Student Competitions

Our students participate in a number of intercollegiate research-based competitions.

Civil Engineering

National Student Steel Bridge Competition
Students design, fabricate, and build a 21-foot-long bridge using segments no longer than three feet and made entirely of steel. The bridge is judged based on its total weight, how quickly it is assembled, and how much it deflects under the applied load. The Cooper Union team has placed first in the regionals in 2016 and 2017 and participated in 2010.
toVideos of their competition are linked here: [2016 Regionals] [2017 Regionals]

Chemical Engineering

ChemE Car
The annual contest requires participants from colleges across the country to build a small vehicle powered and halted by a chemical reaction. Distances and loads are given to teams at the last minute. The Cooper Union 2017 team took second place in the regionals.

Mechanical Engineering

Formula SAE
Students conceive, design, and fabricate a small, open wheel, open cockpit formula-style car, to compete against other schools at nationally sponsored events. A set of rules constrains vehicle design in the interest of making the competition as much a brainsport, as it is a car race.

Interdisciplinary: Bio-Engineering

The iGEM competition is an annual, world wide, synthetic biology event aimed at undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students. Multidisciplinary teams work all summer long to build genetically engineered systems using standard biological parts called Biobricks.



  • 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.