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Autmotive Engineering

  1. Mar 9, 2005 #1
    Hi, i'm just posting this ere after being elsewhere with no replies in the hope that some people here are in the Automotive Industry.

    Recently i have been looking for universities in the UK for courses in Automotive Engineering, i have found some pretty good links such as autoindustry.co.uk which has a good list of uni's and "centers of excellence" (under specific headers).

    However, i want to do acourse that focuses heavilly on Engine Design, and powertrains, now the only one i have found is at Coventry and Heartfordshire which has "Motorsport and Powertrain Engineering" and "Automotive Engineering with motorsport" respectively.

    If any of you could help me out with any info on them and how they are regarded within the industry etc, it would be much appreciatied.

    i have both the prospectus's, and as both list Engine Design etc as part of the course i am unsure as to my preference.

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2005 #2
    A lot of engine design classes are simply lumped into ME electives. Look into the actual class offerings for Mechanical engineers (senior level and above) to see if they have specific engine design or fundamentals classes. Most uni's don't offer a specific "Auto eng" path because the maths and sciences are fairly indepth for undergrads. You'll probably have to get a related BS (ME, CE, even EE) and then do your masters work in the exact field you want.

    "Engine design" classes can be taught from a "the student knows nothing about an engine" view to a "We expect the student to understand how Diesel, Wankel, Gas Turbine, and Otto cycle engines work already" view. You should look into what the course requirements are and use that as a basis for your selection. Engine design classes are (from what I've seen to date) classes used to teach to fundamentals plus a little extra of how various engines operate and the basic components. Your real understanding comes when you take more advances fluid flow(engine related) classes, and flame propigation(again engine related) classes. At least the handful of Uni's I looked into here in the states worked like that.

    I'd say look into the elective classes for ME's at all of your selected uni's and see if they offer automotive related classes.

    Hope this helped.
    Good luck.
  4. Mar 9, 2005 #3
    A agree with faust9. I was the same way when I was looking into going into university. I got accepter into U of Windsor for Automotove Engineering (the only University with that program in Canada) but I declined because I could have gotten a better education at U of Waterloo for Mech. Eng.. If you really want to work on Cars and Engine Design, the best bet is to go into Mechanical Engineering. You get a good theoretical base befoure you get options into going into that sector. One of the majors I could end up doing is Turbomachinery, shich reals alot with what youre looking into. The only kids allowed to go into it are the Mechanical Engineers. So don't worry if you cant find too many schools that offer automotive.


  5. Mar 10, 2005 #4
    Thank you very much for your replies. I am finding plenty of uni's that offer auto Eng such as the following :


    now, all of them offer auto Eng, and Loughborough and Heartfordshire offer courses more specifically in motor sport and power trains as well as automotive engineering.

    i suppose the main question in the beginning is which would be the "best" to go to, now i know Coventry has an amazing Automotive Design center (hence should have a good automotive engineering side??), and a long heritage (especially ford etc.), which draws me near there, but similarly Loughborough is well know for its Engineering courses. and the others i haven't heard much about.

  6. Mar 10, 2005 #5


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    The automotive design at Coventry is art based, rather than engineering. It looks an amazing course, but if you want to work in engineering this is not the course for you. My best friend is on the MDes Transport Design course at Coventry; he can draw some pretty amazing cars, but he has absolutely no understanding or interest in how a car actually works.

    A Mechanical Engineering degree from a good 'red brick' university will be INFINITELY better than a more excitingly titled degree from an ex-polytechnic. As a general guide, the more exotic sounding the course title, the less good it becomes in terms of employability, course content, employer perception, becoming chartered, and everything else which matters.

    Of the universities you mention, Universities of Bath, Leeds and Loughborough all have excellent engineering departments. The University of Birmingham's automotive engineering course is also excellent; I know someone who's doing that course but even so, it's pretty much identical to my Mechanical Engineering course (just a little bit more car-specific).

    Be very wary of ex-polytechnics, and make sure that the degree course is accredited by the IMechE (check for accreditation at http://www.imeche.org.uk). If in doubt, check the Times Good University Guide; don't settle for anywhere which isn't in the top 20 overall, and for engineering.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2005
  7. Mar 11, 2005 #6
    Thanks brewnog, this is almost exactly the info i was looking for, obviously i will take open days when the opportunities arise, and gather my more specific info, but background research is always useful.

    i knew the automotive design at Coventry is art based, its just that from cardesignnews and such places which deal on the design stage, its recognized as one of the top 5 if not top 3 places in the world for AutoDes. however my point was, if they spend so much on the design, wouldn't they put allot into the engineering as they tend to go "hand in hand"?

    thanks for the links etc. quite allot of info on there.

    Much appreciated
  8. Mar 11, 2005 #7
    You might think the two go hand in hand but in reality they are very different fields. The two fields work together to produce a final product the the approaches are different.

    Automotive design is a much more artistic endeavor. Interiors and exteriors are drawn up by designers with minimal input from engineers. One the artistic version of the product is created the engineering teams work to fit the actual mechanical parts into and around the artistic shell while meeting safety, strength, power, and longevity requirements. If the engineering teams cannot meet the req's within the original design then the design gets reappraised artistically around the engineering req's. Now, auto designers have to know the limitations of a car like minimum dimensions how engines/transmissions/differentials/brakes/etc all fit together in order to draw a workable shell; however, that's all the designer needs to know. The designer doesn't care about the specifics of a Mcpherson or Log/short A-arm front suspension. The designer doesn't really care about crumple zones or advanced materials for intakes(aluminum vs modern plastics).

    So, the "hand in hand" nature of design and engineering is less of a "M'kay guys lets all meet up on tuesday and design us an engineered car". The "hand in hand" nature is more like:
    "Hey, I want to build a next generation Ford race car get me a designer."
    "Ok, this looks like a race car here gives these drawings to the engineering teams."
    "Hey boss, we are having a problem with x component, we need to get the 1/4 panels enlarged"
    "Hey boss the engine can't breathe can we have the designer raise the deck lid?"
    and on and on until a car such as the classic GT-40 is made (not the new one the original was modified a few times during the process while the new one was worked out via CAD for the most part after the design was developed).

    The moral of the story: Just because a school has a good design department doesn't mean they have a good engineering dept. The two work together on the same projects but with different intents. One is to make a product pleasing within certain req's while the other is to make a product that simply works. Heck, if engineers where to design cars I'm pretty sure they'd look a lot different ;).

    Well, good luck with your selection. Hope it all works out in the end. If you want to be an engineer in the auto industry then ME, Material, EE, and CE are probably your best choices. Choose a school with highly ranked programs. If you want to "Design" then realize that it's not engineering, you probably won't be involved in creating the next generation engine or space frame, but you will do something most engineers don't or can't do which is you can express yourself more artistically.
  9. Mar 11, 2005 #8


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    As far as I'm aware, the engineering at Coventry is pretty poor. The Automotive Design and Transport Design courses there have (I think) just one, all-encompasing "Engineering" module, where they learn very basic beam bending, and a small amount of materials. Everything else on the course is art based. Don't get me wrong, they're absolutely excellent courses, but if you want to be working with engines/aerodynamics/suspension/fuel systems etc, then you'll be disappointed with Cov.

    If you want any more information about the Transport Design course at Cov, or the Automotive Engineering course at Birmingham, I could probably hook you up.
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