Clemson Launches Nation’s First Bachelor of Science in Automotive Engineering

The interdisciplinary undergraduate degree will focus on electric vehicle manufacturing and employ manufacturing and software engineering.
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  • The program will focus on advanced design, development, and technical management of the vehicle realization process.
  • The program will equip students with manufacturing and software technology skills.
  • Clemson is within 500 miles of over 10 vehicle manufacturers.
  • The first cohort is expected to graduate in 2026.

Students looking to transform the landscape of vehicle engineering are getting that opportunity at Clemson University with the country's first bachelor of science in automotive engineering program.

Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, this month announced it is launching the multidisciplinary program to meet the needs of the automotive industry's transition from internal combustion engines to batteries.

The degree program is part of the School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering and will focus on electric cars.

"This multidisciplinary program brings together top talent, cutting-edge facilities and impactful experiences to create the leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future," Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences, said in the school's announcement.

"By creating the future workforce, the program will help strengthen the automotive industry in South Carolina and the broader Southeastern region. I thank the team that designed the new program and congratulate its members on a job well done."

Clemson highlighted what makes their program different from regular technology programs. While technology programs focus on manufacturing, routine design, construction, and end operations, Clemson's degree program focuses on advanced design, development, and technical management of the vehicle realization process.

The curriculum will teach students manufacturing and software technologies. Students will be on the main campus for the first two years of the program before moving to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus.

The CU-ICAR campus is 45 minutes from the main campus in Clemson and houses the automotive engineering faculty and graduate program. Clemson said that a bus service already connects the two campuses.

Students will begin with general engineering classes in their first year before moving on to automotive engineering classes. By their senior year, they can work on Deep Orange, a capstone project where students design and build a prototype vehicle, which mirrors working at an original equipment manufacturer or supplier.

The program creators expect the undergraduate program to launch with about 30 students and have over 200 by fall 2027. Clemson launched the graduate program in 2006 and became the first university to graduate a Ph.D. student and the first female Ph.D. student in automotive engineering.

The first cohort of the undergraduate program will be on track to graduate in 2026.

"The entire global automotive industry is turning on a dime, and Clemson is stepping up to take the lead to meet industry's changing needs for both technology and workforce," said Zoran Filipi, founding director of the school.

"The new undergraduate degree will be a truly integrative program that brings together talent from across a spectrum of disciplines, preparing students for the challenges of the future."

Within 500 miles of Clemson are manufacturers like BMW, Volvo, Proterra, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Honda, Tesla, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, and Kia.

"Employers could range from car and aerospace companies to the U.S. Army and software companies such as Google, Apple and Meta," said Srikanth Pilla, who led development for the undergraduate curriculum. "This is a robust curriculum filled with hands-on learning experiences aimed at preparing students to make a contribution on day one of their careers."