Online Undergraduate Physics Classes and Courses Overview

Undergraduate physics courses offer students a foundational understanding of the study of matter and how it operates in space. Most courses are part of degree programs in physics.

Online Undergraduate Courses in Physics

Here are some of the most common online courses found in an undergraduate physics programs:

  • Introductory General Physics Course: This course introduces the study of physics and is taken at the beginning of a student's undergraduate program. Students participate in online laboratories to practice and learn ideas, such as scientific notation, scalar and vector quantities, displacement, velocity and acceleration.
  • Modern Physics Course: A modern physics course is usually an introduction to 20th century physics. Students may meet online to discuss relevant topics, such as how physics has evolved and changed over time. Course topics include vectors, kinematics, magnetism, velocity and popular physics experiments.
  • Electricity and Magnetism Course: This course takes a detailed and advanced approach to the study of electricity and magnetism. Through online discussions, students learn about electric fields and lines, Coulomb's law, electrical potential, capacitance, electric-field energy, circuits, resistance and currents.
  • Waves and Oscillations Course: Prerequisites for the waves and oscillations course usually include an introductory physics course, algebra and calculus. Common topics for online discussions and laboratories include waves, oscillations, dimensions, vectors, coordinate systems, components of vectors, how to multiply vectors and vector projections.
  • Physics Concepts Course: This course teaches physics as it applies to common objects that we interact with every day. The course is not math-heavy, and it focuses on concepts such as heat, conservation, magnetism and light.
  • Physics of Music Course: This course explores the physical underpinnings of musical acoustics, musical recording and musical instruments. Students learn about periodic motion, resonance, superposition and Fourier series, among other topics.
  • Astronomy Course: In this course, students are introduced to the fundamentals of astronomy and the modern instrumentation used for research in the field. They learn about the origin and development of the solar system, Kepler's laws and Newton's laws as well as galactic and extra-galactic astronomy.

Program Information

Both fully online and hybrid courses are available to undergraduate physics learners. Hybrid courses allow students to complete most of the work online, while requiring them to meet on campus for laboratory work. Generally, students start with an introductory physics course to learn the basics. These courses can be applied to associate and bachelor's degree programs in physics as well as other science disciplines. They might also be used to fulfill a program's general education requirements. Courses focus on energy and force, and students learn about electromagnetism, thermodynamics, nuclear technology and particles. In addition to an Internet connection, some courses require a graphing calculator or another more advanced calculator.

Undergraduates who want to take courses in physics can find a wide range of offerings available online. These include introductory courses covering such topics as waves and magnetism as well as advanced courses discussing the application of physics to fields like music and astronomy.

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