Biomechanics Graduate Track
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Biomechanics is a broad field covering topics ranging from the thermodynamics of mass transport on a subcellular level to athletic performance. The University of Utah has faculty conducting biomechanics research in areas such as sensation, balance and control of movements; orthopedic biomechanics, bone, implants, reconstructive surgery; animal propulsion, flight and swimming; computational biomechanics, muscle, ligaments, cartilage, blood flow; sports biomechanics; ergonomics; biomimetic robotics; virtual reality; prosthetic limbs and control; prosthetic organs; ultrasound hyperthermia; perfusion and transport; and several additional areas. The biomechanics track is designed to support these areas of research by providing training in the applicationof fundamental principles of mechanics to biological systems and/or biomedical devices.

Masters Students

M.S. students within the biomechanics track must successfully complete one of the following courses: Biomechanics II (BIOEN 6202), Biofluid Mechanics (BIOEN 7220) and/or Biosolid Mechanics (BIOEN 7210). Students who do not have the background necessary for Biomechanics II may need to take Biomechanics I (5201) first. Additional elective courses must also be taken to meet the total course credit-hour requirement of the M.S. degree program. Acceptable elective biomechanics track courses are listed below biomechanics core and specialization areas).

Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. qualifying exam.Ph.D. students in the biomechanics track are expected to have general knowledge in the field. The purpose of the written portion of the Ph.D. qualifying exam is to encourage students to revisit the fundamental principles in biomechanics and to synthesize the material. Students should take the exam in the second or third year of study. Although the specific content of the exam changes each year, approximately one quarter of the exam generally covers material from the M.S. level bioengineering core curriculum and the remainder covers topics specific to the field of biomechanics. All students will be expected to be able to apply fundamental principles of statics, dynamics, thermodynamics and general continuum mechanics to biological tissues and systems. In addition to these common questions, students will be allowed to select question(s) from a specialization area including biofluid mechanics, biosolid mechanics, or bioheat and mass transfer. Although specific courses are not required, the courses listed below may be of assistance in preparing for the biomechanics qualifying exam.

Biomechanics Core Courses

Biomechanics Textbooks

Textbooks from the above courses provide appropriate study guides for the qualifying exam. Students may also wish to review material from the following texts (or equivalent) prior to taking the exam:

Program of Study

The program of study is a list of all courses to be completed by the student as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. The plan must be approved by the advisor and the supervisory committee, and submitted to the director of graduate studies prior to taking the qualifying exam. For students in the biomechanics track, the program of study should include a hierarchy of courses selected to develop expertise in a focus area. Although there are no specific course requirements, knowledge in fundamental areas noted above will be required to pass the qualifying exam. Additional expertise in a focus area will be required to perform well on the research proposal.

Additional courses must be completed to meet the minimum course credit hour requirements for the Ph.D. A typical plan of study would include ~5 specialized courses in addition to biomechanics core to reach the course credit-hour requirement. A limited set of example courses are given below. The specific set of courses, over and above the suggested biomechanics core courses, should be selected on an individual basis to maximize expertise in the area most closely related to the student's Ph.D. dissertation.

Areas of Specialization


Continuum Biomechanics

Bioheat Transfer and Thermoscience


Questions regarding the Biomechanics track should be directed to Dr. Jeffrey A. Weiss (801-587-7833).