Online graduate-level physics classes fall into several categories. Some classes are designed for students working towards advanced degrees in physics. A teacher can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Science or a Master of Arts in Physics Education by taking a majority of classes online. For professionals working in radiation health, the Master of Health Physics is possible via distance learning. Since most physical science degrees require laboratory experience, completely online physics degree programs, either undergraduate or graduate, are rare, but some online courses are offered through university extension departments.
Students can also find supplemental physics presentations and podcasts on YouTube and iTunes. These are usually free, and many are taught by professors at leading institutions but don't award scholastic credit, nor do they satisfy degree requirements. Open university courses are also available on a non-credit basis.
Online Graduate Physics Courses
Below are some examples of physics courses commonly offered online at the graduate level.
- Classical Physics for Science Teachers Course: This course prepares teachers to teach classical physics at the high school and junior college levels by presenting the history, mathematics and techniques of problem-solving experimentation in Newtonian physics. The students learn the principles of force, motion, light, sound, magnetism and classical mechanics.
- The Physics of Sound and Light for Physics Teachers Course: In this course, students examine the nature of sound and light, what characteristics they have in common and how they differ in propagation, refraction, diminution and amplification. The effects of transmitting media are discussed. The student also reviews how the human eye and ear react to light and sound stimuli.
- Principles of Quantum Theory Course: Students taking this course learn the history of quantum mechanics and the ways in which the theory deviates from and relates to classical physics. The course details the mathematics and experiments used to develop and refine the theory. The overlapping and differing concepts between the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics are also examined.
- Astrophysics for Graduates Course: In this course, students apply Newtonian cosmology and the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics to interpret the observable universe and review current theoretical concepts. The course examines the expanding universe, quasars, structure and histories of stars and formation of galaxies. Curved and flat space-time, dark matter, black holes, gravitational lensing and microgravity are also discussed.
- Theory of Relativity Course: This course teaches the students the special and general theories of relativity and applies the concepts to astrophysics and cosmology. The course places the theories in historical context, describes the critical reaction and controversies they generated and defines the mathematics and experiments that proved them. In addition, the course compares and contrasts the theories to quantum mechanics and Newtonian physics.
- Culinary Science Course: Through this course students will come to understand the fundamental scientific principles behind the recipes and techniques of acclaimed chefs. The course will also cover properties and behaviors of various cooking devices and ingredients. Students will use cooking and gastronomy to explore scientific processes and theories.