• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Other Online Degree in Physics

  • Thread starter gdrocella
  • Start date
3
0
I currently have a degree in computer science and minor in math, and I am about to start a new job doing web development. I have started my own personal project building a physics engine in C++ and OpenGL. It is a lot of fun doing applied maths. I would like to get a degree in physics. The problem is that I will be working all day, and physics classes and labs at a near by university seem to happen morning and mid day.

The masters program seems to have classes at night, which would work, but I only took one calculus based physics course.

Does anyone have any suggestions on great online degree programs for physics? Also, I would like to ensure that the degree is extremely thorough. Since I have a degree in computer science, should I go straight for a Masters Program in Physics instead?
 
Last edited:

marcusl

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,661
310
The Open University in the UK was one of the pioneers in online degrees, and by now there are many good options. If you had only one real physics course, there's no way you should apply to a Master program. You will be non-competitive at admissions, and lost once classes begin. Don't underestimate the difficulty of junior-level mechanics, E&M, quantum mechanics and stat mech. You might feel comfortable skipping the first year of physics, and your math minor may stand you in good stead. (You'll need ODE and PDE, complex variables, and linear algebra). You can gauge your level by looking at textbooks in the university library for the courses you are considering.
 

jtbell

Mentor
15,371
3,117
The only online physics bachelor's degree program that I've ever seen mentioned here (that I can remember) is the one at the Open University in the UK.

The biggest hurdle to a full physics degree is probably the need for laboratory work. It's possible to teach an introductory physics course online using pre-packaged laboratory kits shipped to the student. The college where I retired from offers such a course during the summer, but it's an algebra/trig based course for non-majors, not a calculus-based course for physics majors. However, every physics bachelor's program that I know about also has courses above the introductory level with labs, plus directed and independent laboratory work (senior thesis, capstone project, etc.)

The Open University has a physical center for laboratories etc., in the UK of course, according to a post that I've seen here. I don't know of any program in the US that has something similar.
 

marcusl

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,661
310
Excellent point. I forgot about lab work.
 
3
0
I have browsed the curriculum for physics at the Open University at the UK, and the topics they cover seem pretty thorough. Open University hasn't really gone into detail about labs. It looks like they have some classes that are all about experiments though, which are the following: Remote experiments in physics and space (SXPS288) and Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390) I am sure that it will be important to do more experiments then just that though.

If they don't have a rigorous lab program, then would it be beneficial to google for labs to complete on my own?
 
3
0
I found this on the Academia Stack Exchange: https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/85947/flexibility-or-lack-of-at-the-open-university. I did kind of think it was weird that they have only two math modules at stage 1, which lumps "all" the math needed for physics. They don't even have calc 1,2,3. It's just calculus and further calculus. I also think it's strange that a physics module covers everything from classical mechanics to electromagnetism to quantum mechanics. Is this thorough? or does it just lightly touch each topic?

Anyone know of any other physics degrees online, preferably in America?
 

Dr. Courtney

Education Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2018 Award
2,959
1,882
It's hard to be sure of a negative, but I've looked hard and come up empty with respect to accredited online physics degrees in the US. I'm not sure the labs are the real show stopper, as I can see several ways to deliver quality labs for the upper level courses much more cost effectively than in person attendance.

I think the real reason there are no online Physics degree programs in the US is simply supply and demand. There is a critical mass of students for most degree programs, and the accredited programs just don't see it as likely that an online offering would attract enough students.

There are hardly even any online math courses beyond Calculus and hardly any Physics courses online beyond the intro sequence. Putting all the advanced math and physics courses online for an entire BS Physics program simply has very low prospects for return on the initial investment and return on the costs to keep it running each semester.
 
16
10
I currently have a degree in computer science and minor in math, and I am about to start a new job doing web development. I have started my own personal project building a physics engine in C++ and OpenGL. It is a lot of fun doing applied maths. I would like to get a degree in physics. The problem is that I will be working all day, and physics classes and labs at a near by university seem to happen morning and mid day.

The masters program seems to have classes at night, which would work, but I only took one calculus based physics course.

Does anyone have any suggestions on great online degree programs for physics? Also, I would like to ensure that the degree is extremely thorough. Since I have a degree in computer science, should I go straight for a Masters Program in Physics instead?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Texas A&M has an online MS in Physics geared towards teachers. That’s the only one I’ve seen.

ETA: This seems more like a BS program “on steroids” than a true master’s program.

 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Online Degree in Physics" You must log in or register to reply here.

Related Threads for: Online Degree in Physics

Replies
1
Views
8K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
15
Views
6K
  • Posted
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Posted
2 3
Replies
53
Views
7K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top