Vehicle Design—Post-Baccalaureate Program

The Program Known worldwide for its innovative auto designs, the Vehicle Research Institute (VRI) at Western Washington University offers those with a background in engineering the opportunity to enroll in a post-baccalaureate program. The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Vehicle Design builds on students' understanding of engineering theory by supplementing it with courses particular to vehicle design and with extensive hands-on lab experience. Students earn a certificate of completion at the end of three quarters of lockstep course work. The Vehicle Design Program is offered through Western's Engineering Technology Department.

Tuition and Fees

Application Process You may contact Professor Eric Leonhardt either by phone (360) 650-7266 or (360) 650-3045 or e-mail to informally discuss your eligibility. You can also contact to request preliminary admissions advisement and/or request admissions application materials:

  1. Contact Western's Extended Education and Summer Programs (360) 650 2117 and request the application packet. Please indicate if you are not a resident of the US so that the international application form can be sent.

  2. Complete the Extension Application and submit along with a non-refundable$50.00 processing fee payable to Western Washington University. One copy of a sealed official transcript is required from each college or university attended. Submission address is in the upper right hand corner of the application.

  3. Submit a letter of purpose and a resume describing applicable projects and work experience to: Western Washington University, EESP M/S 5293, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-5293.
Please make sure these submissions include your full name and the program for which you are applying.

Vehicle Research Institute

The design work of Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute has received international acclaim. It has been described as "very possibly the best school in the country for total car design," (Automobile Magazine). The Institute has been featured in "Omni," "Popular Science," and "New Scientist" of London.,

In the fall of 1994, VRI received over $4 million in federal grants to develop a prototype portable thermophotovoltaic generator. In addition to full-vehicle design and fabrication, VRI also develops engines and researches, aerodynamics and safety features. Clients have included Subaru, Chrysler Corp., Toyota of Canada, NASA Lewis Research Center, Ford Motor Co., Alcoa Aluminum, and Nissan Corp., plus many others.

The Curriculum Students study all aspects of vehicle design, including power plants, transmissions, chassis design, and component materials. The courses are laboratory-oriented. Classes are part of a lockstep program, and therefore must be taken in sequence, except when the program director approves class substitutions.

Fall Quarter
Course No. Course Name Credits
ETEC 280 Power Mechanics 5
ETEC 281 Power Transmission 5
ETEC 333 Polymer Technology 5
ETEC 382 Automotive Electricity 2
Total credits for fall quarter: 17

Winter Quarter
Course No. Course Name Credits
ETEC 334 Reinforced Plastic/Composites 5
ETEC 380 Advanced Power Mechanics 3
ETEC 419 Directed Research in Drafting/Design 3
ETEC 484 Vehicle Design 5
Total credits for fall quarter: 16

Spring Quarter
Course No. Course Name Credits
ETEC 400 Special Problems: Gaseous Fuels 4
ETEC 480 Advanced Emission Control 3
ETEC 486 Advanced Vehicle Design 5
ETEC 489 Directed Research: Power Mechanics 3
Total credits for fall quarter: 15

See Western's Bulletin for course descriptions, and the Timetable of Classes for course days, times, and location. Course registration and withdrawal is administered through the Continuing Education office.

Program Admission Applicants should contact Professor Eric Leonhardt (below) either by phone or in person to review their eligibility to the program. Upon receiving a recommendation to apply to the program, you should send Professor Leonhardt a letter outlining your purpose in taking the program and a resume describing applicable projects and work experience. You will need to submit an Extension Undergraduate Application Form and financial aid materials which can be obtained from the Extended Education office.

Send all application materials to the Office of Admissions, including:

  1. Extension Undergraduate Application form;
  2. one copy of sealed official transcripts from each college or university;
  3. the nonrefundable, $50.00 application fee made out to WWU.
These materials should be mailed to the Office of Admissions no later than June 1st. Early application is strongly advised as space is limited to six students per year.

To apply for-financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Students must be accepted to the program for fall quarter to be eligible for financial aid. The priority deadline for financial aid applications is February I5.

Gainful Employment Disclosure: