8 Best Online Physics Courses For College Credit

Taking an online physics course for college credit is a useful way to level up your education and meet important prerequisites.  

I’ve researched the top courses that deliver exactly that and listed them in this article.

Here’s what else we’ll cover:

  • Accredited online physics courses from top colleges
  • The best courses offering online or virtual lab
  • Recommended free/cheap options
  • What to expect from studying physics online

As a med student who’s had to take college physics courses myself, I know what’s important to look out for when it comes to selecting the best options.

Ready to learn more about what’s out there? Let’s go.

Best Accredited Online Physics Course Listings

Here’s a quick overview of all the recommended courses in this article: 

Course InstitutionLevelPrerequisitesLengthHoursCost
Physics/Medical Physics Georgia Tech University AllPhysics degreeN/A40 credit hours$1,100 per credit hour
Modern Physics Michigan State UniversityGraduate Physics degree 1-2 years21 credit hoursSee website
General PhysicsOregon State UniversityGraduatePhysics degree Self-pacedVariedSee website
PhysicsArizona State UniversityGraduateMath, English7.5 weeks per class120 credit hours$24,413
Health Physics/Radiation ProtectionThomas Edison State UniversityGraduateMaths, Physics LabN/A125 credit hours $9,856
Physics I & II (Summer Course)University of MissouriUndergradMath 1100, College Algebra8 weeks4 credit hoursSee website
Physics I & II (with Lab) Michigan Technological UniversityUndergradMath, General Physics 7 weeks20 hours per week See website
General PhysicsUniversity of Connecticut UndergradNoneN/A 180 hours $1803

Online Physics Courses For College Credit

The following courses are a mix of full degrees at reputable U.S. institutions and semester-long courses you can take online for transferable credit.

1. Physics/Medical Physics – Georgia Tech University Online

Georgia Tech University offers online undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. courses in medical physics. As a student, you can take various core and elective classes online. 

Here are the physics course available at this University:

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics 
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics
  • MS in Medical Physics with the areas of research in Radiation Imaging and Radiation Therapy.

For that last option, you will have the option to choose your clinical rotation in a hospital near your location if it is on the approved list of the university.

Georgia Tech’s physics offerings are lecture-based and digitally captured for students to view on-demand along with the completion of homework and exams. All degrees are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Application deadlines differ depending on the spring and summer semesters. See the website for details.


  • Name: Medical Physics
  • Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Level: Undergraduate, Graduate & Ph.D., Medical Physics
  • Prerequisites: An undergraduate/graduate degree in physics, or in an engineering discipline.
  • Length: N/A
  • Hours: 40 credit hours
  • Website: pe.gatech.edu/degrees/medical-physics
  • Price: Tuition Fee $1,100 per credit hour + Mandatory Fees ($172 + $107 + Variable Additional Fees)

2. Modern Physics – Michigan State University Online

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University offers various online graduate-level virtual introductory physics courses and a master’s program.

Besides algebra- and calculus-based standard physics courses, you can also study “Bridging” courses. 

The following physics courses are available:

  • MS in Beam Physics
  • Mechanics – Algebra-Based (PHY 231C), Bridging Courses (PHY 233B), and Calculus-Based (PHY 183B).
  • Electricity & Magnetism – Algebra-Based (PHY 232C), Bridging Courses (PHY 234B), and Calculus-Based (PHY 184B).
  • Modern Physics & Thermodynamics – Calculus-Based (PHY 215B).

MSU physics is a reputable course and will give you the opportunity to learn from excellent professors and physicists without ever having to attend the school (or be currently enrolled).

These courses can be taken at different times of the year and fulfill regular degree requirements at other secondary and post-secondary institutions.


  • Name Modern Physics & Thermodynamics, Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, and Beam Physics.
  • Institution: Michigan State University
  • Level: Graduate and Master’s
  • Prerequisites: Upper Division Undergraduate, Graduate, or Master’s Students
  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Hours: 21 credit hours for Certificate Courses & 30 credit hours for a Master’s course.
  • Website: pa.msu.edu
  • Price: Check Website

3. General Physics – Oregon State University Online

If you want to study courses in General Physics, Radiation Health, Solar systems, Galaxies, or Cosmology, Oregon State University has quality online courses to offer in those areas. 

