BSc (Hons) Automotive Technology

Key information

Why choose this course?

  • Learn using a 'design and build approach’ which will gain you invaluable practical skills
  • Our graduates are highly employable, now working for multinational companies such as Nissan
  • Design, build and race a Formula Student race car by joining the Formula Student Competition

The BSc (Hons) Automotive Technology degree programme is specifically designed to provide you with a broad-ranging skillset to support the development of automotive products.  

Excitingly so, Herts has recently joined the Conceive Design Implement Operate (CDIO) initiative; a worldwide network of academic professionals, industry representatives and engineering leaders who have a passion for engineering education and engineering leadership. The CDIO educational framework has been embedded into the BSc (Hons) Automotive Technology degree which hugely enhances the benefits you will take away on completion of this course. It means you will be able to put everything you learn into practice, through a ‘Design and Build’ approach, allowing you an authentic, hands on experience during your studies. 

Herts Graduates are highly employable in a wide range of firms operating in the automotive sector. Recent automotive technology graduates have gone on to work at organisations including Nissan, Dyson, and Bentley Motors. 

Clubs, societies and extracurricular 

Herts participate in a Formula Student Competition which you are welcome to join from your very first year of study. This is an exciting extracurricular opportunity to work with other engineering students in designing, building and racing a Formula Student race car. A great addition that will shine on your CV and enhance your employment prospects. 

Expand your knowledge and get the most out of your university experience by participating in the various co-curricular activities that are available to you while you study on this BSc (Hons) Automotive Technology course. The School of Physics Engineering & Computer Science has recently launched countless outstanding opportunities which can heighten your depth of understanding, should you choose to get involved. Activities available include Shell-Eco Marathon, Engineers without Borders Design Competition, IMechE Design Challenge, UP Research, Machining Club, and the Sim Racing Society. 

What's the course about?

Gaining you the specialist skills, knowledge and experience needed to become a successful automotive engineer in a fast-growing industry.  

This BSc (Hons) Automotive Technology degree offers a mixture of theory and practical-based learning, allowing you to grasp a thorough understanding of each of the key engineering principles while also gaining plenty of hands-on experience in practical projects where you can apply the theoretical knowledge gained in lectures. A significant amount of your time will be spent in workshops and using our well-equipped labs to aid with practical lessons included in the course curriculum. We carefully crafted this teaching blend to ensure you walk away with optimal capability that will give you a head start for when you start out working professionally in the industry. 

Want to get the most out of your course? We encourage you to make the most of the exciting facilities available to you, that can really heighten your skills and experience in Automotive Technology by put learned theory into practice. Utilise the numerous computer labs where you will have full range to constantly advance your design and simulations skills and also enjoy the facilities dedicated to manufacturing where you’ll be able to conduct an assortment of experiments. 

In your first year, you will learn fundamental engineering principles while working on design and build projects. An exciting part of your first year is that you will be able to design, prototype and test simple engineering products. 

In your second year, you will focus on automotive design and simulation techniques while expanding your knowledge about engineering systems and principles. As part of the curriculum, you will also develop an appreciation of production and distribution systems. 

In your final year, you will get to explore the latest technologies used in the automotive sector, in particular with regard to autonomous vehicles. The curriculum also offers students the opportunity to develop expertise, in the field of engineering project management, for the design and development of complex  engineering products. 

Your main campus is College Lane   

This is where the creative arts, science and health-related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in our on-campus pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.

New School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science building opening in 2024

Learn in our brand-new building, where you’ll experience a range of experiential learning zones. You will have access to modelling, simulation and research labs, our Merlin Flight Simulator and automotive workshop (complete with electric vehicle facility), wind tunnel, welding bay and controls testing suite.

You will also benefit from a Success and Skills Support Unit, which is aimed at helping you build your employability and academic skills. Plus, have access to industry mentors who will provide you with pastoral support, vocational guidance, and career progression opportunities.

The new building will also provide space to collaborate, with plenty of workshops, social and meeting spaces available. Even better, the building has been designed with the University’s net zero carbon target in mind, and forms part of our plan to replace or upgrade older sites that are energy inefficient.

What will I study?

The School has a reputation for innovation in teaching and learning with most modules delivered through a combination of traditional face to face teaching and online learning activities through the university's StudyNet web-based facility. StudyNet allows students to access electronic learning resources, electronic discussion with staff and other students, and, for some modules, submit coursework 24/7 from anywhere in the world!  With a heavy emphasis on Computer Aided Engineering and simulations techniques, the school has a policy of using industrial standard software wherever possible. The School also operates an open access laboratory policy of when possible students doing experiments in their own time. 

