Bachelor's Degree Requirements

The requirements for the bachelor’s degree programs must be completed within four years of first registration, except with the explicit consent of the dean/associate dean. Requests for extension must be presented in writing to the dean’s office prior to the sixth semester of registration (or the end of junior year). It is the responsibility of the student to maintain normal and reasonable progress toward the degree.

Courses may be taken at other institutions for credit with prior advisor(s) approval only. If the course is to substitute for a Cooper Union course, prior approval must be given by the chair of the appropriate department in the engineering school or by the appropriate school or faculty for courses outside engineering. The student is responsible for all costs incurred. As a general matter, many courses simply may not be taken elsewhere (e.g., Physics I). In order to get a course pre-approved, bring as much course documentation as possible to the Chair of the appropriate department to have the course assessed. These materials must include at least the syllabus and textbook. The course must be judged to be equivalent to one taught at Cooper or an appropriate high academic standard. Note that only grades “B” or better can be transferred (not B-) and the grade will not be factored into your G.P.A.

Additionally, ABET accreditation requires:

  • one year of a combination of mathematics and sciences
    (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline,
  • one and a half years of engineering topics consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student’s field of study and
  • a general educational component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institutional objectives.

In order to graduate, all students must meet the following conditions:

  • A minimum of 135 credits are required;
  • Satisfaction of all program curricula;
  • Satisfaction of the residence study requirements;
  • A minimum grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0;
  • A minimum grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0 for the junior and senior years combined.

Faculty Advisors

All first-year students have the same faculty advisor. For subsequent years, students will be assigned one, two or more advisors each, appropriate to their field of study. Each student’s program is established in consultation with his or her advisor(s); changes can only be made with approval of the advisor(s).

Humanities and Social Sciences

The requirements in this area are satisfied by courses offered by The Cooper Union Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or by transfer credit for liberal arts courses taken at other institutions. The courses in this area are intended to provide both breadth and depth and should not be limited to a selection of unrelated introductory courses.

The Cooper Union liberal arts courses, shown elsewhere in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences catalog section, have prefixes HUM, SS and HTA. The basic courses HSS1–HSS2 and HSS3–HSS4 are prerequisites for all higher level courses in the same prefix family. HUM and SS courses carry three credits each; HTA courses carry two credits. Engineering students should consult with the dean of Humanities and Social Sciences or the HSS Academic Advisor about choice of courses to satisfy particular interests.

Transfer credits for liberal arts courses must be approved by the dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. Courses that cannot be used to satisfy the Humanities and Social Sciences requirement are:

  • language skills courses such as introductory foreign language, public speaking, report writing;
  • craft and performance courses unless accompanied by theory or history;
  • subjects such as accounting, finance, engineering economy, industrial management, personnel administration.

Free Electives/Non-Technical Electives

Some programs require “free electives or non-technical electives.” For transfer credit for particular courses, the School of Art or the School of Architecture may be a more appropriate authority to sanction the transfer. Students who are uncertain should approach the Office of the Dean of Engineering in the first instance and be directed to the correct group of faculty.

Program Requirements

The specific programs for entering students are shown in detail for each department. From time to time, changes are made to these programs following curricular developments authorized by the faculty. Advances in technology and new technologies are closely monitored and are reflected by adjustments in all the engineering programs. Changes in engineering programs reflect advances in science and technology as well as advances in pedagogical techniques and developing industrial, graduate school and societal needs and expectations.

Course Substitutions and Credits

A student may request to substitute for a required course or courses given in the School of Engineering provided that:

  • the substitution is limited to 12 credits maximum toward the total number of credits required for graduation,
  • the substitution is approved by the dean/associate dean and program advisor(s) and
  • ABET accreditation requirements are not violated.

The Chemical Engineering Department does not permit the substitution of any courses.

The number of academic credits for each course generally is based on the following relationship:

  • 1 credit per contact hour in class
  • 1⁄2 credit per contact hour of laboratory

This relationship was established on the basis that generally two hours of preparation are expected of the student for every contact hour in class or project activities and generally one hour of preparation is expected for every contact hour of laboratory.

Residence Study Requirement

A candidate for a bachelor’s degree must be enrolled during the entire academic year immediately preceding the granting of the degree and must carry at least 12 credits per semester during that period. Also, the candidate must have been enrolled for a minimum of four semesters at The Cooper Union as a full-time student for the bachelor’s degree.

  • 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.