Automotive Engineering Graduate Schools: How to Choose

Offered at both the master's and doctoral levels, graduate programs in automotive engineering focus on technological advancements in the automotive industry and on managerial and engineering perspectives of routine vehicle maintenance. Graduate degree programs in automotive engineering are available at 4-year colleges and universities.

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For those interested in automotive engineering, most 4-year schools offer graduate programs in the broader field of mechanical engineering and allow students to specialize, while a few offer curricula in the specific field of study. Either way, students learn about advancements and approaches in the automotive engineering field through research, internships or elective coursework.

Engineering Graduate Schools

Here's a list of schools with relevant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $46,400
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $45,729
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state: $11,220 Out-of-state: $26,322
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $40,625
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $43,710
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state: $13,452 Out-of-state: $27,872
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state: $9,208 Out-of-state: $28,010
University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state: $15,023 Out-of-state:$28,213
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master's In-state: $20,638 Out-of-state: $41,688
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $39,984

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aeronautical and Aerospace Mechanics
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering Technologies

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in automotive engineering graduate programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Some Ph.D. programs may allow post-college work experience to take the place of academic prerequisites, and some master's level programs allow internships and elective courses to replace a thesis.
  • Schools that offer online or night courses allow students to pursue a graduate degree alongside a full-time career.
  • Some automotive engineering graduate programs allow students to choose an emphasis, such as international automotive study. This could require students to spend time out of the country as part of an international internship and may also require study of a foreign language. Some Ph.D. programs offer students the option to pursue additional education in a select area of specialization, such as electronic or energy systems.
  • In some programs, dissertation work accounts for more of the total curriculum than coursework does, giving students more flexibility to devote to their own research interests.

Master's Degree in Automotive Engineering

Master's degree programs in automotive engineering are designed for bachelor's degree holders who wish to continue their education in order to learn about new technologies or secure higher-level positions within the industry. Students may be required to complete a thesis or engineering project, take part in an internship and select a concentration area in such fields as energy, manufacturing or automotive systems.

Doctor of Philosophy in Automotive Engineering

Students must hold a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with two or more years of industry experience or a Master of Science in Engineering in order to apply for automotive engineering doctoral programs. A dissertation must be completed in order to graduate, and this will typically comprise approximately half of the credit hours required for graduation. Concentration areas could include materials and materials processing, energy systems and thermal management, dynamics and controls, power electronics or vehicle design.

Students should thoroughly understand the concentration, internship, dissertation, entry and scheduling requirements of an automotive engineering graduate program before selecting one. Expectations in these areas vary from school to school.

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