Automotive Engineering


Degrees Offered


The graduate program in automotive engineering is offered through the Clemson University Department of Automotive Engineering. Students have the opportunity to study in depth, topics related to vehicle systems integration, advanced powertrains and drivelines including hybrid and electric configurations, manufacturing, vehicle performance, vehicle electronics/telematics, human/machine interface, connected vehicles, and vehicle-infrastructure interaction. Leadership, innovation and management skills in a global economy are emphasized in the program. The program offers courses of study leading to the MS and the PhD degrees in automotive engineering. The automotive engineering program seeks to develop in its graduates, strong engineering science-based skills coupled with a hands-on capability and practical knowledge using vehicular systems and sub-systems as platforms for intensive collaborative team projects as well as industry internships. Graduates of this program are highly marketable and sought after in both the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and automotive supplier sectors.

The automotive engineering program is located on the campus of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville, SC, which houses several research and development centers of major automotive industrial partners (see Facilities for more information about CU-ICAR).

For additional information, please refer to the program website for prospective students at For additional information on the application process itself please contact the Graduate School (Grdapp). For questions on the program requirements and timing, please contact the Program Coordinator (Dr. Beshah Ayalew).


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

MS: The curriculum is designed as a two-year post-BS degree program consisting of a minimum of 42 credit hours in total. Students complete graduate coursework equivalent to 36 credit hours and a six-month internship (six credit hours) either in industry or on the “Deep Orange” vehicle prototyping project at the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center. See more on “Deep Orange” at

PhD: There is no set time frame to complete the Ph.D. program; however, doctoral programs are typically completed in three-to-four years. Ph.D. students develop a core understanding of automotive systems integration. We work to impart both a depth and breadth of knowledge through intensive automotive tracks, a technical minor, leadership and business training, and a six-month internship. To meet graduation requirements, students must write a dissertation consisting of original research integrating technical and other issues in the area of leadership, management and business, or related fields. Students must also complete a technical minor in an area of science or engineering outside the discipline and integrate it into your dissertation.

To learn more about the program requirements, click on the appropriate link below. 
Doctoral Degree Requirements for Students with a Bachelor’s degree

Doctoral Degree Requirements for Students with an MS from another program 
Doctoral Degree Requirements for Students with an MS in automotive engineering from Clemson.


The primary facility for the automotive engineering program is the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center (CGEC) located on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research(CU-ICAR) campus.

The CGEC is a 90,000 sq. ft. building that has specialized facilities targeting research activities in systems integration, design and development, and test and manufacturing for both passenger and heavy vehicles. The center’s test facilities include capabilities for full vehicle and engine/powertrain testing. Faculty, students, staff and industry partners are housed in the center. The building also has state-of-the-art conference facilities that host a variety of major automotive events. The center is located near the new High Performance Computing Center, specializing in modeling and numerical analysis of aerodynamics and acoustics, static and dynamic structures manufacturing, combustion and emissions. Access to a wide variety of other laboratories and facilities on Clemson’s main campus augments the student experience.

CU-ICAR is a 400-acre campus that will support the state’s efforts to build a regional automotive economic cluster, providing advanced engineering education and close linkage of academic and private sector research and development efforts. CU-ICAR is located at the midpoint of the Charlotte-to-Atlanta I-85 corridor, which is home to hundreds of automotive industries and suppliers and two-thirds of the nation’s racing teams.

CGEC equipments include: seven-Post Full Vehicle Shaker (shown), 500 150 HP hot engine testing cells, full vehicle coordinate measuring machine, fully equipped CNC machining lab.


The Department of Automotive Engineering focuses its research in seven key areas including advanced powertrains, automotive systems integration, manufacturing and materials, vehicular electronics, vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and vehicle-infrastructure integration, and human factors/HMI. Please visit for information on the team, facilities, topics, and sponsors for each concentration area.


Application Information

If you apply for admission into the graduate program in automotive engineering, you must meet the academic requirements for admission to the Clemson University Graduate School. In addition, post BS industrial experience in relevant engineering or science disciplines is considered favorable.

You may apply online at Applications for the MS program are only accepted during the fall semester. Students must apply by Jan. 15 to receive full consideration for both fall admissions and funding opportunities. The application window will remain open until April 30 but applications arriving after January 15 are subject to vacancies in the program. Applications for spring semester (PhD only) should be submitted by September 15. Please note that funding is limited and is awarded on a highly competitive basis.

For additional information please contact program coordinator (Dr.Beshah Ayalew).<>

Required Documents


After being accepted, you may be offered support through a fellowship or assistantship as a graduate research assistant (GRA), graduate lab assistant or teaching assistant (GLA). A GRA is hired by a professor to work on that professor’s research project and assist the professor in related teaching duties. A GLA is hired to work as a lab instructor or lecturer. Graders are occasionally hired during each semester to help instructors in the evaluation of student work.

If you have an assistantship, you will be required to enroll for 12 hours each semester (typically three courses in addition to credit received for research).


Program Contact(s)

  • Spencer Davenport
  • Office: 4 Research Drive, Suite 336
  • Phone: (864) 283-7230
  • Email:

Program Coordinator(s)

  • Beshah Ayalew
  • Office: Campell Graduate Engineering Center
  • Phone: (864) 283-7228
  • Email: