Automotive Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Automotive designers are often regarded as a specific type of industrial or commercial designer. An automotive designer conceptualizes the appearance of a vehicle's exterior and interior. A bachelor's degree in industrial design or motor vehicle design is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions in the field.
How to Choose an Automotive Design School and College
Industrial design or commercial design bachelor's degree programs are not too common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), approximately 300 programs that focus on art and design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Furthermore, specific bachelor's degree programs that emphasize vehicle design are even scarcer.
A prospective student who wishes to enter into the field must first be aware of the number of industrial design programs that qualify graduates to work in the field of automotive design. This is especially important if a prospective student has no plans to enroll in a vehicle design program. In general, a bachelor's degree program in industrial design is broad in scope and allows graduates to work in a number of different areas upon graduation, and this fact alone may figure into a prospective student's choice of school.
Some of the classes found in an industrial design bachelor's degree program include art history, industrial design methodology, history and theory of design, advanced industrial design and visualization techniques. Internships are commonly offered during the last year of study and students receive the opportunity to work with industrial designers. An internship is important to aspiring automotive designers and industrial designers and should be an important consideration when choosing a design school.
In contrast, a bachelor's degree in automotive design focuses solely on the technical and creative elements needed to design the exterior and interior elements of automobiles. Some automobile design programs may include topics in materials and processes, science and mathematics, automotive design, computer-aided design and drafting and descriptive geometry. Specific automotive design courses cover areas such as technical creativity, design for manufacturing and assembly, vehicle packaging, design terminology and vehicle electronic systems design.
Largest Automobile Design Schools and Colleges by Student Population
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Arizona State University||67,082||4-year, Public|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||53,715||4-year, Public|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||43,246||4-year, Public|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||41,028||4-year, Public|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||39,675||4-year, Public|
|California State University - Long Beach||37,891||4-year, Public|
|University of Houston||36,104||4-year, Public|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||32,872||4-year, Public|
|San Jose State University||32,746||4-year, Public|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||30,739||4-year, Public|
|University of Cincinnati - Main Campus||29,617||4-year, Public|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||25,835||4-year, Public|
|Western Michigan University||24,818||4-year, Public|
|Auburn University Main Campus||24,530||4-year, Public|
|Metropolitan State College of Denver||21,729||4-year, Public|
|Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus||19,413||4-year, Public|
|Clemson University||18,317||4-year, Public|
|Appalachian State University||16,610||4-year, Public|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette||16,320||4-year, Public|
|Western Washington University||14,620||4-year, Public|
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