Automotive Engineering Master’s Degree

By Dan Tashlykov, BSME

Ready to drive into the future and make a significant impact on the world of transportation? An automotive engineering master’s degree could be your route to career success.

Imagine yourself working on the cutting-edge of automotive technology, designing engines or components for safer, more efficient vehicles. This rewarding career path offers graduates the chance to work in a variety of settings, from major automotive companies to research institutions, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in transportation. With the rapid evolution of electric vehicles and autonomous driving, your skills will be more in demand than ever before.

Master’s in Automotive Engineering Online Program Overview

When enrolling in engineering master’s degrees online, specifically related to the automotive industry, you’ll be entering an exciting world where cutting-edge technology and innovative mechanical concepts are at the forefront.

It’s a great opportunity for anyone passionate about vehicles and engines to further develop their skills and knowledge, opening doors to numerous career opportunities in the automotive industry.

Throughout your coursework and study, expect to explore advanced topics such as vehicle dynamics, engine design, suspension systems, and aerodynamics. You’ll learn how to integrate modern technologies with traditional mechanical principles to enhance the performance, safety, and efficiency of automobiles. On top of that, your curriculum will likely include courses on emissions control, materials engineering, and advanced powertrains.

One unique aspect of pursuing an online degree program in automotive engineering is gaining exposure to state-of-the-art software tools commonly used in the industry. This practical experience is incredibly valuable when it comes to future job prospects, as companies are always eager to hire engineers familiar with the latest tech.

Overall, choosing an online program for your Master’s in automotive engineering can offer several advantages. It allows you to work at your own pace, accommodating busy schedules that might not conform to traditional classroom hours.

Embracing the digital landscape also means you can access course content from anywhere with an internet connection – so you don’t have to worry about missing out on class due to unforeseen circumstances or travel restrictions.

Why Earn an Online Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering?

If you’re passionate about cars and looking to level up your career, an online master’s degree in automotive engineering might be the perfect fit for you. After all, pursuing an advanced degree online comes with a large number of benefits that can open doors to new opportunities in the automotive industry.

The flexibility of online learning allows you to balance your career and personal life. You won’t have to put your job on hold or sacrifice precious family time to attend on-campus classes. Instead, you can learn at your own pace and schedule, fitting your studies around your busy lifestyle. This convenience ensures minimal disruption while still allowing you to grow professionally.

Online programs often provide a more affordable option compared to traditional on-campus degrees. Generally, online tuition fees are lower, and you’ll save on other expenses such as housing, transportation, and textbooks. This financial advantage means you can invest more in your passion for automobiles and engineering without breaking the bank.

Pursuing an online master’s in automotive engineering also gives you access to diverse academic resources from top-notch institutions worldwide. You’ll be able to learn from expert professors and interact with fellow students from different backgrounds without being limited by geographical boundaries.

This global perspective can enrich your understanding of the automotive industry and create lasting professional networks crucial for future career growth.

Master’s in Automotive Engineering Curriculum and Common Courses

In this section, we’ll dive into the curriculum and common courses you can expect to encounter during a master’s in automotive engineering degree program. From specialized technical subjects to broader engineering concepts, these courses are designed to equip you with the expertise required to excel in the fast-paced world of automotive technology.

So buckle up and let’s explore what your educational journey as an automotive engineer could look like!

Automotive Engineering Curriculum & Common Courses

If you’re pursuing a master’s degree in automotive engineering, here are some common courses and coursework names you’ll likely encounter:

  • Vehicle Dynamics: Covers the fundamental principles of vehicle dynamics, including suspension systems, tire mechanics, steering, braking, and ride comfort. You’ll learn how to analyze and design vehicle systems for optimal performance.
  • Powertrain Systems: Study the design and operation of a vehicle’s powertrain systems such as engines, transmissions, drivelines, and hybrid/electric propulsion systems. You’ll also learn about advanced technologies for improving efficiency and reducing emissions.
  • Automotive Control Systems: Teaches you about the various control systems used in modern vehicles, including engine management systems, electronic stability programs, and advanced driver-assistance systems. You’ll learn how to design and develop these systems using various sensors and actuators.
  • Advanced Materials for Automotive Applications: Learn about the latest material developments in the automotive industry, including lightweight metals, composites, and polymers. This course explores their application in vehicles to enhance fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve overall performance.
  • Automotive Aerodynamics: Study the principles of aerodynamics as they apply to vehicle design. Topics covered include drag reduction techniques, cooling systems’ optimization, and wind noise suppression methods.
  • Electric & Hybrid Vehicles: Focuses on the design and analysis of electric and hybrid vehicles. You’ll explore various electric drive technologies, energy storage systems, and power electronics used in these types of vehicles.
  • Noise, Vibration, & Harshness (NVH) Engineering: Learn about the causes of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) issues in vehicles and strategies to mitigate them. Topics include sound sources identification, vibration isolation systems, and design optimization techniques.
  • Automotive Safety Engineering: Covers the principles of vehicle safety engineering, including crashworthiness, occupant protection, and collision avoidance. You’ll learn about modern safety technologies, regulatory requirements, and testing methodologies.
  • Vehicle Electronics & Communication Systems: Study the various electronic systems found in today’s vehicles, such as infotainment systems, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technologies.
  • Automotive Manufacturing Processes: Teaches you about the different manufacturing processes used to produce automotive components and assemblies. Topics include metal forming, casting, welding, machining, and assembly techniques.

