Academic Standards and Regulations

ATTENDANCE

Attendance at classes is mandatory. Unexcused absences and excessive lateness will be cause for probation or dismissal.

CREDITS

A credit is an academic unit of measure used for recording progress in the program of study and in meeting the academic requirements of the degree. In studio and lecture courses, one credit represents a minimum of three hours of work during each week of a 15-week semester dedicated solely to that course. These criteria apply to each course in which the student is enrolled.

Example in studio courses:
Drawing, 3 credits, equals 9 hours of work per week (i.e., 4 hours in class and 5 hours outside work [studio or home] or 3 hours in class and 6 hours outside work).

Example in techniques courses:
Casting Techniques, 2 credits, equals 6 hours of work per week (i.e., 4 hours in class and 2 hours outside work).

Example in a lecture course:
English Literature, 3 credits, equals 9 hours of work per week (i.e., 3 hours in class and 6 hours of outside work).

The number of credits awarded in each course represents the fulfillment of an agreement by the student to satisfy the course requirements as defined by each instructor, on time, and in accordance with the definition of credit.

Additional Credits in an Advanced Studio Course Juniors and seniors in good academic standing may request to add credits to their individual course commitments within the following limitations: no more than two additional credits in one course and no more than a total of three additional credits in any one semester.

Written approval of the instructor and the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs must be obtained during the registration or drop/add period. Permission will be granted only under special circumstances.

Additional Credits in a Semester Normal progress towards a degree is approximately 16 credits per semester. Students may register for up to 20 credits only if they earned a minimum 3.0 GPA for the previous semester. Under special conditions and with the permission of the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs, students may register for more than 20 credits. Students who wish to register for less than 16 credits must do so in consultation with the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs.

INDEPENDENT STUDY

Independent study in a School of Art subject is an alternative to classroom study and may be taken only with a member of the resident faculty (defined as full-time or proportional-time faculty members or adjunct faculty members who have taught at the School of Art for at least seven semesters). Only juniors and seniors in good academic standing are eligible for independent study. Independent study in a School of Art subject may be taken only once during a semester for one, two, or three credits. One credit of independent study represents a minimum of three hours of work during each week of a 15-week semester.

The major consideration in approving proposals for independent study is the educational value of the study project within the structure of the degree requirements. Permission to undertake independent study off-campus can be given only when it is required by the nature of the specific project and when the experience has been evaluated to be valid by the instructor and approved by the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs.

GOOD STANDING, PROBATION, DISMISSAL & ADMINISTRATIVE COURSE WITHDRAWAL

Good standing is defined as a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher and normal progress toward the degree. A semester GPA below 2.0, and/or failure to make normal progress, places students on probation and makes them subject to dismissal by the Academic Standards Committee. Students with unexcused absences and those excessively late to class are also subject to probation or dismissal.

Post-Semester Review Student grades are reviewed at the end of each semester by the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs and the Academic Standards Committee. Students who are at risk of dismissal will be invited to write a letter to provide context around their unsatisfactory academic performance. Students who are subsequently placed on probation or dismissed will be notified in writing. Decisions regarding probation are final. Students may appeal dismissal.

Probation Students on probation who do not improve their academic standing during the probationary semester or who fail to meet minimal academic standards during any subsequent semester are subject to further probation or dismissal from The Cooper Union.

Dismissal Students who are dismissed who wish to return to The Cooper Union may appeal their dismissal and/or apply for readmission. Instructions for appeal and readmission are included in dismissal letters. Questions should be directed to the Office of Academic Advisement & Off-Campus Programs.

Administrative Course Withdrawal If an instructor determines that a student’s behavior is hindering the educational progress of the class, the instructor will first make the student aware of the concerns in writing and, if appropriate, provide an opportunity for the student to change their behavior. If the behavior continues, the instructor will consult with the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Study and the Office of the Dean of the School of Art to determine next steps. If it is determined that the student has been provided with reasonable opportunity to participate without hindrance to the educational progress of the class, and that even with these opportunities, the student has not modified their behavior, then the student may be withdrawn from the course and receive a grade of W. Students may appeal such decisions by writing to the Dean of the School of Art within three business days of the notice of course withdrawal.

GRADES

At the end of every semester students receive grades for their semester’s work in each subject.

The letter grades which may be given in School of Art courses 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).

The numbers in parentheses give the assigned numerical equivalents of the letter grade for each course. These are used in computing semester index and cumulative index ratings by multiplying the numerical equivalent of the grade for each course by the credits assigned to that subject. The sum of such multiplications for all the subjects carried by a student is divided by the total credits carried for that period to determine the index or grade point average.

