Zhang, X., Stobart, R., and Bao, R., "The Role of New Automotive Engineering Masters Programme in the Industry in China," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-0171, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-0171.
China is the world’s largest automotive producer and has the world’s biggest automobile market. However, in the past decades, the development of China’s automotive industry has depended primarily on the foreign direct investment; domestic automakers have struggled in the lower ranks of car producers. In recent years, China’s automotive industry, supported by government policies, has been improving their Research and Development (R&D) capacity, to compete with their international peers. Against this background, China’s automotive industry requires a large number of R&D professionals who have not only a higher degree but also the applied and practical knowledge and skills of research. For the purpose of meeting the industry’s needs, a new Professional Automotive Engineering Masters Programme was launched in 2009, which aims to deliver the Masters to be the R&D professionals in the future. The new programme has a professional practicum by which the students could learn the practical and applied industry-based knowledge and skills. This paper examines this new programme in China by a case study. A fieldwork exercise was conducted at a university in China. Some Master’s students and supervisors were interviewed, and relevant documents were collected. The findings cover (i) the course design of this new programme and the design and implementation of the professional practicum, (ii) the knowledge and skills learned by the students, and (iii) the implication of their experience and acquisitions in this programme for the automotive labour market and the industry in China. Finally, it discusses why the new Professional Masters Programme could better match and serve today’s automotive industry in China.