Graduate Academic Programs

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)

Human Performance Major, Emphasis: Biomechanics

Description of Program

When a good performance is achieved in a sport, this is due in part to the athlete's physical condition. But in part it is also due to the athlete's technique: to the amount of skill in the athlete's motions. The main goal of sport biomechanics is to understand the cause-effect mechanisms that make some sport techniques better than others, and ultimately to find the optimum technique.

New graduate Biomechanics students (both M.S. and Ph.D.) are admitted only every other year.  They start attending classes in the Fall of even-numbered years; the application process should be started during the Fall Semester of the previous year.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for this degree are prescribed by an advisory committee for each individual student. Common requirement components include:

  • Research Skills – Typically 9 credits of course work providing required skills to conduct research, such as statistical analysis.  These credits to not count toward the 90 credits required in the major, minor, electives, and dissertation portions of the degree.
  • Major – 30 credits minimum
  • Minor – 12 to 15 credits
  • Electives –  0 to 28credits (may include second major or minor)
  • Dissertation – 20 to 30 credits
Special Opportunities

The main research tool in sport biomechanics is motion analysis, in which the three-dimensional (3D) locations of a number of anatomical points are obtained through film, video, or other optical/electronic methods during a sports activity, and then used as input to computer programs for the calculation of other mechanical information.

At the Biomechanics Laboratory in the HPER Building, we develop new research methodologies for biomechanics, investigate the techniques used in a variety of sports, and apply the information obtained through this research to the improvement of the techniques of elite athletes.

Our work on methodology development has included 3D motion analysis methods, computer graphics, calculation of mechanical parameters of human motion, and computer simulation. We have analyzed the techniques used in running, jumping, and throwing in track and field, pitching and batting in baseball/softball, the tennis serve, and soccer kicking, among other sports activities. Our laboratory has received funding from USA Track and Field, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the International Olympic Committee to analyze the techniques of elite track and field athletes in various events and to provide advice to their coaches. For further information, see:

How to find the Biomechanics Lab (HPER 071): Turn left as you walk out of the School of Public Health - Bloomington Library. At the end of the hallway, turn right, and walk through the green doors. HPER 071 is the next-to-last door on the left.

  • Careers for the M.S. degree—Preparation toward Ph.D. programs; coaching
  • Careers for the Ph.D. degree—University researcher/faculty member; gait analysis; sport technique consultation

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