The meanings for the letter grades are as follows:
A Outstanding performance
B Above average performance
C Requirements completed; average performance
D Passing, but unsatisfactory
F Failure to meet the minimum requirements of a subject
I Incomplete (see below)
W Withdrawn (see below)
WU Withdrawn Unauthorized (see below)

I The designation I indicates that the work of the course has not been completed and that assignment of a grade and credit has been postponed. An I will be given only in cases of illness (confirmed by a physician’s letter) or documentation of other extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control. The designation of I will be granted only with the approval of the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs.

The deadline for removal of an I designation will be determined by the instructor and recorded at the time the designation is given, but will not be 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 Art extends the time or the student withdraws from school before the deadline date.

W Indicates that the student has withdrawn from the course. Students must request course withdrawals through the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs by the deadline posted on the academic calendar (approximately the eighth week of the semester). The grade is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating. Students are encouraged to speak with their instructors both before and after their decision to withdraw.

WU A student who stops attending a course without withdrawing through the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs may receive a grade of WU; however, the instructor is free to record a grade of F in such a case. A WU grade is not included in the calculation of the student’s semester rating, while an F grade is included.

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.

A change in an official grade of record, other than the I designation, cannot be made by the Office of Admissions and Records without the express written consent of the instructor and the dean of the School of Art. Grade changes will not be accepted after one year has elapsed from the completion of the course.

GRADUATION

To be eligible for graduation, students must complete the minimum number of credits required for the BFA degree and must have been enrolled for a minimum of four semesters at The Cooper Union as a full-time student for the BFA.

All candidates for the BFA degree must satisfactorily complete the requirement for a senior presentation.

Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better in order to graduate from The Cooper Union School of Art.

Students eligible to graduate and participate in commencement exercises must be approved by the Faculty of the School of Art.

Students who have not fulfilled the requirements for graduation will normally not be permitted to participate in commencement exercises.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE & REINSTATEMENT

See Cooper Union’s regulations governing leaves of absence.

In the School of Art, a maximum of two semesters of discretionary leave are available only upon completion of the first-year Foundation Program. Students who are considering a discretionary leave should first contact the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs. Before taking such a leave, all financial obligations to The Cooper Union must be satisfied.

Students who require a medical leave should first contact the Dean of Students.

All requests for leaves of absence or reinstatement from leave must be made in writing to the appropriate dean(s).

A student on leave is inactive and does not have access to the facilities of The Cooper Union.

READMISSION

Students who have been dismissed or who have withdrawn from the school and wish to be considered for readmission must reapply through the readmission procedure. Questions should be directed to the Office of Academic Advisement & Off-Campus Programs.

REGISTRATION & CHANGE OF PROGRAM

Only those students who are officially registered in a course will have credits and a grade entered on their records. Students are required to register for each semester through the online registration system, during the announced registration period.

A student who receives a grade of F, W, or WU in the first semester of a two-semester course sequence will not be allowed to register for the second semester of that course. In such a situation the student will consult with the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs in order to determine a future program of study. Students whose records by mid-semester indicate a possible failure to meet required standards may be so informed.

Adding a Course A student is permitted to add a course during the drop/add period with approval from the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs.

Dropping a Course A student may drop a course during the drop/add period with approval from the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs. A student who wishes to drop a course may be advised to add equivalent credits as needed to maintain satisfactory progress towards the degree.

A course dropped during the drop/add period will be deleted from the transcript.

Withdrawing from a Course A student who wishes to leave a course after the drop/add period must request course withdrawal through the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs. The deadline, approximately the eighth week of the semester, is posted on the academic calendar. A grade of W will appear on the transcript.

A student who stops attending a course without withdrawing may receive a grade of either WU or F at the instructor’s discretion.

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT

A candidate for a degree must have been enrolled during two academic semesters preceding the granting of the degree and in residence during the last semester.

TRANSFER CREDIT

Freshmen with advanced standing and transfer students may apply for transfer credits to be counted toward the BFA degree requirements. These credits must be approved by the dean of the School of Art, after the evaluation by faculty based on official transcripts from other schools. The transfer credits will be officially recorded only after one semester of satisfactory work is completed at The Cooper Union.

Transfer credits may be granted specifically in lieu of the School of Art’s foundation, prerequisite, or elective courses. A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred toward the BFA degree, at the time of admission only. An accepted applicant who has previously earned a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than art will be treated as a transfer student for purposes of evaluating completion of degree requirements and length of time allotted at The Cooper Union to complete the BFA.

The required 10 credits of free electives, however, must be completed during the student’s stay at The Cooper Union. No previously earned credits may be transferred into this category. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the Admissions Committee, with the approval of the dean of the School of Art, at the time of admission only. (See School of Art Transfer Requirements)

WITHDRAWAL FROM SCHOOL

Written requests for withdrawal from school should be addressed to the dean of the School of Art and submitted through the Office of Academic Advising & Off-Campus Programs.

The academic standards and regulations outlined here are guidelines that are subject to change.

Students are responsible for their total accomplishment and for being continuously aware of the standards defined in the preceding paragraphs.

  • 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.