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What Is Taught At Automotive Engineering Schools?


Cadillac CTS-V Coupe race car testing at Sebring

Looking at the many different styles and models of vehicles on the road today, does it ever make you wonder how they come to be? At automotive engineering schools, students learn the basics of design and development of cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles.

An automotive engineer may design electronics and software systems as well as mechanical components that are integrated into a car’s overall design. In essence, automotive engineers design motorized vehicles and the many systems and subsystems that comprise them. As such, automotive engineers are involved in the design, production, testing and development of these systems. They obtain their training through bachelor’s and master’s degree programs taught at automotive engineering schools.

Degree programs

Many entry-level jobs in the automotive field require the applicants possess at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Those students who obtain a master’s degree may be considered as applicants for management positions at some companies.

Bachelor of Science in automotive engineering

With a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in automotive engineering, a student receives a broad overview of the automotive engineering field. Schools offering these degrees teach courses in advanced mathematics, diesel engine theory, technical drawing, automotive electronics and automobile power systems.

Some automotive engineering schools offer it as a minor. Students going for a minor in automotive engineering may be required to take certain courses, such as automotive drivability and diagnosis and automotive electronics.

During the final semester of an undergraduate sequence, the student is generally offered an internship in automotive work experience. This can help the student secure a full-time position upon graduation.

Master of Science in automotive engineering

To receive a master of science in automotive engineering, a student must study an additional two years beyond the bachelor’s degree. During the master’s program at an automotive engineering school, the student focuses on a specific aspect of automotive engineering.

For example, one study track might be a specialty in manufacturing processes, mechanical systems, materials science or electrical and computer systems. Completion of the Master of Science in automotive engineering will require a capstone report and a thesis.

At Kettering University, one of the premier automotive engineering schools, students work closely with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which they are required to join. They work on vehicle projects throughout their schooling, which gives them the opportunity to learn hands-on problem-solving techniques and essential program management skills.

Other top automotive engineering schools include University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas A&M University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of California-Davis, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, Clemson University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Since the field of automotive engineering is constantly changing, once students obtain their degrees and secure jobs in the field, in order to remain competitive and in-demand, they are required to update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with rapidly-evolving technological advancements.

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