Top 5 Automotive Colleges

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Although prospective auto mechanics might be best served at a trade or vocational school, the people who want to be automotive engineers or designers should probably think about what college they are going to attend. The best degree programs have the right mix of classroom work and hands-on experience with cars, according to That serves to demonstrate and enhance students’ passion for the road and the vehicles that travel it. So, move over bookworms—this is a gearhead’s world.

5 Clemson University

Clemson University is even farther from Detroit, but the South Carolina school boasts a department of automotive engineering that offers a master’s and doctoral degrees. These students learn a mix of design and engineering, putting them on track for a job in either field. Finally, Clemson also boasts the International Center for Automotive Research and a close proximity to the South’s NASCAR shops.

4 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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For those who want to study somewhere other than Michigan, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis may be the place to go. Known by the less-cumbersome acronym IUPUI, this institution offers a distinctive motorsports engineering program. The program offers courses such as the business of motorsports in addition to more common vehicle-centered courses and can boast NASCAR driver Ryan Newman among its alumni.

3 Kettering University

Kettering University is also in Michigan, but it is a smaller school than its rivals. It makes up for this, however, with its historical ties to the auto industry—after all, this is a school once called General Motors Institute. Kettering’s mechanical engineering students can specialize in fields like automotive industry management, automotive engineering design and automotive systems as they earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

2 Michigan State

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Michigan State, the University of Michigan’s archrival, is also a contender for the crown of best automotive college. This university’s program is led by the Automotive Research Experiment Station, which provides its mechanical engineers with that hands-on experience that the industry craves. Like Michigan and another in-state rival, Michigan Tech, this is essentially a feeder program for the big Detroit companies.

1 University of Michigan

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It’s no shock: Many of the top automotive colleges are in Michigan, home of Detroit and the American auto industry. The University of Michigan leads the way, with its college of engineering producing top workers for the auto industry, including leading executives. Students in Ann Arbor can earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and follow up with a master’s degree in automotive engineering.

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