Academic Standards and Regulations
Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree
Academic Probation/Final Probation
Change of Grade
Change of Program
Leave of Absence
Medical Leave of Absence
Interim Year/Independent Study
Only those students who are officially registered in a course (i.e., by approval of the dean of the School of Architecture or a faculty adviser and notification of the Office of Admissions and Records) will have grades and credits entered on their records.
Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree
The bachelor of architecture degree program is a rigorous course of study that seeks to prepare students intellectually and professionally for the investigation and making of architecture. The privilege of studying at The Cooper Union, with the benefit of a 50%-tuition scholarship for all admitted students, brings with it important responsibilities. For students in the School of Architecture, these responsibilities include meeting the requirements of a demanding professional curriculum. All students who accept our offer of admission are expected to fully commit themselves to completing the degree requirements in accordance with the curriculum, which has been designed with great attention to sequence, prerequisites and the relationships between course work and the goals of each design studio. All classes that comprise the curriculum are essential to the education of an architect, and must be successfully completed by each student in the order intended. Students admitted as freshmen will complete the program in five years; transfer students will complete the program in accordance with their placement in the design sequence.
Students who do not successfully complete required courses as outlined in the curriculum will not be permitted to advance to the next year of study until the missing requirement(s) is/are completed. Since make-up classes are not offered at The Cooper Union,missing requirements may need to be fulfilled through coursework taken outside The Cooper Union.The intention to complete requirements outside The Cooper Union requires a meeting with the appropriate academic adviser or faculty member in order to obtain advance approval of the potential substitute course, and to confirm the minimum grade required in order for transfer credit to be awarded. It is the responsibility of the student to locate an eligible course at a college/university that allows part-time/summer study, which will be taken at the student’s expense. Students making up courses in this manner will be permitted to register for Cooper Union classes in September only after the Office of Admissions and Records receives a transcript showing the successful completion of these courses. It is in the best interest of each student to complete his or her coursework here at Cooper Union in conformance with the approved curriculum.
Each year of the five-year B.Arch curriculum consists of a carefully calibrated required coursework including classes which may be part of a larger sequence. Students must complete required courses in the appropriate semester/year of the curriculum plan. Failure to do so not only disrupts the student=s academic advancement but also potentially places the student at a disadvantage in the following semester/year. Scheduling conflicts may also arise. All of these factors make it essential for students to complete their required coursework according to the curriculum plan. Students who do not complete their required coursework according to the curriculum plan may be placed on a required leave of absence in order to complete missing requirements outside of The Cooper Union, at their own expense, before being permitted to resume their studies.
Students must pass a sufficient number of credits each semester to complete his or her degree requirements within five years of study. When dropping or adding courses, a student must follow all degree requirements for their particular year of study. The normal course load is 16–19 credits per semester. Students are required to be registered for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree may be grounds for dismissal. Students are eligible to register for more than 18 credits per semester, but not more than 20, if they have received at least a 3.0 rating for the previous semester.
Incoming students who have completed college level academic work outside The Cooper Union may be eligible to receive transfer credit. Approval of transfer credit will be made by the appropriate dean or faculty based on transcripts from other schools and additional materials, including a course description, a course syllabus with topics and course requirements, a reading list and any quizzes, examinations, papers or projects, etc., that demonstrate the level, content and requirements of the course,as well as the student’s proficiency with the course topics. If necessary, a proficiency/placement exam may be administered in certain subject areas. Transfer students must be prepared to present these and other requested materials for each course for which transfer credit is sought.Transfer credit evaluation must be completed by the end of the first semester of study.
When admitted, transfer students are offered admission into a specific year of the five-year design sequence. This decision is final, and acceptance of the offer of admission represents agreement on the part of the admitted student with this decision.
Placement in the Design studio sequence is the only transfer credit evaluation made at the time of the offer of admission. Independently of Design studio placement, transfer students must fulfill all of their B.Arch degree requirements either through transfer credit or by completing required and elective coursework here. Transfer credit evaluation for required and/or elective coursework in the B.Arch curriculum, other than the Design studio, is the responsibility of the individual transfer student. Transfer students are required to seek transfer credit for all other eligible coursework. It may not be possible for transfer students to complete all academic coursework simultaneously with their Design studio requirements. It will be necessary for the matriculating transfer student to successfully complete the design studio to which he or she is admitted, as well as all subsequent studios, as part of his or her degree requirements. The official academic transcript of a transfer student will be reviewed prior to the student’s first registration. This review will determine what, if any, additional coursework may be eligible for transfer credit.
