Academic Standards and Regulations

Academic Integrity

Faculty at Cooper Union are committed to preserving an environment that challenges every student to realize his or her potential. You are expected to provide your best effort and will be supported to produce original work of the highest caliber. Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s “work product” (ideas, words, equations, computer code, graphics, lab data, etc.) as one’s own. Whether done intentionally or unintentionally, plagiarism is not tolerated in the School of Engineering.

There are many types of plagiarism, some of which are listed below. (The list is not exhaustive. Speak with the appropriate faculty member or dean or associate dean of engineering if you are uncertain as to what constitutes ethical conduct in a particular situation.)

You are plagiarizing if:

• You present as your own work product a homework assignment, a take-home exam or a class project that includes the efforts of other individuals. The contributions of other individuals (if permitted by your instructor) must be acknowledged in writing on the submitted assignment, exam or project.

• You copy the work of other students on an in-class examination or communicate with other individuals in any fashion during an exam.

• You submit as part of a homework assignment, take-home exam or class project material that has been copied from any source (including, but not limited to, a reference book, periodical, the Internet) without properly citing the source, and/or without using quotation marks. It is also prohibited to submit such materials in a minimally altered form without proper attribution. Improperly copied material might include text, graphics (computer or otherwise), computer source code, etc.

Other prohibited acts of academic dishonesty include (but are not limited to):

• Attempting to obtain a copy of an examination before it is administered.

• Dishonesty in dealing with a faculty member or a dean, such as misrepresenting the statements of another faculty member.

• Bringing notes into an examination when forbidden to do so.

• Bringing any device into an examination (computer/ smartphone/ calculator), which permits the retrieval of examination-related materials unless expressly permitted by the instructor.

• Bringing any device into an examination that allows communication with other individuals or computers or computer databases unless expressly permitted by the instructor.

Faculty members may not unilaterally resolve incidents of academic dishonesty. Each faculty member is required to report all cases of plagiarism or academic dishonesty to the engineering dean’s office in a memorandum. If documentary evidence of the incident exists, it should be attached. The dean’s office, in consultation with the faculty member and the student, will select from the following sanctions: a grade of F for the assignment, a grade of F for the course or dismissal of the student from the school. A record of all incidents will be kept in the dean’s office and considered for second-time offenders. Students who are dismissed because of academic dishonesty should be aware that incident reports and any responsive actions by the dean’s office or Academic Standards Committee become part of their permanent record.

Sexual or Racial Harassment

Such behavior will not be tolerated. Incidents should be reported immediately. Students should see the dean or associate dean, and also the dean of students as soon as possible.

Code of Conduct

Students are required to read and abide by The Code of Conduct.

Transfer Credit

Students, at their own expense, desiring to register for courses at another institution for transfer credit to The Cooper Union must have appropriate approval in advance. For courses in mathematics, sciences or engineering, this approval is to be obtained from:

  • the department responsible for the course at The Cooper Union and
  • the dean or associate dean of engineering.

For liberal arts courses, approval is to be obtained from the dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. In order that transfer credits from another school be accepted, a grade of B or better is required. (A grade of B- or worse cannot be transferred). An exception may be granted in special circumstances only upon formal appeal to the Academic Standards Committee.

Transfer credit is never granted for paid summer internships or work experience or paid or unpaid research.

Grades of Record

The definitions below deal with the student’s attainment in the formal work of the subject. Nevertheless, it should be understood that such essential qualities as integrity, adherence to class regulations, enthusiasm, motivation, clarity in presentation of work and sense of obligation, together with ability to use the English language correctly and intelligibly, are reflected in the grade. The course grade is assigned by the instructor in conformity with definitions indicated in this section.

The grade A indicates a superior and comprehensive grasp of the principles of the subject. It denotes an ability to think quickly and with originality toward the solution of difficult problems.

The grade B indicates evidence of a good degree of familiarity with the principles involved in the subject. It implies less originality and a tendency to hold to patterns of thought presented in the formal subject matter.

The grade C indicates an average knowledge of the principles involved in the subject and a fair performance in solving problems involving these principles. This grade implies average ability to apply the principles to original problems.

The grade D indicates a minimum workable knowledge of the principles involved in the subject. This grade denotes low achievement and therefore the number of such grades permitted any student is limited in a manner prescribed by the section on Scholastic Standards.

The grade F indicates an unsatisfactory understanding of the subject matter involved. A grade of F may be made up only by repeating the subject in class; both the new grade and the new credits and the original grade and credits are included in the permanent record and in the grade point average. A student who receives an F grade in a repeated course is a candidate for dismissal by the school’s Academic Standards Committee.

The Incomplete (I) Grade The designation of l indicates that the work of the course has not been completed and that assignment of a grade and credit has been postponed. This designation will be given only in cases of illness (confirmed by authorized physician’s letter) or of other documented extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control. The l designation will be given only with the approval of the dean or associate dean of engineering. At the time of submission of an l designation, the instructor will indicate whether the student’s progress to that point has been satisfactory or unsatisfactory, offering an estimation of grades whenever possible as a means of assisting the Academic Standards Committee in their deliberations.

