Automotive Design School

What are the Best Automotive Design Schools in the today? Do you think you have a great automobile design idea like Ranker's best-looking car brand – McLaren P1?

But at the same time, the issue is that the designs are unrefined in your head, and you don't know how to bring them to life.

Well, what that means is that you need an .

An automotive design degree from one of the best will convert your simple auto designs to world wonders.

One of the best automotive designers in the world, Giorgetto Giugiaro, attended a technical design school to hone his passion for sketching automobiles.

This renowned Italian automobile designer designed the Lamborghini Marco Polo concept car in 1982, which may not have been possible without the right .

Therefore, this post will guide you on the best education you need to become a car designer.

We would show you the right degrees you need and the best schools to attend to get them. We will also give you adequate career information for automobile designers and answer some questions you may be asking.

Just keep reading!

READ ALSO: 15 Best Mining Engineering Schools In The World

What is Automotive Design?

The word automotive is a term that refers to automobiles or vehicles. In this vein, automotive design is the discipline that involves developing the appearance and aesthetics of vehicles.

However, in this case, the discipline may reach deep into creating the product concept – vehicles. Thus, the design and development of a car involve the team effort of automotive designers and professionals from other disciplines.

Furthermore, automotive design has three aspects – exterior design, interior design, and color and trim design. Automotive design also involves graphics design. However, the entire team shares this aspect as they do the vehicle's functionality.

Who is an Automotive Designer?

The automotive or automobile designer is the professional who develops the idea of the appearance of a vehicle's exterior and interior.

This professional is usually an industrial and design engineer who ensures their designs are functional and beautiful.

What Does an Automobile Designer Do?

The major role of an automobile designer is developing a design for automobiles.

So, to achieve this, they start by using computer software programs to sketch out new designs. When the sketching is complete, they create a prototype to relate their design to the rest of the team easily.

As such, they work closely with automotive specialists to ensure the vehicle is functional and appealing to the customers.

When the work is complete, the automobile designer will evaluate the finished design to ensure it complies with safety requirements.

How Much Does an Automotive Designer Earn?

Automotive designers earn a wage commensurate to the technicality of their . Their career is a highly fulfilling one.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for an Automotive Designer is $86,616.

However, Nissan North pays its Automotive Designers as high as $93,697 annually. That's close to six a six-figure salary, right?

It could be higher than this in an actual situation, as these figures are only estimates.

READ ALSO: Best 3-Year Medical Schools in the World | Rankings

What Kind of Education Do You Need to Become an Automotive Designer?

The minimum educational requirement for automotive designers is a bachelor's degree. However, you will hardly see a college in the USA offering an automotive design degree.

You will need an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design, Automotive Engineering, or Industrial Engineering to progress in your career.

If you choose an Industrial Degree program, you will take design methods, design materials, and physics courses. You will also complete a studio course along the line.

However, your program will cover computer  and electronics technology courses for Industrial Engineering.

Finally, for Automotive engineering, you will take courses in prototype and operational testing and vehicular systems technology.

Why Attend an Automotive Design School in the USA?

The United States of America is one study location apt for almost every education program. Not only do they have the right facilities and faculty, but they also have the right university for each program.

With over 5,000 universities and colleges in the USA, there is surely a wide option of colleges available to you to choose from.

Although some programs may be expensive, especially if you are an international student, several others are quite affordable. Meanwhile, US universities and colleges offer many to students studying in the USA.

There are also scholarships by subjects you can pick from to apply to your specific program and scholarships for international students in the States.

Specifically, the United States of America is one of the best locations in the world to study automotive design. They have leading automobile companies like General Motors, where you can quickly get employment after graduation if you're excellent enough.

They also offer some of the best automotive design programs that inculcate internships into their curriculum so you can acquire some hands-on experience in the field.

READ ALSO: 11 Best Pastry Chefs Schools In The World

Best Automotive Design Schools in the USA

The best educational path to become an automotive engineer is a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design or Automotive Engineering. As such, you must attend the best Industrial Design or Automotive Engineering Schools for Automotive Designers.

