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Building on knowledge gained in undergraduate study or professional practice, this postgraduate course will equip you with the opportunity to develop core skills demanded by design studios of global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

With major industry links, including a chance to show your work to industry leaders, you can get ahead with our Automotive Design MA.

Working on studio delivered briefs and ‘live’ industry projects, you will learn the underlying theory, 2D and latest 3D techniques used to resolve automotive design challenges with in the areas of exterior, interior, colour and trim design. We offer state-of-the-art facilities, including automotive clay modelling studios, laser cutting, rapid prototyping, 3D printing and a 12-camera motion capture studio for the measurement of human motion, machine interaction and biomechanics.

Our reputation within the automotive industry is second to none. Past graduates have gone on to become design directors and chief designers at Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Ford, Aston Martin, Lotus, Tata, SAIC, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), Johnson Controls, Faurecia, and Volvo.

Course information

This course aims to develop your understanding of the latest developments, drivers and practices of the automotive designer. You will learn to create innovative product design solutions in a range of styles and media, which factor in purpose, usability, materials, ecology, desirability, technological feasibility and professional constraints.

Why choose this course?

Designed to give you the skills, knowledge and expertise to produce innovative and visionary automotive designs, this course has been developed with significant input and continuing support from automotive design professionals. 

Our excellent industry links, with employers such as JLR, SAIC, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), Ford, Honda and Renault, provide opportunities for ‘live’ collaborative projects, industry visits and networking. To broaden and contextualise your understanding of the automotive industry, we also have access to the Transport Motor Museum in Coventry and automotive manufacturing at Bentley in Crewe and MINI UK in Oxford.

Coventry has gained an international reputation for automotive research and teaching covering design, engineering, business and media. A former winner of ‘Best Design School’ in the World Automotive Design competition, we have hosted major symposiums on the future of transport design, Future of Automotive Design conferences and the ITS-UK Automotive User Interest Group. 

You will be taught by specialists in automotive, transport and broader industrial design with expertise in concept generation, modelling, interior, exterior and design-led development of low carbon vehicles. Their extensive professional experience includes working for well-known companies like Mercedes-Benz, PSA, General Motors, Daihatsu, Nissan and Ford. 

We deliberately strike a balance between traditional hand-processes and emerging technologies. You’ll participate in workshops for block material, automotive clay modelling and handwork, while having access to laser cutting, rapid prototyping (5-axis & 3-axis milling) and 3D printing.

You will develop the advanced knowledge needed to function as critical and effective practitioners, able to demonstrate excellence in visual aesthetics and develop conceptual designs in and from two-dimensions into three-dimensions.

How you'll be taught

You will have a base studio, which is where you will learn through design exploration, discussion, sketching and making. In addition, your personal tutor will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice.

We provide technical support and access to industry-standard software and hardware, as well as in other technologies like silkscreen, letterpress and laser-cutting from specialist technicians. In addition, we offer a range of extra workshops you can sign up for to enrich your skills in things like sublimation, photography, print-making and digital media. 

The course is based on practice and you will have opportunities to work on several studio project briefs, participating in a 'live' design project run in conjunction with the automotive industry. During this exciting project, you will learn to work in teams to achieve a design output for demanding clients. Our recent collaborators include Kahn Design, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, SAIC, Ricardo and Renault. The briefs have ranged from conceptual future designs to constrained coachbuilding solutions in the areas of exterior, interior and colour, materials and trim design. 

We have an ongoing programme of visiting lectures delivered by senior figures in automotive design, automotive journalism and business. Recent topics have covered the future of car design and autonomous vehicles and a look at the design development of Jaguar’s Project 7. We will also organise regular fieldtrips, such as local visits to the British Motor Museum, Bentley factory in Crewe and Mini factory in Oxford. In 2016, we visited France’s national car museum, the ‘Citie de L’Automobile’, providing an opportunity for the students to experience in person iconic vehicles, such as the Bugatti Royal, Citroen DS and 2CV. Built around the Schlumpf Collection of classic automobiles, the museum has the largest displayed collection of automobiles and contains the largest and most comprehensive collection of Bugatti motor vehicles in the world.

Career prospects

International companies are keen to employ our graduates to acquire their skills and knowledge of the automotive design process. Recent graduates have been recruited by manufacturers and consultants in Europe and the Far East.

Career opportunities are vast and varied within automotive design, research, teaching and design management. You could start your own business, become a design consultant, modeller, illustrator, CAD professional, design manager or marketing professional. You may wish to continue your studies at PhD level.

Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. It provides specialist careers information, advice and guidance to all our students from their first year through to final year and beyond graduation, helping them achieve their desired career outcome. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur.


Visit the Automotive and Transport Design - MA page on the Coventry University website for more details!

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