Online Physical Science Degrees

Updated November 11, 2022

A ranking of the best online bachelor's in physical sciences. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality.

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The physical sciences encompass a broad array of subjects, from physics to geology. For prospective students considering a degree in the field, developing an understanding of the various educational options is important. The following guide serves as an introduction to the different types of online degrees in the physical sciences, the types of classes offered at each degree level, and how earning a degree can position a student for success in a diverse number of professional fields.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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ONLINE PHYSICAL SCIENCE SCHOOL DEGREES

While a number of colleges and universities offer online courses in the physical sciences, due to the need for in-the-lab hands-on training, distance learning postsecondary degree programs in the physical science fields are almost non-existent (with the exception of a very few programs in physics and geology). Many of these online programs are presented in a hybrid format that requires some level of in-person on-site attendance in combination with online classes.

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Best Online Physical Science Schools

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To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria: Accredited at the institutional level Private nonprofit or public school Minimum of 1 online bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools Minimum of 1 online associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools Schools were then scored on factors such as: Cost & Financial Aid Number and variety of online program offerings Student-teacher ratios Graduation rates Placement and support services offered Academic/Career counseling services Employment services Loan default rates These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Those interested in physical sciences enjoy the study of chemistry, physics, astronomy and other non-living systems and then go on to careers with a wide range of opportunities. Earning a degree online can can help graduates get a foot in the door in their career of choice because they have added knowledge and possibly work experience to give them a leg up on the competition. To help in the search for the best possible program, we've done some research on classes available, services offered and student to teacher ratio so aspiring scientists can make a good choice.

#1 Online Physical Science Degrees

Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Rolla, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Missouri University of Science and Technology supports numerous programs from its main campus in Rolla. Enrollees hoping to advance in a physical science-adjacent career will benefit from the college's master of science in geological engineering. Degree-seekers complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining a well-rounded education preparing them for the demands of the field.

Learners seeking further opportunities for study can pursue internships or collaborate with faculty on research projects. The institution notes that 40% of its programs enable online study. Whether in-person or online, enrollees can access institutional resources and receive career and academic guidance throughout their studies.

Missouri University of Science and Technology at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 118

Number of Online Programs: 47

Admission Rate: 79%

Graduation Rate: 66%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 96%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,337

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 49%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,154

Average Price After Aid: $13,954

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,120
Out-of-state
$27,921
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
8,088
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Online Physical Science Degrees

Michigan Technological University

  • Houghton, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Michigan Technological University supports in-person learning and distance learning opportunities from its main campus in Houghton. The school's profit-increasing strategies in chemical processing certificate program prepares students for future careers through foundational and specialized coursework. Certificate-seekers benefit from rigorous coursework and opportunities to collaborate with faculty through research and more.

Enrollees can often take advantage of online and hybrid offerings, which add flexibility for working students. Distance learners can choose from 11 fully online degrees. Whether in person or online, students can access institutional resources and receive career and academic guidance throughout their studies.

Michigan Technological University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 142

Number of Online Programs: 11

Admission Rate: 74%

Graduation Rate: 70%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 96%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $11,310

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 54%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,100

Average Price After Aid: $17,814

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,834
Out-of-state
$36,688
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
7,027
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Online Physical Science Degrees

Southern Methodist University

  • Dallas, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southern Methodist University is a private college located in Dallas, Texas. The college's bachelor of science in biophysical sciences equips students with industry-relevant knowledge, preparing them for the demands of a career. Beyond the classroom, enrollees can pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as faculty-driven research projects and internships.

With the college supporting in-person and online study, degree-seekers can pursue their studies at their own pace. Prospective applicants seeking remote study should know that 14% of the college's programs support fully online study. Both in-person and remote students benefit from institutional resources, like academic advising and career services.

Southern Methodist University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 217

Number of Online Programs: 31

Admission Rate: 47%

Graduation Rate: 81%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 82%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 22%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,269

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,200
Out-of-state
$50,200
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
11,824
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Online Physical Science Degrees

Mississippi State University

  • Mississippi State, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Mississippi State, Mississippi State University offers a variety of academic programs in person and online. Learners looking to advance in the physical science field should consider the college's master of science in chemical engineering. Beyond the classroom, students can pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as faculty-driven research projects and internships.

