2011-2013 Catalog (without addenda) 
    Jun 18, 2024  
2011-2013 Catalog (without addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Institute Profile


Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) is the nation’s second oldest private engineering institution and one of the New York metropolitan area’s preeminent resources for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and research. A private coeducational institution, NYU-Poly has a distinguished history in electrical engineering, polymer science and aerospace and microwave engineering. The Institute is focused on demanding societal challenges in the areas of urban systems, health and wellness and global information technology. These challenges include mapping, securing and extracting infosphere information; creating intelligent sensor systems; engineering smart cities; and tailoring biomolecular interactions. The Institute prepares graduates to play leading roles in these areas through invention, innovation and entrepreneurship (i2e).

The student body includes more than 1,700 undergraduates and approximately 2,400 graduate students. Twenty percent of the undergraduate population are women; 9 percent are black, 12 percent are Hispanic and 31 percent are Asian. Polytechnic undergraduate programs prepare students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and research for immediate entry into the professional practice of their specialties or for continued graduate study.

Polytechnic is accredited by the Middle States Association. Undergraduate programs in civil, computer, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The undergraduate chemistry program is approved by the American Chemical Society. Degree and certificate programs listed in this catalog are registered by the New York State Education Department.


Founded in 1854 as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, the school originally educated young men, ages 9 to 22, and was located on Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn. In 1889, the collegiate and preparatory departments separated, and the collegiate division adopted the name Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. The Institute, historically referred to as “Brooklyn Poly,” moved its campus to Jay Street in 1957. In 1961, it opened a Long Island campus in Farmingdale as a graduate and research center.

In 1973, the New York University School of Engineering and Science merged into Polytechnic and the school was renamed the Polytechnic Institute of New York. The Institute began offering undergraduate programs at its Long Island campus in 1974 and, in 1975, opened the Westchester Graduate Center now located in Hawthorne.

In 1985, the New York State Board of Regents granted the institution university status and the official name became Polytechnic University.

The next 15 years saw a period of great activity as the University played a key part in the creation of MetroTech Center, a 16-acre, $1.5-billion university-corporate park, which was built around Polytechnic’s existing buildings and revitalized an area that had been in decline. Polytechnic updated its facilities, renovated its student-center building and built a new home for its library and for the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications. The University also began to offer several programs in management of technology and financial engineering in the heart of Manhattan’s high-technology and financial district.

During this time, the University launched the Campaign for Polytechnic– Fulfilling the American Dream–to raise $275 million to transform itself into one of the nation’s premier technological universities. In 1998, Polytechnic received a $175 million bequest from the estates of Donald F. Othmer, a longtime Polytechnic professor, and his wife, Mildred. At that time, it was the largest single cash gift ever made to a private American university. In 1999, Polytechnic received its second largest contribution from alumnus and former student of Professor Othmer, Joseph J. Jacobs, who gave $20 million.

In 2000, Polytechnic began construction on two new buildings on the MetroTech campus: the Joseph J. and Violet J. Jacobs Building, an eight-story academic and athletic facility with classrooms and laboratories and a full gymnasium; and the 20-story, 400-bed Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Residence Hall, Polytechnic’s first on-campus residence hall in Brooklyn. Both buildings opened in summer 2002.

In 2008 the University entered into a formal affiliation with New York University in recognition of the synergies between engineering, science, technology, medicine, dentistry, public policy, law and the arts. Now known as Polytechnic Institute of New York University, or NYU-Poly, the affiliation has further enhanced its capability to prepare leaders to address the challenges of the 21st century.

The Institute also has redirected its education programs, consolidating all undergraduate programs at its MetroTech campus while still offering graduate programs in Long Island and Westchester. In addition, Polytechnic delivers on-site and online programs locally and globally. Polytechnic students have the ability to study abroad at NYU’s global sites and other affiliated international universities.

Academic Programs

Polytechnic offers the Bachelor of Science degree in 15 disciplines, covering computer science, engineering, the physical sciences, mathematics and liberal arts. The degree Master of Science is offered in 34 disciplinary specialties. The degree Master of Engineering in Interdisciplinary Studies in Engineering is offered with different concentrations. The degree Doctor of Philosophy is offered in 12 disciplines.

