Cohen received his B.A. degree in mathematics at Reed College in 1951. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study mathematical logic at Oxford University where he earned a M.Litt. degree. He completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in economics at Carnegie Institute of Technology. He was awarded the Alexander Henderson Award and received numerous scholarships, fellowships, and research grants from many sources including the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the FDIC. Cohen published eight books and over eighty articles in the fields of management science in banking, security market microstructure, corporate finance, computer simulation, management games, and microeconomics.