2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog (without addenda) 
    Jan 23, 2022  
2013-2014 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog (without addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Institute Profile


The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and the Polytechnic University, now widely known as NYU-Poly) is an affiliated institute of New York University, soon to be the School of Engineering. NYU-Poly, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second oldest private engineering school. It is presently a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a 159-year tradition of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It remains on the cutting edge of technology, innovatively extending the benefits of science, engineering, management and liberal studies to critical real-world opportunities and challenges, especially those linked to urban systems, health and wellness, and the global informational economy. In addition to its programs on the main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it offers programs around the globe remotely through NYU-ePoly. NYU-Poly is closely connected to engineering in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai and to the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) also at MetroTech, while operating three incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.

NYU-Poly is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 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 in Hawthorne. (As a result of institutional realignment, the Hawthorne campus has been closed as of August 2013, and the Long Island Campus is only operating programs for continuing students, and will be closed as of May 2014.)

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. Since that time, NYU-Poly has expanded into all four sides of MetroTech, while enhancing its existing facilities (for more information see Campus section below).

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. In 2012, the Board of Trustees of NYU and the Board of Trustees of NYU-Poly voted for the institutions to undertake the final set of steps necessary to complete the merger and make NYU-Poly NYU’s School of Engineering. Since that time, key approvals, from state and accrediting authorities have put the merger on track to be finalized as of January 1, 2014, at which point NYU-Poly will become the newest school at NYU: the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Up to date information on the merger, including FAQs, can be found at www.poly.edu/about/merger.

For NYU-Poly, the affiliation and merger bring a connection to a major research university with an extensive basic science research agenda and great strength in the social sciences, humanities, and professions. For NYU, it brings the re-establishment of a capability of applied science, technology, and engineering - a capability it had not had since the closing of the Heights Campus in the early 1970s - and all the energizing benefits those disciplines would bring to its existing areas of scholarship.

Already there have been many new research collaborations between faculty; we have experienced growing involvement by students from each school with the other in a wide range of academic and co-curricular pursuits; we have been able to use NYU-Poly’s expertise in engineering education to build engineering courses into the global network; we were successful in gaining City approval for our new applied science institute - the Center for Urban Science and Progess (CUSP) - in large measure because of the strength NYU and NYU-Poly’s partnership brought to the proposal; we have a growing presence in the vibrant borough of Brooklyn and we are able to imagine and plan for new and otherwise unachievable possibilities for scientific research and education across the University because of the presence of an engineering and technology capability.

The work of fully integrating NYU-Poly and NYU continues, thanks to the efforts of many people at both institutions, so that all faculty and students derive the greatest academic benefit; the restoration of the engineering discipline to NYU; the connection to a major research university for Poly; exciting new cross-discipline collaborative learning and research opportunity; and a sustained focus on creating a great school of engineering at NYU.

NYU-Poly delivers on-site and online programs locally and globally. NYU-Poly students also have the ability to study abroad at NYU’s global sites and other affilitated international universities.

Academic Programs

NYU-Poly 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 Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil and Urban Engineering
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Financial and Risk Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Technology, Culture and Society
  • Technology Management and Innovation

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. NYU-Poly 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

As the innovation economy emerges around the world, New York City is diversifying its efforts to nurture a fast-growing sector of technology companies. NYU-Poly is shaping this incubators - key engines of NYU-Poly’s strategy of i2e (invention, innovation and entrepreneurship). The NYU-Poly incubators - located on Varick Street in Manhattan, DUMBO and soon in 15 MetroTech Center in Brooklyn - provide guidence, expertise, and resources to entrepreneurs, helping their ventures grow, while attracting talent and funding to the Institute. The incubators also provide collaborative spaces where faculty, students, and alumni engage with the tech community. The incubators are a public-private-academic partnership where young engineers are nurtured by university partners with support from government and the private sector. They provide startups and students with administrative support in addition to access to talent, markets, capital, research and resources. A strong network and environment predicated on success allows startups to flourish.

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 NYU-Poly 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. NYU-Poly’s more than 33,000 living alumni can be found in all 50 states and at least 64 countries.

The PIAA, 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 PIAA 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 NYU-Poly courses at reduced tuition, use of the Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology, access to online job listings through NYUCareerNet, the services of the Wasserman Center for Career Development at NYU-Poly, 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. As the newest members of the NYU alumni firmly, NYU-Poly alumni also enjoy benefits and services which may be found by visiting www.alumni.nyu.edu/benefits.



