Online Physics Courses For All Levels

access_timeOctober 12, 2018

If you know anything about physics, then you’ll know that it’s important. Simply put, the study of physics is the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them. However, this is putting it very simply, one only needs to look back in time to see where we’d be without this study. Scientists have been discredited, exiled and even killed, for the simple fact that the world was not moving as fast as they were, intellectually speaking. We know a whole lot better now, but there is still a world of theorems and laws to be discovered. Physics affects absolutely everything, from an apple falling off of a tree to you kicking a ball, to the great celestial movements that greatly change the universe we live in.

Physics is the source of success, opposed to failure, in the face of our own proper understanding of the whole Universe, which includes Earth and the science within, obviously. It can often determine the difference/s, between the physically possible, probable and impossible, in science and in turn in everything else there physically is. Physics is the key to success in mankind’s developments, again as opposed to our failure, a threat to life, or death itself.

Physics is there to locate our boundaries within science and in turn our existence and those of the future, it is definitely a matter of the people alive today, trying to provide every possible measure available to ensure the safety of those who inherit the Earth, but unfortunately as we have witnessed in the past, this method has previously witnessed us not completely ensuring the safety, of those alive today. Physics is part of how we research and study the facts, of how we stop the potential hazards of our discovery, from interfering with our progress and to stop potential dangers from happening. Science is the most potentially dangerous thing in the Universe, physics is the measurement that guides us to safety.

But how easy is it to learn physics? The great thinkers of old would spend years and years trialling and testing theories and laws, just to know simple things that we know today. Having said that, learning the intricacies of fundamental laws of physics like motion and momentum are not a walk in the park, they take a lot of time and focus in order to understand fully. But, thanks to modern technology and a whole load of helpful Universities and Institutions hard work, you can learn a lot about physics without ever leaving your home! I speak, of course, of online physics courses! There are a lot of services allowing any eager member of the public to learn physics online, from physics for beginners, to more advanced lessons for intermediate learners. The important thing is, that there is something for everyone! How do we know? Well we’ve scoured the internet finding the best physics courses available just so we could list them here for you to spool through to find the one that best suits you! Have a look through these and see what ones you can imagine yourself doing.

Open Culture

Since it’s creation in 2006 Open Culture has brought together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given them great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Open Culture’s whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give the public access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. This means that they store the information and links to a multitude of great courses.

One Hundred Years of Gravitational Waves

Via Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Last year the world celebrated the centennial of Einstein’s formulation of General Relativity. It was a bold new concept of gravitation which replaced Newton’s gravitation by a geometric theory in which matter distorts the geometry of space-time and the geometry tells matter how to move. Renowned physicist Rai Weiss is best known as one of the original creators of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Join him as he explores the history of this amazing project and the technology that made it a reality.

Effective Field Theory

Via Massachusetts Institute of Technology (15 days long)

Effective field theory is a fundamental framework to describe physical systems with quantum field theory. Part I of this course covers common tools used in effective theories. Part II is an in depth study of the Soft-Collinear Effective Theory (SCET), an effective theory for hard interactions in collider physics.

Atomic and Optimal Physics I

Via Massachusetts Institute of Technology (A month long)

This is the first of a two-semester subject sequence that provides the foundations for contemporary research in selected areas of atomic and optical physics. Topics covered include the interaction of radiation with atoms: resonance; absorption, stimulated and spontaneous emission; methods of resonance, dressed atom formalism, masers and lasers, cavity quantum electrodynamics; structure of simple atoms, behavior in very strong fields; fundamental tests: time reversal, parity violations, Bell’s inequalities; and experimental methods.

Fundamental Physics I

Via Yale University (A month long)

This course provides a thorough introduction to the principles and methods of physics for students who have good preparation in physics and mathematics. Emphasis is placed on problem solving and quantitative reasoning. This course covers Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, gravitation, thermodynamics, and waves.

