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That Age-Old Question - Online Physics Degrees

  1. Jun 14, 2014 #1
    Is it possible to attain an online undergraduate physics degree in the United States? My investigations show that the Open University and SUNY (via Empire State) offer a science degree with a concentration in physics. But what does that mean? I’m a math major at Indiana University, but my passion is physics.


  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2014 #2
    Unfortunately, I'm quadriplegic. I'm studying mathematics at Indiana University East, which is 100% online. It's the closest thing I could find to physics, but hoary proofs don't really interest me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2014
  4. Jun 14, 2014 #3
    Possible or not, it's not advisable. If you're already at Indiana University, why not try and switch to a physics major there?
  5. Jun 15, 2014 #4
    The Open University has a great reputation in the UK. I did a science degree with a concentration in physics, at another UK university, and it didn't hold me back from doing further studies in physics. It just means you miss out on taking some optional advanced courses in physics. So if you were British I would say: don't hesitate. But the US situation might make things a bit awkward. For instance, do you want to go to graduate school in physics? If so, I'm not sure how an OU general science degree would pan out in that situation. You need to ask the OU these kinds of questions directly.
  6. Jun 15, 2014 #5
    Thank you. OU is my first choice. And, yes, I should like to get a Master's degree.
  7. Jun 17, 2014 #6
    Last time I looked, the OU had some good physics courses up to BSc level, but the science MSc didn't have many (if any) physics options. BUT the MSc in mathematics might be suitable as you can take applied maths courses, and avoid most of the "proof stuff"; also you might be able to take a physics based research project - but check on that before signing up!
  8. Jun 17, 2014 #7
    Thank you all for the sagacious advice. SUNY has only two physics courses, so I'm off to OU!
  9. Jun 18, 2014 #8
    Note that the OU does have a physics strand in their Science degree:

    http://www.open.ac.uk/science/physical-science/courses-and-qualifications/physics-strand [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Jun 18, 2014 #9
    Interesting. Thanks.
  11. Jun 18, 2014 #10
    OU also has a new Mathematics and Physics degree. But I don't know what is available to students in the United States.

    The OU has a good reputation in the UK among both academics and in industry. E.g. people have gotten into Oxbridge on the strength of their OU undergraduate degrees (and whatever else). The OU can help explain the nature of their study mode etc. to e.g. potential employers outside the UK if a student requires this, although with the recent growth in distance learning, this might not be so necessary.

    Good luck.

    P.S. As I understand it, the Natural Science degree, physics track, is a physics degree, by some other name. Your specific module choices and grades will be on your transcript. That will matter more where possession of a physics degree is relevant.
  12. Jun 18, 2014 #11
    Thanks, pi. I saw their BSc in Maths (I'm trying to talk British) & Physics - not available in the US currently.
  13. Jun 19, 2014 #12
    The OU don't make that a requirement :)
  14. Jun 22, 2014 #13
    I've been watching Doctor Who also. :-S
  15. Jun 22, 2014 #14
    The OU have always had close contacts with the BBC, as a geeky kid I used to watch OU programmes on Saturday mornings. Now, of course, you can find stuff on utube, like:

    Not Dr Who, but he's outranked by Prof. Andy Norton who keeps on popping up on the BBC. Trivia question: can you name the famous British comedian doing the voice over in the cartoon. Hint - he's married to a European poker champion...
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  16. Jun 22, 2014 #15
    I love BBC America - it's wicked, as they say. I particularly like Markus du Satoy; we were born on the exact same day.

    Answer: probably not Benny Hill; maybe one of Monty Pythons, let's guess Terry Gilliam [sp?]?
  17. Jun 23, 2014 #16
    Nope David Mitchell - you're probably wondering who that is, here he is talking to an equally famous Irish comedian who I also doubt has made it over the pond:

    Dara actually has an MSc in physics and you'll often see him with his straight man, Brian Cox, doing OU/BBC co-productions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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