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Study Carrels

A research study 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 out library books to it and store them there for an extended period, unless they are recalled for Course Reserve.

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. Senior honors thesis undergraduates must supply additional documentation in the form of a letter from their advisor or proof of registration in a relevant seminar. 

Study Carrel Applications for the academic year will begin to be accepted October 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 carrel desks for graduate students in related subject areas. If you are interested in a carrel in the Music Library, please indicate that preference in the comments area of the application.

Art Research Center

The Art Library provides shelves to graduate students in Art History and Art Theory & Practice in the Art Research Center. This shared study space is on the third floor of Deering Library adjacent to the Art Library. If you are interested in a shelf in the Art Research Center, please contact the Art Library to have your request reviewed at

Closed-room shared PhD carrels

PhD Candidate carrels are shared, with two people assigned to each carrel room. The demand for PhD closed room study carrels far exceeds supply, but you can apply 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 can request to be placed on the waiting list.

Single closed-room carrels

Faculty carrels are single occupancy. The demand for Faculty single closed Study Carrel rooms exceeds supply, but you can apply to our waiting list by submitting a Study Carrel Application.

Carrel policies

Storage of Library materials

Regulations for the use of study carrels