Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not see an answer to your question below, please reach out to us at admissions@cooper.edu or chat with one of our student or staff ambassadors.


Please select one of the dropdown panels to view answers to our frequently asked questions:

 General Information

  • How many students attend The Cooper Union?

    • Approximately 900-950 students attend Cooper, which includes about 120 in The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, 270 in the School of Art, and 475 in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. We also have about 40 students in our graduate engineering program and about 10 in our graduate architecture program.

  • What is the size of a freshman class?

    • About 35 in Architecture, 75 in Art and 135 in Engineering

  • When can I visit The Cooper Union?

    • The Cooper Union has regrettably suspended on-campus tours until further notice due to the potential threat of the COVID-19 virus. Please sign up here for updates on future tours, events, and when we might be visiting your neighborhood, or go here to sign up for a virtual information sessions.

  •  Does Cooper Union have a virtual tour?

    • Yes, you can view our virtual tour here.

  • Does Cooper Union have a Residence Hall/Dorm?

    • The Cooper Union Residence Hall offers apartment-style housing. Each
      apartment is composed of a kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. A apartments
      have one single bedroom and one double bedroom; B apartments have two
      double bedrooms; C apartments have one single bedroom and two double
      bedrooms; and D apartments have two double bedrooms.

      You can read more by visiting the Residence Hall and Dorm FAQ page.

  • Is there a particular percentage of a class that is admitted through Early Decision?

    • There is no defined percentage of students that are admitted through Early Decision and it varies each year. Early Decision is binding, meaning that if you receive an offer of admission, you will be expected to decline any other offers from other schools. 

  • What classes should I be taking in high school to better prepare myself for The Cooper Union?

    • All applicants should take a well-rounded high school program, preferably in advanced coursework (e.g. AP, IB, Honors Level, etc). Engineering students should also be well prepared in calculus, chemistry and physics. Art and architecture applicants should take visual art classes (drawing, painting, design, sculpture, etc). Architecture applicants should take pre-calculus prior to entering Cooper Union. In addition, all students should take courses that provide a solid grounding in the liberal arts, which is a basis for your humanities and social science study at Cooper Union.

  • For which Advanced Placement (AP) examinations can I receive credit?

    • This answer has been edited in response to the current pandemic/quarantine. Please check back for updates.

      The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture may grant credit for mathematics courses. Please click here to review their credit evaluation policy.

      The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) rarely grants AP credit. However, a student who has attained a grade of 5 on an AP exam may petition the dean for permission to waive a core requirement and to substitute an appropriate elective course.

      The Albert Nerken School of Engineering views AP, IB and college courses as significant evidence of your academic ambition, accomplishment and preparation. However, we do not accept such courses for credit or advanced standing.

      The Cooper Union will consider granting credit for study in the Armed Forces, verified by The United States Armed Forces Institute (U.S.A.F.I).

  • Due to COVID-19, my IB, AP and other advanced exams were cancelled. What do I do?

    • The Cooper Union Admissions team recognizes that, as of March 2020, advanced exams have been modified or cancelled. In addition, there is continued uncertainty about when future testing dates may be available. You will not be disadvantaged in your application process for disruptions that are beyond your control. The Cooper Union is committed to evaluating applications holistically, drawing on school reports, letters of recommendations, and the remaining components of your application. 

  • Does The Cooper Union offer interviews to prospective applicants?

    • No, The Cooper Union does not conduct interviews as part of our admissions process.

  • Can I apply after three years of high school?

    • Candidates of exceptional merit may be considered for admission after completion of three years of high school. Engineering applicants must have excellent high school averages and test scores. Art and architecture applicants must have excellent high school records and exceptional ability. A recommendation from the high school principal, at least one recommendation from a teacher and an interview will be required. In accordance with the regulations of individual states, a student may or may not be eligible to receive an Equivalency Diploma after completion of a specific number of credits in appropriate subject areas at The Cooper Union. It is the responsibility of the applicant to investigate his or her state regulations in this regard.

  • How much does it really cost to attend The Cooper Union?

    • Tuition for the 2020–2021 academic year is $44,550 ($22,275 per semester).

