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.
Cooper Union’s mission is to provide outstanding academic programs in architecture, art and engineering to gifted students who will make enlightened contributions to society. All Cooper Union students receive close contact with a distinguished and creative faculty, and a rigorous, humanistic learning environment stimulated by the process of design and enhanced by the urban setting.
Through outstanding academic programs in architecture, art and engineering, and a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art prepares talented students to make enlightened contributions to society.
From the start, 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.
Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills that lead to prosperity while, at the same time, enriching their intellects and sparking their creativity. And he had a third purpose as well: To instill a sense of social justice that would translate into action. In 1859, such a broad pedagogical goal was visionary; today, it is the standard by which excellence in higher education is measured.
The Cooper Union’s Foundation Building is a national and city landmark. Its Great Hall has served as a public forum since 1859, when 3,500 people could stand to hear free lectures by the speakers whose views were reshaping society. This exceptional venue served as a platform for Abraham Lincoln’s “Right Makes Might” and the birth of the NAACP and the women's suffrage movement. As a presidential candidate and then returning two years later as President, Barack Obama spoke on financial reform and economic regulation. Today, The Great Hall continues as a forum for civic discourse, cultural events, performances and community activities.
The Cooper Union’ s new building at 41 Cooper Square—a technologically advanced academic facility—is located on the east side of Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets. Awarded LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), 41 Cooper Square houses the college’s Albert Nerken School of Engineering and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences along with additional facilities for the School of Art and the