Degree-seekers can enroll full or part time and study on campus or online. The institution notes that 10% of its programs enable online study. Enrollees benefit from access to campus resources, such as career services and academic advising.

Mississippi State University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 174

Number of Online Programs: 17

Admission Rate: 54%

Graduation Rate: 61%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 95%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,316

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 46%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,783

Average Price After Aid: $16,471

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,800
Out-of-state
$23,840
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
22,226
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Online Physical Science Degrees

Auburn University

  • Auburn, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Auburn University offers numerous in-person and online degrees from its main campus in Auburn, Alabama. The college's master of science in chemical engineering equips students with industry-relevant knowledge, preparing them for the demands of a career. Learners seeking supplementary study can benefit from faculty-driven research projects and other collaborative learning opportunities.

Degree-seekers can pursue in person or online learning and enroll full or part time. To date, the college supports 26 online degrees. Regardless of learning modality, distance learners can access institutional resources, such as career services, geared towards student success.

Auburn University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 242

Number of Online Programs: 26

Admission Rate: 81%

Graduation Rate: 79%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 72%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,028

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 31%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,347

Average Price After Aid: $23,562

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,816
Out-of-state
$29,448
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
30,460
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Online Physical Science Degrees

Arizona State University-Tempe

  • Tempe, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Arizona State University-Tempe is a public college located in Tempe. The school's bachelor of arts in chemistry provides students with a world-class education. Enrollees benefit from learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom. They can pursue collaborative projects such as faculty-driven research, internships, and more.

Learners can complete the program in person or online. Leading in online education, the college supports one online program. Throughout their studies, degree-seekers can access academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources.

Arizona State University-Tempe at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 353

Number of Online Programs: 1

Admission Rate: 86%

Graduation Rate: 63%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 96%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $12,100

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 34%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,207

Average Price After Aid: $14,081

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$28,800
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
53,286
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Online Physical Science Degrees

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Manhattan, Kansas State University provides a flexible, competitive education to students near and far. The school supports programs that equip enrollees with theoretical and practical knowledge, preparing them for careers in their field of choice. In the chemical engineering master's program, degree-seekers benefit from rigorous coursework and opportunities to collaborate with faculty through research and more.

Depending on their needs, students can complete the program in person or online. At the college, 26% of all programs accommodate remote learning. Both in-person and remote students benefit from institutional resources, like academic advising and career services.

Kansas State University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 283

Number of Online Programs: 73

Admission Rate: 95%

Graduation Rate: 65%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 88%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $6,227

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 45%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,300

Average Price After Aid: $18,103

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,735
Out-of-state
$25,251
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
21,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Online Physical Science Degrees

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in higher education, University of North Dakota provides educational opportunities to Grand Forks-based students and distance learners. The school's bachelor of science in chemical engineering prepares students for future careers through foundational and specialized coursework. Enrollees benefit from a supportive learning community, customizable study, and a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Enrollees can attend classes online or on campus. Of all programs offered through the college, 30% can be completed fully online. Both in-person and remote students benefit from institutional resources, like academic advising and career services.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 226

Number of Online Programs: 67

Admission Rate: 81%

Graduation Rate: 61%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 92%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $5,686

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 45%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,672

Average Price After Aid: $15,654

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Online Physical Science Degrees

Iowa State University

  • Ames, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Iowa State University provides diverse learning opportunities from its main campus in Ames. The college's graduate certificate in biochemistry equips learners with industry-specific knowledge, transferrable skills, and learning experiences that prepare them for the demands of their field. With an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enrollees benefit from personalized study and the opportunity for collaborative opportunities such as faculty-driven research projects.

Depending on their needs, students can complete the program in person or online. When considering remote study, applicants should know that 10% of the college's programs support online learning. Enrollees can access numerous campus resources throughout their studies, including academic advising and career services.

Iowa State University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 345

Number of Online Programs: 35

Admission Rate: 92%

Graduation Rate: 74%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 90%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $5,887

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 48%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $5,966

Average Price After Aid: $15,195

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,042
Out-of-state
$23,230
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
33,372
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Online Physical Science Degrees

Park University

  • Parkville, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Park University supports in-person learning and distance learning opportunities from its main campus in Parkville, Missouri. The school supports programs that equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge, preparing them for careers in their field of choice. The college boasts a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enabling personalized study and close collaboration through faculty-driven research projects and more.

