With the current high rate of contagiousness and infection from Omicron, we have made the decision to conduct all January classes remotely and to require, with limited exceptions, all employees without essential on-campus duties during this period to work from home through January 28th.  For more information on Covid-19 and the start of spring semester, please use this link to our Covid Response page.  

Vertically Integrated Projects

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program introduces a new course structure that promotes faculty-led interdisciplinary initiatives from which students can work on large scale projects over the course of several semesters. VIPs provide students with faculty mentorship and the opportunity for professional research. Moreover, students from all years are able to and encouraged to apply, allowing for peer to peer mentorship. For more details, read below.

Read about how the VIP model was initalized.

Contact VIP Program Coordinator, Professor Neveen Shlayan (neveen.shlayan@cooper.edu).

Check out Cooper's VIP Teams.

VIP @ Cooper


Multidisciplinary course supporting student and/or faculty-initiated projects guided by faculty mentorship and professional research. Undergraduate students that join VIP teams earn one credit each semester for their participation in design/discovery efforts that enable them to explore their interests through long term projects. Students are encouraged to take the course for at least three consecutive semesters Students:

  • In the first semester, they will familiarize themselves with the project, gain knowledge/skills, and begin making meaningful contributions
  • In the second semester, they will begin to master the foundations within the discipline, pursue needed knowledge/skills, make meaningful contributions, and assume technical/leadership responsibilities.
  • In the third semester, they will have mastered the foundations within the discipline, pursue further knowledge/skills, make meaningful contributions, and assume significant technical/leadership responsibilities.
  • In the fourth semester, they will pursue needed knowledge/skills, make meaningful contributions, provide leadership in technical area and team management.

The teams are:

  • Multidisciplinary - drawing students from all disciplines on campus;
  • Vertically-integrated - maintaining a mix of freshmen through senior students each semester;
  • Long-term - each undergraduate student may participate in a project for up to three years.

The continuity, disciplinary depth, and professional breadth of these teams intend to:

  • Provide the time and context necessary for students to learn and practice many different professional skills, make substantial technical contributions to the project, and experience many different roles on a large, multidisciplinary design/discovery team.
  • Support long-term interaction between the students and faculty on the team. The more senior students mentor the undergraduates as they work on the design/discovery projects embedded in the course.
  • Enable the completion of large-scale design/discovery projects that are of significant benefit to faculty members' research.
About VIP

The VIP model, initially developed at Purdue and currently housed at Georgia Tech, was awarded the 2019 ABET Innovation Award. Over the past 2 decades, over 36 institutions (i.e. NYU, ASU, Drexel, Rice, Stony Brook, Texas A&M, etc.) have adopted the VIP model while adapting and improving the structure to the nature of the respective institution. The essential elements of the VIP model include:

  1. A structure designed to address the challenges in accrediting long-term and largescale projects (those continuing for many years). Currently professors ad hoc link a series of 3-credit independent study courses, but the VIP structure divides the credit into smaller chunks and provides a structure to be cohesive.
  2. Learning outcomes focus on the development of both disciplinary and professional skills.

Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of the VIP model in incorporating high impact practices. The VIP model is a transformative approach to enhancing higher education by engaging undergraduate students in long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams that are led by faculty. Students earn academic credits, while effectively contributing to the teams’ design and discovery efforts. For more information please visit the VIP Consortium.

How to Create a VIP Team

If you have an idea for a new VIP course, please reference the team application for details on how to proceed.

Enrollment and Credit Policies
  • Students must be pursuing their undergraduate degree in order to enroll in VIP for credit. Enrollment is based on a rolling application process with a decision made before the beginning of each semester.
  • Students cannot be enrolled in more than one VIP course in each semester.
  • Students are expected to enroll in the course for at least three consecutive semesters and up to six consecutive semesters.
  • As an incentive to take at least three credits with the same team, the credits can apply
    towards the students’ degree as a technical elective. (This policy could differ for each department/major. Please check with the VIP coordinator about your respective department.)
Course Structure
  • All VIP teams are listed as different sections of
    • VIP 381X: students taking it for the first time
    • VIP 382X: students taking it for the second time
    • VIP 383X: students taking it for the third time
    • VIP 384X: students taking it for the fourth time
    • VIP 385X: students taking it for the fifth time
    • VIP 386X: students taking it for the sixth time
    • VIP 481X: students taking graduate level for the first time
    • VIP 482X: students taking graduate level for the second time
    • VIP 483X: students taking graduate level for the third time
  • Each team is designated by a section letter and course code.
  • VIP courses are open to all Cooper Students from any school.
  • Each course counts as 1 credit.

Course Pre-requisites

Students must be pursuing their undergraduate/graduate degree to enroll in VIP for credit. Enrollment is based on a rolling application process with a decision made before the beginning of each semester.

Graduate level: Junior standing, permission of instructor, 2 semester of prior VIP course work, Cap number no more than 3 credits total.

General Policies
  • Expectations for this course include weekly meetings with your team, sub-teams, or the team members designated for specific tasks related to the project. Weekly meetings should take place for 1 hour with the instructor of the course and it is expected that approximately 3 additional hours will be spent on the project each week.
  • 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.