Therefore, we will treat the best automobile design schools in the USA based on the following:

  • Schools with the best Industrial Design program
  • Best Automotive Engineering Schools

Ranking Criteria

For any of the above categories, we selected the best based on the following criteria:

1. Number of Programs or Degree Offered
2. Relevant Program Accreditation
3. Acceptance Rate
4. Employability Rate

Generally, our ranking schools all have relevant program accreditation. Thus, the ranking will be an interplay of the other criteria.

Schools with the best Industrial Design program

If you are acquiring an Industrial Design degree in your quest to become an automotive designer, ensure to attend any of these schools:

1. Herberger Institute for Design and Arts – ASU

Acceptance Rate – 84%

Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the best schools for automotive design. The Art Career Project ranked ASU Design School's Industrial Design program 20th in .

ASU's degree in Industrial Design prepares students for a professional career in product design, concentrating on the development of manufactured objects people use daily.

Generally, ASU offers four Industrial Design programs through its Herberger Institute for Design and Arts (Design School).

These are the Undergraduate Industrial Design (BSD), Master of Industrial Design (MID) for 2 years, Master of Industrial Design (MID) for over 3 years, and Industrial Design (MSD) for advanced studies.

Visit School

2. Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Acceptance Rate – 45%

The University of Houston, through its Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design offers two kinds of degree programs in Industrial Design. These programs create a pathway for a career in Automobile Design and other innovative areas of design.

You can take a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design or a Master of Science in Industrial Design at the University of Houston.

However, the MS in Industrial Design is especially notable for integrating non-design disciplines, such as engineering, to its design disciplines, such as industrial design. This makes it one of the best automobile design schools in the USA.

3. College of Design, NC State University

Acceptance Rate – 47%

North Carolina (NC) State University at Raleigh, with its “Think and do the Extraordinary” slogan, offers one of the best Industrial Design Programs in the US.

Through its College of Design, NC State University offers undergraduates a Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) degree and a Master of Industrial Design (MID) for graduates.

However, the MID program at NC State University is in two tracks – Track 2 and Track 3.

Track 2 is for students with an undergraduate degree in industrial design, while Track 3 is for students with a non-industrial design undergraduate degree. These options easily absorb students looking for automobile design schools with an engineering or business degree.

Visit School

4. The School of Art + Design, the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

Acceptance Rate – 62%

The School of Art + Design of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign offers its Industrial Design degrees. These degree which prepares automotive designers for a career path in Product design, transport design, etc., are one of the best in the United States.

However, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign only offers two program degrees in Industrial Design for an automotive design career.

They are the Industrial Design BFA (undergraduates) and the Industrial Design MFA (graduates).

5. Art + Art History + Design, University of Washington

Acceptance Rate – 49%

The University of Washington – Seatle Campus offers its Industrial Design through its School of Art + Art History + Design. It is one of the best automobile schools in the USA with its Industrial degree programs.

Through its Design School, The University of Washington offers two Design programs. They are the Industrial Design for Undergraduates (BDes) and the Design for Graduates (MDes).

Visit School

READ ALSO: 15 Best Hairdressing Schools in the World

Best Automotive Engineering Schools

Automotive Design School
Best Automotive Design School in the USA 4

Here are the best Automotive Engineering schools and their programs if you'll be taking this educational path toward an automotive design career:

1. Integrative Systems + Design Department, the University of Michigan

Acceptance Rate – 20%

The University of Michigan is arguably the best school in the USA to take an automotive engineering program toward an automobile design career.

This university in Michigan offers a Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering and a Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS). It does this through its Integrative Systems + Design department (ISD).

Meanwhile, ISD's sequential/graduate study makes it possible for undergraduate mechanical engineering students (B.S.E) to transition into the Master's in Automotive Engineering (M. Eng.) and study both programs for five (5) years.

