Automotive Engineering Curriculum

Automotive Engineering Curriculum Information

30 total credit hours, at least 18 credits at the 500 level, and at least 24 graded. Minimum GPA 3.0/4.0 required for graduation. Complete all of the courses on the approved Plan of Study within five years from the date of first enrollment in the program. No more than 6 credit hours can be transferred from another institution.

The Master of Engineering (MEng) in Automotive Engineering can be completed in 1-2 years on a full-time basis. Part-time students on average complete the degree in 2.5 years but are allowed up to 5 years.

Integrative Science (6-9 Credits)​

Required Course (3 Credits)

Course Offerings (3-6 Credits)​

  • Global Engineering Leadership
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Integrative Thinking
  • Model-Based Systems & Design
  • Socio-Technology

Career Pathways (9 Credits)​

Course Offerings

  • Automotive Powertrain and Electrification Systems Design
  • Autonomous & Connected Vehicle Design
  • Vehicle Dynamics & NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) Design
  • Vehicle Body, Interior & Safety Design
  • Vehicle Human-Centered Design & Architecture
  • Vehicle Mobility Systems
  • Motorsports Engineering

Program Core (9 Credits)

Course Offerings​

  • Powertrain
  • Vehicle Structure & Materials
  • Vehicle Dynamics & Controls
  • Vehicle Electrical & Software

Immersive Practice (3-6 Credits)

Course Offerings

* Please Note: ISD cannot guarantee these courses are available every academic year or every term; these lists are updated on an on-going basis.

Integrative Science

(6-9 Credits)

Required Course

  • AUTO 501 Integrated Vehicle Systems Design

Global Engineering Leadership

Engineering leaders are needed to strategically think and act globally based on an integration of academic excellence in engineering and business, experience in a variety of settings and environments, and the ability to lead across cultures and within organizations of varied sizes. In this field, you will strengthen your ability to develop engineering and business practices, develop cross-cultural leadership competencies, learn how to work within a global community, and lead with purpose, strategy, and vision in the development of sustainable global products, services, and processes for the common good.


Key Competencies:

  • Ability to scope and identify unique challenges of global engineering projects:
    • Global regulatory issues
    • Internationally-recognized engineering and manufacturing quality norms
    • Managing technology and legal contracts
    • Global Supply Chain Issues/Outsourcing/ Offshoring/
    • Re-positioning of Corporations and Subcontractors
    • Risk Management
    • Cross-cultural decision making
    • Understanding consequences/impact of decisions
  • Provide tools for taking corrective actions (within context of “real-world” global problems)
  • International Cultural Competency
  • Multicultural team management and global team leadership

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation and entrepreneurship drive today’s engineering world. Fueling this growth from global corporations to small businesses and national governments to local governments is a need to build sustainable products, services, and technologies. In this field, you will integrate concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship with engineering, science, and design in pursuit of opportunities to innovate solutions to highly complex problems. Here, you will learn how to be the next industry “true innovators” in strengthening market uptake of raw materials solutions and building a bigger platform for a greener future

Key Competencies:

  • Knowledge of market forces
  • Financial insight (understanding numbers)
  • Strategic thinking
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasion
  • Ability to influence
  • Creativity
  • Business planning and integration

Integrative Thinking

Integrative thinking requires seeing problems from multiple viewpoints, taking them all into consideration, and searching for creative solutions through a transformative approach. It requires shifting the focus to the vulnerabilities and capacities of single systems or sectors to interconnected systems and how these will shift over time, taking into account multidirectional interactions of projected changes, responses, and effects. This leads to understanding how to compose a holistic view of a problem, co-construct new knowledge, explore alternative views and methods of problem analysis, and synthesize them into a coherent solution. In this field, you will discover how to integrate across multiple boundaries for the greater good.

Key Competencies:

  • Broad technical, business, management, and education experience
  • Ability to construct and correlate models that are abstractions of interactions and to evaluate data against the model
  • “Big picture” thinking
  • Understanding, at least at the top level, what knowledge domains are relevant and prioritizing their importance

Model Based Systems and Design

Solving complex problems requires deeper levels of systems understanding. Modeling helps designers/engineers work at greater levels of complexity to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later life cycle phases. In this field, you will strengthen your ability to create and implement models to support every stage of the engineering and design process as well as drive learning for modeling, analyzing, and solving complex problems.

