Automotive engineering is a specific branch of mechanical engineering that involves the design and manufacturing of cars, buses, and similar vehicles. Ever since Carl Benz designed the first automobile in 1886, the industry has gone through a series of dramatic changes. Today, electric and self-driving cars are all the rage, with companies like Tesla leading the way.

The fact that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the automotive industry despite its being over a century old is a testament to its reach and importance to daily life. While it’s rare to find an exclusive automotive engineering program, many universities offer mechanical engineering degrees that include a strong automotive component.

In the guide below, we talk about some of the best automotive engineering schools in the world.

What School Has the Best Automotive Engineering Program?

When it comes to determining which school has the best automotive engineering program, we need to base our statistics on the available rankings, from which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been ranked as the best in this specific field. The automotive engineering programs are quite difficult, and that is one of the main reasons why this program tends to have a big impact on the industry. We do not have enough information about this particular course, but if you are interested in finding other similar courses that are well-equipped for your skills, you may search all the available courses that are a part of our database.

See Also: The Best Countries to Study Automotive Engineering

Is Automotive Engineering the Same as Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering is a discipline that concerns itself with the design and maintenance of all kinds of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers work on a wide range of large-scale systems like aircraft and submarines. Mechanical engineers also deal with mechanical systems on much smaller scales, like drones. Automotive engineering, on the other hand, is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering that is more concerned with the manufacturing and maintenance of vehicles. Nowadays, automotive engineers deal with developing and optimizing software for electric and smart cars.

Check Also: Free Mechanical Engineering Schools with No Tuition

Top Automotive Engineering Schools in the World

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has some of the best engineering programs in the world. Its mechanical engineering program gives you the most relevant skillset if you want to work with vehicles. You’ll have access to a wide range of courses such as Elements of Mechanical Design, Engineering Systems Design, and Thermal-Fluids Engineering.

As an engineering student at MIT, you’ll have access to the Sloan Automotive Laboratory, which is MIT’s dedicated automotive research hub. Here, you’ll have the chance to collaborate with like-minded peers to drive the automotive industry forward. The Sloan Automotive Laboratory is supported by industry partners like Chrysler and Ford. Much of the research done here revolves around improving energy consumption and making cars more sustainable. This is why MIT is among the best automotive engineering schools in the world.

2. Stanford University

Engineering at Stanford University combines theoretical and practical education to produce graduates who are leaders in their fields. A mechanical engineering degree from Stanford will make you extremely marketable to the biggest players in the automotive industry.

At Stanford, you can opt to study for the coterminal program, which allows you to receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time. This highly demanding program will give you a head start on your peers from other universities.

With Stanford University being a leading automotive engineering school, its Center of Automotive Research at Stanford, or CARS, is the institution’s automotive research hub. Students can make use of it as a space to let their ideas flourish. Currently, research at CARS is centered on making self-driving vehicles safer and figuring out how vehicles will shape society heading into the future.

3. Delft University of Technology

The Delft University of Technology, or TU Delft, is one of the top universities for automotive engineering in Europe. Its Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a general degree that provides students with the tools they need to succeed in a variety of fields.

It’s TU Delft’s Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering that should catch the eye of anyone looking to go into automotive engineering. As a graduate student, you’ll want to take their course in Intelligent Vehicles, which teaches you how to design the automobiles of the future.

TU Delft’s Ph.D. program is extremely flexible. You’ll be able to research a topic of your choice while receiving mentorship from top-class faculty.

4. Tsinghua University

In 2022, China dominates the global manufacturing of cars, with more than double the production of the United States. Such scale means a greater demand for automotive engineers. Tsinghua University is the top Chinese university that offers programs in the field, and if you want to break into this lucrative market, there are few better places to start.

While the undergraduate mechanical engineering program is taught in Chinese, Tsinghua’s Master’s in Mechanical Engineering is offered entirely in English. Students can specialize in an automotive engineering track, which is offered by the Department of Automotive Engineering. If you want a broader perspective, you can sign up for the Joint Master’s Program with RWTH Aachen in Germany, another university on this list.

5. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan is one of the world’s leading automotive engineering institutions. The Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Automotive Systems Engineering teaches students the ins and outs of building vehicles right from the get-go. Students are encouraged to work on solutions to problems like a lack of renewable energy and inefficient manufacturing processes.

The university also offers more general mechanical engineering degrees at the undergraduate and Ph.D. levels, but as far as a pure automotive engineering education goes, there aren’t many better options than the master’s program.

6. Georgia Institute of Technology

While there are universities that let students study automotive engineering in graduate school, the Georgia Institute of Technology is unique in that it gives students the ability to specialize as undergraduates. Run by the renowned George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering offers an Automotive Engineering track that introduces students to important concepts early on.

Besides its fantastic engineering programs, Georgia Tech also provides plenty of flexibility when it comes to internships and study-abroad experiences. To get the most out of your experience here, you’ll need to know what you want and be proactive.

7. RWTH Aachen

RWTH Aachen is among the best automotive engineering schools and is located in Germany, home to industry juggernauts like BMW, Porsche, and Audi. It offers a few programs in automotive engineering, but the one that will be most relevant to you as an international student is the Master of Science in Automotive Engineering.

This extremely technical degree will teach you everything you need to know about designing, manufacturing, and marketing cars. As mentioned, you can choose to study for your master’s degree at both RWTH Aachen and Tsinghua University.

A vocational program in automotive engineering is offered at the undergraduate level, but this is taught entirely in German. The Ph.D. program is research-oriented and very flexible.


Even though automotive engineering is one of the most challenging disciplines to pursue, it is worth pursuing. Cars are a necessary commodity that will always be in demand. The job market for automotive majors has seen tremendous growth in the past few years, especially with the emergence of smart and electric cars. Check out the 5 Best Automotive Engineering Schools in Europe.


I hope that you found this article on the best automotive engineering schools in the world informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad!

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