Advanced degrees of engineering

  • 14-Oct-2010 04:43 EDT
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The theme of the 2009 IAVS Summer Automotive Engineering Project was the Reconfigurable Electric Vehicle—a city commuter with a range of 60 mi (97 km) on weekdays and a midsize sedan with a range of 350 mi (563 km) for long family trips on weekends.

Engineering students or professionals looking to further their education beyond the bachelor’s level have many decisions to make. One of the major ones is whether to get an advanced degree in business or engineering.

An advanced degree in engineering is a worthwhile path to follow, especially since the automotive industry is expected to experience increasingly rapid changes in technology and technological sophistication.

At this month’s SAE Convergence event, Roger Shulze and P. K. Mallick of the University of Michigan–Dearborn will explain how their school prepares engineering graduates for careers in automotive systems engineering (ASE) by way of interdisciplinary M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

UM-Dearborn ASE students are engaged in automotive research and design projects including undergraduate engineers’ senior design projects, MS-ASE capstone projects or theses, and Ph.D.-ASE dissertation research. Some highlights are the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems (IAVS), which provides an applied-research environment for automotive product development, manufacturing, and system integration. Others are research in automotive projects sponsored by the HP-CEEP (Henry Patton Center for Engineering Education and Practice) focused on industry-university collaborative research and the Center for Lightweighting Automotive Materials and Processing (CLAMP).

The UM-Dearborn presentation will also highlight some automotive engineering options available from other universities.

Ph.D.-level programs include:

Ohio State University: The specialization in automotive systems engineering within the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering is administered by the Center for Automotive Research.

Clemson University: The 3-4 year program through the Department of Mechanical Engineering focuses on systems integration, design and development, manufacturing, and vehicle electronics systems.

M.S.-level programs include:

Loughborough University: Created with help from Ford, the program within the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering targets working engineers.

The HAN University of Applied Sciences: The 18-month program focuses on vehicle dynamics, control and driver assistance, and powertrain. Full-time students can spend their first year of study at the Czech Technical University, allowing the students to earn a degree from both schools.

RWTH Aachen: The two-year program focuses on industrial R&D practices and modern manufacturing processes of vehicles and their subsystems with a mandatory two-month industrial internship.

Kalasalingam University: Courses by the Centre for Automotive Systems and Industrial Engineering within the Department of Mechanical Engineering are offered in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University of Technology.

Ohio State University: The graduate specialization in Automotive Systems Engineering can be adapted to M.S. as well as the Ph.D. programs.

Clemson University: The two-year program through its Department of Mechanical Engineering uses vehicle systems for collaborative team projects to improve or redesign current technologies and an international internship.

Purdue University: The Integrated Vehicle Systems specialization has no core courses; a student designs a curriculum tailored to fit his or her individual needs.

Kettering University: A degree in Engineering–Automotive Systems in the Mechanical Engineering department consists of 10 courses with a thesis or one elective.

Lawrence Technological University: The M.S. in Automotive Engineering consists of 30 credit hours—eight core courses and two technical electives or a thesis option. Classes are offered in the evenings to meet the needs of working professionals.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor: The 30-credit-hour Master’s of Engineering in Automotive Engineering emphasizes engineering practices, with highlights being enhanced skills not only in engineering but also business and teamwork.

Though the list above represents a good cross section of advanced programs, the SAE editors are in the process of compiling a more comprehensive list of degree programs in vehicle engineering. If your school is missing, let us know. Stay tuned for more information in the coming year.

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