Co-ops & Internships

SMU’s proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth high-tech business cluster allows a mutually beneficial relationship between the university and industry. The Lyle School of Engineering has been in partnership with the Dallas-Fort Worth business community for more than 90 years, creating opportunities for well-educated engineering students to work in co-op and internship positions.

Linda Parker
Director, Hart Center for Engineering Leadership

To learn more about these programs, click on the tabs below:

A cooperative engineering education is a joint effort between SMU and the business community to give Lyle students an integrated engineering education, alternating classroom theory with real-world industry practice. The Co-op Program allows a Lyle undergraduate to work full-time while gaining hands-on experience. During their co-op term, students are enrolled in a zero credit pass/fail course, which maintains their full-time status with SMU. Scholarships and financial aid are deferred during their co-op terms.

If interested in the Co-op Program, please attend a Job Search Strategies Session or schedule a one-on-one meeting with Linda Parker by email:

About Co-op Employment

  • Paid by the employer
  • Related to an academic major or career choice
  • Full-time, 40 hours or more per week of work during alternating terms
  • Year-round, rotating on an alternating basis between spring, summer, and fall
  • Supervised by the employer

SMU's Role

  • Determines student qualifications for SMU's Co-op Program
  • Awards grades to each co-op student
  • Monitors the quality of co-op work experience

Co-op Employer's Role

  • Determine which student(s) they hire through the Co-op Program
  • Invites students to return for subsequent work terms after the first work term

Co-op Student's Role

  • Complete a full-time schedule of classes at SMU during alternating terms
  • Follows all policies of the employer and SMU
  • Earns an invitation from the employer to return for each subsequent work term by following the employer's policies, meeting or exceeding the employer's expectations for job performance, earning sufficient grades at SMU, and following the SMU Co-op Program policies

Congratulations on your co-op job and welcome to the world of work! You will have certain responsibilities concerning your SMU enrollment, adhering to the timelines below while maintaining close communication with the Hart Center and other university departments during your co-op work term. Your top priority during your co-op work term will be to focus on excelling at your co-op position, which will help you technically and professionally in your career.

Syllabus Time Line

  • Weeks 1 - 2: Complete and submit the Work Term Information Forms to Handshake
  • Weeks 2 - 3: Meet with supervisor and or mentor to determine learning objectives.
  • Weeks 8 – 12 (Week 6 for Summer Work Term): Review progress.
  • Week 12 – 16 (Week 10 for Summer Work Term): Meet with supervisor/mentor and/or HR representative to discuss performance evaluations and the availability of positions in the next alternating work terms.
  • Week 16: Complete the end of work term student evaluation, essay, and supervisor correspondence.

Work Term Forms

Following are documents to complete prior to starting your co-op work term:

Work Term Time Line

The following table lists the action items that should occur before, during, or immediately following each work term. It is your responsibility to complete each item to ensure a smooth transition between work and classes. Please contact Linda Parker at or 214-768-1845.

Co-op Work Term Time Line


Fall Work Term

Spring Work Term

Summer Work Term*

Confirm co-op employment with director




Advise Financial Services, Resident Life & Student Housing, Dining Services, and Pony Express of co-op intentions



Early April

Confirm start date with co-op company




Register for classes

For spring:


For fall/summer:

early April


Complete all work term documentation

Last week of work term

Last week of work term

Last week of work term

Set up an end of co-op term meeting with Linda Parker

First week of December

First week of May

First week of August

Upload updated resume and co-op documents on Handshake

Prior to end of term meeting

Prior to end of term meeting

Prior to end of term meeting

Apply for next academic year (fall, spring, summer) FASFA financial aid

Forms available

Feb. 1st

Forms available

Feb. 1st

Forms available

Feb. 1st

Apply for summer on-campus housing (if applicable)


March 1st


*If a Summer Work Term is continued into a Fall Work Term, follow dates in both columns. If a Spring Work Term continue into a Summer Work Term, follow dates in both columns.

Students Interested in Graduate Co-op

The Graduate Engineering Co-op Program Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary employment authorization designed to enhance a Lyle graduate F-1 student’s academic experience as part of the CPT class curriculum. Off-campus employment counts towards course credit and will appear on the graduate student’s transcript. (Please note this is a class, and tuition will be charged for 1 credit hour.)

