Professional and Continuing Education

Pawley Hall, Room 440G
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3177

Automotive Lighting Certificate Program

Automotive Lighting Certificate Program

Advances in lighting such as smart lights, LED innovations, high efficiency and low cost are fueling the rapid pace of technology changes.  In turn, engineers entering the LED lighting industry are in high demand and nationally earn a median salary of $100,000.

Oakland University School of Engineering & Computer Science and Professional and Continuation Education working with automotive lighting suppliers and companies have collaboratively developed a hands-on program designed for STEM professionals interested in a career in automotive lighting. 

The 12-week, 72 hour program covers fundamental topics exposing students to Optics and LED Lighting, Electricals and Electronics, Design and Testing, Manufacturing Processes and Marketing. The program is ideal for graduating and working engineers new to the lighting industry.

Designed and taught by practicing lighting engineers and OU faculty, the program will reduce employment transition time and provide opportunities for students to interact with automotive lighting professionals.

Program Description

Length: 12-week, 72 hour program
Cost: $3600 ($1200 per module) - Ask us about scholarship opportunities.
Sponsorships: Company sponsorship may be available.
Certificate: PACE Certificate of Achievement awarded upon successful completion of the program
Grading: Numeric: A B C D

Module 1 – Introduction, Optics and Lighting

Automotive lighting has been synonymous since the advent of the car.  Module 1 will introduce you to the history of the automotive lighting industry; where is has been and where it is going, followed by an introduction to terminology, components and units specific to the industry.  The module will quickly dive into lighting optics, design and vehicle interface.

Topics covered in the course are as follows:

  • Forward Lighting history – from candles to Lasers.
  • Styling - the importance of design and visual appeal.
  • Lighting terminology – functions/components/units.
  • Light Generation Sources
  • Physical optics
  • Optical design – fundamentals of Lens/Reflectors/Guides.
  • CAD design – how lamps are digitally engineered
  • Mechanical interface to vehicle

Module 2 – Electricals, Electronics, Design and Testing

The importance of lighting to driving safety cannot be understated.  Exterior lighting needs to work every time a driver steps into a car without fail.  It is the lighting industry engineering experts responsibility to design and deliver a quality product that the public can trust.  This module will provide an introduction to the electronics/electrical design, sensor interface, thermal design that underlay the automotive lighting systems.

  • Electrical & electronics Design
  • Vehicle interface, CAN bus, outage
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Sensor interface (ADB, AFS, Camera)
  • Autonomous drive
  • Thermal Design Considerations
  • Structural considerations
  • Testing & validation
  • Moisture Management

Module 3 – Manufacturing Processes and Marketing

Exterior lights are lovingly called the “jewelry of the car.” The introduction of LED bulbs and bold new design elements not only are lights important to driving safety, but they identify styling and branding for automotive companies. Module 3 will dive into the important aspects of not only the project management/quality aspects of the manufacturing processes, but will provide the learner with the regulations, safety, intellectual properties, and branding that are fundamental to the industry.

  • Project lifecycle management
  • Regulations
  • Safety
  • Intellectual properties
  • Injection molding & tooling
  • Materials & Coating
  • Electronic Manufacturing
Program Schedule

Module Schedule – Offered twice per year (Fall & Winter)



Class day

Class time

Total Number of Module Hours




Tue & Thu

6 – 9 pm

24 Hours

Each Tuesday and Thursday Jan 21 through February 13, 2020



Tue & Thu

6 – 9 pm

27 Hours

Each Tuesday and Thursday February 18 through March 17, 2020




6 – 9 pm

21 Hour

Each Tuesday and Thursday March 19 through April 9, 2020

72 Hours