The deadline for removal of an l designation will be deter- mined by the instructor, but will not be later than six weeks after the start of the spring semester for students who receive such a designation in the fall semester and not later than one week after the start of the fall semester for students who receive such a designation in the spring semester. If the l is not removed within the set time limit, either by completing the work in the subject or by passing a re-examination, the l will automatically and irrevocably become an F unless the dean or associate dean of engineering, in consultation with the instructor, extends the time or the student withdraws from the school.

Grade Point Average or Ratings To determine academic ratings, numerical equivalents are assigned to grades as follows: A is represented by 4, B by 3, C by 2, D by 1 and F by 0. The sum of the products of credits attempted and grade equivalents earned in a period at The Cooper Union, divided by the sum of credits for that period, is the rating for that period.

Only Cooper Union grades of A, B, C, D and F will be used in determining ratings. Grades from other colleges and other designations such as l and W are not used in Cooper Union ratings.

Grade Changes A change in an official grade of record, other than the designation I, cannot be made by the dean of Admissions and Records without the express consent of the dean or associate dean of engineering. Grade changes will not be accepted after one year has elapsed from the completion of the course.

Final Examinations Final examinations are held in most subjects, except in cases when content does not lend itself to formal examination, such as laboratory or project work. In certain other subjects, the class record may be ample for determining student standing. The decision on giving a final examination in a given subject is made by the instructor.


Probation is the consequence of unsatisfactory scholarship. It is a warning that may involve a compulsory reduction of academic load, interviews with an assigned advisor and additional academic counseling. A student on academic probation must fulfill conditions as prescribed by the Academic Standards Committee.

• The records of all students may be reviewed by the office of the dean of engineering for recommendations to the Academic Standards Committee for appropriate action at any point in the student’s career.

• Students may be required to withdraw or resign from The Cooper Union based on a single semester’s academic performance, a cumulative GPA lower than 2.0, and/or infractions of the academic integrity policies.

• The Academic Standards Committee reserves the right 
to determine probation and/or dismissal at any point in the student’s career for appropriate academic issues.

• A student whose semester grade point average is below 2.0 is on automatic probation and is a candidate for dismissal by the committee.

• Estimates of grades in subjects with I designations may be included in all committee deliberations.

• Students who fail to register will have their records annotated: “Dropped: Failure to Register.”

• For information about leaves of absence, please refer to pages 24–25.

Students seeking readmission to the School of Engineering with a separation from Cooper Union of less than two years must apply through the Academic Standards Committee.  The student must first contact the Dean of Admissions and Chair of Academic Standards to discuss the measures required to meet before the Academic Standards Committee.  Students seeking readmission for the fall term must contact the Dean of Admissions and Chair of Academic Standards no later than April 1 to schedule an appointment for the June Academic Standards meeting.

Students seeking readmission to the School of Engineering with a separation from Cooper Union of more than two years must apply through the Office of Admissions and adhere to the transfer application requirements stated on page 15 of the catalog.

• Students who believe that a modification of their status should be made because of extenuating circumstances may petition, in writing, the Academic Standards Committee.


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 advisor’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 advisor’s approval.

A course dropped during the first week of the semester will be deleted from the transcript.

Withdrawing from a Course A student anticipating inability to continue an assigned program should immediately see his or her advisor. A student’s program may be adjusted at the discretion of and after conferring with the advisor and the dean or associate dean of engineering, but only in cases where scholastic performance is impaired by conditions beyond the control of the student, such as health or home conditions. After the drop/add period a student may withdraw from a course through the eighth week of the semester. A grade of W will appear on the transcript. A student who stops attending a course without permission of the instructor and the dean or associate dean will receive a grade of WU; however, the instructor is free to record a grade of F in such a case.

A student may lighten his or her academic load and receive a W grade after the eighth week of classes only with the approval of the course instructor, the advisor, and the dean or associate dean. It is the policy of the faculty and the Office of the Dean not to approve any withdrawal after the eighth week of classes except under extreme, extenuating circumstances.

A student is not permitted to drop or withdraw from a course if doing so would impede satisfactory progress towards the degree.

Repeating a Course A course may be repeated if a student has failed the course or, with appropriate approval been allowed to withdraw from the course. When a course is repeated, the grade earned when the course was repeated is calculated into the G.P.A.


Course Prefix

Biology                                   Bio

Chemical Engineering             ChE

Chemistry                                Ch

Civil Engineering                     CE

Computer Science                   CS

Electrical Engineering ECE

Engineering Sciences              ESC

Interdisciplinary Engineering EID

Mathematics                            Ma

Mechanical Engineering          ME

Physics                                    Ph

Students should consult official class schedules for courses offered in a given semester.

Be advised that each school at The Cooper Union offers certain electives that are open to all students; consult each school’s course listing.

Unless otherwise indicated, credit listings are for single semesters. Courses are not generally offered in the summer.


• A free elective is any course (for which a student is qualified) given within The Cooper Union. Foreign language courses do not count as free electives.

• The status advanced engineering elective is to be determined by the advisor(s) and the Office of the Dean. Normally, such courses will require prerequisites and are usually taken by juniors and seniors.

• A minimum of 12 credits of engineering electives must be at an advanced level.

  • 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.