Degree-seekers can pursue the bachelor's in chemistry at their own pace. To date, the college supports 58 online degrees. Whether in person or online, students can access institutional resources and receive career and academic guidance throughout their studies.

Park University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 87

Number of Online Programs: 58

Admission Rate: Data not available

Graduation Rate: 62%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 93%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 31%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $8,051

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,999
Out-of-state
$7,999
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,415
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#11 Online Physical Science Degrees

Stanford University

  • Stanford, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Stanford University provides diverse learning opportunities from its main campus in Stanford, California. Learners looking to advance in the physical sciences field should consider the college's master's in chemical engineering. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous coursework and opportunities to collaborate with faculty through research and more.

Depending on their needs, students can complete the program in person or online. Prospective applicants seeking remote study should know that 5% of the college's programs support fully online study. Enrollees benefit from academic and professional guidance through academic advising, career services, and other campus resources.

Stanford University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 227

Number of Online Programs: 11

Admission Rate: 4%

Graduation Rate: 94%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 70%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 8%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $5,456

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$52,857
Out-of-state
$52,857
Retention Rate
99%
Admission Rate
4%
Students Enrolled
17,249
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#12 Online Physical Science Degrees

Lehigh University

  • Bethlehem, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Lehigh University supports numerous  programs from its main campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The school supports programs that equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge, preparing them for careers in their field of choice. With a 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enrollees pursuing a master's in chemical engineering benefit from personalized study. They can also explore collaborative opportunities such as faculty-driven research projects.

Degree candidates can complete the program on campus or online. The institution notes that 7% of its programs enable online study. All students can access institutional resources and receive personal and professional guidance.

Lehigh University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 187

Number of Online Programs: 14

Admission Rate: 32%

Graduation Rate: 90%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 69%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 38%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $5,867

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$54,790
Out-of-state
$54,790
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
6,953
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#13 Online Physical Science Degrees

Ohio University-Main Campus

  • Athens, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Ohio University-Main Campus, a public college based in Athens, provides competitive educational opportunities to learners from all walks of life. The master's in geological sciences prepares students for professional advancement through industry-relevant coursework, lectures, and projects. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous coursework and opportunities to collaborate with faculty through research and more.

Depending on their needs, students can complete the program in person or online. Of its programs, 14% allow for fully online study. Students seeking academic and career guidance can benefit from the college's many resources, such as career services and academic advising.

Ohio University-Main Campus at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 350

Number of Online Programs: 48

Admission Rate: 82%

Graduation Rate: 65%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 94%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $5,956

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 51%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,504

Average Price After Aid: $22,521

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,612
Out-of-state
$22,406
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
27,367
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 Online Physical Science Degrees

Northern Arizona University

  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Northern Arizona University is a Flagstaff-based college supporting academic programs in dual modalities. The college's bachelor of science in astronomy provides students interested in a physical sciences career with a world-class education. Enrollees benefit from learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom. They can pursue collaborative projects such as faculty-driven research, internships, and more.

Working professionals and busy students benefit from the program's flexibility. Enrollees can learn in person or online. Remote students can choose from one of 70 fully online degrees. Students can make use of campus resources, such as academic advising and library services, while enrolled.

Northern Arizona University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 237

Number of Online Programs: 70

Admission Rate: 85%

Graduation Rate: 57%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 95%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $12,831

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 42%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,454

Average Price After Aid: $14,236

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,018
Out-of-state
$16,613
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,733
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Online Physical Science Degrees

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a flexible, competitive education to students near and far. Enrollees pursuing the master's in environmental geology benefit from world-class faculty and a well-rounded education. Degree-seekers can pursue research projects and other learning opportunities while enrolled.

Degree candidates can often take advantage of online and hybrid offerings, which add flexibility for working students. Leading in online education, the college supports 33 online programs. Regardless of learning modality, students can access institutional resources, such as career services, geared toward student success.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 372

Number of Online Programs: 33

Admission Rate: 59%

Graduation Rate: 85%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 64%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $15,442

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 35%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $5,737

Average Price After Aid: $14,660

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,188
Out-of-state
$33,127
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
51,605
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#16 Online Physical Science Degrees

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  • Worcester, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers a variety of academic programs in person and online. Learners seeking flexibility will benefit from the master's in medicinal plant chemistry. Beyond the classroom, students can pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as faculty-driven research projects and internships.

