Dedicated exclusively to preparing students for the professions of architecture, art, and engineering, The Cooper Union has an enrollment of approximately 1,000 undergraduate students and was the first college to forbid discrimination.
In that vein, Cooper Union continues to celebrate diversity, with 43% minorities enrolled. This includes 7% African American or Caribbean heritage, 10% Hispanic/Latino heritage, 25% Asian/Filipino/Pacific Island heritage, and 1% American Indian heritage. In addition, approximately 12% of our students are international.
Each year approximately 225 innovative, passionate young students enter our school with the goal of becoming deeply involved with the study of architecture, fine arts, and engineering. At Cooper Union we offer all students a gift—a half-tuition scholarship valued at approximately $20,000 per year—and expect in return that they will add to the uniqueness and intellectual community of our school.
Located in the East Village in Manhattan, Cooper Union is at the center of world culture, music, art, design, and progressive thinking, not to mention food from every country imaginable. Have a craving for Ukrainian pierogies at 3:00 am? No problem. Want to take part in a poetry slam or see an off-Broadway play? Our neighbor-hood has all this to offer. Cooper Union is surrounded by several large universities, meaning that tens of thousands of students live, study, and work within a few blocks of campus. This adds to the vitality and vibrancy of the neighborhood.
The Cooper Union has always held a special place in the history of New York and the United States. What would become the NAACP and the American Red Cross had their first meetings at Cooper Union, and Susan B. Anthony had her offices located in our school. Before they were elected, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and most recently Barack Obama spoke in our celebrated auditorium, the Great Hall. Lincoln gave his “Right Makes Might” speech from the Great Hall podium, assuring him the presidential nomination. Sitting US Presidents Wilson, Clinton, and Obama have also spoken here. We continue to sponsor lectures that encourage open dialogue on current political, economic, and social issues, such as human and civil rights, freedom of speech and press, alternative sources of energy, and other issues of emerging importance.
Peter Cooper purposely created an institution that, to this day, admits students based solely on merit. He literally opened the doors of the school to the downtown neighborhoods, welcoming immigrants who had demonstrated academic excellence but lacked the financial means to earn a higher education.
Who we are looking for
The Office of Admissions encourages students who are serious about learning to apply. Most admitted Engineering students earn A’s in high school, excelling in math, physics, and chemistry course work. Art applicants are admitted based upon their talent ascertained through portfolio review and the home test, a take-home visual and written test. Architecture applicants are admitted based upon their work submitted in response to a take-home studio test. We seek exceptional, well-rounded applicants who have excellent writing and communication skills and a desire to use their professional education to better the world. More detailed information can be found at cooper.edu/admissions.
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are the academic core that unifies the three schools into a tightly integrated whole, providing an education that is rooted in the ethical and humanistic framework of the liberal arts. An education in the liberal arts offers students the opportunity to become sensitive to the social and humanistic implications of their professional work and acquire the basis for a satisfying cultural and intellectual life.
The best of both worlds
What we offer is a world-renowned scholarship education in an intimate setting within a city of eight million people. You can feel at home at Cooper Union, where faculty and students really get to know each other. Want a break from your “new family”? Just walk outside our academic buildings—spend an hour or two at a jazz club, or discuss politics with a local at a coffeehouse.
To support the rigorous academic experiences and daily lives of our student body, the Office of Student Affairs oversees the following:
• First-year residence hall
• Intercollegiate athletics
• Career placement and graduate school advisement
• Student clubs, activities, and government
• First-year student orientation
• Mental health counseling
How much does it cost to attend Cooper Union?
Our Financial Aid staff administers additional funds for students eligible for aid. While all students are provided with a half-tuition scholarship, many need additional help to cover remaining tuition, books, supplies, housing, transportation, and personal expenses. Over 90% of our incoming students receive additional grants above the half-tuition scholarship, either through need-based or merit aid. Our students may also receive additional help through grants, loans, and work-study. For students receiving no additional aid other than the half-tuition scholarship, expect to pay about $20,000 for tuition and another $20,000 for expenses related to housing, food, books, supplies, etc. In order to apply for additional aid, all students must submit the FAFSA form. Please visit cooper.edu/admissions/financial-aid for more information.
Connecting with Cooper
The Cooper Union uses the Common Application for undergraduate admission. For information regarding the application, events, and more, follow @Cooper_Admiss on Twitter and Instagram. A full list of ways to contact us, including a link to join our mailing list, can be found at cooper.edu/admissions/contact.
Cooper Union Schools
Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
The School of Architecture’s location in New York City, its emphasis on the relationship between hand and mind—between analytical thought and the process of making and understanding space and structures—and its professional expertise offer a compelling environment for academic programs addressing architecture and urbanism.
• Alumni: Daniel Libeskind; Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (re-imagining the Lincoln Center expansion); Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban
• Degrees awarded: Five-year Bachelor of Architecture; three-semester post-professional Master of Architecture II
School of Art
The School of Art embraces an interdisciplinary, generalist curriculum that encompasses all of the fundamental disciplines and resources of the visual arts. The BFA program provides both a general visual arts education and a focused preparation for future artists and designers. It develops students’ creative potential; encourages them to be versatile, resourceful, and reflective; and equips them to deal successfully with the practical problems and issues of today and those of the future.
• Alumni: Milton Glaser (designer, “I ♥ NY” logo); Alex Katz (figurative artist)
• Degree awarded: Four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts
Albert Nerken School of Engineering
With an average enrollment of about 550 students, engineering is the largest of Cooper Union’s schools. It maintains small class and laboratory enrollment to ensure personal attention. Perennially top-ranked in undergraduate engineering, the School of Engineering ranked third among all undergraduate engineering programs this year. In the subdiscipline rankings, Chemical, Computer, and Electrical Engineering were ranked second; Civil Engineering was third; and Mechanical Engineering was fifth.
Approximately 30%–40% of the senior class enters graduate school with fellowships, while the remainder accepts employment offers. Cooper Union’s placement rate for graduating engineers is usually 96% at graduation, with full placement achieved by September of that year.
• Alumni: Russell Hulse (Nobel Prize in Physics, discovered the binary pulsar); Kevin Burke (former CEO and Chairman of Con Ed)
• Degrees awarded: Four-year Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical, Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering; four-year Bachelor of Science in General Engineering; two-year Master of Engineering