This fall, the College of Engineering and Computer Science will launch a new Master’s program catered to increasing opportunities from automotive industries in the Chattanooga area, including the 4,000 new jobs and $1.1 billion in capital investments of 2015 alone, as described on the program’s website.
“We crafted the Master’s along the lines of things that existed, things that we could provide, and things that would be new but could help people to get a broad understanding of the product line. So it’s really exciting to do something like this, to try to put together something and to try and get in the heads of our customers so to speak. We have a lot of customers; we have the companies, we have the students who are our customers, and so we’re trying to marry all of that together to something that gives everybody value,” said Dr. Will Sutton, professor, Engineering and Computer Science.
Sutton explained that the University already had a number of the pieces. Creating this program was just a matter of fitting them all together. The new program will also partner with UT Knoxville to share resources and enhance knowledge on both campuses. UTC will share our general automotive course, a course that is already in place and was created and taught by Sutton. In return, UT Knoxville will make their hybrid electric course available to students of our program through an online offering.
“Certainly, Volkswagen was very instrumental in helping us put the program together. They were actively involved from the beginning, and to their credit, much of what they wanted to see was not only that we would satisfy their needs, but that we would satisfy the needs of others as well,” Sutton said.
When partnering with Volkswagen during the development of the program, Sutton explained that the company encouraged our University to foster relationships with other area industries and to work with area institutions, including UT Knoxville, to strengthen academic offerings.
In recent years, students garnered international attention from their successes with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja Competition. The student-led team placed higher than Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Alabama. This success speaks to the framework for automotive studies already in place on Campus.
The Master’s in Automotive Systems has been designed with both recent graduates and seasoned professionals of the industry in mind. Applications are currently being accepted and priority registration for fall 2016 courses begins April 4.
“We’ve certainly thought out our program very well.” Sutton continued, “I think this program does more to respond to what industry needs and wants out of our graduates.”
For more information, visit the program’s website.