The workspaces scattered across the library are serene, the chairs are comfy and there’s always an outlet close by to charge your devices. Aside from the main reading room, which has individual study and computer stations, there is both a lounge-style and group study room, as well as a seminar room. This library, which is part of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, provides the perfect escape from working in your residence hall. And if you’re on North Campus, it’s a shorter walk than McKeldin Library!

-Abigail Russ, staff writer

Tawes Plaza Garden

Tawes Plaza on Aug. 10, 2021. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

If you’re in the mood to sit outside and do some homework, there’s no better place than in the plaza tucked between Tawes Hall, the Benjamin Building and the Art-Sociology Building. There are outdoor tables with umbrellas, benches, landscaping and even a fountain. It’s quiet enough to not be distracting but busy enough to have a nice studying ambiance — unless it’s the day the University of Maryland Farmers Market comes in, where your desire to buy the vendors’ homemade fudge will overtake your desire to study.

-Madison Peek, general assignment editor

Washington Quad

The Washington Quad. (Elliot Scarangello/The Diamondback)

Along with greenery and grills, the Washington Quad boasts one of the best outdoor study spaces on the campus. There’s tables with outlets nearby and a handful of benches. It’s the perfect place to be if you enjoy studying while getting fresh air instead of being trapped inside a windowless classroom. Be warned, though — the area has lots of socializing and spikeball when the weather is nice, so it can get a bit noisy. 

-Christine Zhu, staff writer