Curriculum

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The School of Architecture offers a five-year program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture, a first professional degree accredited by the NAAB, and a one-year Master of Architecture II post-professional degree program.

With approximately 150 undergraduate and 10 graduate students, The School of Architecture is the smallest of the three professional Schools of The Cooper Union. The strength and character of the school results from its integration of a strong liberal arts curriculum with a rigorous professional degree program, allowing students to engage in individual research and personal development through a five year studio based curriculum.  The size of the school permits small classes and encourages lively debate and exchange among students and faculty alike.  The School’s position within The Cooper Union as a whole encourages interdisciplinary and inter-professional exchange, while its location in New York City offers students access to extraordinarily rich architectural, urban, and cultural experiences. 

The architecture curriculum is designed to prepare students for a rich array of opportunities in the profession, offering a broad cultural and intellectual foundation in the liberal arts as they relate to the design of the environment at all scales. The discipline of architecture interpreted in the widest possible sense as a cultural practice is seen as a basis for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Students develop their knowledge and design skills within a framework of studios and courses that stimulate research and debate into the nature and role of architecture as a cultural practice with profound social and environmental implications. The content of the curriculum, based on a wide cultural view of architecture, reflects broad ethical values. Faculty-student interaction is conducted on an intensive basis in the design studio and other classes and seminars. Within this framework, faculty members encourage students to develop their individual interests and strengths, with a constant stress on fundamentals and a basic commitment intended to equip the graduate with a lasting ability to produce an architecture that is a meaningful synthesis of the social, aesthetic and technological. The relationship between architecture and other creative disciplines is stressed throughout. Students are encouraged to express themselves both verbally and visually.

  • 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.