Academics and Courses


Bachelor of Engineering Program in Electrical Engineering

Basic courses in electronic circuits, signal processing and computer engineering, along with core mathematics, science and humanities courses, are taken in the freshman and sophomore years.  Students may then elect to pursue study through an appropriate choice of courses in different areas. For students who entered prior to Fall 2016, there are three designated areas:

  1. Electronic Systems and Materials
  2. Signal Processing and Communications
  3. Computer Engineering

For students entering Fall 2016 or later, the track structure has been consolidated (as tracks #1 and #2 were very similar) and somewhat revised to two tracks:

  1. Signals and Electronics
  2. Computer Engineering

There is overlap among the courses in the tracks, and all students are exposed to a broad range of areas within electrical engineering, while being given the opportunity to study areas of interest in significant depth.  The track designations are advisory in nature, and students may change their identified track as long as, by the time they graduate, they have fulfilled all the requirements in a selected track.

By the junior year, students are taking required advanced undergraduate courses (with a 300-level designation) that include material at the graduate level.  The only required courses in the senior year are the capstone senior design project courses. Undergraduate students with a strong background are encouraged, as part of the Integrated Master Program, to take graduate level electives once they have the proper prerequisites.

The curriculum interweaves strong theory, grounded in mathematics and science, with extensive use of CAD tools and practical projects.  A broad education is supported by taking non-technical electives, including in humanities and social sciences.  Team and individual projects begin in the freshman year and culminate with year-long senior projects.  All laboratory courses, and many recitation courses, are project based.  By the time students commence their senior projects, they perform open-ended system design, implementation and testing, cost analysis and prepare written and oral presentations.  They act as project managers, under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

There are numerous research and independent study opportunities involving close work with faculty and practicing professionals on cutting edge problems.

Students plan their courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor.  Through extensive experience working on team projects and proper selection of courses, students obtain a well-rounded, diverse and challenging educational experience.

Master of Engineering Program in Electrical Engineering

Possible areas of concentration or thesis topics are numerous and reflect the diverse interests of the faculty.  Some examples are:  digital signal processing (including speech, audio, image, video and biomedical signals);  wireless communications and networks;  big data, machine learning, NLP, reconfigurable and distributed computing;  electronic materials and integrated circuit engineering; control; sustainable engineering.

Although non-ECE courses at The Cooper Union are permitted in certain cases, the overall course plan should indicate a strong concentration in some area within the broad discipline of electrical engineering. Courses taken at other institutions may not be used to fulfill any of the 30 credits required for the Master of Engineering degree.

The Cooper Union allows undergraduate engineering students to take electives at the graduate level as soon as they have the necessary prerequisites. Those courses may be used to fulfill the requirements for the bachelor’s degree. Moreover, the Integrated Master Program allows those who take additional courses (at the graduate level) beyond those required for the Bachelor of Engineering degree, who then enter the Master of Engineering program, to apply those additional credits towards the requirements for the Master degree, with the approval of the advisor. In certain exceptional cases, students may receive the Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees simultaneously from The Cooper Union. Students considering this must contact the department chair no later than the spring of their junior year.

Students entering the Master of Engineering program in electrical engineering are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field from an accredited institution. Students who received a BSE degree from the Cooper Union school of engineering may also be considered.

Thesis option: The Master of Engineering program with thesis option challenges students to pursue one or more areas of specialization in depth, combining rigorous theory and enhancement of analytical skills together with a significant research project experience.  An essential aspect of the program is the close working relationship between the student and faculty thesis advisor.

The candidate must choose a full-time Cooper Union faculty member from the electrical engineering department as one of his or her thesis advisors.  In addition, that advisor, in consultation with the other faculty in the department, approves the set of courses used to fulfill the requirements for the Master’s program. In some cases, the student can select a co-advisor who is not a member of the full time electrical engineering faculty, with the approval of the principal advisor and the department chair; if the co-advisor is not a member of the full-time faculty of the school of engineering, this also requires the approval of the dean of engineering.

The thesis advisor approves the set of courses used to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Engineering degree.  The 30 credits must be distributed as follows:

6 credits thesis (ECE499).

24 credits of 400-level (graduate) courses.

Non-thesis option: In order to be considered for admission to the Master of Engineering program with the non-thesis option, the applicant is expected to have a particularly strong academic background and a clearly articulated educational plan. “Undeclared” students are not admitted—a student can complete the Master of Engineering degree program in electrical engineering with the non-thesis option only if that choice is clearly indicated during the application process.

Students in the non-thesis option select an advisor from among the full-time electrical engineering faculty, and must complete 30 credits of 400-level (graduate) courses approved by the advisor.