Enrollees can complete the degree online or on campus. Online programs make up 16% of the college's programs. Whether in person or online, degree-seekers can access institutional resources and receive career and academic guidance throughout their studies.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 116

Number of Online Programs: 19

Admission Rate: 49%

Graduation Rate: 89%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 99%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 53%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $6,446

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,604
Out-of-state
$51,604
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
6,894
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#17 Online Physical Science Degrees

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students looking for a competitive, flexible education should consider Johns Hopkins University. The college's master of science in applied physics equips students with industry-relevant study, preparing them for the demands of a career. Learners benefit from a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, with many chances to interact closely with professors.

Learners seeking further opportunities for study can pursue internships or collaborate with faculty on research projects. When considering remote study, degree-seekers should know that 21% of the college's programs support online learning. Enrollees can make use of campus resources, such as academic advising and library services.

Johns Hopkins University at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 362

Number of Online Programs: 76

Admission Rate: 11%

Graduation Rate: 93%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 67%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: Data not available

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 29%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $3,255

Average Price After Aid: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,350
Out-of-state
$55,350
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
27,079
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#18 Online Physical Science Degrees

Allen County Community College

  • Iola, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online

Allen County Community College reaches learners worldwide through its flexible academic programs, available in person and online. The school's associate in physics equips students with a well-rounded education through its rigorous curriculum. The college boasts a 21-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enabling personalized study and close collaboration through faculty-driven research projects and more.

Learners can earn their degree on campus or online. When considering remote study, applicants should know that 100% of the college's programs support online learning. Enrollees can access numerous campus resources throughout their studies, including academic advising and career services.

Allen County Community College at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 81

Number of Online Programs: 81

Admission Rate: Data not available

Graduation Rate: 39%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 86%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $4,378

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 12%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $4,070

Average Price After Aid: $8,668

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,800
Out-of-state
$1,800
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,407
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#19 Online Physical Science Degrees

Holmes Community College

  • Goodman, MS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Holmes Community College connects learners with competitive educational opportunities through in-person and online programs. The college's associate of arts in chemistry equips learners with industry-specific knowledge, transferrable skills, and learning experiences that prepare them for the demands of their field. Students hoping to deepen their knowledge can collaborate with faculty members on research projects and other endeavors.

Degree candidates can learn in person or remotely. When considering remote study, applicants should know that 94% of the college's programs support online learning. Regardless of learning modality, degree-seekers can access institutional resources, such as career services, geared toward student success.

Holmes Community College at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 105

Number of Online Programs: 99

Admission Rate: Data not available

Graduation Rate: 37%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 89%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $5,557

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 15%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $5,671

Average Price After Aid: $4,977

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,600
Out-of-state
$5,180
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,529
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#20 Online Physical Science Degrees

Crowder College

  • Neosho, MO
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Crowder College connects learners with competitive educational opportunities through in-person and online programs. Enrollees hoping to advance in a physical sciences-adjacent career will benefit from the college's associate of arts in physics. The program boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enabling collaborative endeavors such as faculty-driven research projects.

Degree candidates can learn in person or remotely. Of its programs, 5% allow for fully online study. Enrollees benefit from academic and professional guidance through academic advising, career services, and other campus resources.

Crowder College at a Glance:

Total Academic Programs: 77

Number of Online Programs: 4

Admission Rate: Data not available

Graduation Rate: 35%

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 93%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $4,740

Percent of Students Awarded Loans: 15%

Average Amount of Loans Awarded: $4,611

Average Price After Aid: $5,111

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,552
Out-of-state
$3,552
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,401
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

