Frequently Asked Questions

Please keep in mind that these statistics may change at any time. The numbers stated here reflect those of Fall 2013.

For the convenience of our visitors, we've gathered the most frequently asked questions about the admissions process at Cooper Union. If your question is not addressed below, feel free to e-mail your question to

General Information

Applying to Cooper Union

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 How many students attend The Cooper Union?

Approximately 900-950, which includes about 150 in The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, 270 in The School of Art, and 450 in The Albert Nerken School of Engineering. We also have about 40 students in our graduate engineering program and 10 in our graduate architecture program.

 What is the size of a freshman class?

About 30 in Architecture, 65 in Art and 125-145 in Engineering.

 How many students apply and how many of those are accepted?

Usually we have about 3,200 applicants (675 for Architecture; 1,300-1,400 for Art; and 1,250 for Engineering). We admit about 300-325 students (30-25 in Architecture, 70-80 in Art and 200-225 in Engineering).

 When are applications due?

The deadlines for submitting Part I of your application are as follows:

Early Decision 
· School of Art: December 1, 2015
· School of Engineering: December 1, 2015
Regular Decision
· School of Architecture: January 11, 2016 
· School of Art: January 11, 2016 
· School of Engineering: January 11, 2016 

 What does "Early Decision" really mean?

Early Decision is available to Art and Engineering applicants. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture does not offer Early Decision at this time. Applicants whose first choice is The Cooper Union might consider applying Early Decision. Early Decision applications are reviewed earlier than Regular Decision applications. If offered Early Decision admission, you must agree to enroll at The Cooper Union and withdraw your applications to all other colleges. The deadline to apply Early Decision for Fall 2016 is December 1, 2015. If you are not accepted under the Early Decision process, you may be reconsidered during the Regular Decision process. Although most applicants are "rolled-over" into the regular decision pool, re-evaluation is not guaranteed.

Transfer applicants to the School of Art may apply early decision. On the Common Application, transfer applicants will need to first select 'Regular Decision' for their Decision Plan. After making this selection and indicating they are applying to the School of Art, applicants will see a question that asks if they are interested in applying Early Decision to the School of Art as a transfer student. To apply Early Decision to the School of Art, transfer applicants will select 'Yes' and follow the subsequent prompts. Please contact the Office of Admissions at or 212-353-4120 with any questions or concerns.

 What are the application requirements for international students?

· TOEFL (if you have less than three years of study in English).  We do not accept the IELTS. 
· SAT I/ACT score(s)
· SAT II in Math AND Chemistry or Physics (Engineering only)
· Official High school transcripts
· Official College Transcripts (if you have taken any college level courses)
Any international student accepted to Cooper Union will receive the same half-tuition scholarship (valued at approximately $10,000/per semester) that US citizens and Permanent Residents receive. However, international students are ineligible to receive state or federal aid. To learn more about International Applicants, click here.

What tests and documents do I need to apply to The Cooper Union?

Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Applicants:

· Common Application
· $75 nonrefundable application fee
· Official high school transcript(s)
· SAT I/ACT score (s)
· Completed studio test
· Recommendation letter strongly encouraged

School of Art Applicants:

· Common Application
· $75 nonrefundable application fee
· Official high school transcript(s)
· SAT I/ACT score (s)
· Portfolio of work
· Completed home test
· Recommendation letters

Albert Nerken School of Engineering Applicants:

· Common Application (Engineering applicants must select a major when applying)
· $75 nonrefundable application fee
· Official high school transcript(s)
· SAT I/ACT score (s)
· SAT II in Mathematics (Level 1 or 2) AND Physics or Chemistry
· Completed Part II Questionnaire
· 2-3 Recommendation Letters

Under certain circumstances, we will waive the SAT/ACT requirement. Generally, only transfer students and/or non-traditional students' requests to waive the standardized testing requirement are considered. You must be able to prove you have had at least one year of college-level math and college-level English to apply for the waiver. The Admissions staff will then consider your request and notify you if you can waive the SAT/ACT requirement. Please email for more information.  

 Are all students required to submit SAT II Subject scores?

All Engineering applicants must submit two SAT II subject test scores. One must be in Math (Level 1 or 2) and the other must be in either Physics or Chemistry. Architecture and Art applicants are not required to submit SAT II scores.

 Does Cooper accept the GED?

The Cooper Union will accept the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) in lieu of the high school diploma.

 What is the School of Art home test?

The School of Art home test consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 3-4 weeks and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The home test contains its own instructions to be followed explicitly, including portfolio submission. The home test is sent to all School of Art applicants via email on the same day after the online application deadline (mid/late December for Early Decision; late January for Regular Decision). There is a different home test for Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants. All home test and portfolio materials must be submitted in the same box (exact box size will be indicated on the home test).

 What is the School of Architecture studio test?

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture studio test consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 3-4 weeks and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The studio test contains its own instructions to be followed explicitly. The studio test is sent to all School of Architecture applicants via email on the same day in late January after the online application deadline. All studio test materials must be submitted in the same envelope (exact envelope size will be indicated on the studio test).

 What is the School of Engineering Part II Questionnaire?

