Frequently Asked Questions

Residence Hall Terrace

Residence Hall Terrace

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

 General Information

  • How many students attend The Cooper Union?

    • Approximately 900 students attend Cooper, which includes about 140 in The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, 225 in the School of Art, and 440 in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. We also have about 70 students in our graduate engineering program and about 10 in our graduate architecture program.

  • What is the size of a freshman class?

    • 213: 25 in the School of Architecture, 45 in the School of Art, and 143 in the School of Engineering

  • When can I visit The Cooper Union?

    • Plan your visit here

  •  Does Cooper Union have a virtual tour?

  • 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.

    • The res life team handles specific rooming requests on an individual basis: or 212-353-4099.

    • 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 is Cooper's acceptance rate?

    • Our acceptance rate for fall 2022 was 14%. This rate varies for each program: 4% architecture; 9% art; and 27% engineering. 

  • 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?

    • 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. This fall the School of Engineering will offer the math placement exam for Calculus I. All previous requirements for sitting for this exam stand: You must take the AP Calculus BC exam and receive a score of 4 or 5 to sit for the exam. You must send verified scores to in advance of the test. 

      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).

  • Does The Cooper Union offer interviews to prospective applicants?

    • 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 2022 –2023 academic year is $44,550 ($22,275 per semester).

      All incoming students receive a half-tuition scholarship. The value of this scholarship 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 to be considered for additional financial aid. The Cooper Union FAFSA code is 002710. In addition, Cooper Union offers merit scholarships to a select number of students.

      For more information regarding financial aid at The Cooper Union, click here.

      Cooper Union students are responsible for living and miscellaneous expenses. Click here to access our Budget Guide, which provides a more detailed description and estimate of 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 the creation of 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.

  • What is The Cooper Union Deferral Policy?

    • Admitted students may request to defer their offer of admission for one year. Each deferral request will be reviewed by the Office of Admissions and considered on a case-by-case basis. Learn more.

  • Is The Cooper Union requiring the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • No. Effective May 11, 2023, the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine booster mandate are no longer in effect. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination to enter our buildings. Visit our COVID-19 webpage to review the updated policy in full.

Applying to Cooper Union

  • When are applications due?

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

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

      Regular Decision
           - All schools: January 5

  • 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   

      We do not accept results from the following exams: IELTS Indicator, TOEFL ITP Plus for China, TOEFL Essentials, and PTE Academic Online.
      You must also provide English translations of any credentials not in English. 

      All international students 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, click here.

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

    • The Cooper Union is test optional for the Fall 2023 entering class. 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 wish to submit the 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 November 17 for those applying Early Decision and by January 25 for students applying Regular Decision. 

    • For application steps, click on the following link to the program /school of interest: Irwin S. Chanin School of ArchitectureSchool of Art, and Albert Nerken School of Engineering

  • 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 allows us to observe how you think and create, follow direction and manage time, and your problem-solving abilities.

    • The Hometest consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 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 will be released one week after the application deadline closes and will be viewable in your applicant portal.*

    • There is a different Hometest for Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants.

    • *Applicant portal explained in FAQ below

  • When will I receive the Hometest?

  • What is the School of Architecture Studio Test?

    • The School of Architecture Studio Test allows us to observe how you think and create, follow direction and manage time, and your problem-solving abilities.

    • The Studio Test consists of a number of visual projects to be completed in approximately 4 weeks and returned to The Cooper Union for review. The Studio Test contains its own instructions to be followed explicitly. 

    • The Studio Test will be released one week after the application deadline closes and will be viewable in your applicant portal.*

    • There is a different Studio Test for Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants.

    • *Applicant portal explained in FAQ below

  • When will I receive the Studio Test?

  • What is the applicant portal and what will I see there?

    • The applicant portal is where you can view information regarding important dates/deadlines, a checklist of all required application materials, and if given an offer of admission, instructions for next steps.
  • When/how do I get access to the applicant portal?

    • After you submit your application, you will receive an email from the Office of Admissions with important instructions on how to set up your applicant portal account login credentials.
  • How do I reset my applicant portal password?

    • Go here to reset your password. 
  • What is a portfolio? Do I need one?

    • The portfolio should be a cross-section of your best and most recent work, including ten to twenty pieces. School of Art applicants are encouraged to attend a National Portfolio Days that we attend.

    • School of Art first-year and transfer applicants are asked to submit a portfolio and sketchbook along with the Hometest.

      School of Architecture transfer applicants are asked to submit a portfolio along with the Studio Test.

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

  • 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 on to 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?

    • You can elect to apply to more than one school, though you will only be accepted to one program. You must submit an application to each program you are applying to, and indicate which is your first and which is your second choice program.  To apply to more than one program, please contact the Office of Admissions at

    • We will contact you to determine which program is your top choice. You will initially receive a decision notification for your first choice. If it is not an admitted decision, you will receive a decision notification for both your first and second choice applications. 

    • Please note, 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 login to the Common App account and process the application fees. 

  • What if I am interested in engineering but undecided on my major? 

    • 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 We will assist you in identifying the major most aligned with your interests and put you in touch with current Cooper 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 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 Albert Nerken School of Engineering applicants, 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

  • 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 2023.

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

    • Yes. You may self-report your test scores. Your scores will be verified if admitted.

  • 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 your chosen field of study. We want to learn more about you, your interests, what excites and motivates you, and what you hope to do with your future. 

  • Can I include unconventional extracurricular activities in 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. If you include work experience, we want to learn more about your job responsibilities and how it has impacted you.

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

    • Please check your application portal for updates. If you have any questions, please email us at

  • How do I withdraw my application? 

    • You may withdraw your application by emailing with the subject line Withdraw Application. In the email, you must include your full name as it appears on your application as well as the program for which you applied. The request must come directly from the applicant. The application fee is not refundable.

Learn more about Cooper Union

Please join our mailing list to stay in touch. 

For more information, please view or download our publications: ViewbookThe Irwin S. Chanin School of ArchitectureSchool of Art; Albert Nerken School of EngineeringAlbert Nerken School of Engineering Master of EngineeringFinancial AidInternational; and Fact Sheet. While you are at it, check out some Cooper student talent. Or preview Cooper by attending one of our high school programs.

  • 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.