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Exceptional Training, Personalized Mentoring

One of three concentrations in UNC’s highly regarded sport and exercise science doctoral program, the biomechanics Ph.D. provides outstanding preparation in teaching, research and scientific writing. You’ll get extensive professional guidance and one-on-one mentoring at UNC, developing the skills and track record to stand out in the competition for faculty appointments. Our graduates work throughout the U.S., with a faculty placement rate close to 100 percent. 

UNC boasts top-notch biomechanics research facilities, including an on-campus, state-of-the-art Gait Laboratory. You’ll work with expert faculty in a tight-knit, supportive culture, collaborating with specialists in gait analysis, cancer rehabilitation, amputee adaptations, prosthetic design, athletic performance and other aspects of biomechanics and kinesiology. The program includes supervised training in college-level teaching, enabling you to enter the academic job market with a well-rounded skill set.

Degree Details

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Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science: Biomechanics

UNC’s biomechanics Ph.D. program integrates applied skill development with theoretical research. You’ll gain clinical experience in our on-campus labs, with additional opportunities via off-campus internships. The program also covers advanced statistics, research design, quantitative methods, laboratory techniques and computer-aided research. You'll teach at least one college-level course, with supervision from senior faculty. The program culminates in an original dissertation based on your own independent research in biomechanics.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

Greeley Program

Your Future in Biomechanics

Biomechanics and kinesiology faculty departments are expanding, partly in response to the growing demand for trained personnel in health care, athletic equipment, fitness, elder care and other industries. There has been corresponding growth in the availability of research funding for investigations related to biomechanics and kinesiology. UNC’s biomechanics Ph.D. program has a proven track record for launching academic careers, sending graduates to faculty positions at universities across the United States.

Consider UNC's Ph.D. in Biomechanics if you want to:

  • Teach sport and exercise science at the college level.
  • Conduct advanced research in biomechanics and kinesiology.
  • Collaborate with experts across a wide range of specialties.
  • Build close-knit mentoring relationships with experienced scholars.

You’ll learn:

  • High-level research methods and technologies
  • Best practices for college-level instruction
  • Professional standards in clinical practice
  • Specialized biomechanics applications for amputee adaptation, cancer rehabilitation, high-performance athletics and other areas

Sample courses:

  • Biomechanics of Locomotion
  • Advanced Biomechanics
  • Neuromuscular Structure and Function
  • Supervised Practicum in College Teaching

Beyond the Classroom

UNC maintains an on-campus Gait Laboratory that features state-of-the-art biomechanics technology. You’ll have opportunities to work with the most current research tools, including a 10-camera motion-capture system, isokinetic dynamometer, 16-channel telemetered EMG system, instrumented tandem belt treadmill and force plate, timing gate system and oscillation rack.

Where can your degree take you?

  • University faculty appointment in kinesiology, biomechanics or a related department
  • Research in health care, sports equipment, athletic performance and other specialties
  • Consulting for manufacturers of prosthetics, shoes, athletic equipment and other products

Biomechanics Research Making a Difference 

Below-the-Knee Amputation Techniques

UNC’s biomechanics department knew who to call on for a study that could affect the future of how doctors perform amputations. Kenny Jackson, a carpenter and surgical technician, makes time to participate in UNC research, while qualifying for national racquetball tournaments and embracing what he considers his life’s work in mentoring fellow amputees. 

Jackson walked stairs as fast as he could and walked across campus as more than a dozen sensors attached to his skin tracked his movements. These biomarkers, the same kind used in video games to capture the movements of characters, tracked Jackson’s movements as a series of colored dots on a widescreen TV.

The study, conducted by graduate student Abbie Ferris, measures functional performance in different below-the-knee amputation techniques. There are essentially two different methods: The more traditional method removes the limb where it needs it, and the tibia and fibula are left independent of each other. The problem is that this technique offers no real stability, causing amputees to have more arthritis and lower back pain. The second method, called the Ertl Procedure, creates a bone bridge between the two. This procedure is more difficult, and therefore less common. However, Ferris is studying if this might be a more effective method because it better absorbs the impact of everyday life to prevent those ailments.

Read More about Jackson and UNC's Biomechanics lab


Hands-on Approach

A carpenter and surgical technician, family man Kenny Jackson makes time to participate in UNC research, qualify for a national racquetball tournament and embrace his “life’s work” in mentoring fellow amputees.

Read full article

Kenny Jackson playing racquetball

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