Bachelor of Science programs prepare students for entry-level employment in various professional disciplines, and for study at an advanced level. Master of Science programs are oriented toward professional development in the subject area and can be arranged to provide the core coursework for PhD study. The PhD is the terminal research degree for those who seek careers in industrial or academic research. The degree requires an independent research dissertation that advances the state of the art in the discipline of study. Details of academic degree requirements and detailed program descriptions are given in “Academic Programs” section of this catalog.

Academic Departments

The Institute faculty is grouped into academic departments for administrative purposes. Each degree program is planned and administered by the faculty of a department (or, in some cases, by faculty from several cooperating departments). Academic departments manage instructional laboratories and most research laboratories.

The “Academic Departments” section of this catalog describes the faculty and facilities of the following eleven academic departments, and identifies the degrees that each department supervises.

  • Applied Physics
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Chemical and Biological Sciences
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Financial and Risk Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Technology, Culture and Society
  • Technology Management

Research at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU

The Polytechnic Institute of NYU offers major research programs in experimental, theoretical and computational areas, leading to significant contributions in the advancement of technology. Polytechnic faculty continue to excel as world leaders in areas that include electromagnetics and wave propagation, wireless communications, telecommunications, and distributed information systems, cybersecurity, data management, software engineering and development, polymer chemistry and engineering, mechanical engineering, biomaterials, biocatalysis, biomolecular science, engineered interfaces, plasma science and technology, sensors and sensor systems, urban technology relating to urban infrastructure and smart cities and materials science and engineering.

Business Incubators and Accelerators

NYU-Poly hosts two business incubators and one business accelerator. The mission of the Brooklyn Enterprise on Science and Technology (BEST) incubator, which opened in 2005 on the Brooklyn campus, is to provide an educational environment to stimulate the establishment and growth of science- and technology-based start-up and spin-off companies, expand Brooklyn’s existing industry base, attract high-technology industry to the region and create jobs and enhance economic development within Brooklyn.

In 2009, NYU-Poly and the City of New York, together with Trinity Realty, launched the Varick Street incubator. The incubator was established to combine next-generation technology with highly adaptable business models. The incubator helps emerging companies shorten the time from innovation to impact, transforming them into thriving businesses with highly valuable products and services. A number of these start-ups were founded by NYU-Poly faculty and current or former students, allowing them to bring their products from the lab to the marketplace.

Intellectual Property

The Institute’s written policy on intellectual property governs the rights, benefits and releases related to faculty and student project work. The policy is available from the Office of the Associate Provost for Research and PhD Programs.


The heart of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU is its teaching and research faculty. There are more than 150 full-time faculty, in addition to adjunct faculty, teaching and research assistants, scientists and postdoctoral and special fellows. The Polytechnic faculty is committed to providing the best possible educational environment to stimulate and develop the mind-set of inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs in the classroom and in the laboratory, through individual guided studies and projects, advising and strong one-on-one relationships with students. The faculty originates, organizes and approves all curricula taught at the Institute and also establishes academic standards for student performance.


The Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association (PIAA), which traces its roots to 1863, promotes the welfare of alumni and the Institute through the support and advancement of continuing education, communication, fundraising, student recruitment and retention and fellowship among alumni. The association is governed by an elected Executive Council and an International Board of Directors. Polytechnic’s more than 30,000 living alumni can be found in all 50 states and at least 64 countries.

The association, coordinating with the Office of Development & Alumni Relations, provides unique engagement opportunities that benefit alumni worldwide, including international and regional alumni gatherings and various networking and social programs organized by class year, discipline, affinity and other criteria.

Each year, the association recognizes alumni accomplishments with the Distinguished Alumni Award, Dedicated Alumni Award and Outstanding Graduate Award, which are presented during Commencement and other prestigious events.

NYU-Poly alumni are encouraged to take advantage of a number of services and benefits available through the Office of Alumni Relations. Benefits include the opportunity to audit Polytechnic courses at reduced tuition, use of the Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology, access to online job listings through PolyLINK, the services of the Career Management Center, use of the NYU Federal Credit Union, access to the NYU Travel Adventures program, as well as discounted life, health, auto and home insurance programs.


