Top Universities for Automotive Engineering in the USA

Top Universities for Automotive Engineering in the USA


The automotive industry in the US is one of the largest in the world with a total of 17.2 million light vehicles sold in 2018. Despite the forecasted drop to 16.9 million units for 2019, records show that there is no significant change to the national employment of automotive engineers in the United States. The overall job outlook for engineers in the automotive industry is looking positive, with an average growth rate of 1.34% per year. Professionals who want to stay competitive in this major US industry will do well to proceed with a Master's in automotive engineering. 

Browse our listings of automotive engineering programs in the USA

the best universities for automotive engineering in America

1. Clemson University

Clemson University is a public research university in South Carolina founded in 1889. It is ranked as 27th in the top public universities (tied with Texas A&M University) by US News and World Report, named as one of 2019’s best value public colleges by Kiplinger magazine and ranked as one of the best value colleges for 2020 by the Princeton Review. The university was also awarded external research funding of almost $150 million in 2018.

Students can earn a Master of Science (M.S) in automotive engineering that combines intense technical studies and strong engineering science-based skills. The curriculum is designed to be completed within 2 years with a minimum requirement of 42 credit hours. This credit hour requirement is composed of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework and a 6-month (6 credit hours) internship in the industry or on the university’s Deep Orange vehicle prototyping project. Some of the core course options are automotive design and project management, automotive manufacturing systems overview, and systems integration methods.

2. Kettering University

Kettering University is a private cooperative education and experiential-learning-based university located in Flint, Michigan. It was founded in 1919 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 1962. The university ranked 13th in the national non-PhD engineering programs in 2020 by the US News and World Report, while College Factual ranks its mechanical engineering program as 6th in the US.

The university's mechanical engineering department offers a Master of Science in engineering (MSE) with a concentration in automotive systems. Students can choose from two plans. Plan A requires coursework, research, and a thesis, and Plan B requires coursework only. The completion of 40 credits is necessary to be awarded the degree. Some of the courses included in the program of study are bio and renewable energy lab, chassis system design, hybrid electric vehicle propulsion, and automotive bioengineering.

3. Lawrence Technological University

The Lawrence Technological University (Lawrence Tech or LTU) is a private university in Southfield, Michigan founded in 1932 by Russell E. Lawrence as the Lawrence Institute of Technology. It was built on the site where Henry Ford perfected the moving assembly line. Lawrence Tech is recognized as one of the best engineering graduate schools of 2019 by the US News and World Report and ranked as the best college in the Midwest of 2019 by the Princeton Review.

The university's M.S in automotive engineering is designed to develop a student's engineering skills while providing mastery of the entire vehicle. Students are required to complete a 30-credit-hour program consisting of core courses and elective courses or a thesis. Some of these courses are applied thermodynamics, body and chassis systems, hybrid electric vehicles, automotive mechanical systems, and vehicle dynamics.

4. Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Minnesota State University, Mankato is a public university established in 1868 as the Mankato Normal School. It first opened its doors to only 27 students but has now grown into a university with more than 14,000 students. The university annually contributes $781 million to the economy of Mankato. It consistently employs locals and produces competent and active alumni. The university is recognized as one of the top 20 universities in undergraduate research in the United States by the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Its M.S in automotive engineering technology is a degree program in which students are prepared for careers in product research and manufacturing of original equipment. Students are required to complete 32 total credits with core courses, research and methods courses, restricted and unrestricted electives, and a capstone course. Some of the courses are automotive experimental research, six sigma from an industrial perspective, design of experiments, automotive emission design and measurement, and CAD applications.

5. University of Michigan-Dearborn

The University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn) is a comprehensive and top-ranked public university founded in 1959. It offers accessible education and a small class size of a 1:17 faculty-student ratio. The university ranked 5th among the best public universities in the Midwest according to US News and World Report. It was also named as the best college for 2018-2019 by Money magazine.

Its MSE in automotive systems engineering is a 30-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate degree program. Students need to complete 12 credit hours of core courses and 18 credit hours of elective courses, attaining a B as a minimum grade. Some of the courses that can be taken are automotive systems modeling, vehicle electronics, automotive powertrains, and internal combustion engines. Aside from being offered on-campus, the program can also be studied online through UM-Dearborn’s Distance Learning Network.

6. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) is a public university founded in 1886 as the Chattanooga University. It later changed its name to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga after a merger and affiliation with the University of Tennessee. UTC is known for its nationally ranked business programs.

The university's M.S in engineering (with automotive systems concentration) was developed together with UTC's automotive partners. It is a cross-disciplinary degree with a primary focus on mechanical engineering. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours in 4 different areas of concentration. This includes 3 hours in mathematics or engineering analysis, 6 hrs in approved electives, 18 hours in engineering concentration, and 6 to 9 hours for a thesis or special project.

7. University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) is a public research university established in 1848. It is famous for being one of the three public universities included in the top 10 colleges that produced Fortune 500 CEOs in 2016. UW also placed 6th in the national research expenditure ranking in 2017 and 15th in the Best Public Universities in the US according to the US News and World Report of 2018.

Its Master's program in automotive engineering is offered by the Department of Mechanical Engineering, which confers a Master of science in mechanical engineering. The program can be completed within 1 year with a required 30 graduate credits. A graduate research component is not required, however, students need to complete a summer practicum of a laboratory course and a modeling course. The curriculum includes internal combustion engines, intermediate gas dynamics, advanced heat transfer conduction, combustion processes, and air pollution effects, measurements and control.

Browse our listings of automotive engineering programs in the USA

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