Professional Accreditation

In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program: 

Bachelor of Architecture (160 undergraduate credits) 

The next accreditation visit for this program will be in 2016.


The NAAB expects programs to be transparent and accountable in the information provided to students, faculty, and the public. As a result, the following seven conditions require all NAAB-accredited programs to make certain information publicly available online.

II.4.1 Statement on NAAB-Accredited Degrees

All institutions offering a NAAB-accredited degree program or any candidacy program must include the exact language found in the NAAB 2014 Conditions for Accreditation, Appendix 1, in catalogs and promotional media. See 2014-2015 Course Catalog, page 36

II.4.2 Access to NAAB Conditions and Procedures

The program must make the following documents electronically available to all students, faculty, and the public:

The 2014 Conditions for Accreditation

The 2004 Conditions for Accreditation (in effect at the time of the last visit)

The Procedures for Accreditation (edition currently in effect)

II.4.3 Access to Career Development Information

The program must demonstrate that students and graduates have access to career development and placement services that help them develop, evaluate, and implement career, education, and employment plans. See The Center for Career Development

II.4.4 Public Access to APRs and VTRs

To promote transparency in the process of accreditation in architecture education, the program is required to make the following documents electronically available to the public:

All Interim Progress Reports (and Annual Reports [narrative only] submitted 2009–2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012)

All NAAB responses to Interim Progress Reports (and NAAB Responses to Annual Reports [narrative] submitted 2010–2011, 2011-2012)

The most recent decision letter from the NAAB

The most recent APR

The final edition of the most recent Visiting Team Report, including attachments and addenda

II.4.5 ARE Pass Rates

NCARB publishes pass rates for each section of the Architect Registration Examination by institution. This information is considered useful to prospective students as part of their planning for higher/postsecondary education in architecture. Therefore, programs are required to make this information available to current and prospective students and the public by linking their web sites to the results.

II.4.6. Admissions and Advising

The program must publicly document all policies and procedures that govern how applicants to the accredited program are evaluated for admission. These procedures must include first-time, first-year students as well as transfers within and from outside the institution. This documentation must include the following:

Application forms and instructions. See Admissions

Admissions requirements, admissions decisions procedures, including policies and processes for evaluation of transcripts and portfolios (where required), and decisions regarding remediation and advanced standing. See 2014-2015 Course Catalog, pages 9-11

Forms and a description of the process for the evaluation of preprofessional degree content. See 2014-2015 Course Catalog, page 37

Requirements and forms for applying for financial aid and scholarships. See Financial Aid

II.4.7 Student Financial Information

The program must demonstrate that students have access to information and advice for making decisions regarding financial aid. The program must demonstrate that students have access to an initial estimate for all tuition, fees, books, general supplies, and specialized materials that may be required during the full course of study for completing the NAAB-accredited degree program. See Financial Aid

  • 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.