Currently enrolled students who find it necessary to complete degree requirements at another institution for transfer credit to The Cooper Union must have appropriate advance approval. Credit may be granted for work done at another institution by any student upon examination by the dean. This credit is to be recorded after satisfactory completion of one semester’s work at The Cooper Union.
Grades used, with their numerical equivalents, are:
A (4.0), A-(3.7), B+ (3.3), B(3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), D(1.0), D- (.7), F (0). The assigned numerical equivalents are used in computing semester and annual ratings by multiplying the numerical equivalent of the grade for each subject by the credits assigned to the subject. The sum of such multiplications for all the subjects carried by a student is divided by the total credits carried by him/her for that period to determine the average rating.
The official meanings for letter grades are as follows:
A Outstanding performance
B Above average performance
C Requirements satisfactorily completed
D Minimum requirements met; passing but unsatisfactory
F Failure to meet the minimum requirements of a subject
I The designation I indicates that the work of the course has not been completed and that assignment of a grade and credit has been postponed. An I designation is permitted only in cases of illness (confirmed by a physician’s letter) or documentation of other extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control.
The deadline for removal of an I designation will be determined by the instructor and recorded at the time the designation is given, but will not be later than two weeks after the start of the next semester. If the I is not removed within the set time limit, either by completing the work in the subject or by passing a reexamination, the I will automatically become an F unless the dean of the School of Architecture extends the time or the student withdraws from school. The designation of I will be granted only with the approval of the dean.
W The student has received permission from the instructor and the dean of the School of Architecture and has withdrawn from a course while passing the course requirements at the time of withdrawal.
This permission must be obtained before the end of the sixth week of the semester.The grade is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating but remains on the student’s transcript. (See Change of Program: Withdrawing from a Course, page 38.)
WF The student has received permission from the dean of the School of Architecture and the instructor and has withdrawn from a course while failing the course requirements at the time of withdrawal.
This permission must be obtained before the end of the sixth week of the semester. This grade is included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating, its numerical equivalent is 0, and it remains on the student’s transcript. (See Change of Program: Withdrawing from a Course, p.38.)
When appropriate, certain courses may be designated as Pass/Fail courses.
Pass Requirements completed. This designation is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating.
Fail Failure to meet the minimum requirements of a course. This grade is included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating; its numerical equivalent is 0.
Academic Probation/Final Probation
A semester rating below 2.0 and/or a grade less than C in Architectonics,Design or Thesis places a student on automatic probation and may be the basis for final probation or dismissal,as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student who receives a grade of C- or below in Architectonics, Design or Thesis may be required by the Academic Standards Committee to repeat the studio. The student may also be removed from automatic probation as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student who receives a grade of D+, D or D- in Architectonics, Design or Thesis will be placed on automatic probation and will be required to repeat the studio. The Academic Standards Committee may place the student on final probation. The Academic Standards Committee may also set further academic and/or grade requirements for the student.
A student who receives an F in Architectonics, Design or Thesis will be placed on final probation and will be required to repeat the studio.The student will be required to receive a grade of C+ or better in the repeated class. A student who fails to meet this condition may be dismissed by the Academic Standards Committee.
A second probation may result in final probation or the dismissal of the student. The Academic Standards Committee may place a student on final probation. A student placed on automatic probation may be subject to academic requirements as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student on final probation who receives a semester rating below 2.0 and/or a grade less than C in Architectonics, Design or Thesis at any point in the remainder of his or her academic career in the School of Architecture will be immediately, automatically and permanently dismissed from The Cooper Union with a forfeit of the right of appeal. Automatic dismissal on final probation unconditionally and irrevocably terminates a student’s academic career in the School of Architecture.
A student on probation may not carry more than 18 credits per semester.
Each student is responsible for his or her total accomplishment and for being continuously aware of the standards defined in the preceding paragraphs. Students whose work by mid semester indicates possible failure to meet the minimum standards of a course, including excessive absences, should arrange to meet with their respective faculty to address the matter in detail.
A student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better in order to graduate from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.
A student may not repeat any Design studio (or Architectonics or Thesis) more than once.
Any student who fails Arch 151 (Thesis) twice will be dropped automatically from the program.
Additional credits for repeated Design studio (or Architectonics or Thesis) do not count towards the 160 credits required for the B.Arch degree.
Change of Grade
A change in an official grade of record cannot be made by the dean of Admissions and Records without the express consent of the dean of the School of Architecture. The dean of Admissions and Records will automatically convert an I designation to an F if an official change of grade is not submitted within the two-week deadline after the start of the following semester. Grade changes will not be accepted after one calendar year has elapsed from the completion of the course.