The Albert Nerken School of Engineering Part II Questionnaire consists of a number of short answer questions to be completed within one week after the application deadline (December 7, 2015 for Early Decision applicants; January 19, 2016 for Regular Decision applicants) and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The Part II Writing Supplement can be accessed through your Common Application account. You may submit your application first and then submit your Part II Writing Supplement at a later date (please see deadlines above). Completed Part II Questionnaires should be submitted directly through the Common Application. The Part II allows the admissions committee to get to know Engineering applicants beyond their test scores and transcripts.

 What is a portfolio? Do I need one?

First Year and Transfer School of Art applicants and School of Architecture transfer applicants must submit a portfolio of work for review with their home test or studio test, respectively. A portfolio is a collection of a cross-section of your best recent work. It should include enough pieces (generally ten to twenty pieces) to demonstrate your degree of interest. Art applicants are encouraged to include sketchbooks. All pieces should fit into an envelope of which the requirements will be outlined in the home test or studio test. Art applicants are encouraged to attend one of four portfolio review days in the fall at The Cooper Union or one of the National Portfolio Days which we attend. 

Does The Cooper Union accept Transfer students? What do they need to apply?

The Cooper Union admits a limited number of transfer students. Transfer applicants in Architecture and Art are required to submit the following: official high school and college transcripts, a portfolio, and a completed studio test or home test, respectively. Transfer Engineering applicants must submit high school and college transcripts and respond to a list of essay questions (Part II Questionnaire). Please click here for more information on the definition of a transfer student.

 How are transfer credits reviewed?

Transfer credits are reviewed on an individual basis only upon admission to The Cooper Union. Courses taken at the college level are evaluated by the department at Cooper Union for which you seek transfer credit. For example, if you seek transfer credit for a math course, the Math Department at Cooper Union will evaluate your transcript and decide if credit will be granted. We recommend holding onto all syllabi, reading lists, and work from the courses you wish to receive transfer credit.

Can I apply to more than one school at The Cooper Union?

Yes! Students are able to apply to more than one school at Cooper Union. First, you must submit your Common Application where you will select one academic program to apply to. After submitting your Common Application, you are permitted to apply to another school using the Additional Application(s) Form. Please note that you may only apply to one Engineering major within the School of Engineering. For each additional application, you are required to submit the $75 nonrefundable application fee. If you already submitted an application fee waiver with your Common Application, you do not need to submit another fee waiver.

 When can I visit The Cooper Union?

The Cooper Union welcomes visitors to campus throughout the year. To view and register for upcoming tours or events, please click here.

 What classes should I be taking in high school to better prepare myself for The Cooper Union?

All applicants should take a well-rounded high school program, preferably in advanced coursework (e.g. AP, IB, Honors Level, etc). Engineering students should also be well prepared in calculus, chemistry and physics. Art and architecture applicants should take visual art classes (drawing, painting, design, sculpture, etc). Architecture applicants should have at taken pre-calculus prior to entering Cooper Union. In addition, all students should take courses that provide a solid grounding in the liberal arts, which is a basis for your humanities and social science study at Cooper Union.

 Which Advanced Placement (AP) examinations can I receive credit for?

Please refer to our catalog for a detailed description of credit granted.

 How much does it really cost to attend The Cooper Union?

Tuition for the 2015–2016 academic year is $40,800 ($20,400 per semester).

All incoming students receive a half-tuition scholarship. The value of this scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year is $20,400 per year ($10,200 per semester). Additional financial aid will be provided to eligible students to help cover tuition, housing, food, books, supplies, etc. The amount of additional aid will be based upon a student’s demonstrated financial need. Students must file a FAFSA form to be considered for additional financial aid. Please note that Cooper Union will also offer merit scholarships to exceptional students. Cooper Union will continue to use a need-blind admissions process meaning that a student's ability to pay will not impact our admissions decisions. For more information regarding Financial Aid at The Cooper Union, please click here.

Cooper Union students are responsible for living and miscellaneous expenses. Please click here to access our Budget Guide, which provides a more detailed description and estimate of these additional expenses.

 What clubs and activities are offered at The Cooper Union?

The Cooper Union offers a variety of clubs and organizations to its students including: Literary and Performance Groups; Greek Organizations; Professional and Honor Societies; Recreational Sports; Religious Clubs; and Ethnic Organizations. In addition, The Cooper Union Athletic Program offers Varsity sports in Women’s and Men’s Basketball; Women’s and Men’s Volleyball; Women’s and Men’s Tennis; Soccer; and Cross Country. Please visit our Student Services Web site for more information.

Internships and Career Development

The Center for Career Development offers effective programs and resources to an array of populations associated with The Cooper Union community, including students, employers, alumni, faculty and staff. The Center encourages creative partnerships and practical resource sharing within the Institution and with complementary external organizations.

To learn more about the Career Center, including staff and location details as well as how we assist students seeking jobs, internship opportunities and graduate school please click here.

 Further requests for information

If you have specific questions, you can e-mail us at or call our office between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time at 212-353-4120. 

Prospective students who wish to join the Office of Admission's mailing list may click here to submit our online inquiry card.

The Office of Admissions is located at 30 Cooper Square, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10003.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.