Brooklyn Campus

Polytechnic’s main campus is in the center of downtown Brooklyn, a vibrant residential and business community. The Brooklyn campus forms the nucleus of MetroTech Center, the largest urban university-corporate park in the United States. Developed in 1982, the 16-acre, $1-billion complex features a tree-lined commons and pedestrian walkways and is home to several technology-dependent companies that have fostered research and employment relationships with the Institute. Its academic buildings create an environment that facilitates faculty, student and staff interactions in laboratories, project space and study space, which together encourage invention, innovation and entrepreneurial activities both in and outside the classroom.

  • Rogers Hall, the main academic building, is named after the late Harry S. Rogers, Polytechnic’s fifth president (1933-57). The building houses faculty and department offices, classrooms, research and teaching laboratories and a cafeteria, dining hall and student lounge.
  • Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology/ Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) Building, opened in 1992, provides 128,000 square feet of academic space. The building houses several key elements of the Institute: a state-of-the-art library, named after the late Bern Dibner ’21 Hon’59, a Polytechnic alumnus, trustee and benefactor; the New York State-funded research center, CATT; computer laboratories; and administrative offices for the Departments of Technology Management, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering. The building also houses the Center for Faculty Innovation in Teaching and Learning.
  • Joseph J. and Violet J. Jacobs Building, opened in 2002, honors the late inventor, innovator and entrepreneur Dr. Jacobs ’37 ’39 ’42 Hon’86, founder of Jacobs Engineering Group, former chairman of the Polytechnic Board of Trustees, and his wife. The eight-story building, the main entrance to the Institute, contains lecture halls; laboratories for chemistry, biology and environmental engineering; and “smart” classrooms wired for multimedia technologies. The building also includes a full multipurpose gymnasium, including a fitness center and basketball court.
  • Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Residence Hall, opened in 2002, honors the late Dr. Othmer, a long-time Polytechnic professor of chemical engineering and prolific inventor (1932–76) and his wife. The 20-story building houses more than 400 students in two-bedroom suites and two-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and data, voice and cable television ports for every student. The building includes student lounges, study rooms, laundry facilities, health offices and storage space.
  • Joseph W. and Samuel Wunsch Hall is housed in a historic landmark. Anchoring the third side of the MetroTech campus, it was built in 1846. This Greek Revival building was the home of the African Wesleyan Methodist Church, the first black congregation in Brooklyn and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was authentically restored and reopened in 1996 through the generosity of the Wunsch family, in memory of two entrepreneurial brothers and Polytechnic alumni Joseph ’17 and Samuel Wunsch ’29. The building houses the Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions.
  • Joseph J. Jacobs Administration Building houses the Registrar, Student Financial Services, Student Development, Career Management Center and the Office of International Students and Scholars. Other administrative offices include development and alumni relations, communications and media relations, human resources, financial operations, the president’s and provost’s offices and offices of the vice presidents.

Long Island and Westchester Graduate Centers

Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s graduate programs at its Long Island and Westchester Graduate Centers maintain the same high academic standards as NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn main campus, but are tailored to meet the needs of working professionals looking to advance their career. Students enrolled at the Westchester or Long Island Graduate Center may pursue a master’s degree or certificate program or simply take selected courses.

The Long Island Graduate Center offers master’s programs in electrical engineering, computer science, construction management, management of technology and telecommunications networks, in addition to a number of certificate programs in these areas.

The Westchester Graduate Center offers part-time master’s degree programs in management, computer science, cyber security, electrical engineering, computer engineering, construction management and telecommunication networks. The Westchester Graduate Center is also home to Polytechnic’s MS in Information Systems Engineering, offered in an executive-degree program format.

Manhattan Location

Located in the heart of New York City’s high-technology and financial district, Polytechnic’s 55 Broad Street site allows the Finance and Risk Engineering and the Technology Management Departments to serve the area’s burgeoning population of technology managers, financial experts, entrepreneurs and other professionals. The Finance and Risk Engineering Department offers certificate programs in Risk Management and Financial Technology Management.

