The Ultimate Guide to UPC Study Spots

By Jonah Vroegop

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It’s that time of the semester again! We are approaching finals week, and everyone is beginning to scramble to find a place where they can study and concentrate amidst all of the end of year chaos. As my final semester at USC is coming to a close, it seems only right that I pass on my accumulated knowledge of the best places on the USC main campus to work and study.

Doheny Bookstacks

The “bookstacks”, as they’re rightfully called, are where most of the books are located within Doheny Library. There are 3-4 underground levels of books on shelves, row after row. The ceiling is low, the smell of old books hangs in the air, and the silence is dominant. Scattered within these rows of books are small cubicles with a single chair and electrical outlet, as well as some tables where 2-3 people can work together quietly. For anyone like me who has trouble focusing in a noisy or stimulating environment, the bookstacks offer a quiet, air conditioned place to really get work done. You can enter the bookstacks from the Doheny Library front desk, just up the stairs from the main entrance.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Asa V Call Law Library

The law library is another great place for people who have trouble focusing to catch up on work or who want to get ahead on upcoming assignments. It offers a mixture of seating – some squishy booths for larger groups of 4-6, some wooden tables for singles or groups, and even some standing workspaces with high tables. There are 3 floors of silent workspaces with outlets and overall, the law library is one of the most newly renovated study spaces on campus. There is even a cafe in the basement that sells food and drinks (boba!!). There are very few people in the law library and it is close to great food and coffee options on Figueroa/Exposition for your study fuel. Disclaimer: the law library is open to law students only for a few select weeks of the semester during law exams.

Watt and Harris Hall Courtyards

At the architecture school, there are two main buildings – Watt Hall and Harris Hall. Each of these buildings has a large outdoor courtyard where students can sit and work, have a meal, or just relax and enjoy the day. On sunny days when I don’t want to be cooped up in the library or if I bring food and drinks with me to study, these courtyard spaces are my preferred place to be. There are tables outdoors as well as lots of grass and landscaped spaces to work behind the school (toward Exposition). The architecture library is also a great place to study (Watt hall basement). It has a design-forward atmosphere that is pleasant to work in, but it is currently under renovation.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Old Annenberg

Around the outside of the older Annenberg building, there are lots of individual and group study spaces to enjoy. Their are tables situated on on balconies and lining the walkways, and many of these tables have umbrellas to block the sun on bright days as well. With close proximity to the center of campus, these are usually very convenient places to stop and take care of a quick email or get some work done between classes. These spots are also not very well known and oftentimes entirely empty. There is also a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the cinema school nearby to this area for your snack and drink convenience.

New Annenberg/Digital Fabrication Lounge

All throughout the new Anneberg building (adjacent to SGM and diagonal across from the track) there are tables of all styles for working. Possibly the best thing about “new” Annenberg is Cafe Illy, which serves the best coffee on campus in my opinion. In addition to the coffee, the cafe and its patrons provide a constant low rumble of activity to the ambience. If low conversation or the constant news stream projected on the giant floor-to-ceiling screen are too distracting for you, the third floor is the place to go! There you’ll find the Annenberg Digital Fabrication Lounge – a silent communal space with lots of study space for any preferred type of studier. One unique thing about the ADFL are the private window seats. There are 4-5 seats equipped with a privacy shade, which allow the occupant to peer down on the people below as they strut between McClintock and Trousdale, past the track and PE building.

In addition to the many libraries on the University Park Campus and the reservable study rooms, these are my favorite places to study on campus. I encourage you to get a drink, bring your work, and go check them out next time you need to get some work done! More locations that you may find me but which didn’t make this list include the Hoose philosophy library, the TCC lobby (inside), Fertitta Hall first floor, Doheny main study room and upstairs study rooms, the Library for International and Public Affairs, and Cafe 84. I found these spaces and many more through exploration of the campus and pure curiosity and I’d encourage anyone who loves the novelty of new environments to do the same. You can even form your version of this list!

Featured Image by Praveen Gupta on Unsplash

Jonah is a senior studying Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. He grew up in Burlington, Vermont and has visited almost every state in the US. He speaks English and Spanish fluently as well as moderate Dutch and a few other languages. Jonah recently studied abroad in the Netherlands and has visited most of Europe and North America. As someone who is not from Southern California, he also loves exploring LA and experiencing the many cultures of the city. On campus, Jonah does genetics research and works at the School of Architecture in addition to participating in many student organizations. In his free time, Jonah enjoys listening to music, watching movies, trying new restaurants, skateboarding, or hanging out with friends.