The available courses in this university:

  • General Physics (PH201, 202, 203)
  • Solar System Astronomy (PH205)
  • Stars and Stellar Evolution (PH206)
  • Galaxies, Cosmology, Life in The Universe (PH207)
  • MS in Radiation Health Physics

Here’s a video from the introductory physics and astronomy course. This is the kind of offering you can expect to enroll in any of the courses above.


  • Name: Radiation Health, Solar systems, Galaxies, or Cosmology
  • Institution: Oregon State University
  • Level: Baccalaureate core course/Master’s course
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor in Physics or other educational requirements before enrolling for a Master’s or other advanced courses.
  • Length: Self-paced
  • Hours: 4-5 credit hours (minimum 180 hours)
  • Website: oregonstate.edu
  • Price: Check Website

4. Physics – Arizona State University Online

Arizona State University offers an online program pairing up fundamental physics and its applications. 

You can study applied physics if you have an interest in new physical technologies. The online program is a blend of physics, computer science, and applied mathematics to equip students to solve complex real-life issues in physics.

The program brings together the areas of expert faculty, particularly in the modeling of physical systems, which relies heavily on both modern numerical techniques and fundamental physics.

Here’s a snapshot of what you may expect studying physics at ASU Online…


  • Name: Physics
  • Institution: Arizona State University
  • Level: Graduate 
  • Prerequisites: Studied mathematics, lab sciences, English, or have technical education.
  • Length: 7.5 weeks per class
  • Hours: 120 credit hours approx.
  • Website: asuonline.asu.edu/physics-ba
  • Price: $24,413

5. Health Physics – Thomas Edison State University Online

Thomas Edison State University offers an online BS physics program in Radiation Protection/Health Physics. 

The content of the program includes fundamentals of radiation protection/health physics, shielding/activation, biological effects of radiation, measurement, instrumentation, and other related elements. 

Students must complete 18 Area of Study credits from 300/400 level courses to pick full college accreditation.


  • Name: Radiation Protection/Health Physics
  • Institution: Thomas Edison State University
  • Level: Graduate
  • Prerequisites: Knowledge of Quantitative Literacy, Higher Level Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Concepts, and Physics with Lab.
  • Length: N/A
  • Hours: 125 credit hours
  • Website: tesu.edu
  • Price: $9,856

Physics Online Summer Courses

The following classes can be taken online, in the summer. They can help you fulfill important prereqs you may need for further education.

Related: Do Medical Schools Accept Summer Courses? 

6. College Physics I & II – University of Missouri

The University of Missouri offers various online summer courses in physics that fulfill the regular educational needs of both at MU and at other secondary/post-secondary universities or institutions. 

These courses are 100 percent online and you can study them from the comfort of your home during summer.

Courses are below:

  • College Physics I (physics 1210) – algebra-based physics
  • College Physics II (physics 1220) – algebra-based physics
  • University Physics I (physics 2750) – calculus-based physics
  • University Physics II (physics 2760) – calculus-based physics


  • Name: Physics Online Courses – Summer
  • Institution: University of Missouri
  • Level: Secondary/Post-Secondary
  • Prerequisites: Math 1100, College Algebra, with a grade of C- or better
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Hours: 4 credit hours
  • Website: physics.missouri.edu
  • Price: Check website

7. College Physics I & II (With Lab) – Michigan Technological University

The online summer courses of Michigan Tech University are available to anyone eligible, from any part of the world. Students can earn course credit similar to any on-campus class. 

Students would have to pay their normal tuition rate, along with an additional online class fee. Payment and the usual prerequisites will define who is eligible.

There is scope for students outside the college to register and take these courses. Contact mtu4u@mtu.edu for more information.

Here are the summer physics courses:

  • PH 1100 – Physics by Inquiry I
  • PH 1110 – College Physics I
  • PH 1111 – College Physics I Laboratory
  • PH 1210 – College Physics II
  • PH 1600 – Introductory Astronomy
  • PH 2400 – University Physics IV-Waves and Modern Physics


  • Name: Physics Online Courses Summer
  • Institution: Michigan Technological University
  • Level: High School and Early College
  • Prerequisites: Mathematics, CEEB Calculus, ACT Mathematics, and General Physics 
  • Length: 7 weeks
  • Hours: 20 hours per week.
  • Website: mtu.edu/physics
  • Price: Check website

8. General Physics – University of Connecticut Online

The Physics department of the University of Connecticut has several online summer physics courses to upgrade your knowledge. You can enroll and study these courses any time and learn from UConn instructors.

If you are already a student in a different school, you can take UConn online summer classes and transfer them to your home college. 

