Exercise Science Programs - Biomechanics

Program Description

The M.S. and Ph.D. exercise science specializations in biomechanics are research programs designed for advanced scholarly study and research related to the application of mechanical principles to human performance. The purpose of the program is to give the student a balanced background in the science of human movement, skills useful in research and occupational settings, and an in-depth understanding of biomechanics. The degrees may lead to careers in allied health occupations, corporate biomechanics laboratory research, teaching and college/university teaching and research.


Dr. Kathy Simpson is the advisor for students in the programs. Dr. Simpson’s research involves studies in biomechanical and neuromuscular adaptations to movement that have injury and performance implications. Gait, running, and jumping biomechanics are most commonly studied.

Dr. Cathy Brown is also an advisor for students in the program. Dr. Brown’s area of research is in lower extremity sports injuries, specifically chronic ankle instability. She utilizes motion analysis to understand mechanisms of sports injuries, potential long-term consequences of the injuries, and how rehabilitation programs affect motion.”

Dr. Tim Foutz (Bioengineering Department) also supports the program. Other faculty in the Department of Exercise Science include: Dr. Ted Baumgartner (measurement and evaluation); Drs. Kirk Cureton, Lesley White and Kevin McCully (exercise physiology); Dr. Michael Ferrara (athletic training); Drs. Rod Dishman, Patrick O’Connor and Phil Tomporowski (exercise psychology); Dr. Harry DuVal (adult fitness/cardiac rehabilitation); and Dr. Elaine Cress (gerontology).


Admission to the program is competitive and based on the student’s prior academic record, graduate record exam (GRE) scores, recommendations, and research interests. Minimum requirements include a GRE score (verbal + quantitative) of 1000, an undergraduate grade point average of 2.6 (master’s) or 3.0 (doctoral), a graduate grade point average of 3.5 (doctoral) and, in the case of foreign students, a score of 213 on the Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. Applications from minorities are encouraged. For students interested in an assistantship, admission applications should be completed before February 1.


Prerequisites for the specialization include a background in physical and biological science, including college physics, introductory college chemistry, biology and physiology and exercise science. Math through integral calculus, engineering mechanics and computer science are desirable. Under most circumstances, a Ph.D. applicant will have completed a master’s degree and thesis or equivalent before being admitted. Alternatively, a Ph.D. applicant can be admitted with a bachelor’s degree if he/she meets the following Graduate School criterion: undergraduate GPA x 1000 x GRE verbal + GRE quantitative = 4300. Students are expected to have an undergraduate or master’s degree in exercise science or an appropriate related field.

Program of Study

M.S. degree. The program of study is developed by the student and major professor based on the student’s background, interest and career goals. Requirements for the degree include completion of at least 24 hours of course work and a thesis. Course work must include at least 12 hours, exclusive of thesis credit, in the Exercise Science Department, including a course in research methods (KINS 7150) and at least two courses in biomechanics. Courses in descriptive and inferential statistics (ERSH 6300 and ERSH 8310) are also required. Completion of the program typically requires two years.

Ph.D. degree. The program of study is developed by the student and a four-person advisory committee based on the student’s background, interests and career goals. No minimum number of hours is required. The program is designed to provide in-depth knowledge in the area of specialization and proficiency in designing and conducting research. Students are expected to be involved in research throughout their Ph.D. program. The program requires approximately three to four years for those who have previously completed a master’s degree.

Course work required of all Ph.D. candidates in the Exercise Science Department includes: 4 hours of research seminar (KINS 8990), statistics (ERSH 8320, ERSH 8350), and a minimum of 3 hours of doctoral dissertation (KINS 9300).

Courses taken as part of the master’s degree can be used to fulfill requirements.

Courses commonly taken include:

KINS 6000 Problems in Exercise Science (for applying math, computer science or engineering topics to biomechanical problems)
KINS 7210 Motor Learning and Control
KINS 7350 Biomechanics of Human Movement
KINS 8350 Methods in Biomechanics
KINS 8990 Research Seminar in Exercise Science
KINS 9000 Doctoral Research
KINS 9300 Doctoral Dissertation

CSCI 7010 Computer Programming

ENGR 6210 Linear Systems
ENGR 6760 Biomechanics

MATH 6780 Mathematical Biology

The student should also have a background in other cognate areas, e.g., biological engineering, mathematics, computer science, exercise physiology, etc.

Descriptions of these courses may be found in the Graduate School Bulletin.


The Department of Kinesiology has well-equipped Aging and Physical Performance, Cognition and Skill Acquisition, Metabolism and Body Composition, Athletic Training, Exercise Vascular Biology and Muscle Biology Laboratories that are actively involved in applied and basic exercise physiology research. A separate Fitness Center conducts Adult Fitness, Cardiac Rehabilitation, and Senior Adult programs for University faculty/staff and the Athens Community.


A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis that require working in the Exercise Physiology Laboratories (teaching and research), or Fitness Center (fitness programs), or teaching in the Basic Physical Education Program. Graduate School research assistantships and out-of-state tuition waivers are also available to highly qualified applicants.

For additional information on this program contact:

Dr. Kathy Simpson
Department of Kinesiology
University of Georgia
330 River Rd.
Athens, GA 30602-6554
(706) 542-4385

Dr. Cathy Brown
Department of Kinesiology
University of Georgia
330 River Rd.
Athens, GA 30602-6554
(706) 542-9257

For more information on admission please contact:

the graduate coordinator’s assistant
Department of Kinesiology
University of Georgia
330 River Rd.
Athens, GA 30602-6554
Phone: (706)-542-4378
Fax: (706) 542-3417
Email: kins@uga.edu

Application Procedures