Leave of Absence

Discretionary Leave of Absence

Students who have completed at least one year of study may request an interruption of their studies for a Discretionary Leave of Absence. The request must be submitted, in writing, to the student’s academic dean or associate dean. A Discretionary Leave of Absence for up to one year (2 semesters) with an automatic guarantee of reinstatement may be granted to students in good academic standing who are making satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Students seeking a Discretionary Leave of Absence must submit, in writing, two forms to their respective dean:

A Discretionary Leave of Absence petition letter should provide a full explanation for the student's request and include their name, signature, date of submission to the dean's office. A request for a Discretionary Leave beginning in the fall semester must be made before April 15th of the immediately prior spring semester. A request for a Discretionary Leave beginning in the spring semester must be made before November 15th of the immediately prior fall semester. Approval for a Discretionary Leave is neither automatic nor guaranteed. Before taking such a leave, all financial obligations to the Cooper Union must be satisfied. Students on academic leave are considered inactive and do not have access to the facilities of The Cooper Union.

Returning from a Discretionary Leave Students on a Discretionary Leave must notify, in writing, their academic dean of their intention to return at least four (4) weeks prior to the registration period for the semester of their intended return. The dean must notify the registrar to reactivate the student record. Students who has been away from the Cooper Union for more than one (1) semester must submit an updated Physician Medical Clearance Form to the Office of Student Affairs.

Medical Leaves of Absence

Returning from an Administrative Withdrawal

In order to comply with federal regulations, any student who remains on a leave of any kind for two or more consecutive semesters will be placed on administrative withdrawal. A student returning from administrative withdrawal should fill out the reinstatement form.

Reinstatement is a streamlined process designed to allow students to return to Cooper from a brief absence. However, if your leave continues for more than four semesters, you must reapply using the general application process.


  • 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.