The top five universities for automobile engineering offer the latest technology, industry-tempered faculty and the commitment to preparing you for a career making cars. The automotive website Edmunds and the Quacquarelli Symonds ranking service looked for these qualities when they chose the best automotive and mechanical engineering schools in the United States. A degree from one of the top programs for automobile design puts you on the right track toward a fulfilling career.
University of Michigan
At the heart of the American automotive industry, Michigan has many quality automotive engineering schools. Among the best is the University of Michigan, which offers a master’s in automotive engineering with an interdisciplinary focus combining engineering practices and business skills. Each student completes a collaborative capstone project with the help of faculty and industry professionals. You can elect to take the master's program online. The school’s sequential bachelor’s-to-master’s automotive engineering program takes five years to complete. The school also offers a global automotive and manufacturing engineering master's degree.
Engineering students at Cornell University participate in the Formula SAE -- formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers -- competition, in which they build a Formula One racecar. Cornell competes annually in this event, which draws 140 schools from 12 countries to Pontiac, Michigan, every May. Cornell is in the contest’s top ten almost every year. The school offers a course in automotive engineering covering engines, transmissions, suspension, brakes and aerodynamics that helps fulfill requirements for a degree in mechanical engineering. Cornell also offers master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
A bachelor’s degree in motorsports engineering and a master’s in technology with a motorsports engineering concentration are available at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The school allows students to network with racing teams affiliated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Faculty are selected for their real-world racing experience. Classes are built around real race team operations, allowing students to work with genuine Formula One cars. Graduates of the program typically go on to become racing engineers, parts designers, aerodynamics engineers, data acquisition engineers or technical program managers. The school's Transportation Active Safety Institute takes an interdisciplinary approach to advanced automotive safety research and development.
University of Texas at Arlington
UT-Arlington engineering students are competitive in the FSAE, FSAE West and FSAE Japan race car contests. The school received a $2 million endowment in 2012 to create the Arnold E. Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering, a goal of which is to bolster the university's FSAE programs. Part of the funds will create an FSAE hall of honor and storage area for FSAE trophies. UT-Arlington offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering, and among its facilities are an aerodynamics research center, an auto shop and a wind tunnel.
Among the elite American universities, Stanford is second only to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in mechanical engineering, according to QS Top Universities. Scholars at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford are designing cars that drive themselves, automatically stay in their lanes and use sensors to avoid collisions. The school's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab sent an unmanned car to the top of Pike's Peak in 2010. The Volkswagen lab is also on the forefront of solar-powered automotive technology. In the mechanical engineering department, you can work with colleagues in the design group or the mechanics and computation group to further your studies of automobiles.
- Edmunds: Top 10 Automotive Colleges and Universities in the U.S.
- QS World University Rankings by Subject: 2014 -- Engineering -- Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing
- University of Michigan: Automotive Engineering
- Cornell University College of Engineering: FSAE
- Cornell University: Automotive Engineering
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: Motorsports Engineering
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: Transportation Active Safety Institute
- University of Texas-Arlington: UT Arlington to Establish Arnold E. Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering Through New $2 Million Endowment
- University of Texas-Arlington Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: Research Facilities, Labs, Groups
Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.