Accreditation for Master’s in Automotive Engineering Degree Programs

When you’re considering pursuing a master’s degree in automotive engineering, it’s crucial to consider the quality of the program you’re choosing. One key factor that can give you confidence in your choice is selecting a program with proper accreditation.

In this section, we’ll dive into the specific accreditations for engineering degree programs to help guide you towards making an informed decision.

ABET Accreditation

The most important accreditation to look for when selecting a master’s program in any engineering field is ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation.

ABET is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and certifies college and university programs in applied and natural sciences, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. They ensure that the curriculum offered by these institutions adheres to the highest standards of education.

An ABET-accredited engineering program guarantees that you’ll receive a top-notch education and be well-prepared for your future career. This is because ABET uses stringent criteria in its evaluation process, considering factors such as faculty qualifications, learning resources, program objectives, and student outcomes.

Choosing an ABET-accredited master’s in engineering degree program is crucial for your future career, professional growth, and overall educational experience. It ensures that you’ll receive a top-notch education, equipping you with the skills, knowledge, and credibility to succeed in the competitive automotive industry.

What Can I Do with a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering?

Automotive engineering is about so much more than just designing and building cars; it’s also about creating cutting-edge technology for the future of transportation.

With an advanced degree in this dynamic field, there are plenty of exciting career opportunities waiting for you – let’s dive into what some of these careers are.

Automotive Engineer

Automotive engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and testing new and improved vehicles or vehicle components. They often work on projects related to engines, transmissions, suspension systems, braking systems, and more.

According to O-NET, the median annual wage for automotive engineers was around $95,300 as of 2021.

Chassis Engineer

Chassis Engineers focus on designing and optimizing the structural framework of a vehicle. This includes everything from overall vehicle architecture to specific suspension system components.

The average salary for chassis engineers falls under the umbrella of mechanical engineers, which according to Glassdoor data, earned a median annual wage of approximately $102,336.

Powertrain Engineer

Powertrain Engineers specialize in the development and improvement of vehicle powertrains – the systems that generate power and transmit it to the wheels. They work with engines, transmissions, and drivetrain components to optimize performance, efficiency, and reliability.

Similar to chassis engineers, powertrain engineers also fall under the category of mechanical engineers, with reporting an average annual wage of around $117,042.

Autonomous Vehicle Engineer

As an Autonomous Vehicle Engineer, you’ll be working on one of the most rapidly evolving areas in the automotive industry: self-driving cars. These engineers are responsible for designing and implementing cutting-edge technology systems that enable vehicles to safely navigate without human intervention.

The average salary for autonomous vehicle engineers varies widely due to the rapid growth and demand in the field, but can range between $84,139 and $112,592 per year or even higher depending on experience and specialization.

Electric Vehicle Engineer

With the push for more sustainable transportation options, Electric Vehicle Engineers are in high demand. These professionals are responsible for designing, developing, and testing electric and hybrid vehicle systems, including batteries, motors, and power electronics.

According to, the average salary for an electric vehicle engineer ranges from around $63,266 to $96,086 per year, with those possessing a master’s degree often earning toward the higher end of that range.

How Much do Automotive Engineering Graduates Make?

The average master’s in automotive engineering salary is $82,000 USD in the US, according to PayScale data obtained in August 2022. According to the Economic Research Institute, automotive engineering salary estimates are projected to increase by 11% over the next 5-years with steady growth.