The university offers the following online summer courses in physics:

  • Elements Of Physics (PHYS 1010Q)
  • Introductory Astronomy with Laboratory (PHYS 1025Q)
  • General Physics I (PHYS 1201Q)
  • General Physics II (PHYS 1202Q)
  • General Physics Problems (PHYS 1230)
  • General Physics with Calculus I (PHYS 1401Q)
  • General Physics with Calculus II (PHYS 1402Q)
  • Physics for Engineers I (1501Q)
  • Physics for Engineers II (1502Q)

Physics 101 (4 credits) covers basic concepts and applications of physics for the non-science major. The laboratory provides hands-on experience with the principles of physics.


  • Name: General Physics
  • Institution: University of Connecticut
  • Level: Undergraduate and Graduate students
  • Prerequisites: Studied Math, Physics, or equivalent.
  • Length: Summer season
  • Hours: 180 hours
  • Website: summersession.uconn.edu
  • Price: $1803 for undergraduate course & $2820 for graduate course.

Free Online Physics Courses

The following classes, although they’re not strictly accredited, can give you an even deeper insight into the subject. You can also gain a (paid) certificate on completion of these courses through their respective platforms.

The University of Tokyo – From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

Through this free online course, learn about how the Universe evolved since the Big Bang. Also, learn about the mysterious Dark Matter, which made stars and galaxies take shape. 

Get insights into how Higgs-Boson became frozen a trillionth of a second since the Big Bang and brought order to this Universe.


  • Name: Big Bang to Dark Energy
  • Institution: University of Tokyo
  • Level: Beginner
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Hours: 30 hours approx.
  • Website: coursera.org
  • Price: Free

The University of Minnesota – Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics

This is an introductory physical chemistry course that looks into the connections between molecular properties and macroscopic chemical systems behavior.


  • Name: Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics
  • Institution: University of Minnesota
  • Level: Beginner
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Length: 9 weeks
  • Hours: 21 hours approx.
  • Website: coursera.org
  • Price: Free

Australian National University – Astrophysics: The Violent Universe

If you are interested in exploring the most mysterious and deadliest parts of this universe, this course will be perfect for you. 

This course will also help you investigate black holes and the space-time around them. Besides, you will look into many unsolved mysteries about various planetary objects, study neutron stars, white dwarf stars, and how the laws of quantum mechanics conflict with relativity.


  • Name: Astrophysics
  • Institution: Australian National University (ANUx)
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites: High school-level mathematics and physics.
  • Length: 10 weeks approx.
  • Hours: 2-4 hours per week
  • Website: edx.org
  • Price: Free

MITx Mechanics ReView

MITx offers the Mechanics ReView course online, which looks into the introductory Newtonian Mechanics. 

This course will give you an overview of mechanics that will significantly improve your problem-solving skill. The course is open to all students who will meet the prerequisites. 


  • Name: Mechanics ReView
  • Institution: MITx
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites: Study of an introductory high school or college-level physics course. Strong algebra and trigonometry skills are essential.
  • Length: 4 weeks approx.
  • Hours: 8 hours per week
  • Website: edx.org
  • Price: Free

Related Questions

What Are The Most Important Things To Look For In An Online Physics Course?

Physics is a difficult subject. But learning it online (in some cases) can be as effective as taking a class in person. To get the best out of an online course you’ll want to pay close attention to the following criteria.

  • Structure: how well are the course goals defined and the curriculum laid out?
  • Time commitment: does the course give you a rough estimate of how much time you’ll need to commit to it each week?
  • Cost: does it fit your budget?
  • Instruction: is the teaching professor suitably qualified and delivering the classes in an easy-to-understand format?
  • Prerequisites: what level of knowledge should you have before starting the course?
  • Support: once signed up, how much support is available to you to help meet your goals?
  • Assessment: how is your knowledge and progress assessed?

Many of these questions are answered in the introductory table at the beginning of this article.

Anything else should be researched via your own criteria and the contact you make with course providers.

What Is Physics Lab?

The physics lab is the practical component of a physics course. Some educational prerequisites may ask for this in their assessment of your suitability for a course.

It’s also something commonly asked for as a prereq for med school – both osteopathic and allopathic.

Related: Do You Need Physics To Be A Doctor?

The physics lab will typically have you conducting experiments based on its fundamental laws, demonstrating that you know what and how to observe physical phenomena. They make full use of the scientific method and can help expand your communication and critical thinking skills.

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