The history of the School of Engineering at SMU demonstrates a commitment to the concept of cooperative education. When the 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 (Co-op) 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 School of Engineering undergraduate students participated in Co-op. Since 1965, the program has been optional.
In 1999, SMU became one of the first universities to receive accreditation from the newly formed Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education (ACCE). The SMU program is one of 11 professional work-based university programs to receive ACCE accreditation, and one of only two Texas universities to earn this distinction.
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 Co-op Program allows students to:
Entry into the Co-op Program typically is offered at either of two times during the student's academic progression. These are shown below:
|Plan A||5 Work Terms||Plan B||4 Work Terms|
|First Year||SMU||SMU||Free||First Year||SMU||SMU||Free|
|Senior 4th||SMU||Industry||SMU||Senior 4th||SMU||Industry||SMU|
|Senior 5th||Industry||SMU||Senior 5th||Industry||SMU|
Students who want to participate in the Co-op Program should begin the application process two terms before their anticipated first work term. The application process includes attending a Co-op Orientation (preferably during the first year), receiving interview skills training, learning the job search process, and completing a computerized application. The Co-op Director guides students through each step of the process.
Each applicant receives quality advising from the Co-op 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 Cooperative Education Training Employment beginning in the spring term during the sophomore year or the fall term of the junior year.
Any 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 SMU Co-op Program. Transfer students must be admitted and accepted at SMU.
Since 1925, SMU's School of Engineering has created and maintained numerous strong corporate relationships. Many factors contribute to these relationships, including the quality of the academics and research, the advancement of alumni, and SMU's close proximity to high-tech corporations. An SMU Co-op student directly benefits from these relationships.
However, the student bears an obligation to preserve these relationships for future students by following SMU's School of Engineering Co-op Program Undergraduate Student Agreement. The agreement balances the student's individual needs with the long-term goal of maintaining corporate relationships so that future SMU students will have as many opportunities as possible.
Students must maintain good standing with SMU and their employer at all times.
All Co-op Training Jobs must be approved in advance by the SMU Co-op Director.
Before each work term begins, each undergraduate Co-op student must enroll in the appropriate Co-op 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 Co-op Director. The courses do not count toward graduation. The course numbers for each work term are, respectively, SS 1099, SS 2099, SS 3099, SS 4099, SS 5099, and SS 6099.
Students enroll at SMU each term, including summers, once they begin the Co-op 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 Co-op employer during school terms.
Co-op students complete all work terms with the same company.
Once a student accepts a Co-op Training Job, the student may switch jobs within the sponsoring company with the approval of the company.
Each Co-op student completes their originally planned number and sequence of alternating work terms. The term of graduation must be a term of full-time study at SMU.
Each Co-op student accepts responsibility for knowing and following all Co-op regulations of SMU and the participating employer.
Co-op students who plan and complete all originally scheduled Co-op work terms in good standing with the University and the Co-op Office receive a Co-op Program Certificate to coincide with graduation.
For additional information, contact the Co-op Director at 214-768-3033 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Co-op Office welcomes visitors and is in the School of Engineering in Room 101 of Caruth Hall.