HSS Independent Study Policy

An Independent Study is designed by a student and a faculty member to deepen an investigation in a field or specialization not offered in the scheduled course offerings.  

The course of study and assignments for a 2-credit independent study typically consists of a reading list comparable to that required for a regular 2 credit course (HTA electives, for example), which can range from 30-50 pages of reading per week, and a total of 12 pages of polished writing for the semester. 

A 1-credit independent study requires 2 hours of work outside of class per week; a 2-credit independent study requires 4 hours of work outside of class per week.  

An Independent Study cannot exceed 2 credits. 

Eligibility requirements: 

  • junior or senior standing or a 5th year in Architecture;  
  • cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; 
  • successful completion of a previous course with the supervising faculty member 

Other considerations: 

  • a maximum of 4 credits over the course of a student's undergraduate career can be taken as Independent Studies 
  •  students can only take one Independent Study per semester  

The primary 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.   

An Independent Study may be supervised only by full-time or part-time faculty members who have taught in HSS for at least 6 semesters. If an HSS full-time or part-time faculty member is willing to supervise an Independent Study, the student should work with them to complete this form and submit the signed application to the HSS Dean's Office for approval no later than the end of the first week of the semester. The Dean will update the applicant regarding the status of the proposal. 


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.