Online Graduate Programs in Physical Science

Online Physical Science Graduate Programs tend to appeal to working professionals who nonetheless want to explore the scientific study of the inorganic world. As a broad discipline, physical science is generally concerned with natural phenomena of the earth, atmosphere and space.

written by Rana Waxman

Types of Online Physical Science Graduate Programs

Students interested in flexible study options might find Online Physical Science Graduate Programs in the four basic physical sciences: (1) chemistry, (2) physics, (3) astronomy, (4) earth science and their sub-categories. Astrophysics, Geography, Geology, Meteorology and Oceanography are some of the related physical science disciplines.

Physical sciences curriculums could include an investigation into matter, temperatures, forms of energy and motion.i Often, programs are structured to provide flexibility for students who want to focus on a specific field within physical science. This could be accomplished with the help of an advisor and a customized degree plan.

Online Physical Science Degrees

Online Physical Science degrees may be offered at the Masters and Doctoral levels. Students might also find schools where they might study to earn a Graduate Certificate. These tend to be shorter programs that target either an overview or a specific aspect of physical science and its sub-fields.

Application to Online Physical Science Graduate Programs may be done via computer, and prospective students usually need at least a Bachelors degree. Letters of recommendation, personal statement and GRE scores might also need to be furnished.

Also, some programs have prerequisites. For instance, a graduate chemistry degree might entail undergraduate courses or experience in Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry. By comparison, applicants to a Masters in Physics program may need prior coursework in mathematics, modern and general physics.

When asked about their education level, 41% of Analytical Research Chemists said they had a Doctoral degree.ii

Online Chemistry Degree

An online chemistry graduate degree might enable students to understand the composition, properties, structure and changes that matter goes through. The hands-on nature of chemistry usually means there are lab classes stacked onto academic coursework.

Online students might complete these requirements at their campus or workplace – as per their university approval.

Students who pursue an online Masters in Chemistry might choose to write a thesis. Thesis students conduct original research in an area of chemistry. Non-thesis students may take a wider variety of courses, and may need to pass a comprehensive exam.

Compulsory chemistry courses could cover some of the traditional areas of chemistry, as well as their applications. Below is a sample list of potential courses for a Master of Science in Chemistry program. Refer to individual schools for more details.

  • Chemical Thermodynamics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry

Online Physics Degree

As the field of physics often intersects with mathematics, medicine and engineering, online Physics Graduate programs may be either theoretical or in applied physics. Graduate students typically focus their studies in a subfield of physics (or astronomy).iii

An online Masters in Applied Physics could help students master mathematical methods that are used to problem solve in different fields. Coursework could include compulsory topics, electives and an emphasis in photonics or materials and condensed matter.

Below is a sample of possible online courses in applied physics.

  • Electro-magnetics
  • Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
  • Principles of Optics
  • Materials Science
  • Quantum Mechanics

For students who want to enhance their skills through graduate study, a university might also offer an online post-Masters Certificate in Applied Physics. Students may take a series of upper level courses and electives.

How Does an Online Physical Science Degree Work?

Formats for online Physical Science Graduate Programs varies. Fully online self-paced study offers students with geographical and schedule constraints the time flexibility needed to balance work and studies.

Courses in this format could be asynchronous. This means students do not have to be at the same place at the same time as they would in a traditional classroom. Also, it may allow for a more self-paced progression, especially if one is not required to take a specific course load every semester.

Sometimes a university delivers coursework as Internet-based lectures which allows students to study around their needs and hit ‘pause’ or ‘stop’. Also, an online course could include a threaded discussion format to help with interaction.

Online students typically communicate with the faculty and other students via e-mail, electronic forums, videoconferencing, chat rooms, bulletin boards, instant messaging and other forms of computer-based interaction.

Find Online Physical Science Degrees

Ready to earn a graduate degree in Physical Science online? Refine your filters to look for sponsored programs at the Masters, PhD or Certificate level in your preferred subject. Then, easily contact online schools with the on-page form.

[i] | [ii] | [iii]

  • Concordia University - Saint Paul

  • East Central University

  • Northern Arizona University

  • Oregon State University

  • Michigan State University

  • Illinois Institute of Technology

  • University of Saint Joseph

  • University of North Dakota

  • North Carolina State University

  • St. Cloud State University