Online College Courses in Physics
Physics is the study of natural science. It focuses on issues such as matter, motion, energy, and force, and the relationships between each of them. There are countless natural occurrences that take place on Earth and in space, and physics covers all of them. Therefore, there's a great number of careers that use physics, even on a small scale. For example, many universities have physics research departments that employ physicists to explore existing theories and to make new discoveries in the field. The information from this type of research has been applied to nearly every industry because the laws of nature apply to nearly every industry, from engineering to health care.
There are specific disciplines of physics that focus on one particular area. For example, biophysicists focus on biological systems, which can also be broken down into specific categories, such as molecular biophysics, which focuses on cells and DNA. Geophysicists focus on the Earth's shape, composition, and structure, its gravitational and magnetic fields, plate tectonics, and even its relationship with the moon. On the other hand, nuclear physicists focus on atomic nuclei, resulting in nuclear power, nuclear medicine, nuclear weapons, and more. Astrophysicists focus on the physics of the universe, including the physical properties, interactions, and relationships of stars, planets, and galaxies.
Many college students choose to take at least one basic physics course to meet the minimum science requirements that are part of nearly every degree program. A general physics course will introduce you to gravity, motion, velocity, energy, momentum, and more, giving you an understanding of how the basic physical laws of nature work. This kind of knowledge is valuable in numerous professions, even those not related to physics. For example, an architect may take a physics in architecture course to understand the laws of gravity, force, mass, and weight to make sure the structures they design can support themselves, the people and objects that will be inside/on them, and withstand the forces of nature.
Several institutions offer college physics courses online, which will allow you to complete your coursework around your schedule, without having to attend a physical classroom at a set time. However, not all physics courses are worth the time and money, so you want to make sure you will receive a high-quality education from an online college physics course. A good way to do this is to visit the U.S. Department of Education's website and use their accreditation database to see if the institution and/or program you are considering is accredited. Accreditation can only be obtained if the institution or program meets certain standards, which ensures the education the students receive is useful in the work place.
Physics and Your Career
All careers in physics require general physics courses because they cover the laws that apply to all fields of physics. However, the courses will differ as students advance toward their desired disciplines. For example, nuclear physics courses will explore the binding energy and isotopes of atomic nuclei, focusing on the nuclear radiation that is emitted by elements such as uranium and thorium, and how to detect, measure, harness, manipulate, and use this radioactive matter. Those who are focusing their education on astrophysics, on the other hand, will study topics such as the electromagnetic spectrum, cosmic microwaves, gravitationally-bound objects, planetary orbits, black holes, and planetary composition. Geophysics students will take classes on the physics of Earth, including reflection seismology, magnetic fields, plate tectonics, and earthquake mechanisms.
Free Online College Physics Courses:
- Physics 140 – General Physics 1 — University of Michigan OpenCourseWare.
- Nuclear Physics — African Virtual University OpenCourseWare.
- Introduction to Astrophysics — Yale University Academic Earth.
- Quantum Physics 1 — Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare.
- The Physics of Energy — Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare.