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Transportation Design Schools and Colleges with Program Summaries

Transportation design schools and colleges offer training in designing automobiles, motorcycles and other vehicles to be attractive, distinctive and ergonomically comfortable. A variety of colleges and schools offer a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Transportation Design.

How to Select a Transportation Design School

A bachelor's degree program in transportation design, especially one that includes collaboration with engineering and business students, provides students with a well-rounded education in design. It can also provide them with the career skills they need to create vehicles that are functional, marketable and have a pleasing look and feel. Prospective transportation design students may consider shop facilities for modeling, including computer-controlled machinery. Programs often teach students to use 3-D CAD programs, as well as computer-numerically controlled (CNC) and rapid prototyping machines. Metal, wood and plastic are also used to build models.

Students should consider the following:

  • Federal student financial aid is only available to qualifying students in programs accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Advanced design degree programs may require students to hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited school.
  • Transportation design programs that include extensive internships can help students make industry connections and obtain professional recommendations that can help them secure a job in this highly competitive field.

Overview of Programs

Transportation design is a unique aspect of industrial design, sometimes offered as a specialization or minor in an industrial design department. Most undergraduate transportation design programs take five years to complete and involve significant internship experience.

Designers take drawing and other studio courses, learn about the basics of color and design and study the history of transportation design. Industrial and transportation designers also study the materials and manufacturing processes used in making cars, trucks and other vehicles. Courses in communications are usually included, which can teach future designers how to work collaboratively with other experts while bringing a vehicle from concept to market. A basic assortment of general education requirements also provides students with a foundation in the liberal arts.

Colleges and Schools with Transportation, Vehicle or Automotive Design Programs

College/University Institution Type
University of Cincinnati - Main Campus 4-year, Public
Pratt Institute - Main 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Lawrence Technological University 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Art Center College of Design 4-year, Private not-for-profit
College for Creative Studies 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Western Washington University 4-year, Public
Arizona State University 4-year, Public
Ohio State University 4-year, Public
University of Michigan 4-year, Public
Michigan Technological University 4-year, Public

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