Professional Accreditation

In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year term, an eight-year term with conditions, a two-year term of continuing accreditation, or a three-year term of initial accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established education standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the non-accredited degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program: 

Bachelor of Architecture (160 undergraduate credits) 

The next accreditation visit for this program will be in 2025.

The NAAB expects programs to be transparent and accountable regarding the information provided to students, faculty, and the public. As a result, all NAAB-accredited programs are required to ensure that the following information is posted online and is easily available to the public:

6.1 Statement on NAAB-Accredited Degrees

All institutions offering a NAAB-accredited degree program or any candidacy program must include the exact language found in the NAAB Conditions for Accreditation, 2020 Edition, Appendix 2, in catalogs and promotional media, including the program’s website. See above.

6.2 Access to NAAB Conditions and Procedures

The program must make the following documents available to all students, faculty, and the public, via the program’s website:

a) Conditions for Accreditation, 2020 Edition

b) Conditions for Accreditation in effect at the time of the last visit

c) Procedures for Accreditation, 2020 Edition

d) Procedures for Accreditation in effect at the time of the last visit

6.3 Access to Career Development Information

The program must demonstrate that students and graduates have access to career development and placement services that help them develop, evaluate, and implement career, education, and employment plans. See the Center for Career Development

6.4 Public Access to Accreditation Reports and Related Documents

To promote transparency in the process of accreditation in architecture education, the program must make the following documents available to all students, faculty, and the public, via the program’s

a) All Interim Progress Reports and narratives of Program Annual Reports submitted since the last team visit

     2018 IPR, 2021 IPR

b) All NAAB responses to any Plan to Correct and any NAAB responses to the Program Annual Reports since the last team visit

     2019 response, 2021 response

c) The most recent decision letter from the NAAB

d) The Architecture Program Report submitted for the last visit

e) The final edition of the most recent Visiting Team Report, including attachments and addenda

f) The program’s optional response to the Visiting Team Report (not applicable)

g) Plan to Correct (not applicable)

h) NCARB ARE pass rates

NCARB publishes pass rates for each section of the Architect Registration Examination by institution. This information is considered useful to prospective students as part of their planning for higher/postsecondary education in architecture. Therefore, programs are required to make this information available to current and prospective students and the public by linking their websites to the results.

i) Statements and/or policies on learning and teaching culture

     Academic Standards and Regulations
     About The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
     Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Architecture
     Bachelor of Architecture Program Description
     Facilities and Resources
     Facilities and Resources: Studios

j) Statements and/or policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion

     Diversity and Inclusion
     Anti-Racist Resources
     Anti-Racism in Thesis Workshop
     A Manifesto and Call to Action
     Cabinet Response to the Student Letter of June 8, 2020
     Juneteenth at Cooper
     Standing with the Asian Community

Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
"Late last year, the Faculty Student Senate passed a resolution recommending we take a closer look at gender diversity issues in engineering admissions. I support the resolution and am eager to better understand this issue. I am also expanding the exploration of diversity issues college wide and establishing a new Diversity & Inclusion Task Force to help us do so. Diversity is a central feature of Cooper Union's legacy and historic mission. It's also an area where, I believe, we must lead. The structure and approach for this Task Force is being developed now and will launch shortly. The goal is to engage faculty, students and staff in a process that examines diversity and inclusion in our community in order to develop an actionable plan that drives us toward excellence by promoting inclusive practices across all facets of Cooper Union operations, pedagogy, and student support. Look for more information to come on this initiative in the coming weeks, including how you can get involved."

(Excerpted from President Sparks' communication Opportunities for Involvement in Cooper's Future, April 6, 2017)

6.5 Admissions and Advising

The program must publicly document all policies and procedures that govern the evaluation of applicants for admission to the accredited program. These procedures must include first-time, first-year students as well as transfers from within and outside the institution. This documentation must include the following:

a) Application forms and instructions

b) Admissions requirements; admissions-decisions procedures, including policies and processes for evaluation of transcripts and portfolios (when required); and decisions regarding remediation and advanced standing

c) Forms and a description of the process for evaluating the content of a non-accredited degrees

d) Requirements and forms for applying for financial aid and scholarships

e) Explanation of how student diversity goals affect admission procedures

6.6 Student Financial Information

6.6.1 The program must demonstrate that students have access to current resources and advice for making decisions about financial aid. See Financial Aid and Financial Aid at Cooper.

6.6.2 The program must demonstrate that students have access to an initial estimate for all tuition, fees, books, general supplies, and specialized materials that may be required during the full course of study for completing the NAAB-accredited degree program. See 2023-24 Tuition & Fees and Cost of Attendance

  • 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.