Online Physics Course Descriptions with School Options

Online physics courses are often taken by students pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or the physical sciences, though some courses can also be taken apart from a program. Find online course descriptions and school options below.

Overview of Courses

Normally, to take an online physics course, students must have a passing grade in calculus or other advanced mathematics. Courses are typically taken for credit, with the amount of learning material and number of exams equal to their on-campus counterparts. Descriptions for some online courses are shown below.

Introductory Physics

In this course, students learn about energy, mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, sound and momentum. They also study conservation laws and Newton's laws.

Introductory Astronomy

Students explore the solar system as well as astronomy as it relates to the galaxy and space. They also learn about such topics as laws of motion, cosmology and modern instrumentation.

Calculus in Physics

In this class, students explore topics in dynamics and kinematics. They also examine methods for applying Newton's laws.

Modern Physics and Thermodynamics

Students learn about such topics as atomic and nuclear physics. They also study quantized systems, solids and elementary particles.

Online Learning Details

In a distance learning course, students might make use of Internet sites, such as iTunes and YouTube, to access audio and video content for their courses. They also might use virtual instructional platforms, such as Blackboard, to access and submit course assignments, which are typically deadline driven. Students taking online courses will likely be required to complete exams under the supervision of an approved proctor.

Online physics courses with lab work might not require campus visitation. Instead, these courses might provide online environments for virtual experimentation. Online labs may use tutorials as well as integrate user-directed cause-and-effect elements, allowing students to have an immersive learning experience.

Schools Offering Online Courses

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, located in Massachusetts, boasts approximately four online physics courses per semester, along with an online laboratory. Students enrolled in any of these courses are expected to log into the laboratory to document their lab hours for full credit. Course topics include motion, velocity, power, electricity, magnetism, waves and oscillation.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University (NCSU) offers two physics courses online: classical mechanics and electromagnetism. Each class is offered throughout the year, including during both summer sessions. NCSU enrolls about 31,000 students each year and touts its leadership in research and international recognition in technology, engineering, science and mathematics.

Montana State University

Montana State University has four online physics courses available: special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics and astronomy. Courses come from varying programs and range from the bachelor's to doctoral degree levels.

Online physics courses can only be taken by students with advanced standing in their field of choice. For example, the astronomy option is a graduate-level course; therefore, the prerequisites for attendance are a bachelor's degree and at least one year of teaching experience.

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