Cooper Union, NYU Tandon: A Look at Contact Hours

By Afshin Khan (CE ’19)

In light of recent events, how exactly does Cooper Union’s curriculum changes compare with that of New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering? More specifically, how do the hours spent in lecture by freshmen and sophomores per week compare between the two schools?

According to numbers shared by an NYU Tandon student, a freshman enrolled at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering will take 19 hours and 20 minutes of class time per week during their fall semester. Of this time, 12 hours and 20 minutes are spent in lecture, 2 hours and 20 minutes are spent in recitation, and 4 hours and 40 minutes are spent in lab. Whereas the previous schedule for freshman at Cooper Union was 18 hours and 50 minutes a week for their fall semester, with the new schedule changes, a freshman enrolled in their fall semester will be in class for 17 hours and 50 minutes. Despite Cooper Union freshman already spending less time in class prior to the changes, new freshman will spend even less time than before.

A freshman enrolled at NYU’s School of Engineering during the spring semester will take 20 hours and 45 minutes of class time per week. Of this time, 14 hours and 45 minutes are spent in lecture, 1 hour and 50 minutes are spent in recitation, and 4 hours and 10 minutes are spent in lab. For a Cooper freshman taking 18.5 credits prior to the change, 22 hours and 40 minutes of class are necessary per week. After the change, 18 hours and 40 minutes of class will be necessary per week. Although Cooper freshman used to take more hours of classes their spring semester, this will no longer be the case.

A typical 2nd year engineering student at NYU enrolled in their fall semester will take 14 hours and 15 minutes of class time a week. Of this time, 13 hours and 20 minutes are spent in lecture, and 55 minutes are spent in recitation. While a sophomore taking 19.5 credits at Cooper used to take 21 hours and 30 minutes of class time, with the new changes, a sophomore taking 19.5 credits will now take 18 hours and 50 minutes of class time.

For a sophomore at NYU enrolled in their spring semester, the typical time spent in class is 13 hours and 55 minutes in class. Of this time, 10 hours and 10 minutes are spent in lecture, 2 hours and 50 minutes are spent in lab, and 55 minutes are spent in recitation. Prior to the changes, a Cooper sophomore in their spring semester taking 20 credits would take 19 hours and 40 minutes of class time. After the changes, the same sophomore would take 17 hours and 40 minutes of class time.

However, it is important to note that every student will take different numbers of credits depending on their major and school.

Although freshman at Cooper Union will experience the largest difference in contact hours when compared to their contemporaries, a close look at the typical schedules of engineering students from both NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and Cooper Union’s School of Engineering reveals that sophomores will continue to take more hours of class a week than their counterparts at NYU even after the changes are implemented. In total a student at NYU’s School of Engineering will take an average of 17 hours and 3.75 minutes of class time a semester (over their freshman and sophomore years) and a newly admitted student at Cooper Union will take an average of 18 hours and 15 minutes of class time a semester over the same time.

Therefore, while the reduction in contact hours is met with protest and support from both sides, it is important to remember that even with the reduction, Cooper students will still take more contact hours than some of their counterparts at other engineering schools.

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