Master’s degrees offered at this site through the Department of Technology Management include Accelerated Management of Technology and Management of Technology, along with an Information Management Master’s degree program taught in an executive-degree format. The 55 Broad Street site also houses the Department’s Institute for Technology and Enterprise (ITE). ITE presents seminars and roundtables on various subjects related to modern technology management and supports research and advanced curriculum development for graduate and executive master’s programs dealing with technology and innovation management and entrepreneurship.

Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology

The Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology serves as Polytechnic Institute’s information hub, specializing in applied science and engineering. Wireless networks allow users to access the library’s electronic services both from within the library and from other campus locations.

The library, through its website (http://library.poly.edu), offers electronic access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to an ever growing collection of electronic resources shared with other NYU libraries. Users can view full text of books and journals and imaged course materials and chat with librarians in real time. Subject-related web guides created by professional staff facilitate further study and research.

Polytechnic users also have onsite access to the vast resources offered by other NYU libraries. These in-house services are augmented by participation in regional and national cooperatives. The Institute library is an active member of the Academic Libraries of Brooklyn (seven participating libraries), the New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency (currently 250 member institutions) and the Long Island Library Resource Council (over 200 participating libraries). The library is also a member of Nylink, which offers access to New York State resources, as well as the Online Computer Library Center, which maintains an international catalog compiled and maintained by 71,000 libraries in 112 countries.

On-site skilled information professionals provide support through the following products and services:

  • One-on-one assistance in the retrieval and use of online resources including the catalog and electronic databases;
  • Tutorials on effective research methods offered in conjunction with various academic departments. Workshops are open to all Polytechnic students, faculty and staff and provide training in the use of information services and software;
  • In-class instruction in effective use of information resources for freshmen and upperclassmen, offered at instructor’s request;
  • An in-house print collection of more than 130,000 books and journals, providing support for undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, the sciences and technology management;
  • A document delivery service, which obtains, on request, books, journal articles and reports not available in Polytechnic’s in-house collections or online.

Central Computing Facilities

The mission of Polytechnic’s Information Systems department is to provide state-of-the-art computing, networking and communications technologies to students, faculty and staff in support of the mission of the institution. These technologies are specifically designed to be aligned with NYU-Poly’s course offerings in Computer Science and Engineering and in support of the Institute’s role in educating and training knowledge workers of the future.

Polytechnic provides electronic access through wired and wireless networks, which allow students to roam seamlessly around campus while staying connected to the Internet and all educational support and information resources. Additionally, students living in the Othmer Residence Hall have voice, data and cable connections in their rooms and throughout the building.

Polytechnic requires every undergraduate student to have a laptop computer as mobile technology and timely, pervasive access to information is integrated into the curriculum and throughout the campus. The combination of student laptops, a ubiquitous network, online information and e-learning support tools promotes “congregate learning” and links the NYU-Poly community into the larger electronic teaching and learning community.

Since many of the learning and information support systems are Web enabled, students can access these resources off campus as easily as on campus. Students can view their schedule of classes and communicate with their instructors directly from the self-service pages.

Through the online Student Center, students can keep track of their academic and financial status. Through an institute-wide course management system, students are able to examine their course information. A Learning Management System (LMS) is used to facilitate and share learning materials between students and faculty. Faculty members use the LMS as a preferred method to enhance their courses by uploading syllabi and related documents and to communicate with students. Students are encouraged to interact with their instructors using electronic means, allowing students to have access to guidance, support, mentoring and advisement anytime, anywhere.

Polytechnic also provides access to central computing laboratories in support of various discipline-specific fields. These labs consist of a collection of desktops and workstations. These resources access a wide range of server operating systems and applications, giving students exposure to a highly heterogeneous technology environment and reflecting the most widely used tools available in the engineering and technology professions.

The Future

As Polytechnic moves forward in the 21st century it will build on its past, remain true to its mission to educate intellectually curious students who are eager to change the world through invention, innovation and entrepreneurship, and prepare graduates to become leaders in a global arena that demands scientific, technological and entrepreneurial acuity.

Polytechnic will continue to innovatively extend the benefits of science, engineering, management and liberal studies to critical real-world opportunities and challenges, and our affiliation with New York University will continue, especially those linked to urban systems, health and wellness, and the global information economy.