Change of Program
Adding a Course A student is permitted to add a course only during the first week of a semester, during the drop/add period, and only with the dean’s approval. Adding a course after the drop/add period is not permitted even if the student has been attending the class.
Dropping a Course A student may drop a course during the first week of the semester, during the drop/add period, with the dean’s approval. A student who wishes to drop a course may be required to add equivalent credits in another course as needed to maintain satisfactory progress towards the degree. A course dropped during the first week of the semester will be deleted from the transcript.
Withdrawing from a Course After the drop/add period a student may withdraw from a course through the sixth week of the semester, with the dean’s approval. If the student is passing the course at the time of withdrawal, a grade of W will appear on the transcript. If the student is failing the course at the time of withdrawal, a grade of WF will be recorded. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the necessary permission from the school and to notify the instructor in order to withdraw from a course.
Failure to attend a class does not constitute withdrawal; a student who fails to attend a class without formally withdrawing will earn a grade of F in the course. A student may not withdraw from a course to avoid receiving a failing grade.
A student is not permitted to drop or withdraw from a course if doing so would impede satisfactory progress towards the degree.
Change of Section Students are permitted to transfer from one section to another of the same course before midterm if they are passing the course at that time. Permission of the dean is required for the change of section.
Leave of Absence
Students who have completed at least one year of study and need to interrupt their studies may be granted a leave of absence for up to one year by permission of the dean. Only students in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward the degree may request a leave of absence. A leave of absence is generally granted between the second and third years or the fourth and fifth years of study. A meeting with and permission from the dean of the School of Architecture is necessary.
Required Leave of Absence
A student who fails Architectonics, Design or Thesis will have his/her academic record reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee. If the student is permitted to continue, the student will be required to repeat that semester of studio (Architectonics, Design or Thesis) as well as meet any other conditions set by the Academic Standards Committee. If it is not possible for the student to make significant progress towards the degree requirements in the semester prior to repeating the studio course (as determined by the Academic Standards Committee and/or the dean), the student will be placed on a mandatory leave of absence for one semester and will resume his or her studies in the following semester by repeating the required studio and enrolling in other classes for a total registration of at least 12 credits. The student’s registration must be approved by the dean.
Discretionary Leave of Absence: Students who have completed at least one year of study may request an interruption of their studies for a Discretionary Leave of Absence. A written request for the Leave must be submitted to the student’s academic dean or associate dean. A Discretionary leave of absence for up to one year (2 semesters) with an automatic guarantee of reinstatement may be granted to students in good academic standing who are making satisfactory progress toward the degree.
A request for a Discretionary Leave beginning in Fall semester must be made before April 15. A request for a Discretionary Leave beginning in Spring semester must be made before November 15. Approval for a Discretionary Leave is neither automatic nor guaranteed.
Returning from a Discretionary leave of absence: Students on a Discretionary Leave must notify their academic dean of their intention to return at least four (4) weeks prior to the registration period for the semester of their intended return. The dean must notify the registrar to reactivate the student record.
Medical leave of absence
A student who must interrupt his/her studies for medical reasons must submit a written request for a Medical Leave of Absence to his/her academic dean along with supporting documentation, which must include a letter from the treating health care provider.
Returning from medical leave: A student on a Medical Leave of Absence must notify his/her academic dean of his/her intention to return at least eight (8) weeks prior to the semester of the student’s intended return. The student must also provide a letter from his/her treating health care provider that he/she is ready and able to return to school. The dean must notify the registrar to reactivate the student record.
Compulsory Medical Leave of Absence
The Cooper Union seeks to foster a safe and peaceful campus environment (including, but not limited to its classrooms, laboratories, studios, shops, and dormitories) that nurtures its students’ well-being and allows them to focus on their studies.
The professional degree programs at The Cooper Union are exceptionally rigorous courses of study that require a student’s full commitment of time and effort and involve collaborative work in shared studios and laboratories. Additionally, in light of the highly specialized technical skills needed to run equipment in its shops and laboratories, The Cooper Union has the highest concern for safety on its premises and has appointed staff and faculty to supervise these facilities. Such concerns are carefully balanced with the institution’s historic commitment to student rights.
If a staff or faculty member notifies the student’s academic dean that a student’s conduct, actions or statements indicate that the student: (i) poses a threat of harm to the safety of others (either directly or through an inability to safely perform any necessary functions as a student); and/or (ii) is engaged (or may engage) in behavior or conduct that is disrupting the academic experience of others on campus, the dean will promptly assess such concerns and determine whether there is a problem, the nature, duration and severity of the problem, and the probability that such harm or disruption may occur. The dean or the dean of students will promptly meet with the student to analyze the situation. If a medical situation is involved, the student may be asked to provide medical information from a healthcare provider in order to clarify the situation as necessary. Considering all the information, the dean will determine if a problem exists and, if so, whether a reasonable modification of policies, practices or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services can appropriately mitigate the problem. If so, following such an accommodation/modification, the student will be permitted to continue with his/her studies. At any point during the investigative process, the student will have the right to take voluntary medical leave of absence following the procedure stated above.
