The School of Art offers a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The BFA program provides both a general visual arts education and a focused preparation for future artists and designers.

The program develops the students' creative potential, encourages them to be versatile, resourceful and reflective, and equips them to deal successfully with the practical problems and issues of today and those of the future.

The School of Art is firmly committed to a generalist curriculum that encompasses all the fundamental disciplines and resources of the visual arts. Each student is educated not only in specific disciplines, but also in the complex interrelationships of all the visual vocabularies. This philosophic premise relates to all the objectives of the School of Art and is the foundation upon which all teaching, creative work, service and research are based.

The Studio curriculum along with the Art History and General Studies components of the BFA program all have as their goal the acquisition of communication skills, the development of critical perspective, and the mastery of the materials and intellectual premises of the study of societies and people. Throughout eight semesters, students become socially aware, historically grounded, creative practitioners. They are taught to be critical analysts of the world of contemporary visual communications, art and the culture at large.

Integrated into studio practice and critique is the exposure to Western and non-Western history of art and design as well as an introduction to theoretical issues that are the subjects of current debate in the field.

In a world of increased specialization and professional fragmentation, artists and designers with a wide range of experiences have something unique to offer and are prepared to meet the diverse and rapidly changing professional challenges confronting them after graduation. The vital and collaborative role generalists play in their respective professional fields also extends to the civic arena.


  • 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.