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View Full Version : Re: Undergraduate Biomechanics (USA) -- Replies



jbdingwell38
08-08-2003, 07:13 AM
Dear Biomch-L:

About a week ago, I posted a message to this list inquiring about
prerequisites for undergraduate biomechanics courses &/or programs. My
question was:

> We currently do not require any math or physics prerequisites
> for our undergrad biomechanics class. We are starting the
> process of adding pre-calculus / trig as a prereq. I have done
> some searching of curricula at other Kines / Ex. Sci. departments
> and most seem to require some math (algebra, trig, or calculus)
> and some physics prior to biomechanics. But I would like to get
> some more data on this.
>
> For anyone teaching undergrad biomechanics in a Kines or Ex. Sci.
> (or equivalent) department in the US, can you send me the list of
> prerequisites for your course? If your program does not require
> some math and physics, can you tell me why not and are you also
> considering adding those requirements?
>
> As always, I will post a summary of the replies I receive.

Since then, I have received a number of emails from quite a few people,
telling me about their own classes/programs and about others that they knew
about. I would like to thank all of those people and apologize that I was
not able to respond to each of you personally (there were a lot).

I would also like to thank Dan Ferris at Michigan for already doing much of
my job for me!! It seems Dan went digging for much of this same
information a year or so ago and so he sent me lots of information about
lots of different programs. Thanks Dan! I have added his information to
my own list. I have posted this final list as a PDF document on my web page:
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/dingwell/biomechanics/

To summarize here, I have found data on prerequisites for Kinesiology /
Exercise Science (or equivalent) programs from 54 North American Ph.D.
granting universities. Of those programs, nearly all of them require at
least algebra/trig (94%) and almost half of them (49%) require at least
some calculus (several others "recommend" calculus). A large majority
(85%) require at least 1 course in physics, with about 26% requiring 2
semesters of physics.

It varies somewhat between programs (and sometimes within programs) as to
whether these requirements are listed as explicit prerequisites for the
biomechanics class, or just as degree requirements, but those are the basic
numbers I have found.

Additionally, I should say that several of the people who contacted me said
that their programs had either recently updated their requirements (e.g.
Michigan), or were going through the process of updating their requirements
(e.g. Penn State), as we are here at UT. My sense is that there seems to
be at least somewhat of a trend that these programs are becoming more
quantitative in nature as the science and technology for doing biomechanics
becomes more quantitative and accessible. I would certainly welcome other
opinions to the list on this issue.

Thanks again to all who contributed to these data and I hope some of you
find them useful yourselves.

Regards,
Jon Dingwell



Jonathan Dingwell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

University of Texas at Austin
Department of Kinesiology and Health Education
1 University Station, D3700
Austin, TX 78712-0360

Phone: 512-232-1782
Lab: 512-471-4017
Fax: 512-471-8914
Web: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/dingwell/

"Sanity is the playground for the unimaginative" -- Anonymous bumper sticker

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