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Vehicle Dynamics Certificate and Degree Program Information

Vehicle dynamics refers to the structural or behavioral aspects of vehicles in motion, and it can be applied to motor and aerospace vehicles as well as watercraft. There are no degree programs exclusively in vehicle dynamics; students interested in the field often pursue a bachelor's degree or higher in mechanical, aerospace or marine engineering.

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Essential Information

Several schools also offer graduate certificate programs in mechanical engineering aimed at working professionals. Students of the aforementioned programs might learn in classroom or laboratory environments, and they may be required to complete thesis or dissertation research projects. Consisting of topics that address offshore engineering, thermodynamics and structural mechanics, such programs could lead to careers in engineering, manufacturing or ship design.

  • Program Levels in Vehicle Dynamics: Graduate Certificate Program
  • Vehicle Dynamics Program Fields: Mechanical or Aerospace engineering
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree is required for graduate certificate.
  • Online Availability: Online courses are available
  • Program Specializations: Offshore engineering, thermodynamics, and structural mechanics
  • Program Length: varies
  • Other Requirements: Students might learn classroom or laboratory environments

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering includes general core requirements in addition to courses on engineering. Students with an interest in vehicle dynamics can focus on classes for dynamic and mechanical systems, shock absorption and vehicle stability. Many students pursue further education at the graduate level; however, some entry-level positions are available with a bachelor's degree. All programs require a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) equivalent to apply for admission.

Program Coursework

Students in these programs learn how to design machines and test them for efficiency, structural integrity or stability. Courses often combine classroom education with laboratory or shop experience. Students interested in vehicle dynamics may take courses that touch on the following topics:

  • Vibration control
  • Thermodynamics
  • Engine construction
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Robotics

Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

This 2-year degree program prepares students for doctoral candidacy or for professional employment in advanced positions within the naval engineering industry. Students address increasingly advanced topics, including marine vehicle design, propulsion and fluid dynamics. Most programs offer a thesis option for students interested in a doctoral degree and a non-thesis terminal degree for students who desire to enter the field after graduation.

Educational Prerequisites

A student must complete a bachelor's degree in a related area, such as mechanical engineering or physics, in order to qualify for admission. Most programs require students to submit their scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some schools require students to take a qualifying examination as well.

Program Coursework

A student completing a thesis generally uses the first year to narrow down his or her interests and choose a focus of research. Both professional and thesis-track students may take courses that touch on vehicle dynamics as they relate to water vehicles, covering topics such as:

  • Ocean and hydrodynamics
  • Ship production
  • Offshore engineering
  • Ship motion analysis
  • Hull vibrations

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Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering

Doctoral candidates in aerospace engineering generally complete a degree in 5-6 years. This degree program prepares graduates for advanced research in private or public sector industries and teaching at the university level. Students often sub-specialize in one or more areas, including aerodynamics, astrodynamics or aerospace structures. All doctoral candidates must research, write and defend a dissertation in order to graduate. In addition, most programs require doctoral candidates to teach a number of undergraduate classes.

Educational Prerequisites

All applicants must have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in a related subject, such as mechanical engineering or mathematics. In addition, many programs require that students take qualifying exams and submit their GRE scores.

Program Coursework

A student of aerospace engineering who is interested in vehicle dynamics may study advanced topics and complete laboratory work in fluid dynamics or advanced computer analysis techniques. Other course topics may include the following:

  • Aeroelasticity
  • Aircraft structural dynamics
  • Vibration control
  • Structural mechanics
  • Thermal stress

Graduate Certificate Programs in Mechanical Engineering

Students interested in exploring mechanical engineering as a step towards a master's degree program can pursue a graduate certificate in mechanical engineering. These programs are also aimed at professionals who wish to expand their knowledge of their profession; as such, they can be completed in one year or less, depending on whether a student is attending full- or part-time. Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree in a related subject and have previous undergraduate or occupational experience in engineering.

Program Coursework

Most certificate programs require students to complete 12 credit hours and cover the fundamentals of design as well as structural analysis. Advanced methods of computer analysis in engineering and coursework in mechanical systems often include the following topics:

  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Mechanical structure and vibrations
  • Stress analysis
  • Environmental compliance assessment
  • Computer aided drafting and manufacturing

Popular Career Options

Mechanical engineering is a broad field, and students who specialized in vehicle dynamic research can choose from several transportation industries to find a job. Depending on the education level, the following fields are career options graduates can pursue:

  • Vehicle electrical system design
  • Brake system and safety engineering
  • Vehicle suspension engineering
  • Aircraft design
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codeing
  • Offshore drilling platform design
  • Cargo ship construction

Continuing Education and Certification Information

All states require engineers to be licensed in order to practice professionally, but requirements vary by state. Most require applicants to have four years of work experience before they can qualify for testing to become Professional Engineers (PEs).

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