Summer Programs in Architecture: Introduction to Architecture

Inside The Cooper Union studio Introduction to Architecture, student work, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, studio, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, student work, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, student work, summer 2014 Cooper Union Stock Photo Cooper Union Stock Photo Student work: Introduction to Architecture, Batrek Yassa, summer 2013 Student work: Introduction to Architecture, Batrek Yassa, summer 2013 Introduction to Architecture, Final Review, summer 2013 Student work: Introduction to Architecture, Evelyn Batz, summer 2013 Student work: Introduction to Architecture, Alex Gross, summer 2013 Introduction to Architecture, Final Review, summer 2013 Introduction to Architecture, Final Review, summer 2013 Introduction to Architecture, final review, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, final review, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, student work, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, final review, summer 2014 Introduction to Architecture, view from the roof of The Foundation Building, summer 2014
Inside The Cooper Union studio
Introduction to Architecture: 
Foundational Studies and Portfolio Development
July 5 - July 29, 2016  |  4-week session, full-time, 4 credits

The Cooper Union’s Introduction to Architecture is an intensive 4-week program that offers an immersive experience into the study of architecture as a discipline and profession. The program will familiarize the college-level student with architectural design, thought, and practice, in the context of downtown Manhattan - a vibrant neighborhood of art, music, culture and commerce.

The core of the program, the Design Studio, is taught by faculty of the School of Architecture and is supplemented by visiting critics and lecturers. Every morning begins in the studio spaces designed by renowned architect John Hejduk in the landmark Foundation Building . In the afternoons, students will participate in seminar and/or workshops that draw on what makes education at The Cooper Union unique, with its strong emphasis on design and making, and a close reading of architectural texts.

Weeklong afternoon sessions begin with an introduction to shop techniques, including instruction on working with a variety of materials and tools; followed by a freehand drawing session, in which students explore and refine their observation and representation skills; and concluding with a variety of sessions introducing students to the domains of knowledge practiced in the architectural profession today, such as digital analysis and representation, and 3-D modeling and fabrication.

Weekly lectures will introduce key topics in architectural history and theory pursued by practitioners and researchers alike. Throughout the month walking tours will explore the urban fabric of New York City and office visits will allow students to meet architects with local and international practices.

Over the course of the program, the students will be able to develop a body of work: projects, models, and drawings. The design faculty will work with each student, individually and as a group, to review and edit those accomplishments, culminating in a portfolio in book format. 


Students from all academic fields are welcome and encouraged to apply. 

Prospective students must have completed 30 college credits by the start of the program.  They need not be currently enrolled in an academic institution. 


Applicants will fill out an application form including a statement of no more than 300 words expressing her/his interest in the program and one letter of reference. Admission is on a rolling basis; successful applicants will be accepted based on previous academic work and the written statement, as space allows. We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible. Applicants may access the online application here

Cost and Fees

Program Cost: $3,400: Includes access to computer labs, plotters and printers, fabrication shop, and studios. Students will be responsible for purchasing supplies and printing fees as applicable.

Application Fee: $40*

Successful applicants will be responsible for paying the program cost in full upon acceptance.* 


Housing is not available during the summer sessions through The Cooper Union. Applicants will be responsible for securing other housing options.

Frequently Asked Questions
• I do not have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
You do not need any prior experience in or have studied architecture to participate in the Introduction to Architecture program.  
• Are there any specific math or engineering skills necessary? What about computer software skills?
Students who wish to enroll in the Introduction to Architecture program are not required to have specific skills beyond basic math and general computer literacy.
• Can I work while attending the program? What if I have to miss a class?
All programs are full-time, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Attendance at class meetings is mandatory and students should expect to spend time outside of class developing their projects. Full participation is necessary to successfully complete the course and earn credit. 
• What happens after the program ends?
The Introduction to Architecture program culminates in a portfolio that can potentially be used for applying to an undergraduate degree in architecture.
• I am an international student. May I apply to the Summer Programs?
The current summer session cannot accept international students seeking an I-20 Visa. International students who hold an I-20 Visa from another institution may attend The Cooper Union during the summer. To discuss alternative visa options please contact John Falls, Associate Dean of Admissions, at (212)353-4192 or
• Are scholarships available?
Scholarships and Financial Aid are not available for the Summer Programs at The Cooper Union.
• How do I find housing in New York City?
Please visit our Other Housing Options page for assistance in finding potential housing.
• What equipment and/or materials will I need to bring?
All accepted students to the Summer Programs are expected to have a personal laptop and will be responsible for basic studio tools and supplies. Students will be provided with a detailed list of required supplies before the first class. There are several art supply stores in the neighborhood that offer student discounts on tools and materials. Students will be provided with their own studio workspace which includes a table, lamp, and a parallel rule, as well as access to facilities such as the computer studio and fabrication shop.  
• Can credit from the Summer Programs later be applied towards a bachelor’s or master's degree?
The Cooper Union is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and the School of Architecture is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Students will receive a transcript for credits earned; credits are transferred at the discretion of the student’s home institution or the prospective institution the student is applying to.
For any further questions please contact

* Except in cases in which classes are cancelled, all application fees and program costs are non-refundable.


  • 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.