Check out our student blogs

Alumni headshot

Alumni Stories

Katie Dobson

Meet Katie Dobson who is working for the Williams Formula 1 team

Read more stories MEng (Hons) Automotive Engineering with Motorsport
Current job roleAerodynamic Design Engineer
Year of graduation2017
Course of studyMEng (Hons) Automotive Engineering with Motorsport
Katie Dobson

Katie knew that she wanted to pursue a career in Motor Sport and saw the course at Herts as the perfect pathway to follow her dream.

She is currently an Aerodynamic Design Engineer with the Williams Formula 1 team and explains a bit more about her role and what it entails, ‘I was lucky enough to join Williams F1 as a Junior Aerodynamic Design engineer after completing my MEng in Automotive Engineering with Motorsport at Herts.

My role involves designing mechanical and aerodynamic components for the wind tunnel. I lead the research and development for the wind tunnel front wing design and work closely with the aerodynamicists to improve design concepts and make wind tunnel tests as streamlined as possible.’

Working in Formula 1

Katie really enjoys the challenge of the role and the industry which is fast-paced on all fronts.

‘Working in Formula 1 is very enjoyable and very rewarding when you see results on the track. Seeing Williams back on the podium and scoring points again in 2021 were particular highlights.

I also enjoy the fast-paced environment and continual research and development required to keep up with technology and rules changes.’.

Why Herts

Katie chose to study at Herts because she was impressed with the large range of studies provided by the Engineering department and the range of facilities which provided crucial hands-on experience to work in industry. She adds,  ‘I was particularly impressed with the extra-curricular groups and studies provided by Herts such as the Formula Student team.’

When she talks about the best part of her course she says, ‘It was being able to apply what I had learnt during my A-Levels to further my knowledge of engineering and the knowledge and enthusiasm my lecturers had to further my studies.'

Formula Student

Knowing that hands on practical experience is so important in the industry Katie became a member of the successful Formula Student team at Herts. She is certain that it helped when it came to her career and says, 'Participating in Formula Student particularly aided my ability to gain my current role in industry.

It was able to provide me with this expertise and allow me to broaden my field of study outside of the classroom or lecture hall.’

Favourite memories

Unsurprisingly Katie’s best memories revolve around her experience with the Formula Student Team and the success on and off the track.

‘My favourite memories at Herts were the times spent designing and manufacturing UH19 and UH20 with great friends. My favourite of them being completing at FSUK, FS Czech and FS Germany with the most successful UH FS car of all time as well as winning design at both the UK and Czech competitions.’

The future

Katie has set her sights high when it comes to the future and what it could bring. ‘My future plans are to advance my career further in motorsport, and to hopefully win a Drivers and Constructors Championship in F1.’

Find out more about the Formula Student Team

If you have a great story like Katie's, please contact us!

Alumni headshot

Alumni Stories

Lee Stretch

Meet Lee Stretch who has achieved great success in motorsport engineering since graduating in 2011. He currently works as a Vehicles Dynamic Engineer for Ferrari's Formula One team.

Read more stories Find out more about this course
Current job roleVehicles Dynamic Engineer
Year of graduation2011
Course of studyMEng (Hons) Automotive Engineering with Motorsport
Lee Stretch

Facilities and experience

Lee made his decision to study at the University of Hertfordshire when he attended an open day, which included a visit to the Formula Student automotive workshop. 'The students had designed and built a single seat racing car which they raced against other universities. It blew me away!' His love of Formula Student became the catalyst for where he is today.

Lee felt the course itself was well rounded, covering all aspects of engineering, with a focus on design, which he enjoyed. Crucial moments of Lee's studies, from submitting his final year project, to designing a racing car in parallel with his full-time sandwich year job, taught him what is possible with determination, and a deadline.

This culminated in second place at Formula Student Germany - the best result ever for a UK team. 'Without these experiences, perhaps I wouldn't have had the guts to move to Italy.' He says, 'I've applied so many of the topics I studied at Herts to my career at Formula One. I regularly find myself reaching for my student notes from five years ago!'

Exciting career

After graduating, Lee worked with Mercedes GP as a Performance Simulation Engineer where he worked with some of the most sophisticated lap simulation tools in the industry. 'It was a very hard three years at Mercedes but equally rewarding, with the 2014 World Championship being the icing on the cake.'

Lee's passion and commitment was recognised by the only other team that he would have considered moving to - Ferrari. Lee moved to Italy and spent time learning Italian. After only six months in the role, he had contributed to next year's cooling system, and continues to develop the team's lap simulation tools. 'To help return Ferrari to the top of Formula One would be a dream come true!'

Despite working in a relatively specialised group of vehicle performance, Lee's role demands sound mechanical understanding, thermodynamics, practical design considerations and even pure mathematics in simulation. 'Communication is paramount, so all the report writing, presentation and team working skills necessary in the final two years of my degree have proved hugely beneficial.'