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Biomechanics Track

Mechanical Engineering Master of Science


W​hat is biomechanics?​​

At CU Denver, biomechanics is the application of mechanical engineering to biological systems. This encompasses a wide range of topics including the mechanics of biological tissues, biomedical implants, forces within cell walls, dynamics of joint motion, and more!

Our goal is to provide students with a solid foundation in mechanical engineering fundamentals combined with cutting-edge biological and biomedical applications. We encourage students to take advantage of classes offered within our department, as well as related courses offered at the Anschutz Medical and CU Boulder campuses.

Students pursuing the Biomechanics track will be prepared for careers in fields such as the biomedical device industry, forensic engineering, assistive technologies, biomedical research, kinesiology, and education.

Learn more

If you are considering the Biomechanics MS Track at the University of Colorado Denver, please contact Professor Dana Carpenter via email or at 303-315-7508.

To complete the course requirements for the MS Track in Biomechanics, students must complete 6 core courses in mechanical engineering. All students must take Biomechanics, Advanced Biomechanics, Methods for Engineering Analysis, and Introduction to Research for a total of 13 credit hours. To focus their engineering depth, students complete a numerical-based course (Finite Element Analysis or Numerical Methods) as well as a classical mechanical engineering course (Elasticity or Dynamics). The remainder of the coursework can be selected from elective courses offered within CEAS as well as other campuses such as the Anschutz Medical Campus or CU Boulder campus. To graduate, students must complete a MS Project, MS Thesis, or a semester-long internship at an eligible company.

A downloadable list of core courses and typical electives can be found here.​ 


R. Dana Carpenter – Research interests include orthopaedic biomechanics, imaged-based computational modeling, and biomedical device design.

J. Ken Ortega – Research interests include the investigation of cellular biomechanics, cellular bioengineering, and fluid dynamics.

Peter E. Jenkins​ – Research interests include sports engineering.

Christopher M. Yakacki – Research interests include development of new polymeric materials for use as functional biomedical devices.


Professors Carpenter and Yakacki are investigating the how the mechanics of a porous interbody fusion cage are influenced by the amount of bone-ingrowth into the porous scaffold. The project involves biomedical device design, image-based finite-element modeling, and new materials research.

Professor Ken Ortega’s research involves establishing governing equations for cell growth and deformation. This illustration is of a Maxwell-Bingham viscoelastic model for elongation growth of a stage IV sporangiophore of Phycomyces blakesleeanus.

Professor Carpenter also investigates the mechanics of osteocyte lacunae, which are small holes in mineralized bone tissue that house bone maintenance cells. Images obtained with a confocal microscope are used to create 3-D finite element models of lacunae. Red areas in the model shown here indicate regions where mechanical strain is amplified five times or more due to the complex lacunar geometry.