NYU-Poly’s campus is in the center of downtown Brooklyn, a vibrant residential and business community and cornerstone of the emerging “Brooklyn Tech Triangle”. The 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, NYU Poly’s fifth president (1933-57). The building houses faculty and department offices, classrooms, research and teaching laboratories and a cafeteria, dining hall, student lounge, and a new students “ideation” and collaboration space called the Greenhouse.
  • Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology opened in 1992, provides 128,000 square feet of academic and student services 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; computer laboratories; the Departments of Technology Management and Innovation, Technology, Culture and Society, and part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department; the center for Faculty Innovation in Teaching and Learning; and the Expository Writing Program, administered by NYU. The second floor of the building houses of the Student Services and Support Center, providing students convenient access to the services they need - all under one roof. Opened in 2012, the center provides: Student Affairs, Student Clubs, a small Student Lounge, International Students and Scholars, and Counseling Services, the Registrar and Student Financial Services one-stop shop; and Undergraduate Programs Offices, including Advisement, Special Services/TRIO, HEOP, and Conditional Admit General Studies (GS).
  • Joseph J. and Violet J. Jacobs Academic 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 features a full multipurpose gymnasium, including a fitness center and basketball court.
  • 2 MetroTech Center recently became a new hub for the entire Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department and part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. NYU-Poly’s space in the building is split among three floors - a dedicated ground-floor lobby, the entire 10th floor and a portion on the 9th floor. The 50,000 square foot space on the building’s 10th floor, opened in January 2012, includes: 47 faculty and researcher offices, more than a dozen computational laboratories, work stations for post-docs and student researchers, and department administration and advising offices. A pantry and break room adjacent to the glass-enclosed data monitor room offers a view of the lab conducting research on data analysis and visualization. The 35,000 square feet on the buildings 9th floor underwent renovations to create three, large-capacity classrooms, new permanent homes for the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) and NYU WIRELESS, the largest National Science Foundation-funded academic/industry cooperative research center. The 9th floor space was substantially completed in January 2013. In the fall of 2013, New York University is launching the Media and Games Network (MAGNET), on the 8th floor of 2 MetroTech Center that will bring together NYU and Polytechnic Institute of NYU faculty whose teaching and research bridge technology and culture.
  • 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.
  • 15 MetroTech Center, 6th floor, is home to the administrative functions of NYU-Poly inlcuding: the Office of the President, Office of Sponsored Research, Information Technology, Finance and Business Affairs, Human Resources, Development and Alumni Relations, Enterprise Learning and ePoly, Marketing & Communications and Web & Media Services. In the fall of 2013, NYU-Poly will open a 10,000 square foot incubator on the 19th floor of 15 MetroTech Center, a project supported by the NYC Economic Development Corporation.

55 Broad Street, Manhattan Programs

Located in the heart of New York City’s high-technology and financial district, NYU-Poly’s 55 Broad Street site allows the Technology Management Department to serve the area’s burgeoning population of technology managers, financial experts, entrepreneurs and other professionals.

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.

Global Outreach

In addition to its programs on the main campus in downtown Brooklyn, NYU-Poly offers programs around the globe remotely through NYU-ePoly, NYU-Poly is closely connected to engineering in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai and to the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) also at MetroTech, while operating three incubators in downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan. In addition, as discussed throughout, students and faculty enjoy many opportunities to take advantage of the resources and broader community of New York University, in Manhattan at Washington Square and along the Medical Corridor on First Avenue and around the globe.

Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology

The Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology serves as NYU-Poly’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.

NYU-Poly’s 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 NYU-Poly 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 NYU-Poly’s in-house collections or online.

Central Computing Facilities

The mission of NYU-Poly’s Information Technology 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.

NYU-Poly 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.

NYU-Poly 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 schedules 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.

NYU-Poly 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 NYU-Poly 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.

As it becomes the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, NYU-Poly will continue to extend innovatively the benefits of science, engineering, management and liberal studies to critical real-world opportunities and challenges, especially those linked to urban systems, health and wellness, and the global information economy.

This is a great moment in the history of engineering and of NYU-Poly. The future will bring many opportunities for contributions for both to the city, region, and globe.