If an accommodation/modification cannot sufficiently alleviate the risk/disruption to allow the student to remain actively enrolled, and the student is not able or willing to take a voluntary medical leave of absence, the academic dean may recommend to the Academic Leadership Team that the student be placed on compulsory medical leave of absence. The student will be sent a letter notifying him or her of the dean’s recommendation for a compulsory medical leave of absence, the basis for such a recommendation, and inviting the student to a hearing on this matter. This hearing – granting the student the opportunity to respond to this recommendation – will be conducted by one member of the Academic Leadership team and one other officer of The Cooper Union and will be held no sooner than five (5) days after the letter is sent to the student. If necessary, the student may request accommodations (e.g., modifications to policies, practices, or procedures; the need for an auxiliary aid or service) to participate in the hearing. At this hearing, the student may submit additional medical records and/or other appropriate information/documentation. The hearing officers will decide whether to accept the recommendation, reject it, or modify it and will inform the student within 24 hours of their decision, in writing. The hearing will be digitally recorded.
A student may be temporarily suspended from the institution prior to this hearing.
A student may be placed on compulsory medical leave for either a semester or a year, depending on the nature of the circumstances of the leave, submitted medical documentation, and the student’s academic program. Students placed on compulsory medical leave will be asked to provide an evaluation from a physician of Cooper Union’s choosing attesting to their medical readiness to resume their studies, with or without accommodation.
A student who has been the subject of a hearing under these procedures may appeal the decision of the hearing committee within 3 business days by writing a letter to the Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer/Equal Opportunity Officer or academic dean setting forth the reasons why the appeal is being made. The Vice President will convene an Appeal Board within 3 days of receiving the appeal letter. The board will consist of the Vice President or her designee and one member of the Presidential Leadership Team who was not involved in any way in the prior hearing. The Appeal Board shall limit its review to these issues:
--does the record show that the party had a full and fair opportunity to present his or her case?
--does the solution imposed achieve the proper balance between maintaining a safe and peaceful campus environment and respecting the rights of the student to continue his or her education?
After considering the record and the letter of appeal, the Appeal Board may:
--Accept the decision of the hearing committee;
--Order a new hearing in keeping with the Appeal Board’s instructions;
--Reverse the hearing committee’s decision in its entirety;
--Accept the hearing committee’s decision but modify the solution.
If the Appeal Board accepts the decision of the hearing committee, whether or not it modifies the terms of the compulsory medical leave, the matter shall be deemed final.
Interim Year/Independent Study
Architecture students in good standing and making satisfactory progress toward the degree may elect to interrupt their studies at The Cooper Union for a period of one year for purposes of study or travel. This interim year option is available to architecture students who have completed at least one year of study at The Cooper Union. A meeting with and permission from the dean of the School of Architecture is necessary.
Students who intend to accomplish academic credit outside The Cooper Union while on an interim year must consult with the dean to plan an appropriate program in affiliation with another institution. Credit will only be considered upon the student’s return and after review of his or her portfolio and appropriate academic documentation.
Students who have withdrawn from the School of Architecture after having completed at least one year of study at The Cooper Union must reapply to the school to be considered for readmission in competition with transfer applicants.
Students who have withdrawn from school before they have completed one year of study at The Cooper Union must reapply through the freshman admission procedure.
Students who have been dismissed for academic deficiencies and are eligible for readmission must apply within two years to the chair of the Academic Standards Committee before May 15 for admission in September and before November 15 for admission in January.They should be prepared to demonstrate a change from the circumstances that warranted their dismissal.
Former students who have been dismissed due to academic deficiencies and who have been out of The Cooper Union for more than two years (four semesters) at the time of anticipated return must apply through the regular admission procedure. If offered admission, previous Cooper Union credits earned may be evaluated for transfer credit.
A candidate for a degree must be enrolled and in residence during the entire academic year immediately preceding the granting of the degree.
To be eligible for graduation, a student must complete the minimum number of credits listed for his or her curriculum and must spend a minimum of four semesters in full-time resident study at The Cooper Union. Students are responsible for their total accomplishment and for being continuously aware of the standards for graduation. Graduation requirements as outlined in this catalog are guidelines that are subject to change.