Academic Standards and Regulations
Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree
Automatic Probation/Final Probation
Change of Grade
Change of Program
Leave of Absence
Only those students who are officially registered in a course (i.e., by approval of the dean of the School of Architecture or a faculty adviser, and notification of the Office of Admissions and Records) will have grades and credits entered on their records.
Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree
The Bachelor of Architecture degree program is a rigorous course of study that prepares students intellectually and professionally for the investigation and making of architecture. The privilege of studying at The Cooper Union, with the benefit of a 50% tuition scholarship for all admitted undergraduate students, brings with it important responsibilities. For students in the School of Architecture, these responsibilities include meeting the requirements of a demanding professional curriculum.
All students who accept our offer of admission are expected to fully commit themselves to completing degree requirements in accordance with the curriculum, which has been designed with great attention to sequence, prerequisites, and the relationships between coursework and the goals of each design studio. All classes that comprise the curriculum are essential to the education of an architect and must be successfully completed by each student in the year and sequence intended. Students admitted as freshmen will complete the program in five years; transfer students will complete the program in accordance with their placement in the design sequence.
Students who do not successfully complete required courses as outlined in the curriculum will not be permitted to advance to the next year of study until the missing requirement(s) is/are completed. Since make-up classes are not offered at The Cooper Union, missing requirements may need to be fulfilled through coursework taken outside The Cooper Union. To complete requirements outside The Cooper Union a student must meet with an appropriate academic adviser or faculty member to obtain advance approval of the potential substitute course, and to confirm the minimum grade required for transfer credit to be awarded. It is the responsibility of the student to locate an eligible course at a college/university that allows part-time/summer study; the approved course will be taken at the student’s expense. Students making up courses in this manner will be permitted to register for Cooper Union classes in September only after the Office of Admissions and Records receives a transcript showing the successful completion of these courses. It is in the best interest of each student to complete their coursework here at Cooper Union in conformance with the approved curriculum.
A student must pass a sufficient number of credits each semester to complete their degree requirements within five years of study. When dropping or adding courses, a student must follow all degree requirements for their particular year of study. The normal course load is 15–19 credits per semester. Students are required to be registered for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree may be grounds for dismissal. Students are eligible to register for more than 18 credits per semester, but not more than 20, if they have received at least a 3.0 GPA for the previous semester.
Transfer students are admitted into a specific year of the five-year design sequence. Placement in the design sequence is a condition of the offer of admission and not subject to further review or appeal. By accepting the offer of admission, the transfer student agrees to this placement and acknowledges their anticipated graduation date. There is no opportunity for transfer students to accelerate through the required design sequence.
Placement in the design studio sequence is the only transfer credit evaluation made at the time of the offer of admission. Independently of design studio placement, transfer students must fulfill all B.Arch. degree requirements either through transfer credit or by completing required and elective coursework here. Transfer credit evaluation for required and/or elective coursework in the B.Arch. curriculum, other than the design studio, is the responsibility of the individual transfer student. Transfer students are required to have all other previous courses individually evaluated for transfer credit. It may not be possible for transfer students to complete all academic coursework simultaneously with their design studio requirements. It will be necessary for the matriculating transfer student to successfully complete the design studio to which they are admitted, as well as all subsequent studios, as part of his or her degree requirements. The official academic transcript of a transfer student will be reviewed prior to the student’s first registration. This review will determine what, if any, additional coursework may be eligible for transfer credit.
Approval of transfer credit will be made by the appropriate dean or faculty based on transcripts from other schools and additional materials, including a course description, a course syllabus with topics and course requirements, a reading list, and any quizzes, examinations, papers, or projects, etc. that demonstrate the level, content, and requirements of the course, as well as the student’s proficiency with course topics. If necessary, a proficiency/placement exam may be administered in certain subject areas. Transfer students must be prepared to present these and other requested materials for each course for which transfer credit is sought. Transfer credit evaluation must be completed by the end of the first semester of study.
Currently enrolled students who find it necessary to complete degree requirements at another institution for transfer credit to The Cooper Union must have appropriate advance approval.
Credit may be granted for work done at another institution by any student upon examination by the dean. This credit is to be recorded after satisfactory completion of one semester’s work at The Cooper Union.
Grades used, with their numerical equivalents, are: A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), D (1.0), D- (.7), F (0).
Assigned numerical equivalents are used in computing semester and annual ratings by multiplying the numerical equivalent of the grade for each subject by the credits assigned to the subject. The sum of such multiplications for all the subjects carried by a student is divided by the total credits carried by them for that period to determine the average rating.
The official meanings for letter grades are as follows:
A — outstanding performance
B — above average performance
C — requirements satisfactorily completed
D — minimum requirements met; passing but unsatisfactory
F — failure to meet the minimum requirements of a subject
I — the work of the course has not been completed and assignment of a grade and credit has been postponed.
