The Benjamin Menschel Fellowship Program

'Jaffa' (installation view) by Dorit Aviv AR'09, part of the 2009 Menschel Exhibition

'Jaffa' (installation view) by Dorit Aviv AR'09, part of the 2009 Menschel Exhibition

The Benjamin Menschel Fellowship Program to Support Creative Inquiry was endowed by a grant given to The Cooper Union by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation in 1994 to support work in the fields of art, architecture, design, and engineering. This generous grant was intended to provide funding to exceptional students who propose scholarly, independent projects that will in some way provide a culmination to their educational endeavors at The Cooper Union. It is the hope of the Goldsmith Foundation that the students designated as Benjamin Menschel Fellows will be encouraged by their awards to complete bodies of artwork, develop scientific protocols, or otherwise further their intellectual investigations in a manner that will provide inspiration and illumination to the community as a whole.

View the fellows and catalogs from years past.

Application 2023-24

Deadline for applications: March 30, 2023

Deadline for letters of support: March 30, 2023

The Benjamin Menschel Fellowships will be awarded in the Spring of 2023 for use during the summer of 2023 and Fall 2023 semester. The fellowships will be made on the basis of merit to students who have attended The Cooper Union for at least one year and who will be enrolled for the 2022–2023 and 2023-24 academic years. 

For the 2023-24 cycle, students are strongly encouraged to apply in groups of two or more students, and ideally interdisciplinary groups across the three schools. You are invited to consider research topics that allow you to pursue your interests while remaining conscious of the various social, scientific and artistic challenges that we face as a society. 

Fellowships are intended to cover eligible expenses for materials used to complete the proposed project, up to a maximum of $3500 per project. Students who are awarded Fellowships must agree to exhibit or present their work publicly during the following academic year. Fellows are expected to reserve up to 25% of their fellowship for the exhibition expenses. 

Please note that the Fellowship does not support the purchase or rental of camera or lens hardware, computers including hardware upgrades, and software purchases. This is a non-exhaustive list and the final decision for award monies will be made by the Menschel Selection Committee. The Director of the Fellowship may work with the shortlisted Fellows to modify budgets as necessary.  

The intent of the award is to support independent projects that are not subject to evaluation for grades in courses. 

Conditions of Eligibility 

To be considered for a Benjamin Menschel Fellowship, a student must meet the following criteria. For group projects, each applicant must meet these criteria. 

  1. Be a full-time matriculating student at The Cooper Union with a minimum of two semesters remaining before graduation, excluding the present one; 

  1. Be in good academic standing; and 

  1. Provide a letter of support from a faculty member willing to evaluate the project proposed by the student and to attest to the student’s ability to complete the project. 

Application Details 

Applications must be submitted online via the Menschel Fellowship Application form 


Application Deadline: End of Day, Thursday, March 30, 2023

Faculty Evaluations Deadline: End of Day, Thursday, March 30, 2023 

  1. Applications from groups, and especially interdisciplinary groups across schools, are strongly encouraged. 

  2. No file will be reviewed without the faculty evaluation. 

  3. Late applications will not be reviewed. 

Semifinalists will be interviewed by the Faculty Review Committee in mid-April 2023. 

Finalists will be notified by late April 2023. 

Application Instructions 

1. Complete the Menschel Fellowship Application form

2. In addition to biographical details about your team and details about your faculty advisor, you must upload three documents that accurately describe the work you intend to complete using the Fellowship monies:  

  • A rationale for the project in creative inquiry that explains the intellectual, social, scientific, or cultural issues you intend to engage with. PDF (~1000 words) 
  • A schedule for completing the project and presenting your work. PDF 
  • A detailed budget that accurately reflects the expenses you anticipate. The budget should be presented as a table with all the expenses clearly identified, and totals calculated. PDF 

3. Your documents should be typed and uploaded in PDF format. Applicants are encouraged to visit the Center for Writing for assistance in drafting their proposals. 

4. Secure a letter of support from a Faculty Evaluator using the Letter of Support form

Selection Process 

  1. The Menschel Committee, which is composed of one faculty member from each of the three Schools and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, will review all applications and select a roster of semifinalists to be interviewed. 

  1. While a well-conceived, carefully written proposal is essential to the selection process, semifinalists may choose to supplement their proposals with a portfolio or other visual materials relevant to their proposal when they appear for their interviews. 

  1. At the interview, semifinalists should be prepared to make a formal presentation of no more than 15 minutes; questions from the Committee will follow. 

  1. If appropriate, semifinalists may also request that, at the time of the interview, the Committee visit their studio or workspace to view relevant materials. Please make sure to make this request in advance so that it can be scheduled properly.  

Notification of Fellowship Awards 

You will be notified by email as to whether you have been selected for a Benjamin Menschel Fellowship.  Menschel Fellows will be announced by late April, 2023. 

Contact: Ninad Pandit 

Director, Benjamin Menschel Fellowship Program 


  • 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.