Key Competencies:

  • Modeling complex systems
  • Optimization
  •  Data analytics
  • Behavioral models
  • Business/Dynamic modeling
  • Qualitative models
  • Digital twins development
  • Evaluate data quality


Engineers are needed to design within social, political, economic, and cultural contexts. In this field, you will design things that participate in complex systems that have both social and technical aspects, study the intersection of society and technology as a grouping of social engineering and management science and learn how to develop new technologies to meet challenges in energy, environment, food, housing, water, transportation, safety, and health. You will also learn the societal impact of engineering and design decisions at the intersection of science and technology. 

Key Competencies:

  • Socially engaged decision making
  • Operational understanding of the impact of technology on society, world, environment (vice versa)
  • Global awareness

Program Core

(9 Credits)


Today’s vehicles need innovative propulsion solutions that are efficient, reliable, powerful and sustainable. In this aspect of the core, you will study cutting-edge electrification and battery storage systems, including hybrid, fuel cell and internal combustion power plants, as well as automatic transmission technology that are at the heart of every modern vehicle.


Key Competencies:

  • Performance, efficiency and sustainability
  • Electrification, Internal Combustion, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, Alternative Fuel and Transmission technologies
  • Control systems
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Vehicle Dynamics and Controls

The automotive industry is changing at a faster rate than ever. Many of the most exciting changes are associated with optimizing vehicle dynamics and occupant safety through adoption of control systems, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and fully Autonomous Driving Systems. In this field, you will develop an understanding of how to design for good fundamental vehicle physics and gain experience with these critical technologies. You will also learn the importance of vehicle dynamics to personal-use automobiles and trucks, commercial vehicles, as well as adjacent products such as recreational and remote control vehicles.


Key Competencies:

  • Advanced driver assistance and autonomous operation technologies
  • Optimize vehicle dynamics performance
  • Suspension and Steering systems
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Vehicle Electrical and Software

The number of electronically controlled features and embedded control systems has dramatically increased in the automotive industry to the point the number of lines of computer code in a modern vehicle is more than the most advanced jet fighter plane. In this aspect of the program core, you will learn how to optimize vehicle control systems for user appeal and methods to verify and validate system-level software functionality.


Key Competencies:

  • Developing and integrating control systems
  • HMI and mechatronics
  • Architectural design, verification and validation
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Vehicle Structure and Materials

Vehicle structures are critical to occupant safety and vehicle performance. This aspect of the program core includes important courses for engineering lightweight structures which balance occupant safety, comfort,  noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) performance and space efficiency from flexible (sheet metal) and composite materials using the latest manufacturing methods.  Efficient and effective structures will always be central to designing and developing a human-centered vehicle.


Key Competencies:

  • Structural design
  • Flexible materials (sheet metal) and engineered composite materials   
  • Occupant comfort, safety, and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)

Career Pathways

(9 Credits)

Automotive Powertrain & Electrification Systems Design

Automobiles are poised to continue to advance at a rapid pace with greater emphasis on high efficiency powertrains that are environmentally sustainable. Automotive Engineers from this pathway drive the future of vehicle powertrain technology design, development, and launch. You will learn about the advancements in engines, transmissions, electric and hybrid vehicles, enabling you to become one of the innovators at the leading edge of addressing important society energy and environment issues.


Key Competencies:

  • Performance, efficiency and sustainability
  • Electrification, Internal Combustion, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, Alternative Fuel and Transmission technologies
  • Control systems
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Design

The drive toward self-driving cars continues to accelerate at an unprecedented pace and the promise of more accessible, lower-cost, and safer mobility options has electrified a broad discussion about the future of mobility and transportation around the world. Self-driving cars, also known as Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), will increase access, improve our safety and help protect the environment, reducing congestion, and emissions. In this field, you will drive the future of autonomous and connected vehicle technology design, development, and launch and will be at the leading edge of addressing important societal active safety and mobility issues. 


