Welcome New Engineering Students

On behalf of the entire faculty of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering, I want to welcome you to one of the best undergraduate engineering schools in the nation! Our curriculum is rigorous and challenging but you will find a community of faculty, staff, administrators, and peers who will support you and help you navigate these next four years.

As you prepare for your first year at The Cooper Union, I have compiled a list of key school policies that are particularly important and timely. All school policies relating to code of conduct, alcohol, drugs, smoking, copyrights, sexual assault, nondiscrimination, and anti-harassment can be found on the Cooper Union website at: Current Catalog. Please ensure that you read these policies before classes begin as you will be responsible for abiding by the rules and regulations found there.

Email, Mail, and Lockers: You should have received an e-mail with information about your new Cooper Union email address with an @cooper.edu extension. If you have any difficulty, please contact itsupport@cooper.edu for support. It is essential that you check your Cooper Union email regularly as this is the primary way we will communicate with you. Additionally, please make sure you check your physical mailbox (color-coded by major on the 5th floor) regularly as information will also be shared with you there.

Information about the lockers will be sent under separate cover.

Mail: All mail and packages must be addressed to the centralized mailing address. Please see the examples below.

If a student lives in the residence hall:

Student Name
Cooper Union
29 3rd Avenue 
Apt. #
New York, NY 10003

If a student does not live in the residence hall:

Student Name
Student (Non-Resident)
Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
Student email address

Students will be notified by email when an item arrives. Items must be picked up during mail room service hours (usually Monday – Friday, 9 am – 6 pm, Foundation Building, lower-level room B00A), and if items are not picked up after seven business days, they will be sent back to the return address unless other arrangements have been made.

Placement ExamsThe Mathematics Department will administer a Calculus placement exam on Wednesday, August 25, from 9 am to 12 pm in Rose Auditorium. Students should arrive by 8:30 am and bring an ID. This examination is required for all students who are requesting credit for Calculus I and/or advanced placement in mathematics courses (including transfer students). Pre-requisite: a 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus AP Exam, or, in the case of transfer students, at least a B in a college-level calculus course worth at least 4 credits.

Students will be notified of the placement exam results prior to the beginning of the semester. Students who either do not take or do not pass the placement examination will be automatically registered for Ma 111 during their first semester. Students who pass the placement exam are not required to “place out” of Calculus I and start in Calculus II. Students with passing scores on the placement exam will be contacted by Dean Ruben Savizky and will have the option to register for Ma 113 or Ma 111. Transfer students with passing scores must schedule an appointment with the Chair of the Mathematics Department in order to discuss placement. Please send your official BC Calculus AP Exam scores to the office of admissions if you have not done so already.

The Chemistry and Physics departments do not offer placement exams. All students are required to enroll in the chemistry and physics course sequences.

Registration: You will be automatically registered for your first semester and we will register you for your required second semester courses as well, sometime in November. You can access your educational plan (i.e., the list of courses you will be taking throughout your career at Cooper Union) through the Student Self-Service portal. As a first-year student, this plan requires Dean Savizky’s approval before it can be accepted by the Office of the Registrar. For the subsequent three years, you will be assigned a departmental advisor or advisors who will review and approve your annual plan.

Registration Changes are currently handled through an “Add/Drop” process that also requires the approval of Dean Savizky. The Office of the Registrar will process these changes. If a course is dropped between the second and eighth week of the semester, the letter “W” will appear next to the course on your transcript for that course. Please extend the courtesy of promptly informing the instructor by email that you are dropping their course. After the eighth week of the semester, students cannot withdraw from a course unless a documented medical or other such extenuating circumstance exists.

Academic Advisement: Dean Ruben Savizky (ruben.savizky@cooper.edu) is the first-year advisor. In conjunction with your respective department chairperson, he will guide you regarding issues with scheduling, course sections, and any other aspects of your academic pursuits. Dean Savizky can be found in the Dean’s Office on the 2nd floor of 41 CS. He can be reached at 212.353.4372.

