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Online Physics Classes by Subject with Class Descriptions

Many colleges and universities offer online physics classes as part of degree programs or as standalone offerings for self-enrichment. Read the descriptions of some commonly offered online physics classes.

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Essential Information

Online physics classes usually fall under either classical physics or modern physics. Some online physics classes have regular assignments with specific due dates, while others may be more flexible in nature. Online classes can be conducted in several ways, including streaming video and course delivery systems such as Blackboard.

Online Classical Physics Class Descriptions

Classical physics refers to physics theories that were developed by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries before 1900. It looks at the phenomena of heat, light, sound, motion, electricity, gravity and magnetism. Depending on the school, students taking online classes may be required to commute periodically to campus for lab work. The following descriptions highlight the typical curriculum of some common online classical physics classes.

General Physics I

Students study fluids, thermodynamics, vibrations, waves and mechanics. Problem solving and precise measuring skills are emphasized. This course is generally algebra-based.

General Physics II

This physics class can be either algebra-based or calculus-based depending on the school. Students generally study magnetism, electricity and optics.

Classical Mechanics

This calculus-based class introduces students to the study of motion. Students learn about rigid body motion and oscillatory motion in addition to studying the motion of particles and waves.

Online Modern Physics Class Descriptions

Modern physics encompasses complex topics such as relativity, particle properties, atomic structures and quantum mechanics. It usually has prerequisites in calculus and beginning physics courses. Since much of the laboratory work can be performed by computer, online modern physics classes are usually taken entirely outside the classroom. Below are the summaries of some common online modern physics classes.

Concepts in Physics

Students in this class learn the physics behind the function of ordinary objects. Topics of study may include light, sound, magnetism, electricity, relativity, thermodynamics and the structure of matter.

Modern Physics

Topics in this advanced class include waves and particles as properties of matter, atomic structure, relativity, quantum mechanics and cosmology. Students focus on problem solving and 20th century physics concepts.

Radiation Physics

This advanced medical physics class focuses on the production of radiation. Students study nuclear and atomic structures, quantum mechanics, radioactivity, x-ray production, energy loss mechanisms and secondary processes.

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  • Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
        • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
        • Atomic and Molecular Physics
        • Theoretical Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics

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