Key Competencies:

  • Automated driving system design
  • Data analysis and machine learning
  • Connected vehicle communication technologies
  • Advanced driver assistance systems
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Motorsports Engineering

Engineers will learn about cutting edge technologies relevant to motorsports using methods to optimize vehicle dynamics, aerodynamics, powertrains, suspension, steering and composite structures through modeling, data analytics and benchmarking.  Winning, however, requires a holistic perspective on how to balance weight, aerodynamics, mechanical traction and powertrain in a robust driver-friendly vehicle in a fast-turnaround environment.  Involvement in topline competitive M-Racing and Solar Car teams and Capstone projects provide opportunities to integrate and apply vehicle competitiveness optimization methods.


Key Competencies:

  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Control systems
  • Composite structures
  • Human Factors
  • Modeling, benchmarking and robustness

Vehicle Body, Interior & Safety Design

Today’s automotive engineers are expected to make connections among different areas of knowledge and integrate them in ways that benefit the automotive industry, society, and the environment. Automotive engineers today must be well grounded in structural design, human factors and safety and be skilled in synthesis, analysis and design.  Additionally, they must be able to work effectively in a team environment centered on an integrative systems product/process design approach. In this pathway, you will learn to drive the designing, developing, and launching of technologies that are at the leading edge of optimizing weight, human factors and the active and passive safety function of market leading vehicles.


Key Competencies:

  • Product design, modelling and materials
  • User empathy
  • Concurrent product/process design and supply base
  • Minimum weight and cost
  • Societal, technological, and competitive considerations

Vehicle Dynamics & NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) Design

Vehicle Dynamics and NVH pathway focuses on developing specific skills required to drive the future of designing, developing, and launching market leading vehicles that are more dynamically capable, quieter and safer. You will learn lean product development, vehicle chassis design concepts and vehicle dynamics as well as NVH tool and method disciplines needed for global marketplace. As a result, you will be able to optimize the needs of the vehicle dynamics & NVH subsystem within a larger vehicle systems including modeling, performance prediction, engineering metrics, product/process design requirements and verification.


Key Competencies:

  • Vehicle dynamics, functional safety, or Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH)
  • Modeling, robustness, control systems and requirements 
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Vehicle Human-Centered Design and Architecture

Human-centered design related jobs are on the rise and appear under various titles, such as user experience designer, user interface designer, interaction designer, usability analyst, and product designer. In this field, you will drive the future of human-centered high value vehicle design, development, and launch to achieve market leadership. You will research, explore, extend, and integrate theoretical and practical issues in design using human-centered approaches and be at the leading edge of addressing important automotive industry issues associated with optimizing user experience and appeal with development and investment efficiency. 


Key Competencies:

  • Vehicle architectural configurations 
  • Extracting, analyzing and addressing unmet user needs
  • Human Factors
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Vehicle Mobility Systems

Engineers will drive the future of designing, developing, and launching vehicles used in mobility solutions. Career paths include mobility solution technical planning, technical project leadership and engineering vehicles, and related infrastructure and data subsystems for mobility solutions by Automotive suppliers, OEMs, start-ups and present or prospective fleet operators. In this field, you will learn about societal, technological, competitive considerations in human-centered mobility solutions, methods to optimize the performance and functional safety of vehicles used in mobility system solutions, cutting-edge technologies needed for the effective mobility solutions needed today, and modeling, robustness and benchmarking vehicle mobility solutions.

Key Competencies:

  • Mobility solutions
  • Functional safety of vehicles
  • Data Analytics, Human-centered Design, Electrification and Autonomy
  • Human Factors
  • Societal, technological and competitive considerations

Immersive Practice

(3-6 Credits)


Work for leading industry partners to apply what you learn during your ISD coursework in a semester- or year-long project to contribute new ideas and knowledge to high priority engineering and technical issues. Learn more about this component of the ISD Curriculum on the ISD Practicum page.


ISD Courses​

AUTO 503 Project Practicum

Take 3 academic credits per semester for up to two semesters. One capstone project enrollment, or approved alternative, is required for graduation. A second capstone project enrollment in another semester is allowed pending Program Director approval.