Master’s in Biomechanics – Marshall University

Biomechanics is the study of forces and their effects on living systems. Biomechanics provides advanced knowledge in biomechanics particularly related to performance enhancement and injury prevention. Students focus their academic course work on developing the ability to understand and apply the principles of biomechanics when serving as a movement analyst in competitive and recreational sport situations, as well as in the workplace.

The Master’s in Biomechanics degree program is designed to prepare students for advanced studies in human movement science, medical career paths such as physical therapy and medicine, and employment in areas of exercise science (research associates, laboratory technicians, academia). The biomechanics field is diverse; therefore job descriptions are just as diverse.

Often jobs are in research and development with specialization in orthopedics or movement analysis. Specialization in orthopedics involves working with orthopedic surgeons in research and development of surgical procedures, instrumentation and equipment. Movement analysis is related to investigation of injuries (cause and prevention) or performance. Movement analysis utilizes instrumentation including high speed cameras, force measurement, electromyography and computer software to analyze human movement. This is often related to technique analysis and/or the design and development of equipment. Gait analysis (e.g., walking, running) is a common area of interest for biomechanics, although all aspects of human movement are investigated. Biomechanists work with physicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers, coaches, and athletes in determining the efficiency of movement for preventing injuries and improving performance. These affiliations along with access to the latest technology in research equipment and software make for a perfect environment for this major.

Students who choose to specialize in Biomechanics at the masters, typically, these students come from areas such as Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, or Exercise Science, and many have specialized in biomechanics at the master’s level. They complete courses on topics such as:  Human Biomechanics, Biomechanical Instrumentation, Human Locomotion, Kinesiology, Electromyography, Exercise Physiology, and Research and Statistics. The research focus in the Center for Human Movement Science laboratory is on the application of biomechanics to the solution of applied problems. Thus, the student’s research is often an extension of a problem that they may have encountered through their own professional and clinical experience.

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