      All incoming students receive a half-tuition scholarship. The value of this scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year is $22,275 per year ($11,137.50 per semester). Additional financial aid may be provided to eligible students to help cover tuition, housing, food, books, supplies, etc. The amount of additional aid will be based upon a student’s demonstrated financial need. Students must file a FAFSA form to be considered for additional financial aid. Our FAFSA code is 002710. In addition, Cooper Union also offers merit scholarships to a small, select number of students.

      For more information regarding Financial Aid at The Cooper Union, please click here.

      Cooper Union students are responsible for living and miscellaneous expenses. Please click here to access our Budget Guide, which provides a more detailed description and estimate of these additional expenses.

  • What clubs and activities are offered at The Cooper Union?

    • The Cooper Union offers a variety of clubs and organizations to its students, including: literary and performance groups, professional and honor societies, recreational sports, religious clubs, among many more and always welcoming more. Go here to find out more about our clubs.

      The Cooper Union also offers varsity sports in men’s basketball, women’s and men’s volleyball, and men's soccer. Go here to find out more about our athletics.

      Please note, due to the pandemic, all in-person athletics and organized events have been suspended until further notice.

Applying to Cooper Union

  • What is Cooper's acceptance rate?

    • Our acceptance rate for Fall 2020 was 17.7%. This rate shifts from program to program. 

  • When are applications due?

    • The deadlines for submitting your application for Fall 2021 undergraduate admission are as follows:

      Early Decision
           - The Albert Nerken School of Engineering: Sunday, November 1, 2020
           - The School of Art and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture: Tuesday, December 1, 2020

      Regular Decision
           - All schools: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

  • What does "Early Decision" really mean?

    • Early Decision is available to undergraduate Architecture, Art and Engineering applicants. Applicants whose first choice is The Cooper Union might consider applying Early Decision. Early Decision applications are reviewed earlier than Regular Decision applications. If offered Early Decision admission, you must agree to enroll at The Cooper Union and withdraw your applications to all other colleges. If you are not accepted under the Early Decision process, you may be reconsidered during the Regular Decision process. Although most applicants are "rolled-over" into the regular decision pool, re-evaluation is not guaranteed.

  • What are the requirements for international students to apply to The Cooper Union?

    • Undergraduate applicants whose native language is not English and who have not graduated from a secondary school in a country with English as the official medium of instruction are required to take one of the below exams:

      TOEFLIELTS, or DET   

      You must also provide English translations of any credentials not in English. 

      All international student accepted to Cooper Union will receive the same half-tuition scholarship (currently valued at approximately $$22,275 per year) that US citizens and Permanent Residents receive. However, international students are ineligible to receive state or federal aid. To learn more about International Applicants, click here.

  • What tests and documents do I need to apply to The Cooper Union?

    • The Cooper Union is test optional for the Fall 2021 and 2022 entering classes. This approach will provide applicants with the best opportunity to determine their most appropriate option for applying to The Cooper Union over the next two admission cycles. If students choose to take the SAT or ACT and if they wish to submit results as part of their application materials, we will consider them, as always, in context and as part of our holistic review process. If students choose not to submit exam results, we will evaluate their candidacy without scores and in keeping with our standard approach. Students will not be implicitly advantaged or disadvantaged by the choices they make.

      Should you elect to submit test scores, they need to be received by the Office of Admissions by Tuesday, November 17, 2020 for those applying Early Decision and by Monday, January 25, 2021 for students applying Regular Decision. 

      Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Applicants:
      - Common Application
      - $75 nonrefundable application fee
      - Official high school transcript(s)
      - Completed Studio Test
      - Recommendation letter strongly encouraged

      School of Art Applicants:
      - Common Application
      - $75 nonrefundable application fee
      - Official high school transcript(s)
      - Portfolio of work
      - Completed Hometest 
      - Recommendation letter

      Albert Nerken School of Engineering Applicants:
      - Common Application (Engineering applicants must select a major when applying)
      - $75 nonrefundable application fee
      - Official high school transcript(s), including mid-year reports
      - Counselor Recommendation 
      - Teacher Recommendations (1 or 2), with at least one from a STEM instructor

  • Does Cooper accept the GED?

