Lyle School of Engineering
(2010 Undergraduate Catalog)
The history of the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU demonstrates a commitment to the concept of cooperative education. When the Lyle School of Engineering was established in 1925, it already had a close relationship with the Technical Club of Dallas. Members of this group owned factories and engineering consulting firms and wanted to participate in the training and development of their incoming employees. The Technical Club asked SMU to include the Cooperative Education Program in the original design of the school.
SMU was one of the first universities in the Southwest to adopt this concept of practical education. From 1925 to 1965, all Lyle School of Engineering undergraduate students participated in the SMU Co-op Program. Since 1965, the program has been optional.
The SMU Co-op Program is designed so that each student can enhance his or her education and career by receiving professional training while alternating terms of classroom instruction. Participation in the program allows students to:
- Confirm that they like working in their major.
- Discover the kind of work they like within their major.
- Establish a professional reputation.
- Earn the cumulative equivalent of one year of a new graduate's starting salary before graduation.
- Gain invaluable work experience when competing for full-time jobs upon graduation.
Entry into the SMU Co-op Program is typically offered at the spring term of the sophomore year or the fall term of the junior year during the student's academic progression. The terms of entry are shown below:
Students who want to participate in the SMU Co-op Program should begin the application process two terms before their anticipated first work term. The application process includes attending Co-op Orientation (preferably during the first year), receiving interview skills training, learning the job search process and completing a computerized application. The program director guides students through each step of the process.
Each applicant receives quality advising from the program's associate director. A direct result of advising is that the student gains a better understanding of individual options and a strategy for pursuing those options. The application process requires one or two hours per week for almost two terms. The process normally results in an offer of employment beginning in the spring term during the sophomore year or the fall term of the junior year.
Who May Apply?
Any Lyle School of Engineering undergraduate student in good standing who has enough time remaining before graduation to alternate at least three times between terms of full-time work and terms of full-time school may apply for admission into the program. Transfer students must be admitted and accepted at SMU.
When to Apply
Many students choose to begin the application process during the first term of their first year. This head start is especially beneficial for students planning to participate in fraternity/sorority recruitment during the second term of their first year.
Students should apply two or more terms before the work term begins. The first of these terms is for preparation; the second is for applying/interviewing with companies.
Since 1925, the Lyle School of Engineering has created and maintained numerous corporate relationships. Many factors contribute to these relationships, including the quality of SMU's academics and research, the achievements of alumni, and SMU's close proximity to high-tech corporations.
Each SMU co-op student directly benefits from the program's strong corporate relationships and bears an obligation to preserve these relationships by following the Co-op Program Undergraduate Student Agreement. The agreement balances the student's individual needs with the long-term goal of maintaining the program's corporate relationships for future SMU students.
The terms of the program include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Students must maintain good standing with SMU and their employer at all times.
- All training jobs must be approved in advance by the SMU Co-op Program associate director.
- Before each work term begins, each undergraduate student in the program must enroll in the appropriate program course for the term when they work.
- SMU charges no fees or tuition for these courses. Each course is graded as pass/fail by the program's associate director. The courses do not count toward graduation. The course numbers for each work term are, respectively, SS 1099, 2099, 3099, 4099, 5099, 6099.
- Students enroll at SMU each term, including summers, once they begin the program's rotation between work and school.
- Co-op students take full-time class loads at SMU during alternating school terms.
- Co-op students do not work part-time for the employer during school terms.
- Co-op students complete all work terms with the same company.
- Once a student accepts a training job, the student may switch jobs within the sponsoring company with the approval of the company.
- Each student in the program completes his or her originally planned number and sequence of alternating work terms. The term of graduation must be a term of full-time study at SMU.
- Each student in the program accepts responsibility for knowing and following all SMU Co-op Program regulations and those of the participating employer.
Co-op students who complete all of their originally planned and scheduled SMU Co-op Program work terms in good standing with the University and the SMU Co-op Program Office receive a Cooperative Education Program Certificate to coincide with graduation.
For additional information, contact the associate director of the SMU Co-op Program at 214-768-1845 or by e-mail at email@example.com.