Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Physics Through Distance Learning?

Due to several factors, there aren't many schools that offer master's degree programs in physics through distance education. Read on to learn about online programs at a handful of schools, as well as some on-campus master's degree programs in physics. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Getting Your Physics Master's Degree Through Distance Education

For several reasons, there are not many master's degree programs in physics that are offered via distance education. The study of physics requires hands-on experience with laboratory equipment that can't be duplicated in the home. In addition, many top schools offer only a Ph.D. in Physics and not master's degrees. However, Michigan State University offers a hybrid Master of Science degree in physics wherein some courses (approximately half) can be taken through distance education. The program consists of 30 credit hours and offers thesis and non-thesis options.

Additionally, Oregon State University offers a Master of Science in Health Physics, which is research-based, and a professional, non-thesis Master of Health Physics, both of which are almost fully online. Courses address, among other topics, radiation safety, radiophysics, radiation detection and internal dosimetry.

Georgia Tech provides a hybrid graduate program in medical physics that allows students to view recorded classes at home. In-person attendance is only required for lab courses.

Ten of the 11 courses in Illinois Institute of Technology's Master of Health Physics can be taken online. These courses cover radiation physics and biophysics, environmental health physics and radiation sources in healthcare environments. Students must attend campus for a course in radiation health physics instrumentation, which includes a lab component.

Important Information About Physics Master's Degree Programs

Degree Levels Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, and graduate certificate programs
Prerequisites Previous advanced calculus coursework, bachelor's degree in physics of biological sciences with 3.0 GPA or higher, and minimum GRE scores
Continuing Education Required for recertification from the American Academy of Health Physics
Possible Careers Astronomer, Physicist, Health Physicist, Biophysicist
Median Salary (2018)$119,580 (Physicists and Astronomers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)14% growth (Physicists and Astronomers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Non-Distance Learning Physics Master's Degree Programs

Although doctoral degrees in physics are more common than master's degrees, there are many schools that offer master's degrees in physics. Two such schools are the University of North Carolina and the New York University.

The University of North Carolina

UNC offers a research-oriented Master of Science degree in physics that is designed for students who want to complete a Ph.D. later. The degree is available with or without completing a thesis. The program includes both written and oral exams, one semester of teaching experience and one semester of research experience. Courses in the program include advanced classes in:

  • Particle Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Theoretical Physics

New York University

The Master of Science in Physics at New York University requires the completion of 32 credits. Students can select one of three options in this program: a thesis, a comprehensive report on physics literature or a final examination. Among the courses that students must pass to receive this degree are:

  • Computational Physics
  • Experimental Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism

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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