Introduction to Architecture for High School Students

Introduction to Architecture:
Foundation Studies and Portfolio Development for H.S. Students
July 8 - August 9, 2019  |  5-week session, 9:30AM - 4:00PM

Program Description

Eligibility/Application/Cost and Fees

Program Policies

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Description

The Cooper Union announces a new Introduction to Architecture summer program for high school students. This five-week intensive is designed to familiarize students with architectural thinking and design while taking advantage of the school’s location in downtown Manhattan. Students who attend the program and successfully complete all of the assignments will receive an official Certificate of Completion from The Cooper Union.

Faculty will be drawn from the School of Architecture as well as visiting architects.  In line with college-level professional programs in architecture, the core of the program is the Design Studio. Mornings will consist of workshops, seminars and visits to some of New York City’s most significant architectural spaces. In the afternoons, students will work in the studio space of The Cooper Union’s landmark Foundation Building in the heart of the East Village. Studio exercises will focus on the key principles of architectural design: geometry, structure and function. The goal of this intensive is for students to learn how to translate their ideas into three-dimensional form.

Students will receive instruction in a variety of representational tools and media: freehand and technical drawing, model-making techniques, digital analysis and representation, computer modeling and fabrication. Weekly lectures will introduce some of the great works in the history of architecture. Throughout the month walking tours will explore the urban fabric of New York City and visits to architecture offices will allow students to meet architects with local and international practices.

Over the course of the program, the students will develop a set of projects through models and drawings collected into a portfolio. The design faculty will work with each student, individually and as a group, to review and edit their projects, resulting in a portfolio that may be used as part of the college application process.


The program accepts current junior and senior students as well as students who have recently graduated from high school. 


Applicants will fill out an application form including a statement of no more than 300 words expressing their interest in the program and one letter of reference. Admission is on a competitive rolling basis as space allows; successful applicants will be accepted based on all submitted documents. We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible.nbsp;Applicants may access the online application here

Cost and Fees

Program Cost: $3,980 Includes access to computer labs, plotters and printers and studios. Students will be responsible for purchasing supplies and printing fees as applicable.

Application Fee: $40*

Successful applicants will be responsible for paying the program cost in full upon acceptance.* 


Housing is not available during the summer sessions through The Cooper Union. 


Program Policies

Grades, Evaluations, and Credit
The Introduction to Architecture for High School Students is academically rigorous, but it does not offer college-credit. Individual assignments, class participation and attendance will be evaluated by the instructors. Upon successfully completing the course, students will receive an official Statement of Completion from The Cooper Union.
Successful completion is determined by the instructors and the administration of the School of Architecture and will be based on attendance, satisfactory completion of assignments, participation in group critiques, studio work and productivity, and adherence to the program's Code of Conduct. 
Class attendance is carefully monitored. Students are expected to attend all classes unless they are ill. A student who misses multiple class sessions may not receive a Certificate of Completion, even if those absences are excused.
Class Participation
Class attendance is mandatory. A student who misses multiple class sessions may not receive a Certificate of Completion, even if those absences are excused. Unexcused absences can lead to dismissal from the program. In the event that a student is dismissed due to unexcused absences, no portion of tuition will be refunded. Students are expected to engage seriously in their studies through class participation, completion of assigned work, and critique. Disruptive behavior in any form will not be tolerated.
Academic Integrity
The Cooper Union is committed to preserving an environment that challenges every student to realize his or her potential. You are expected to provide your best effort and will be supported to produce original work of the highest caliber. Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s “work” (ideas, words, equations, computer code, graphics, lab data, etc.) as one’s own. Plagiarism in any form is not tolerated and may lead to dismissal from the program.
Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of the students and the integrity of the college. They are strictly enforced and failure to abide by them results in dismissal from the Introduction to Architecture for High School Students. A student’s adherence to the Code of Conduct is determined by the instructors and administration of the School of Architecture.
In the event a student is dismissed due to violating the Code of Conduct, he/she will not receive a Certificate of Completion and no portion of tuition will be refunded. Students who have been dismissed are not permitted to return to campus for the duration of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

• I do not have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
You do not need any prior experience in or have studied architecture to participate in the Introduction to Architecture program.  
• Are there any specific math or engineering skills necessary? What about computer software skills?
Students who wish to enroll in the Introduction to Architecture program are not required to have specific skills beyond basic math and general computer literacy.
• What is the attendance policy? What if I have to miss a class?
All programs are full-time, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Attendance at class meetings is mandatory and students should expect to spend time outside of class developing their projects. Students will have access to the studio at The Cooper Union until 6:30pm. Full participation is necessary to remain enrolled in the program. Students with 3 unexcused absences will be automatically dismissed from the program. In the event that a student is dismissed due to 3 or more unexcused absences, he/she will not be refunded for payment of the program. 
• What happens after the program ends?
The Introduction to Architecture program culminates in a portfolio that can potentially be used for applying to an undergraduate degree program in architecture.
• I am an international student. May I apply to the Summer Programs?
The Cooper Union is not able to provide I-20s to F-1 students for the summer architecture program. International students may be able to attend if they are already in the U.S. as an F-1 student for another program or in another immigration status that permits study. For questions, please email
• Are scholarships available?
Scholarships and Financial Aid are not available for the Summer Programs in the School of Architecture.
• How do I find housing in New York City?
The Cooper Union does not offer dormitory housing during the summer session. Please visit our Other Housing Options page for assistance in finding potential housing.
• What equipment and/or materials will I need to bring?
All accepted students to the Summer Programs will be responsible for basic studio tools and supplies. Students will be provided with a detailed list of required supplies before the first class. There are several art supply stores in the neighborhood that offer student discounts on tools and materials. Students will be provided with their own studio workspace which includes a table, lamp, and a parallel rule, as well as access to facilities such as the computer studio.  
For any further questions please contact

* Except in cases in which classes are cancelled, all application fees and program costs are non-refundable.


  • 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.