The goal of the B.F.A. program is to educate students in the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for professional practice in art- and design-related fields over the course of its four years. An integrated program not only teaches students in specific disciplines, but also in the complex interrelation of all visual vocabularies.

The Foundation Program consists of a series of prerequisite courses taken during the first year. This introductory year is designed as a basis for the educational program of the School of Art and is intended to prepare students for studies in all of the disciplines offered within the curriculum. Through exposure to a variety of two- and three-dimensional projects, students are given a general introduction to the specifics of visual and spatial phenomena, and to concepts, principles and techniques of the visual arts.

Following the completion of the Foundation Program, the disciplines offered are drawing, film and video, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Elective studio classes and seminars are also offered on a rotating basis. Students may choose to focus their work in one or more areas of specialization and are encouraged to follow an integrated approach by selecting from various areas while observing a prerequisite system designed to allow in-depth study in specific disciplines.

Students may enroll in advanced studio classes with the same course number multiple times. Instructors and syllabi in these courses will vary. In addition, the content of advanced studio classes changes with the mix of students in each class. Consequently, the development of individual students’ work varies with the interchange of ideas among these students and their instructor. The School of Art believes that the ability to work with the same instructor in the same discipline multiple times (even as the course content changes) can foster a valuable mentoring relationship between an instructor and an advanced student.

  • 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.