The Oxford Solid State Basics

Via Oxford University (Flexible duration)

This lecture series constitutes a first undergraduate course in solid state physics delivered in an engaging and entertaining manner by Professor Steven H. Simon of Oxford University. Standard topics such as crystal structure, reciprocal space, free electrons, band theory, phonons, and magnetism are covered. The sequence of the lectures matches that of the book “The Oxford Solid State Basics” (OUP, 2013).

Universe or Multiverse?

Via Stanford University (Flexible duration)

A lot of scientists are quite convinced of the theory that our Universe isn’t the only one. In fact, that our Universe is one of thousands more, possibly ad infinitum. Theoretical physicist Andrei Linde was responsible for proposing the ideas of an inflationary multiverse and eternal inflation. In this Master Class, Linde discusses the evolution of these ideas over the past decades and what the future of cosmology holds.

The Early Universe

Via Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Flexible duration)

Scientists know now that the Universe has been around for quite some time. Though the first million years can be quite patchy in terms of proven events, scientists are still fascinated by what happened in those early days. The Early Universe provides an introduction to modern cosmology. The first part of the course deals with the classical cosmology, and later part with modern particle physics and its recent impact on cosmology.

Class Central

Established in 2011, Class Central is a handy search engine that has categorised a number of online courses for anyone to access. Class Central is a search engine and reviews site for free online courses popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.

Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

Via Stanford University (6 weeks long)

In this course the teachers will seek to “understand Einstein,” especially focusing on the special theory of relativity that Albert Einstein, as a twenty-six year old patent clerk, introduced in his “miracle year” of 1905. Their goal will be to go behind the myth-making and beyond the popularized presentations of relativity in order to gain a deeper understanding of both Einstein the person and the concepts, predictions, and strange paradoxes of his theory.

Introductory Physics: Part 1 – Mechanics and Waves

Via Seoul University (4 weeks long)

Physics is considered as one of the most difficult subjects in science. Often, physics lectures are flooded with heavy formulae, including calculus. In this course, efforts have been made to help students feel physics in addition to learning. Using minimal algebra without calculus, most of the key concepts in classical mechanics have been explained. Various real physics demonstrations also help students to grasp physics from everyday experience.

Mechanics: Motion, Forces, Energy and Gravity, from Particles to Planets

Via New South Wales University (8 weeks long)

Most of the phenomena in the world around you are, at the fundamental level, based on physics, and much of physics is based on mechanics. Mechanics begins by quantifying motion, and then explaining it in terms of forces, energy and momentum. This allows us to analyse the operation of many familiar phenomena around us, but also the mechanics of planets, stars and galaxies.

How Things Work: An Introduction to Physics

Via University of Virginia (8 weeks long)

Physics can be a complex and confusing subject. Don’t try to run before you can walk, with this course you are introduced to the basic concepts of physics, using simple analogies that you’ll be familiar with. From rotational and translational motion, to inertia, to gravity.  After this you’ll be completely ready to take on more advanced theories and laws.

Exploring Quantum Physics

Via University of Maryland (3-4 weeks long)

Quantum physics is the foundation for much of modern technology, provides the framework for understanding light and matter from the subatomic to macroscopic domains, and makes possible the most precise measurements ever made.  More than just a theory, it offers a way of looking at the world that grows richer with experience and practice.  Our course will provide some of that practice and teach you “tricks of the trade” (not found in textbooks) that will enable you to solve quantum-mechanical problems yourself and understand the subject at a deeper level.

From The Big Bang to Dark Energy

Via The University of Tokyo (4 weeks long)

We have learned a lot recently about how the Universe evolved in 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. More than 80% of matter in the Universe is mysterious Dark Matter, which made stars and galaxies to form. The newly discovered Higgs-boson became frozen into the Universe a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang and brought order to the Universe. Yet we still do not know how ordinary matter (atoms) survived against total annihilation by Anti-Matter. The expansion of the Universe started acceleration about 7 billion years ago and the Universe is being ripped apart. The culprit is Dark Energy, a mysterious energy multiplying in vacuum. I will present evidence behind these startling discoveries and discuss what we may learn in the near future.

