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Northwestern University

Study Carrels

A carrel is a desk in the library that may be assigned to graduate students, faculty, or undergraduates working on a senior honors thesis. If you have a carrel assignment, you can check books out to it and store books there for an extended period, unless they are requested by another patron.

Carrel types

The library has several different types of carrels available to qualifying members of the Northwestern Community.

Open carrels

The library has numerous open carrels throughout the University Library towers.  Current Northwestern graduate students and undergraduates working on a senior honors thesis qualify for an open carrel. Honors undergraduates must supply additional documentation in the form of a letter from their advisor or proof of registration. 

Open carrel assignments are made between September 1 through June 15 of the academic year. Study Carrel Applications for the academic year will be accepted September 1. Assignments will be made on a first come, first served basis as applications are received. Processing time will vary during periods of high demand.

Music Library

The Music Library has a small number of desks for graduate students in related subject areas. If you are interested in a desk in the Music Library, please indicate that this would be your first choice in the comments area of the application.

Art shelves

The Art Library maintains shelves in the Art Research Center on the third floor of Deering Library as shared space for graduate students in Art History and Art Theory and Practice. If you are interested in a shelf in the Research Center, please indicate that this would be your first choice in the comments area of the application.

Closed-room shared PhD carrels

PhD candidate carrels are shared, with two people assigned to each carrel. The demand for PhD closed room study carrels far exceeds supply, but you can apply to for our waiting list by submitting a Study Carrel Application. The average wait for a closed-room study carrel is eight months, but actual time may vary. Graduate students must already be admitted to candidacy before they may be placed on the waiting list.

Single closed-room carrels

Faculty carrels are single occupancy. To apply, please submit the online Study Carrel Application.

Carrel policies

Storage of Library materials

Regulations for the use of study carrels

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