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Biomechanics/ Biomedical Electives

Suggested Technical Electives for BSME Students Majoring in Mechanical Engineering who are Interested in a Biomedical-Related Career

(see also: Biomedical Engineering minor and Biomedical Engineering major offered through the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics)


Mechanical Engineering majors can use courses to count as both technical electives towards their BSME degree and also towards a Biomedical Engineering minor. Courses used for the BME minor must be taken A-F.   For more information about the minor, please see the Biomedical Engineering website. You may contact Ms. Amanda Sandridge if you have questions about the minor.  

Technical Electives

Mechanical Engineering majors must complete 12 credits of tech electives; no more than 3 credits can be used from List #2.  Be sure to consult the graduation checksheet for the year in which you entered Virginia Tech for to see a full list of approved technical electives and the rules for technical elective selection. Please see the Timetable of Classes for course availability, which can change without warning.  Most technical electives are taught no more than once per year.

List #2 Technical Electives

BMES 2104 – Introduction to Biomedical Engineering - typically taught Fall & Spring ***Required course for Biomedical Engineering minor***
*Note: Course may be restricted to BME majors/minors only prior to the start of the semester. Students with a 3.0 or higher overall GPA can add the BME minor during the change of major application window at the end of the Fall, Spring, and Summer academic terms.*
Methods of mathematical modeling and engineering analyses related to human physiology. Emphasis placed on fundamental concepts such as biomaterials, biomechanics, tissue engineering, biomedical imagining and nanomedicine. Broad spectrum of current biomedical engineering research areas. Pre: (ENGE 1216 (MIN grade of P) or ENGE 1414) (MIN grade of P), MATH 2214 (MIN grade of P).

List #1 Technical Electives

BMES 4064 (BMVS 4064): Intro to Medical Physiology. Typically taught Fall only. ***Required course for Biomedical Engineering minor***
*Note: Course may be restricted to BME majors/minors only prior to the start of the semester. Students with a 3.0 or higher overall GPA can add the BME minor during the change of major application window at the end of the Fall, Spring, and Summer academic terms.*
An introductory to the principles of medical physiology. Designed primarily for (but not limited to), undergraduate students minoring in biomedical engineering, and other related engineering and physical sciences majors with little or no formal background in biological sciences. Basic principles and concepts of human physiology. Special emphasis on the interactions of human systems biology in their entirety rather than individual genes and pathways. Pre: Junior standing or permission of instructor.

ME 4034: Bio-Inspired Technology. Typically taught Spring only.
Introduction to engineering solutions inspired by biological systems. Overview over the approach of bio-inspired technology and the state of the art. Exploration of the relationship between engineered and natural biological systems. Explanation of concepts of biological systems, such as evolutionary optimization, sensing, actuation, control, system integration, assembly and materials in engineering terms. Practice of interdisciplinary analysis skills in technical report writing projects where man-made and biological systems are evaluated for parallels to engineering and their technological potential. Must be a graduating senior. UG/G and Dual students must register for ME 5034. Pre: (PHYS 2205, PHYS 2206) or (PHYS 2305, PHYS 2306).

ME 4864: Micro/Nano-Robotics (3 credits) - typically taught once per year (semester TBD).
Overview of Micro/Nano-robotic systems. Physics of reduced length scales (scaling effects in the physical parameters, surface forces, contact mechanics, and micro/nano-scale dynamical phenomena), Basics of micro/nano-manufacturing, microfabrication and soft lithography, Biomimetic design strategies for mobile micro-robots, Principle of transduction, material properties and characteristics of Micro/nano-actuators (piezoelectric, shape-memory alloy, and a variety of MEMS and polymer actuators), Control requirements and challenges of micro/nano-actuators, Micro/nano sensors for mobile microrobotic applications, Micro/nano-manipulation (scanning probe microscopy, operation principles, designing experiments for nanoscale mechanical characterization of desired samples). Pre: (MATH 2214 or MATH 2214H or MATH 2406H), ME 3414, ME 3524, ESM 2204.

ESM 4105-4106 – Engineering Analysis of  Physiological Systems – I & II (3 credits each) - ESM4105 typically taught Fall only (ESM4106 semester TBD)
Engineering analysis of human physiology. Physiologic systems are treated as engineering systems with emphasis input-output considerations, system interrelationships and engineering analogs. 4105 - Mass and electrolyte transfer, nerves, muscles, renal system. 4106 - cardiovascular mechanics, respiratory system, digestive systems, senses. Pre: ESM 2304, MATH 2214.

ESM 4204 – Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Biologic Control (3 credits) - typically taught Fall only
Skeletal anatomy and mechanics. Muscle anatomy and mechanics. Theory and application of electromyography. Motion and force measuring equipment and techniques. Inverse dynamics modeling of the human body. Current topics in musculoskeletal biomechanics research. Pre: ESM2304, ESM2074 or AOE 2074 or CS 1044 or CS 1064 or CS 1114 or ME 2004).

ESM 4224 – Biodynamics and Control (3 credits)- typically taught Spring only
Study of human movement dynamics and neuromuscular control of multi-degree-of-freedom systems. Computational simulation of forward-dynamics and state-space linear control of human movement to investigate functional performance and neuromuscular pathology. Pre: ESM 2304

ESM 4245,4246: Mechanics of Animal Locomotion (3 credits) - semester TBD
Mechanical and biological principles of terrestrial animal locomotion, including walking, running, climbing, burrowing, and crawling. Terrestrial locomotion-based bio-inspired design. Pre: Consult ESM advisor.

ESM 4304 – Hemodynamics (3 credits) - typically taught Spring only
Study of the human cardiovascular system and blood flow. Anatomy and physiology of the human heart, vascular system, and its organization. Blood physiology and rheology. Non-Newtonian blood flow models. Steady and pulsatile blood flow in rigid and elastic arteries. Pressure waves in elastic arteries. Three-dimensional blood flow in the aortic arch and flow around heart valves. Pre: ME 3414.

ISE 3614 – Human Factors and Ergonomics Engineering (3 credits) - typically taught Spring and Summer
Investigation of human factors, ergonomics, and work measurements engineering, with emphasis on a systems approach toward workplace and machine design. Discussion of basic human factors research and design methods, design/evaluation methods for work systems and human machine interactions, human information processing, visual and auditory processes, display and control design, and effects of environmental stressors on humans. Pre: ISE 2004, co req: STAT 4105. Non ISE majors can ask for a force add using ISE force-add request survey.

MSE 4574 – Biomaterials (3 credits) - typically taught during Spring only
Materials for biomedical applications. Basic material types and properties, functional uses of materials in medical applications, and tissue response mechanisms. Integrated design issues of multicomponent material design in prosthetic devices for hard and soft tissues, orthopedics , cardiovascular, and drug delivery applications. Pre: MSE 3054 or ESM 3054.

Technical Electives

Courses with an asterisk* have not been offered for at least one academic year and may not be available.