Additionally, a master’s in automotive engineering could qualify you to take on several roles in the automotive industry within the United States, such as:

  • Controls engineer with salary ranging from $60k to 109k annually
  • Design engineer with salary ranging from $59k to $103k annually
  • Team leader, general, with salary ranging $82k to $185k annually
  • Test engineer with salary ranging from $71k to $132k annually

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) distinguishes between job opportunities in motor vehicle manufacturing and parts manufacturing. The majority of the motor vehicle manufacturing roles are in the following states:

  • Michigan (41.5k employees in 2021)
  • California (25k employees in 2021)
  • Kentucky (22k employees in 2021)
  • Ohio (22k employees in 2021)

The majority of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing roles are in the following states:

  • Michigan (121k employees in 2021)
  • Ohio (68k employees in 2021)
  • Indiana (59k employees in 2021)

A brief search on LinkedIn for “automotive engineer” also led to a high number of potential master’s in automotive engineering job descriptions and titles that one could qualify for, including:

  • Automotive analysis engineer
  • Automotive application engineer
  • Automotive engineer, sales team
  • Automotive manufacturing engineer
  • Automotive materials engineer
  • Automotive vibration engineer

A typical career trajectory may start you as an engineer; then you can become a senior engineer followed by a team leader or manager where multiple automotive engineers may report to you. A master’s of automotive engineering can also allow you to pursue a role focusing more on materials, vibration, autonomous driving, sales, or a specific application.

The opportunities are bountiful, and the master’s of automotive engineering salary is desirable, with a high potential for growth in the industry.

Starting Salary for Automotive Engineering

If you’re considering a career in automotive engineering, you’ll be happy to know that the starting salary in this field is quite competitive.

In an entry-level position, such as a junior automotive engineer or a design engineer, you can expect to earn around $60,750 to $71,300 per year. Keep in mind that this figure may fluctuate depending on factors like your location, the size of the company you work for, and your previous experience or internships in the industry.

However, overall, it indicates that there are solid earning opportunities right from the get-go in the world of automotive engineering.

Average Salary for a Master’s in Automotive Engineering

After obtaining a master’s degree in automotive engineering, you’ll likely be eligible for higher-paying positions within the industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for mechanical engineers, which includes automotive engineers, was around $95,300 in 2021. A master’s degree can boost your credentials and potentially give you an edge over other candidates when applying for more senior roles or specialized positions.

What’s the Most an Automotive Engineering Graduate Makes?

As with any career, the longer you stay in the automotive engineering field and gain valuable experience, the higher your earning potential becomes. At the peak of their careers, automotive engineering professionals who have many years of experience under their belts can expect to earn a six-figure salary. It isn’t uncommon for highly experienced senior engineers or managers to bring home over $136,210 annually (top 10% of earners), with some even reaching up to $150,000 or more.

These top-tier salaries aren’t guaranteed, but are generally reserved for those who have demonstrated exceptional skills and expertise in their respective niches within the industry or have transitioned into high-ranking management positions. Climbing the ladder in automotive engineering takes dedication, hard work, and continuous learning, but the rewards can be well worth it when you reach the peak of your career.

Tips for Increasing Salary Potential

Are you an automotive engineer looking to increase your salary potential? Here are some key tips you can follow to up your earning potential.

  • Network: Attend local meetups and industry events or conferences to make connections with other automotive engineers in your area. This can open the door to job opportunities and potential salary raises.
  • Negotiate Your Salary: Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary. Prepare by researching comparable salaries and know what you’re worth.
  • Expand & Grow Your Skills: Pursue specialized courses or side-projects that can expand your knowledge and become more marketable in the automotive industry.

Continuing Education After a Master’s in Automotive Engineering

If you’ve already achieved a master’s in automotive engineering degree or completed an MS automotive program, you might feel that your journey is complete. But don’t be too quick to take off that thinking cap!

Continuing education can open new opportunities and give you a competitive edge in the industry. From advanced certificates to doctorate programs, there are plenty of options available that can help you stay abreast of the ever-changing automotive engineering landscape.

In this section, we’ll discuss these continuing education options in detail. Ready? Let’s get started!

Advanced Certificates

If you’re a master’s-level automotive engineer looking to stay ahead of the curve, advanced certificates can help you grow your career even further.

Advanced certificates in areas such as electronics and controls engineering, system design and integration, vehicle systems engineering, and software development for cars can give you the knowledge you need to work on cutting-edge technologies used in cars.

Getting these types of certifications also shows employers that you’re dedicated to advancement and are keeping up to speed on new industry developments.

