Graduate Academic Programs

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)

Human Performance Major, Emphasis: Biomechanics

Description of Program

The Doctoral program in biomechanics takes an interdisciplinary approach to the mechanical aspects of human movement, with the particular focus on gait, gait energetics, and mechanisms for lower extremity injury. Students take a variety of courses related to human movement mechanics and the physiological and neuromuscular aspects of human movement. In addition to taking classroom-based courses, most learning will be conducted through hands-on experiences in the research laboratory. The research conducted in the biomechanics laboratory focuses on the gait mechanics and energetics of running and the mechanisms for running related overuse injuries.

New graduate Biomechanics students (both M.S. and Ph.D.) are admitted when space is available. Students start attending classes in the Fall of the year they are admitted; Applications should be completed by the end of December of the previous year.

Degree Requirements

Courses required for this degree are prescribed by an advisory committee for each individual student. Degree requirements include:

  • A minimum of 90 graduate-level credits beyond the bachelor’s degree are required.
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
  • A minimum grade of C is required in each course used to satisfy the major, minor, and elective requirements of the course prescription.
  • A minimum grade of B is required in each course used to satisfy the research skills requirement of the course prescription.

Public Health Foundations Requirement for the Ph.D. in Human Performance degree in Biomechanics

All Ph.D. degree students in the School of Public Health-Bloomington, who have not completed an MPH degree, are required to complete the following requirement:

  • Public Health Foundations Requirement (0 credits) School of Public Health graduate students must complete the Public Health Foundations online course no later than the end of their first semester of graduate study. Complete details and registration information for this course can be found

Common Course Prescription Components

The elements of the course prescription for all Ph.D. degree students in the School of Public Health are arranged as follows:

  • Research Skills (9 credits minimum). A minimum of 9 credits of coursework providing required skills to conduct research, such as advanced courses in biostatistics. These credits count toward the 90 credits for the degree. Courses counted in this area require a minimum grade of B.
  • Major Area of Study (30 credits minimum). A minimum of 30 credits in the major area of study. These courses must be taken within the School of Public Health-Bloomington. Courses transferred from previous graduate work outside the School of Public Health-Bloomington, if within the major area of study, can be used to fulfill the major areas of study requirement, contingent upon the committee’s approval.
  • Minor Area of Study (9 credits minimum). A minimum of 9 credits of coursework in a designated area outside the department in which the major is being pursued.
  • Electives (0–28 credits). Elective credits may range between 0 and 28. An optional second minor may be included in the elective credit hours.
  • Dissertation (20–30 credits)
Special Opportunities

Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels can assist in a wide variety of ongoing research experiments in the Biomechanics Laboratory.

  • Careers for the M.S. — Students pursuing the M.S. degree are well prepared for positions at private industry, clinical, and academic research labs. Career opportunities are also available in research and development of equipment used in the sports industry, research labs, and clinical settings. The M.S. degree also serves as preparation for pursuing Ph.D. programs.
  • Careers for the Ph.D. —Students earning the Ph.D. in biomechanics are well prepared for faculty and teaching positions as well as research in clinical or private industry settings.

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