Departmental Advisor: After the first year, your department chairperson (see below) will assign a full-time faculty member to be your advisor. Only a full-time faculty member may serve as an advisor. During your sophomore, junior, and senior years, you will complete your course registration with the guidance and approval of your assigned faculty advisor before it is accepted by the Office of the Registrar. It is your responsibility to contact your advisor and set up an appointment in a timely manner before you register. This meeting must be conducted in person.

  • Chemical Engineering: Prof. Charles Okorafor
  • Civil Engineering: Prof. Vito Guido
  • Electrical Engineering: Prof. Fred Fontaine
  • Mechanical Engineering: Prof. Melody Baglione
  • General Engineering: Dean Ruben Savizky

Changes of Major: Because much of your first-year coursework is common to all disciplines, you will not be allowed to change majors until after your second semester grades are available. To be considered for a change of major, a minimum Overall GPA of 3.0 is required. Additionally, approval from the Chair of the department you wish to enter is also required and each department has its own specific transfer policies. In addition, other factors may influence whether a department can accept a student transfer such as department class capacity. A “change of major” form is available at Forms for Engineering Students, Faculty & Staff | The Cooper Union and you should also schedule a meeting with Dean Ruben Savizky to discuss your options. Ultimate approval of the change must come from the Dean’s Office.

Disability Accommodations: Students seeking accommodations due to a condition covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act are required to formally self-identify through the Office of Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will work with the students to clarify requested accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to speak directly with each of their faculty members to see how their accommodations can be met in each unique classroom and/or laboratory setting. The Dean of Students, Chris Chamberlin, can be reached by email at christopher.chamberlin@cooper.edu and his office is located on the 3rd floor of student residence hall.

Academic Standards: Academic probation is the consequence of unsatisfactory scholarship which may involve a compulsory reduction of academic load, interviews with an assigned advisor, and additional academic counseling. The Academic Standards Committee prescribes the conditions that a student must meet before being removed from probation. A student whose semester GPA is 2.0 or lower is on automatic probation and may be considered a candidate for dismissal by the Academic Standards Committee. Additional details can be found at: Academic Standards and Regulations

You are responsible for seeking the help you need in succeeding at The Cooper Union. Reach out to your faculty advisor and department chairs proactively. The rigorous curriculum at The Cooper Union is unlike what you have experienced in high school. Faculty and administrators are here to help you, but we need you to take the first step. Take ownership of this experience and take it seriously, as it will set you up for the remainder of your career in college.

Academic Integrity: Professors at The Cooper Union are committed to preserving an environment that challenges every student to realize their potential. You are expected to provide your best efforts in your studies and will be supported to produce original work of the highest caliber. Firm guidelines defining violations of academic integrity are listed in the Course Catalog under ‘Academic Standards and Regulations’. If the definitions of Academic Integrity are unclear to you, it is your responsibility to review your professor’s policies or to ask your advisor to ensure compliance.

Leaves of Absence: Discretionary or medical leaves of absence from The Cooper Union can be granted with a written request to the Dean of Engineering. In the case of illness, supporting documentation from the qualified treating medical personnel must accompany the request. Similarly, an application for readmission must be accompanied by certification of fitness to return to school in such medical cases. Forms for leaves of absence and readmission can be found here: Forms for Engineering Students, Faculty & Staff | The Cooper Union

Illness: We cannot accommodate you in terms of allowances, make-up examinations, etc., unless we have documented evidence from the treating medical professional concerning an illness. You must notify the Dean of Students (christopher.chamberlin@cooper.edu) so that your professors can be informed of your condition. Debilitating physical or psychological issues should be reported to the Dean of Students also, so that you can be advised about finding suitable help.

Medical Absences: Attendance policies are set for each course by individual faculty members. The expectation is that students will attend every class. Students who have medical excuses for missing class should contact the Dean of Students promptly. Students will be required to provide the Dean of Students with documentation from a medical provider justifying the absence. The Dean of Students will inform faculty when an absence is due to a valid medical issue/condition so that the absence can be considered excused. It is important to note that even with excused medical absences; a student is still responsible for completing all the course requirements. For many courses, attendance is a vital component of the classroom learning experience. If, in the opinion of the faculty member, a student’s absences have resulted in their missing vital components of in-class discussions and experiences, the student may be required to withdraw from a course and retake it even with valid medical excuses. In addition to communicating with the Dean of Students, students must remain in regular communication with their faculty when they need to miss a class. The Dean of Students, Chris Chamberlin, can be reached by email at christopher.chamberlin@cooper.edu and his office is located on the 3rd floor of the student residence hall.