Doctorate in Automotive Engineering

Ready to take your automotive engineering studies to the next level? With a doctorate in automotive Engineering, you can elevate your knowledge and expertise as an automotive engineer.

A doctorate in this field can open up a world of new opportunities – such as teaching or research roles at prestigious universities, working directly with global automotive companies, or pursuing a career in consulting or management.

If you’re looking to grow as an automotive engineer and have a lasting impact on the industry, then a doctorate (Ph.D.) in automotive engineering could be your ticket to a bright future.

Scholarship and Financial Aid Information

Financial Aid

Pursuing a master’s in automotive engineering can be expensive, but there are several financial aid options available to help you cover the costs. Federal Grants and the FAFSA application are available to those pursuing an advanced degree, and both programs provide direct grants or loans for tuition and other educational expenses.

In addition to Federal support, many states also offer scholarships or grants dedicated to specific fields of study or educational levels. To find out more, contact the university or college that you are planning to attend to see what types of financial aid they offer. There may also be scholarships from private organizations available to those interested in the field of automotive engineering.

Lastly, some employers may provide tuition reimbursement if you pursue a master’s in automotive engineering through their education assistance program. Check with your employer to see what options are available.

With a little research and savvy budgeting, there’s no reason why you can’t finance your master’s degree in automotive engineering.


When it comes to pursuing your master’s in automotive engineering, there’s no doubt it can be a substantial financial investment. Luckily, scholarships can help ease some of your financial burden and make it more attainable.

Merit-based scholarships are a popular choice for those who have excelled academically. These scholarships are awarded based on your GPA, awards, or achievements in your field of study. To apply, you’ll typically need to submit transcripts, a resume, and sometimes letters of recommendation that show off your academic prowess. While it might be competitive, snagging one of these scholarships can significantly reduce your financial responsibility and give you the chance to focus on your studies without stressing over finances.

Another option is need-based scholarships, which are geared towards students who show financial need. These consider not just your academic achievements, but also your ability to pay for the education you’re pursuing. When applying for these, you’ll likely need to provide proof of income or a financial breakdown of your current situation.

For many students, scholarships can make the difference between being able to attend grad school and having to put it off due to financial constraints. If you’re doubting whether or not you should apply for a scholarship, we recommend going forward and applying to as many as you’re eligible for.


Getting your master’s in automotive engineering? If so, you may want to consider snagging an internship. Internships are a great way to gain real-world experience, as well as build relationships with potential employers. After all, having that work experience on your resume is an invaluable asset for any future job search!

One of the best benefits of doing an automotive engineering internship is the hands-on experience you’ll get working in the field. You can develop on-the-job skills and learn the practical side of things as you go.

Not only will this give you a head start when it comes to getting hired, but it’s also a great way to make contacts in the industry. Networking is key to success, and internships provide an opportunity to start building those connections before entering the workforce.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How Much Does a Master’s in Automotive Engineering Cost?

The cost of a master’s in automotive engineering can vary. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere between $8,200 to $16,200 per semester for tuition alone. Other potential costs like books and supplies and other miscellaneous fees will be extra and may or may not be included in some universities’ or college’s tuition fees.

Is a Master’s in Automotive Engineering Degree Worth It?

A master’s degree in automotive engineering is worth it for many students due to increased job prospects and the higher salary that comes along with this degree. A master’s degree signals to employers that you have in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field.

How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering?

It usually takes two years to complete a master’s degree in automotive engineering if you’re studying full-time. Some universities offer accelerated programs that allow you to finish your studies in as little as eighteen months, while other universities offer extended learning schedules that spread out classes over four years.

Is a Master’s Degree Required to Advance in Automotive Engineering?

A master’s degree is not required to advance in automotive engineering, but it may be advantageous to have one. Having a master’s degree can open doors to more advanced career positions, higher salaries, and give you an edge over other applicants competing for the same jobs.

Are Automotive Engineering Jobs in Demand?

Yes, automotive engineering jobs are in high demand. As the auto industry grows and new technologies are developed, companies are continually looking for qualified automotive engineers to join their teams.

What Industries Are Hiring Automotive Engineering Graduates that have a Master’s Degree?

Automotive engineering graduates with a master’s degree can join a wide range of industries as well as work in the automotive supply chain, such as with component manufacturers and companies that specialize in vehicle design and manufacturing.

Is an Online Master’s in Automotive Engineering the same as an On-Campus Degree?

Yes and no. An online master’s in automotive engineering is the same degree as an on-campus degree and is widely accepted by employers. However, there are differences in the coursework and delivery of the online version of this degree program.


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