Academic Regulations

Credits Unless otherwise noted, HSS courses with the prefixes HUM and SS carry three credits and courses with the prefix HTA carry two credits.

Prerequisites The prerequisites for all courses with the prefixes HUM and SS are HSS1, 2, 3 and 4. HTA 1, 2 and 3 or HTA 101 and 102 are prerequisites for HTA electives. Exceptions may be granted by special permission of the dean.

Grades At the end of every semester, each student receives a grade for his or her semester’s work in each subject. Grades, with their official significance, are as follows: A Outstanding performance B Very good performance C Average performance D Passing but unsatisfactory F Failure to meet minimum requirements

Indicators of plus (+) and minus (-) are used with the grades A, B, C and D. (The grade of A+ is, however, not given.) These indicators are included in computing grade point averages.

Grade of Incomplete (I) Work of the course not completed and assignment of grade and credit postponed. This designation will be given only in cases of illness (confirmed by authorized physician’s letter) or of other documented extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control, and only with the approval of the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

The deadline for removal of an I designation will be determined by the instructor, but will not be later than six weeks after the start of the spring semester for students who receive such a grade in the fall semester and not later than two weeks after the start of the fall semester for students who receive such a grade in the spring 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 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences extends the time or the student withdraws from school. The Contract for Grade of Incomplete is available here. To learn more, please see Incomplete - FAQ for Instructors

W Withdrawal (see below)

WU Unauthorized withdrawal (see below)

Change of Program

Adding a Course A student is permitted to add a course only during the first week of a semester, during the drop/add period, and only with the adviser’s approval. Adding a course after the drop/add period is not permitted even if the student has been attending the class.

Dropping a Course A student may drop a course during the first week of the semester, during the drop/add period, with the adviser’s approval. A course dropped during the first week of the semester will be deleted from the transcript.

Withdrawing from a Course A student anticipating inability to continue an assigned program should immediately see his or her adviser. After the drop/add period a student may withdraw from a course through the eighth week of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the necessary permission from the adviser and to notify the instructor in order to withdraw from a course. A grade of W will appear on the transcript. A student who stops attending a course without permission of the adviser will receive a grade of WU. However, if the student is failing the course at the time of the unauthorized withdrawal, the instructor is free to record a grade of F. A student is not permitted to drop or withdraw from a course if doing so would impede satisfactory progress towards the degree.


Students are required to complete all assignments and examinations on time. In the case of schedule conflict or an unavoidable delay in completing an assignment, the student should discuss the problem with his or her instructor. Failure to complete assignments on time may result in an F grade for the course.


Students are expected to attend all classes. No more than the equivalent of one week of unexcused absences will be permitted. In the event of absence a student should contact the instructor in advance. Students who miss more than the equivalent of one week of classes in any one course may receive a reduction of the final grade or, at the discretion of the instructor, may be required to withdraw from the course.


Students are expected to be punctual. Late students may be refused entry to a class. Chronic, unexcused lateness may result in a reduction of the final grade or in failure.

Academic Integrity

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences expects all students to demonstrate the highest levels of academic integrity. Violations of academic integrity have consequences, including, but not limited to, failure for the course. The Dean of the student's school will be notified. See more information or a paper copy of the policy may be obtained from the HSS dean’s office.

Student Behavior

Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the guidelines in the Code of Conduct.

Transfer Credit

Transfer students may be placed out of some courses based on their previous undergraduate work. Credit for HSS courses will be awarded only when the course taken elsewhere is similar in form and content to the course given at Cooper Union, and when the grade received in that course is a B or higher. AP, non-academic, and on-line courses are not accepted.

Any student interested in transferring credits must make an appointment with the Director of Academic Advising who will review the syllabus of the completed course and a copy of one completed assignment. Students must ensure that they have those documents ready when they come in for their appointment. 

Independent Studies

Independent Studies are voluntary agreements between individual full-time or part-time faculty members and individual students, in which students complete a course of study and assignment. Only juniors and seniors in good academic standing (defined as having earned a minimum of 3.0 GPA overall) are eligible for Independent Study. They cannot exceed 2 credits. Faculty conduct  Independent Studies with students who have already completed a class or other educational/research activity under their supervision. The course of study and assignment for a 1 or 2-credit Independent Study typically consist of a reading list and assignment comparable to that required for a 1 or 2-credit course. Independent Studies are intensive activities. Faculty members regard them as a significant commitment.  The major consideration in approving proposals for Independent Studies is the educational value of the study project within the structure of degree requirements. Independent Studies may not be used to satisfy the credits for the core curriculum.  

If an HSS full-time or part-time faculty member is willing to supervise an Independent Study, the student should ask the faculty member to complete this form and submit the signed application to the HSS Dean's Office no later than the end of the first week of the semester for approval. LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. The work cannot begin unless the Independent Study is approved by the Dean.

  • 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.