    • The Cooper Union will accept the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) in lieu of the high school diploma.

  • What is the School of Art Hometest?

    • The School of Art Hometest consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 3-4 weeks and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The Hometest contains its own instructions to be followed explicitly, including a portfolio submission. The Hometest is sent to all School of Art applicants via email a week after the online application deadline closes. There is a different Hometest for Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants. All Hometest and portfolio materials must be submitted in the same box (exact box size will be indicated on the Hometest).

  • When will I receive the Hometest?

    • If you apply for Fall 2021 Early Decision admission (First Year or Transfer) you will receive the Hometest via email, Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

      If you apply for Fall 2021 Regular Decision admission (First Year or Transfer) you will receive the Hometest via email, Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

      The Hometest will be sent via email to the email address you submitted on your application. We encourage you to add admissions@cooper.edu to your email address book on your email account to avoid having your Hometest email go to your spam, promotions, or other folders. If you think you have not received your Hometest, please first check your spam, promotions, and junk folders first for an email from admissions@cooper.edu. If you still cannot locate the Hometest email, please send an email to admissions@cooper.edu so we can assist you.

  • What is the School of Architecture Studio Test?

    • The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Studio Test consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 3-4 weeks and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The Studio Test contains its own instructions to be followed explicitly. The Studio Test is sent to all School of Architecture applicants via email (December for Early Decision; January for Regular Decision). All Studio Test materials must be submitted in the same envelope (exact envelope size will be indicated on the Studio Test).

  • When will I receive the Studio Test?

    • If you apply for Fall 2021 Early Decision admission, then you will receive the Studio Test via email, Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

      If you apply for Fall 2021 Regular Decision admission, then you will receive the Studio Test via email, Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

      The Studio Test will be sent via email to the email address you submitted on your application. We encourage you to add admissions@cooper.edu to your email address book on your email account to avoid having your Studio Test email go to your spam, promotions, or other folders. If you do not receive the Studio Test, please first check your spam, promotions, and junk folders for an email from admissions@cooper.edu. If you still cannot locate the Studio Test email, please send an email to admissions@cooper.edu so we can assist you.

  • What is a portfolio? Do I need one?

    • First Year and Transfer School of Art applicants and School of Architecture Transfer applicants must submit a portfolio of work for review with their Hometest or Studio Test, respectively. A portfolio is a collection of a cross-section of your best recent work. It should include enough pieces (generally ten to twenty pieces) to demonstrate your degree of interest. Art applicants are encouraged to include sketchbooks. All pieces should fit into an envelope of which the requirements will be outlined in the Hometest or Studio Test. Art applicants are encouraged to attend one of the National Portfolio Days which we attend. 

  • Does The Cooper Union accept transfer students? What do they need to apply?

    • The Cooper Union admits a limited number of transfer students. Transfer applicants in Architecture and Art are required to submit the following: official high school and college transcripts, a portfolio, and a completed Studio Test or Hometest, respectively. Transfer Engineering applicants must submit high school and college transcripts. 

  • How are transfer credits reviewed?

    • Transfer credits are reviewed on an individual basis only upon admission to The Cooper Union. Courses taken at the college level are evaluated by the department at Cooper Union for which you seek transfer credit. For example, if you seek transfer credit for a math course, the Math Department at Cooper Union will evaluate your transcript and decide if credit will be granted. We recommend holding onto all syllabi, reading lists, and work from the courses you wish to receive transfer credit.

  • Can I apply to more than one school at The Cooper Union?

    • Yes! Students are able to apply to more than one school at Cooper Union through the Common Application. Select the academic program to which you would like to apply then follow the prompts within the Common Application to make your additional selection. If you submit your Common Application as an Art or Architecture or Engineering applicant and would like to also apply for another program, you will need to submit an additional application. Once you have submitted a second application, you will receive access to the additional portions of the application for your second choice school. Please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@cooper.edu if you have any questions regarding this process. We only offer admissions decisions to your first-choice program. We will contact you to determine which program is your top choice.