An I designation is permitted only in cases of illness (confirmed by a physician’s letter) or documentation of other extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control.
The deadline for removal of an I designation will be determined by the instructor and recorded at the time the designation is given, no later than two weeks after the start of the next semester. If the I is not removed within the set time limit, either by completing the work in the subject or by passing a reexamination, the I will automatically become an F unless the dean of the School of Architecture extends the time or the student withdraws from school.
The designation of I will be granted only with the approval of the dean.
W — the student has received permission from the instructor and the dean of the School of Architecture and has withdrawn from a course while passing the course requirements at the time of withdrawal. This permission must be obtained before the end of the sixth week of the semester. The grade is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating (grade point average) but remains on the student’s transcript (see below, Change of Program: Withdrawing from a Course). Students are not permitted to withdraw from required classes.
WF — the student has received permission from the dean of the School of Architecture and the instructor and has withdrawn from a course while failing the course requirements at the time of withdrawal. This permission must be obtained before the end of the sixth week of the semester. This grade is included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating, its numerical equivalent is 0, and it remains on the student’s transcript (see below, Change of Program: Withdrawing from a Course).
When appropriate, certain courses may be designated as Pass/Fail courses.
Pass — requirements completed. This designation is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating.
Fail — failure to meet the minimum requirements of a course. This grade is included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating; its numerical equivalent is 0.
Automatic Probation/Final Probation
The Academic Standards Committee meets following the end of the fall and spring semesters to review the academic records/status of students on automatic probation and, as necessary, final probation. These students will be informed of the meeting and will have an opportunity to appear before the Committee.
Studio Grades, Grade Point Average, and Probation
A student who receives a semester grade point average (GPA) below 2.0 will be placed on automatic probation, which may be the basis for final probation or dismissal as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student who receives a grade less than C in Architectonics, Design, or Thesis will be placed on automatic probation, which may be the basis for final probation or dismissal as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student who receives a grade of C- in Architectonics, Design, or Thesis may be required by the Academic Standards Committee to repeat the studio.
A student who receives a grade of D+, D, or D- in Architectonics, Design, or Thesis will be placed on automatic probation and will be required to repeat the studio. If, in addition, the student has a semester rating below 2.0, the Academic Standards Committee may place the student on final probation. The Academic Standards Committee may also set further academic and/or grade requirements for the student.
A student who receives an F in Architectonics or Design II—if Design II is the student’s first design studio at The Cooper Union—will be placed on probation and will be required to repeat the studio. The student will be required to receive a grade of C+ or better in the repeated class.
General Probation Rules
A student placed on automatic probation may be subject to academic requirements as determined by the Academic Standards Committee.
A second probation may result in final probation or the dismissal of the student as determined by the Committee. A student on probation may not be registered for more than 18 credits a semester.
A student may not be placed on final probation before the end of their third semester, regardless of whether the student is in Architectonics or Design II.
A student who receives an F in Design or Thesis will be placed on final probation and will be required to repeat the studio. The student will be required to receive a grade of C+ or better in the repeated class. A student who fails to meet this condition may be dismissed by the Academic Standards Committee.
A student on final probation who receives a semester rating below 2.0 and/or a grade less than C in Design or Thesis at any point during the remainder of their academic career in the School of Architecture will be automatically and permanently dismissed from The Cooper Union with a forfeit of the right of appeal.
At the Academic Standards Committee meeting immediately following automatic dismissal, the Academic Standards Committee may decide to reconsider cases of automatic dismissal and may rescind a student’s dismissal, allowing them to continue their course of study in the School of Architecture. If automatic dismissal is rescinded, the Academic Standards Committee may establish performance requirements for the remainder of the student’s education at the School of Architecture.
Automatic dismissal on final probation (not rescinded by the Academic Standards Committee) unconditionally and irrevocably terminates a student’s academic career in the School of Architecture. A student dismissed on final probation (or permitted to withdraw on final probation) cannot apply or petition for readmission to the School of Architecture.
Failing and/or Repeating Design Studio
Each student is responsible for their total accomplishment and for being continuously aware of the standards defined in the preceding paragraphs. Students whose work by midsemester indicates possible failure to meet the minimum standards of a course, including excessive absences, may be so informed and should arrange to meet with their respective faculty to address the matter in detail.
A student may not repeat any design studio (or Architectonics and Thesis) more than once. Any student who fails Arch 151 (Thesis) twice will be dropped automatically from the program.
A student may not fail Architectonics, Design, or Thesis throughout the five years more than two times in total. A third grade of F in any of these courses will result in automatic dismissal.