Resignation: A student may “resign” at any time in writing; a resignation is permanent and is accompanied by a separation notice that is placed in the student’s file.

Class Schedules and Timing: Classes start on the hour and end ten minutes before the end of that hour. For classes of more than 50 minutes in duration, suitable breaks will be given. If a course is not following this timing, please contact the Office of the Dean of Engineering. Current class schedules can be found at the following link: Class Schedule | Cooper Union. This link also contains a list of textbooks.

Club hours: Club hours are between 12 pm and 2 pm on Tuesdays and 5 pm and 6 pm on Thursdays. Use of club hours for academic purposes is strictly forbidden: this includes makeup classes, examinations (except for placement exams), etc. If a class or other class activity is scheduled during club hours, please report it to the Office of the Dean of Engineering.

Credits for Internships/Research: The Cooper Union School of Engineering does not grant credit for programs of study or research or internships other than those specifically pre-approved by the appropriate department in the School of Engineering and the Engineering Dean’s Office. Credit for programs of study or research or internships is not granted retroactively. In addition, it is never possible for students to receive both academic credit and a salary/stipend (if one is offered) for such an academic program.

Courses taken at other institutions: If you wish to take a course elsewhere and want the credit transferred to The Cooper Union, the course must be pre-approved by the Chair of the appropriate Cooper Union department. Some required courses in many departments may not be replaced by courses taken elsewhere. In order to get a course pre-approved, bring as much course documentation as you can 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. Note that credits may be transferred only when a grade of “B” or better (not B-) has been achieved and the grade will not be factored into your GPA.

Five-Year Plan”: Our undergraduate programs are designed to be completed in four years; extensions are uncommon and are only granted by the Dean in exceptional circumstances. In some cases, students may be required to complete courses elsewhere at their own expense, but only with pre-approval of the departmental chairperson in which the course is offered at The Cooper Union.

Full-Time Student” Status: You must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester to be considered a full-time student. Failure to maintain a 12-credit load has important consequences for your mandatory health insurance coverage and for any supplemental funding including financial aid. Medical insurance for international students taking less than 12 credits a semester may be affected as well, however, their F-1 status will not be affected.

Humanities and Social Sciences: The Cooper Union is comprised of four faculties—Art, Architecture, Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). Adding, dropping, or section changes of humanities courses, requires the approval of the humanities faculty. The HSS Dean’s Office is on the 3rd floor of 41 Cooper Square.

Safety, Security, and Campus Emergencies: The Cooper Union is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students, staff, and faculty. All laboratory personnel and professors will review safety procedures posted in their labs before you start working with them.

If you witness any safety violations, you are strongly urged to report them to the supervising staff member and/or professor. Important campus-wide safety and emergency guidelines are handed out to every student but can also be found at: Campus Safety & Security. Remember, you are an integral part of keeping our campus safe and secure. Every active student will be provided with a photo identification card that must be swiped to gain entry into 41 Cooper Square, the Foundation Building, and the Residence Hall. Visitors can be signed in through the Dean’s Office; host students must accompany their guests at all times. Visitor’s passes are issued in the Dean’s Office, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.

Visiting International Students: Visiting international students will receive their student handbook by email, and an orientation meeting will be scheduled within the first two weeks of classes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Beth Slack at beth.slack@cooper.edu or 212.353.4287.

Course Substitutions (“Twelve Credit Rule”): In consultation with the student, a department may substitute up to twelve (12) credits of required courses with other coursework at The Cooper Union. The intent of the faculty is to permit flexibility in the curricula and to allow for the possibility of tailoring a program to a student’s particular goals. A waiver request must first be approved by the corresponding department Chair and then countersigned by the Office of the Dean of Engineering. Note that engineering departments have varying policies regarding courses taken outside The Cooper Union. Substitutions are not allowed for core courses.

Again, welcome to Cooper Engineering!

Dean Shoop

  • 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.