Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Cooper Union Engineering Students

The Cooper Union is committed to the principle that an education in the liberal arts provides the ethical, social and humanistic framework crucial to personal development and professional excellence. Through their work in the humanities and social sciences, students gain a deeper understanding of the world in which they must live and act. They learn to think, to write and to speak clearly and effectively. Most significantly, an education in the liberal arts offers students the opportunity to become sensitive to the social and humanistic implications of their professional work and to acquire the basis for a satisfying cultural and intellectual life.

All students in the first two years take a core curriculum of required courses in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, the art and architecture curricula have specific requirements in art and architectural history. These are prerequisites to the elective offerings of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

During the third and fourth years, students have considerable latitude to explore the humanities and social sciences through elective courses to fulfill degree requirements.


  • 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.