Roller coasters are thrill rides with intricate curves and drops. If you enjoy riding these machines, then you may enjoy designing them, and you can learn these skills at engineering schools that specialize in roller coaster design. Learn the dynamics of how these rides work and how to control their speed and movement. Coursework and fees vary by school.
Clarkson University’s roller coaster design course incorporates kinematics, engineering and math and teaches students about the forces that control a roller coaster. This course is for middle and high school students, and it is offered at the school’s Potsdam, New York, location. The class was developed as part of the STEP Impetus program, a combination after-school and summer camp program. Students must work in teams to create a final project.
This school is in West Lafayette, Ind., and it offers a roller coaster dynamics course as part of the College of Engineering. This course teaches you about how roller coasters make loops and how kinetics get coasters up and down hills.
Ohio State University is in Columbus, Ohio, and its College of Engineering offers a first-year engineering program to incoming freshmen. As part of this course, you learn nanotechnology and roller coaster engineering. You must take this course before you can declare an engineering major, and it teaches you how to document your work and how to work with other people. The school offers financial aid to students.
New River Community College offers an instrumentation technology course, and this course focuses on computer automation, process control and how control systems operate. You learn in both a classroom and a laboratory, and one laboratory project involves learning about the gravitational forces and speed of roller coasters. This school is in Dublin, Va., and has a transfer program if you wish to pursue a degree at a four-year college after you complete a two-year degree.
North Carolina State University is in Raleigh, and it offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. NCSU offers financial aid to students, including grants and work-study programs. The College of Engineering has a mechanical engineering/roller coaster course as part of its undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. In this class, students work together to create a roller coaster, and they also learn about the engineering principles involved in creating these machines.
Empire State College is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, and is in Saratoga Springs. It offers online courses, including the Science Math Analysis Reasoning Technology -- SMART -- program. This is a set of 15 online science and math courses for adults, credit courses that you can use for other degrees, including a Bachelor of Science degree. One of the courses is "Invention by Design," which uses engineering science to create and design projects, including roller coasters.
- Clarkson University: Roller Coaster Design
- Clarkson University: About Clarkson
- The Ohio State University: First-Year Engineering Students Showcase Roller Coaster, Advanced Energy Vehicle Models May 30
- The Ohio State University: About Ohio State
- New River Community College: Instrumentation Technology Course Description
Misty Faucheux became a freelance writer in 1998 and has been an editor since 2004. She has written for a variety of websites and blogs, specializing in topics ranging from digital photography to computer systems to digital media. Faucheux received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Loyola University New Orleans.