Dark Matter in Galaxies: The Last Mystery

Via Iversity (3 months long)

Study a Phenomenon, that does not (yet) have an explanation. Challenge the universe and use recent observations and smart techniques to get through the veil of this phenomenon. Become part of the generation of scientists that will unveil this 80 years old mystery or be among those who will witness that occurring.

The Physics of Energy

Via Massachussets Institute of Technology (4 weeks long)

This course is designed to give you the scientific understanding you need to answer questions like:

  • How much energy can we really get from wind?
  • How does a solar photovoltaic work?
  • What is an OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Converter) and how does it work?
  • What is the physics behind global warming?
  • What makes engines efficient?
  • How does a nuclear reactor work, and what are the realistic hazards?

The course is designed for MIT sophomores, juniors, and seniors who want to understand the fundamental laws and physical processes that govern the sources, extraction, transmission, storage, degradation, and end uses of energy.

Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity and Astrophysics

Via Massachussets Institute of Technology (14 weeks long)

Study of physical effects in the vicinity of a black hole as a basis for understanding general relativity, astrophysics, and elements of cosmology. Extension to current developments in theory and observation. Energy and momentum in flat spacetime; the metric; curvature of spacetime near rotating and nonrotating centers of attraction; trajectories and orbits of particles and light; elementary models of the Cosmos. Weekly meetings include an evening seminar and recitation. The last third of the semester is reserved for collaborative research projects on topics such as the Global Positioning System, solar system tests of relativity, descending into a black hole, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves, Gravity Probe B, and more advanced models of the Cosmos.


This platform offers a myriad of different courses, taught by top professors from great Universities. Coursera believe that transformation shouldn’t be left simply to those fortunate enough to afford a University course, so since 2012, they’ve been working hard to allow anybody to be able to improve themselves.

Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise

Via The University of Toronto (6 weeks long)

Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise will introduce learners to the concepts and benefits of physical therapy and exercise. Over six weeks learners will explore: Why physical activity and exercise are important, Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease, Exercise and Osteoporosis, Exercise and Cancer, Common Sports Injuries, Exercise and Arthritis.

Semiconductor Physics

Via The University of Colorado Boulder (15 – 20 hours long)

This course introduces basic concepts of quantum theory of solids and presents the theory describing the carrier behaviors in semiconductors. The course balances fundamental physics with application to semiconductors and other electronic devices. At the end of this course learners will be able to:

  1. Understand the energy band structures and their significance in electric properties of solids
  2. Analyze the carrier statistics in semiconductors
  3. Analyze the carrier dynamics and the resulting conduction properties of semiconductors

Particle Physics: an Introduction

Via The University of Geneva (8 weeks long)

This course introduces you to subatomic physics, i.e. the physics of nuclei and particles. More specifically, the following questions are addressed:

– What are the concepts of particle physics and how are they implemented?

– What are the properties of atomic nuclei and how can one use them?

– How does one accelerate and detect particles and measure their properties?

– What does one learn from particle reactions at high energies and particle decays?

– How do electromagnetic interactions work and how can one use them?

– How do strong interactions work and why are they difficult to understand?

– How do weak interactions work and why are they so special?

– What is the mass of objects at the subatomic level and how does the Higgs boson intervene?

– How does one search for new phenomena beyond the known ones?

– What can one learn from particle physics concerning astrophysics and the Universe as a whole?

The Finite Element Method of Problems in Physics

Via The University of Michigan (13 weeks long)

This course is an introduction to the finite element method as applicable to a range of problems in physics and engineering sciences. The treatment is mathematical, but only for the purpose of clarifying the formulation. The emphasis is on coding up the formulations in a modern, open-source environment that can be expanded to other applications, subsequently.

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