Automotive engineers design electronics and software systems as well as mechanical components that are integrated into the overall design of an automobile. Many entry-level automotive engineering positions require a bachelor's degree in the field, while job seekers who have a master's degree may be able to apply for management-level positions.
Top 10 Engineering Schools
Degree programs in mechanical engineering can be found at various levels at the following schools. While a broad discipline, many of the concepts in mechanical engineering apply to automotive engineering.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Tuition and Fees, In-State (2015-2016)**|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $46,704 Graduate: $49,272|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate and Graduate: $46,320|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate and Graduate: $13,431|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate and Graduate: $45,390|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $12,204 Graduate: $15,644|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $15,054 Graduate: $18,041|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $50,665 Graduate: $41,371|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $20,966|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $49,116 Graduate: $29,581|
|Purdue University - West Lafayette||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate and Graduate: $10,002|
Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students interested in automotive engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:
- Pay attention to each school's reputation and consider their position in published school rankings.
- Evaluate how much hands-on experience opportunities make up a particular program.
- Consider the quality of the laboratories, diagnostic testing equipment and computer technology offered by a university.
- Examine the internship and networking opportunities made available by the university.
Bachelor of Science in Automotive Engineering
A bachelor's degree program in automotive engineering can be completed in four years and prepares graduates for entry-level positions. An internship in an automotive work experience may be offered during the final semester of an undergraduate sequence and can contribute to securing a full-time position shortly after graduation. Other programs require that students complete a senior design project.
Master of Science in Automotive Engineering
A master's degree in automotive engineering requires an additional two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Unlike a bachelor's degree program, which requires that students complete general education courses and automotive engineering courses that cover an array of automotive concepts, a master's degree program allows students to focus on a particular aspect of automotive engineering.
Common specialization tracks include manufacturing processes, electrical and computer systems, mechanical systems and materials science. Students should expect a capstone project or thesis paper in order to complete the degree.
Degree programs specializing in automotive engineering are quite rare. As such, students interested in automotive engineering careers can pursue various degrees in mechanical engineering that will still adequately prepare them for their professional goals.