Additional credits for any repeated design studio (including Architectonics or Thesis) remain on a student’s transcript, but do not count towards the 160 credits required for the B.Arch. degree.
Change of Grade
A change in an official grade of record cannot be made by the dean of admissions and records without the express consent of the dean of the School of Architecture except as defined here. The dean of admissions and records will automatically convert an I designation to an F if an official change of grade is not submitted within the two-week deadline after the start of the following semester. A grade change is not permitted after the end of the subsequent semester.
Change of Program
Adding a Course
A student is permitted to add a course only during the first week of a semester, during the drop/add period, and only with the dean’s approval.
Adding a course after the drop/add period is not permitted even if the student has been attending the class.
Dropping a Course
A student may drop a course during the first week of the semester, during the drop/add period, with the dean’s approval. A student who wishes to drop a course may be required to add equivalent credits in another course as needed to maintain satisfactory progress towards the degree.
A course dropped during the first week of the semester will be deleted from the transcript.
Withdrawing from a Course
After the drop/add period a student may withdraw from a course through the sixth week of the semester, with the dean’s approval. To withdraw from a course, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain permission from the School of Architecture and to notify the instructor. If the student is passing the course at the time of withdrawal, a grade of W will appear on the transcript. If the student is failing the course at the time of withdrawal, a grade of WF will be recorded.
Failure to attend a class does not constitute withdrawal; a student who fails to attend a class without formally withdrawing will earn a grade of F in the course. A student may not withdraw from a course to avoid receiving a failing grade.
A student is not permitted to drop or withdraw from a course necessary to maintain satisfactory progress towards the degree.
Classes and studios are scheduled Monday through Friday between 9 am and 10 pm. Studio facilities are usually available to students on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the academic year. Each student is required to be punctual and to attend each scheduled class. In the case of unavoidable absence, the student should, on their return, report to the instructor to explain the absence and inquire about making up the lost work.
All architecture students are provided with studio space and are expected to work in the studio during regular business hours.
Leave of Absence
Only students in good academic standing who are making satisfactory progress toward their degree may request a leave of absence.
Students who have completed at least one year of study and need to interrupt their studies may be granted a leave of absence for up to one year by permission of the dean.
A leave of absence is generally permitted between the second and third years or the fourth and fifth years of study. Receiving a leave of absence requires a meeting with and permission from the dean of the School of Architecture.
Mandatory Leave of Absence
If it is not possible for a student to make significant progress towards degree requirements in the semester prior to repeating a studio course (as determined by the Academic Standards Committee and/or the dean), the student will be placed on a mandatory leave of absence for one semester and will resume their studies the following semester by repeating the required studio and enrolling in other classes for a total registration of at least 12 credits. If a student is permitted to continue in lieu of repeating and/or a mandatory leave of absence, the student will do so as per the instructions of the Academic Standards Committee. In both cases, the student’s registration must be approved by the dean.
Leave of Absence (other)
See link below for The Cooper Union’s regulations governing Discretionary Leave of Absence, Medical Leave of Absence, and Compulsory Medical Leave of Absence.
Students who have withdrawn from the School of Architecture after having completed at least one year of study at The Cooper Union must reapply to the School of Architecture to be considered for readmission as a transfer applicant.
Students who have withdrawn from the School of Architecture before they have completed one year of study at The Cooper Union must reapply through the freshman admission procedure.
Students who have been dismissed by the Academic Standards Committee or to whom the Academic Standards Committee has given permission to withdraw in lieu of dismissal and are eligible for readmission must apply within two years to the chair of the Academic Standards Committee before May 15 for admission in September, and before November 15 for admission in January. Applicants must be prepared to demonstrate a change from the circumstances that warranted their dismissal.
Former students who have been dismissed by the Academic Standards Committee or to whom the Academic Standards Committee has given permission to withdraw in lieu of dismissal and who have been out of The Cooper Union for more than two years (four semesters) must apply through the regular admission procedure at the time of anticipated return. If a student is offered admission, their previous Cooper Union credits earned may be evaluated for transfer credit.
A student must spend a minimum of four semesters in full-time resident study at The Cooper Union to be eligible for graduation with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree. A candidate for a degree must be enrolled and in residence during the entire academic year immediately preceding the granting of the degree.
A student must complete all curriculum requirements for the Master of Science in Architecture degree program while in residence during three semesters of study to be eligible for graduation with a Master of Science in Architecture degree.
A student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better to graduate from the School of Architecture.
Graduation requirements as outlined on this website are subject to change.
Students are responsible for their total accomplishment and for being continuously aware of the standards for graduation. To graduate, a student must complete all curriculum requirements for the Bachelor of Architecture degree program or the Master of Science in Architecture degree program.