Visit School

READ ALSO: What is Finishing School and How Does it Work? | Locations

2. Clemson Automotive Engineering

Acceptance Rate – 25%

Clemson University is almost a school of automotive engineering, having a department wholly dedicated to the discipline. This is unlike most schools that offer the automotive engineering program through their mechanical engineering faculty.

The university proclaims its Automotive Engineering department as the school for the brightest and most talented automotive-inclined students.

Also, offering a Master's, Ph.D., and undergraduate and graduate certificates, Clemson ranks as our second-best school for automobile design students. Whichever level of engineering skill you need to grow in your automotive design career, you can find it at Clemson.

Visit School

3. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech

Acceptance Rate – 22%

Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the best schools in the USA to take an automotive engineering degree towards a career as an automotive designer.

Through its Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech offers both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Engineering with an Automotive concentration.

Georgia Tech's Mechanical Engineering degree suits automobile design because the programs emphasize design, creativity, and hands-on learning.

So, this is a school you would want to attend as an automobile student who wants to know more about the functionality of automobiles than just the design.

Visit School

4. School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI

Acceptance Rate – 72%

Indiana University – Purdue University (IUPUI) is especially the school for automobile designers who are interested in motorsports. Through its School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI offers a bachelor of science in motorsports engineering (B.S.M.O.E).

This program prepares graduates for careers in the motorsports industry, as well as in automotive-related companies.

As such, the program focuses on teaching the fundamentals of engineering, including hands-on projects that involve designing, analyzing, and building actual systems for motorsports.

This is an automobile school you should consider if you dream of building and designing the best sports cars.

Visit School

5. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University

Acceptance Rate – 70%

Kettering University is another of the best schools in the USA for Engineering students who wish to grow a career in the automobile field. At Kettering, you will get an internationally respected master of science in Engineering with a concentration in Automotive Systems.

This Automotive Systems concentration at Kettering is for individuals who desire a deeper understanding and knowledge of the engineering operations of various systems on vehicles.

Thus, Kettering's automobile program will help automobile design students advance their careers in the field to better deliver to the automobile development team.

Visit School

READ ALSO: 13 Best Motorcycle Mechanic Schools In The World | Updated Rankings

What is the Best Automotive Design School of Choice?

You can get either an Industrial Design degree or an automotive design degree and still be on the right track to an automotive design career, but one is better.

Industrial design is closer to automotive design than automotive engineering. This is because automobile design requires high creativity, a quality that pertains more to artists than engineers.

Also, an artist needs only to know a little about the engineering of a project to design something amazing.

At the same time, an engineer would need to learn a lot about the creative process to design a similar project, though he may excellently put it into functionality.

So, while the Industrial designer has the artist's advantage – key to automotive design – over the automotive engineer, an industrial design degree will favor you more than an automobile degree.

Therefore, Arizona State University is the best automobile design school to study a degree program for an automotive career.

READ ALSO: 15 Best Electrician Trade Schools In The World



To become an automotive designer, you would take an industrial design degree program, an automotive engineering degree program, or an industrial engineering program.

Whichever route you take, an exciting career awaits you as an automotive designer.

However, an industrial design degree is the closest to actualizing your career goal. Therefore, attend one of the best industrial design schools and take internships to build your career portfolio.


I believe this article was helpful to you and that you enjoyed every bit of it. Please feel free to leave us a comment below if you have any. 

Also, help us share this article on social  to help us reach more people who needs this information. 

Follow Us on Socials: LinkedIn - Facebook - Twitter

Discover more from Internet Parrot

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

You May Also Like
Best Card Making Free Classes

11 Best Card Making Free Classes

Making beautiful cards has been made easy with our list of card making free classes available for you. Click and sign up to begin.
WUE Schools

Top 20 WUE Schools And Amazing Facts About Them

The WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange) system, which aims to provide financial support…
Student Visa In Philippines

Getting A Student Visa In Philippines | Ultimate Guide for International Students

Are you an international student thinking of studying in the Philippines? If…
How to Become a Lobbyist

How to Become a Lobbyist | Schools, Licenses, Salary & Cost

Do you want to learn how to become a Lobbyist? If yes,…