Once you secure a Graduate Co-op offer, you will have a certain time frame to complete the paperwork and a timeline for when you can start and stop working. After you receive an offer letter from an employer, please send to the Graduate Co-op Director, Linda Parker: the name, contact information, and offer letter. The employer will then be contacted to complete the employer Legal Letter of Agreement.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Graduate Engineering CPT Program:

  • The student must be in valid F-1 status at SMU during the time of employment and have been in continuous full-time status for one academic year preceding the CPT application. Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participation in CPT may apply at any time.
  • The work must be needed to fulfill course/class requirements.
  • The course must be an ‘integral part of the established curriculum.' It must be required of all students in the degree program, OR the student must earn course credit toward the degree program.

CPT Forms and Steps

Following are documents to complete and submit prior to starting your CPT:

  1. Completed Graduate Co-op Student Agreement with signatures from your academic adviser and department chair. 
  2. Completed F-1 Curricular Practical Training Application Form with signatures from your academic adviser and department chair.
  3. An official offer letter that coincides with summer 2016 term (offer letters should not start before May 24th).
  4. An unofficial transcript.
  5. Once the Legal Letter of Agreement is cleared, Linda Parker will send you an email to schedule an appointment to meet. As the Graduate Co-op Director, Linda Parker’s signature is the last you will need before you take your CPT paperwork and Legal Letter of Agreement to the International Office.

Paperwork Deadlines and Work Timeline

Summer 2016

Paperwork Deadline: May 11th

Start Work Date: May 24th

Stop Work Date: Any date between Aug 3rd and Aug 10th (if a summer grad, then stop working by Aug 3rd)

Paperwork Deadline: May 17th

Start Work Date: May 31st

Stop Work Date: Any date between Aug 3rd and Aug 10th (if a summer grad, then stop working by Aug 3rd)

An internship at a local engineering company allows Lyle students the opportunity to gain practical industry experience as they continue taking classes and progress towards graduation. The Hart Center encourages Lyle students to work in an internship position before they graduate to get practical industry work experience, practice leadership skills and prepare for the transition from college to career. Our goal is for students to begin a paid engineering internship the summer after their sophomore year.

Internships Guidelines:

  • Work in your major, typically during the summer (can also work part-time during the school year ~12-15 hours per week, schedule permitting)
  • Graduate with 6-9 months of work experience
  • Internships are not for credit or as part of a pass/fail class
  • Internships can also be outside of your major
  • Can be paid or unpaid, but the Hart Center recommends paid internships

When to Start Searching:

  • On Campus Job Search/Recruitment: Busiest months are September and February
  • Online: Can apply year-round. Busiest months in the fall: September and October, in spring: January through March
  • Networking: Ongoing, at Hart Center, campus, and industry events

Online Search Engineering Buzzwords:

Environmental Engineering
Waste Water
Air Quality
Environmental Scientist

Civil Engineering

Operations Research
Industrial Engineering
Operations Management
Supply Chain            

Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering (EE)
Electrical Controls
Power Supply
Wireless Systems

Mechanical Engineering

Computer Science/Engineering
Comp Sci

New Graduates
New Graduate
No Experience
Minimal Experience
College Graduate










Thank you for your interest in recruiting at the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. At the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, we are committed to developing students into leaders, so they are better prepared to transition into the workforce upon graduation. Our goal is that every Lyle student will begin a co-op or internship the summer after their sophomore year to allow for multiple work terms and industry experience. This practical experience makes our graduating students better engineers, more attuned to the needs of industry – the kind of performer who is exactly what you want in a full-time employee. You will find Lyle students, as interns and co-op workers, to be bright, inquisitive, and enthusiastic contributors to your engineering teams.

Please email Linda Parker, Director, Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, with the following information about your company and your open position(s):

  • Company Name
  • Position Location(s)
  • Type of Position(s): internship, co-op, part-time, or full-time
  • Terms: spring, summer, fall, immediate start, or other needs
  • Majors: civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, management science, mechanical engineering, operations research, systems engineering
  • Student Classifications: first years, sophomores, juniors, seniors, recent graduates, or graduate students
  • Job Description(s)
  • Citizen Requirements: U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, international
  • Company Website Address
  • Client Contact Information: your name, title, phone number, and email address

To recruit in person, The Hart Center hosts several recruitment events during the fall and spring terms. We work with employers in a variety of ways based on your recruitment needs and timelines.

The Hart Center has been an invaluable resource for my daughter. Resume building and interview preparation helped her obtain internships which supplemented her academic studies. She participated in three unique paid professional internships during her undergraduate studies. These experiences have been a chance to apply classes to real world situations and to inspire professional confidence.”

~SMU-Lyle Parent