      Please note that you may only apply to one Engineering major within the School of Engineering.

      For each additional application, you are required to submit the $75 nonrefundable application fee. If you already submitted an application fee waiver with your Common Application, you do not need to submit another fee waiver

  • How do I apply for a fee waiver?

    • On the Common App, please select the fee waiver option. Common App will send your fee waiver request to your high school counselor for confirmation. The Cooper Union will not require any additional documentation after your counselor has approved your request. Should your request be denied, you will need to log into the Common App account and process the application fees. 

  • What if I am interested in engineering but am undecided about which major to apply to? 

    • At the time of application, all applicants are required to indicate the engineering program to which they would like to apply. If you are uncertain, you may contact admissions@cooper.edu, and we can assist you with navigating which majors are most aligned to your interests and put you in touch with students in that major.

  • Can I submit additional letters of recommendation? 

    • Yes, you may submit additional letters of recommendation on the Common Application. While the admissions committee finds the required number of recommendations sufficient, you may provide an additional recommendation if you feel confident that it will address strengths or accomplishments that are not included in the application. 

  • Can I submit my application if my recommenders have not yet completed their letters of recommendation?

    • Yes. You can submit your application if your recommenders have not submitted their letters of recommendation. Your recommenders will receive a notice from the Common App to submit your letters. 

  • What if my teachers can’t write letters of recommendation?

    • For applicants to The Albert Nerken School of Engineering, we require two letters of recommendation from teachers, with at least one being from a STEM teacher. We also require a counselor recommendation alongside the Secondary School Report. A letter of recommendation from a teacher that knows you well, and can advocate for you, allows us to make informed decisions regarding your preparation for The Cooper Union. If you do not have teachers that are able to write you a letter of recommendation, please contact admissions@cooper.edu

  • Will my application be disadvantaged if I do not submit SAT or ACT scores? 

    • No. We will evaluate your candidacy with or without test scores in keeping with our standard, holistic approach. There is no advantage or disadvantage to submitting test scores. We are test optional for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022.

  • If I choose to submit my SAT or ACT tests, can I self-report?

    • Yes. You may self-report your test scores to us. Your scores will be verified after admission to The Cooper Union. 

  • What do you look for in essays?

    • It is our hope that you can thoughtfully and clearly reflect on why you wish to attend The Cooper Union, and why you are committed to the field. We want to learn more about you, what interests, what excites and motivates you, and what you hope to do with your future. 

  • Can I include unconventional extracurricular activities on the Extracurricular Activities list?

    • Yes! Any activities including work (full-time, part-time, and volunteering) can be included in the Common App. We want to hear more about how you spend your time, and if you spent it working, we want to read more about your job and when you worked there.

  • I mailed application materials recently, have you received them?

    • The offices are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We strongly recommend you submit all materials via the Common App. Should you have something you must mail, please email admissions@cooper.edu.

  • COVID-19 has changed how my school grades are reported. Will this affect my application?

    • The Cooper Union understands that COVID-19 has caused schools to review and alter their grading processes. You will not be disadvantaged for disruptions that are beyond your control. We are committed to evaluating applications holistically, drawing on school reports, letters of recommendations, and various aspects of your academic context to evaluate your preparation.

  • How can I share with you the effect COVID-19 has had in my life? 

    • Many of us have been impacted in numerous ways by COVID-19, and we want to give you space to share your experience. You can do so in the educational information section in the Common App.

Learn more about Cooper Union

  • Where can I find the Academic Calendar?

  • Internships and Career Development

    • The Center for Career Development offers effective programs and resources to an array of populations associated with The Cooper Union community, including students, employers, alumni, faculty and staff. The Center encourages creative partnerships and practical resource sharing within the Institution and with complementary external organizations.

  • Further requests for information

We also encourage prospective students, parents of prospective students, and educators to join our mailing list to stay in touch.

For more information, please view or download our publications: ViewbookAlbert Nerken School of EngineeringThe Irwin S. Chanin School of ArchitectureSchool of Art; International; and our fact sheet. While you are at it, check out some Cooper student talent

  • 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.