Where Can I Find Free Online Physics Courses?

Knowledge of physics is essential to understanding how the universe behaves and the natural forces around us. Many universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University, offer free online physics courses, which can help you explore the complex theories and fundamental principles of this natural science. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Free, non-credit physics courses are available online at both introductory and advanced levels. You could find courses in areas such as nuclear physics, thermodynamics, astrophysics, quantum physics and meteorology through highly respected universities. You may find that your course includes a combination of optional readings, video lectures, lecture notes, assignments, projects and exams. Some classes also include materials that were provided to on-campus students, such as study kit to access a physics online tutorial, as well as lessons that required student participation. But you won't have access to such materials or to the professor and other students for these free courses.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT offers a number of physics courses. Two of these courses you can study for free were once taught to undergraduate students on campus. Courses include a Web syllabus, lecture notes, assignments, and exams in individual files. You can also download these OpenCourseWare (OCW) materials as a zip file for offline use.

Physics I

This non-credit was initially taught in Fall 2003. The course is the first in a 3-part series. The course centers around topics that deal with gravity.

What Topics Are Included?

The course discusses many elements of physics, including forces and equilibrium, conservative forces, particle dynamics and universal gravitation. The materials include 36 sets of lecture notes and blackboard images on various physics topics, such as geometry of motion, uniform circular motion, energy curves and relativistic momentum.

What Materials Will I Need?

One required textbook is listed in the course syllabus, along with an optional study guide. You will need a program capable of viewing Portable Document Format (PDF) files to access the lecture notes, assignments, exams and solutions.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

The materials include 14 assignments, which combine problems and solutions in separate PDF files. Three exams with solutions are also included as PDFs.

Statistical Physics I

This undergrad course was taught to on campus learners in the spring of 2013 by Professor Thomas Greytak. The course features information on types of physical phenomena, statistical mechanics, probability and other physics topics.

What Topics Are Included?

There are 22 lecture topics that are covered in this course, which include random variables, thermodynamics, entropy and quantum mechanics. Completion of three prerequisite courses that deal with vibrations and waves, differential equations, and quantum physics are recommended, but not required.

What Materials Will I Need?

The syllabus lists several recommended textbooks you can purchase. In addition, there are PDF links to a number of reading materials and slides. You will need a PDF readers, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, to view files.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Assignments are included in the 11 sets of lecture notes, and both the problems and solutions are available on the website in PDF files. You will also complete two exams and the practice exams for each, in addition to a practice final exam. PDF links to exams from previous years are also included.

Tufts University

Tufts University offers an Introduction to Modern Physics undergraduate course that was originally taught to students in fall 2004. The course highlights advances in the field of physics over the last century. Lectures and slides as well as a syllabus, exams and assignments are provided.

What Topics Are Included?

Relativity and quantum mechanics are covered as well as information on atom structure and mathematical implementation. The materials include 19 lecture topics on physics principles, including discussions of quantum physics, diatomic molecules, wave functions and general relativity.

What Materials Will I Need?

The course syllabus lists one required textbook and two optional reading recommendations. You will also need a computer program - such as Adobe Acrobat Reader - that allows you to view PDF files in order to access the exams, quizzes and lecture slides.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Each of the 19 lectures includes an assignment. You will also complete three exams in addition to a practice and final exam. The solutions to the exams are provided on the website, allowing you to self-test and check your answers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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