Frequently Asked Questions

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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 students: 25 in the School of Architecture, 45 in the School of Art, and 143 in the School of Engineering
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. 
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?
  • Yes. 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/Dorm FAQ page.
Is there a particular percentage of a class that is admitted through Early Decision?
  • No. The percentage of students admitted through Early Decision 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 courses, etc.).
  • School of Engineering students should be prepared in calculus, chemistry and physics.
  • School of Architecture and School of Art applicants should take visual art classes (drawing, painting, design, sculpture, etc.).
  • School of Architecture applicants should take pre-calculus prior to entering The Cooper Union.
  • All students should take courses that provide a solid grounding in the liberal arts, which is a basis for the humanities and social science study at Cooper.
For which Advanced Placement (AP) examinations can I receive credit?
  • The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture may grant credit for mathematics courses. 

    The School of Art does not accept any AP credits. 

    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 School of Engineering offers a math placement exam for Calculus I. Requirements for sitting for this exam stand include a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam. Verified scores must be emailed 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?
  • No. The Cooper Union does not conduct interviews as part of our admissions process.
Can I apply after three years of high school?
  • Yes. Candidates of exceptional merit may be considered for admission after completion of three years of high school.
  • Applicants must have excellent high school records and exceptional ability, 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 cost to attend The Cooper Union?
  • Tuition for the 2023 –2024 academic year is $44,550 ($22,275 per semester).

    All incoming, undergraduate 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 available for eligible students to help cover tuition, housing, food, books, supplies, etc. The amount of additional aid will be based on a student’s demonstrated financial need. Students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered. The Cooper Union FAFSA code is 002710. In addition, The Cooper Union offers merit scholarships to a select number of students.

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

    Cooper students are responsible for living and miscellaneous expenses. Click here to access our budget guide, which provides a description and estimate of additional expenses.
Can International students work in the US on a F-1 visa?
  • F-1 students may not work off-campus during their first academic year but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

    After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:

    - Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    - Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-     completion)
    - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics               (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)

    For detailed information, click below:
    F-1 Student Employment Options | The Cooper Union
What clubs and activities exist at The Cooper Union?
  • The Cooper Union offers a variety of clubs and organizations to its students, i.e., literary and performance groups, professional and honor societies, recreational sports, religious clubs, and always welcoming the creation of more. Go here to learn about our clubs.

    The Cooper Union also offers varsity sports in men’s basketball, women’s/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:

    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 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 tests and documents do I need to apply?
  • The Cooper Union is test optional for the fall 2024 entering class. 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 program/school link of interest: Irwin S. Chanin School of ArchitectureSchool of Art, and Albert Nerken School of Engineering.
What are the application requirements for international students?
  • Undergraduate applicants whose first 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:


    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 admitted, undergraduate international students will receive the same half-tuition scholarship (currently valued at approximately $22,275 per year) that U.S. citizens and permanent residents receive. International students are ineligible to receive state or federal aid. To learn more, click here.
Does Cooper accept the GED?
  • Yes. The Cooper Union will accept the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) in lieu of the high school diploma.
What are the required writing questions on the School of Engineering application?
  • The School of Engineering requires answers to 3 writing questions:
    • The Cooper Union is a small, highly specialized, and academically rigorous school in New York City. Beyond these traits, what other aspects of the school excite you, and how might you contribute to and benefit from our learning community? (350 words)
    • Why are you interested in pursuing your chosen major (e.g., Chemical, Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering), and how do you see yourself applying your degree? (350 words)
    • If you were to give a 45-minute lecture on a specific topic to an audience, similar to a TED talk, what would your topic be and why? (250 words)
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 will receive important dates/deadlines, a checklist of all required application materials, application status updates, and if given an offer of admission, instructions for next steps.
When/how do I get access to the applicant portal?
  • Once you submit your application, you will receive an email from the Office of Admissions with instructions on how to set up your applicant portal.
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 for which you seek transfer credit. For example, if you seek transfer credit for a math course, the math department 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?
  • Yes. You can apply to more than one school, though you will only be accepted to one school. You must submit an application for each school to which you are applying and indicate your first and second choice. To apply to more than one school, 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 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 in 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?
  • The School of Engineering applicants are required to submit 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
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.
Can I include unconventional extracurricular activities in the extracurricular activities list?
  • Yes. Any activities, including work (full-time, part-time, and volunteer) 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 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

Where can I find the Academic Calendar?
Internships and Career Development
Further requests for information

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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.