PHYSICAL SCIENCE SCHOOL DEGREES

Given the scientific nature of the fields of study that fall under the physical sciences heading, it is no surprise that a strong commitment to higher education is a prerequisite to a career in the field. Major areas of study in the physical sciences include astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, and more. The level of postsecondary education necessary for employment depends on both the specific field of study and the specific job sought. For example, entry-level positions for geologists (such as geological or petroleum technician) are available to graduates with as little as an associate degree. However, astronomers and physicists seeking employment as researchers will have to earn their doctoral degrees to land entry-level positions.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT:
ONLINE BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Currently, many postsecondary institutions offer individual online courses in physical science. A few schools offer online bachelor's degrees in science with a specialization in physics for those interested in becoming middle or high school physics teachers. This degree typically runs between 120 and 124 credit hours. Some online programs may require a full-time student teaching component for graduation. Students learn the basics of general science, advanced physics, and teaching methodologies to become qualified teachers in the field. Courses usually cover topics such as calculus, fundamentals of educational psychology, and modern physics. Graduates of an degree programs in the physical sciences should meet qualifications for single subject teaching at secondary schools. However, some school districts or states may have additional teacher requirements for employment.

ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEGREES

An associate degree is a two-year program offered almost exclusively in the United States at junior and community colleges. Associate degrees in the physical sciences provide a basic foundation of knowledge in the given subjects. Anyone considering a career in the physical sciences would do well to forego an associate degree program and seek out an appropriate bachelor's degree. Along with general education classes, students working on an online physical science associate degree will be required to complete general subject-related courses such as:

COURSE NAMEOVERVIEW
Conceptual PhysicsIntroduction to important phenomena in physics through description with experimental demonstrations.
General ChemistryDetailed study of basic principles of atomic and molecular structure and bonding, chemical reactions, solutions, gas laws, and more.
Introduction to AstronomyGeneral survey of astronomy that includes the sun, planets, moons, stars, black holes, dark matter, cosmology, and more.
Survey of GeologyIntroduction to the principles of geology including plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and earth structure.

ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEGREES

Bachelor's degree programs in the physical sciences, like most other subject areas, can be successfully completed within four to five years. Online coursework will include a foundational general education requirement, a core set of classes in the chosen subject field, and a group of elective courses. The following table provides a sample of the types of courses physical science bachelor's degree students will be taking:

COURSE NAMEOVERVIEW
Introductory Astrophysics [Astronomy]Topics include the development of astronomy, electromagnetic radiation, and the origin of the solar system.
Observational Astronomy [Astronomy]Introduction to current optical observation including, infrared, ultraviolet and x-ray techniques.
Foundations of Chemical Principles [Chemistry]Basic chemical principles, with topics that include the structure of the atom, periodic table and trends, covalent and ionic bonding, and others.
Principles of Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics [Chemistry]Focuses on the macroscopic properties of chemical systems.
Earthquakes and Natural Disasters [Geology]Addresses issues regarding earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, global warming and more.
Stratigraphy [Geology]Study of the principles of lithostatigraphy, biostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy.
Electricity and Magnetism [Physics]Magnetic properties of materials, electrodynamics, currents, magnetostatics, and more.
Optics [Physics]Covers geometrical and physical optics, waves, reflection, optical instrumentation, and several other topics.

ONLINE MASTER'S IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEGREES

Master's degree programs are typically offered for each physical science field (e.g., Master of Science in Physics or Master of Science in Chemistry), or under the generalized title of Master of Science in Physical Science, with a stated emphasis in one of the specific disciplines. A growing trend at many colleges and universities is to allow students to design (under supervision) their own courses of study, combining aspects of two or more physical science fields together, or even combining one or more physical science subjects with an engineering, technology, natural science, or social science discipline. In almost all cases, completing a master's degree program in the physical sciences will require a time commitment of eighteen to twenty-four months or longer, during which students will encounter courses similar to those on the following list:

MASTER'S PROGRAM CORE COURSESOVERVIEW
Chemistry and the Atmosphere [General]Focuses on chemistry as it applies to the Earth's atmosphere, with topics such as the interaction of solar radiation and atmospheric gases.
Environmental History of the Earth [General]Emphasis on how geologic history has determined the physical and biological environments on Earth today.
Diffuse Matter in Space [Astronomy]Basic equations of fluid dynamics, fundamentals of magnetohydrodynamics and more.
Quantum Mechanics for Astrophysics [Astronomy]Quantum mechanical topics in areas of interest for astrophysics applications.
Advanced Analytical Chemistry [Chemistry]Emphasis on chemical information and modern analytical methods to chemical problems.
Medicinal Chemistry [Chemistry]Study of the chemistry and biological activity of hormones, vitamins, drugs, and other agents.
Earthquake Seismology [Geology]Topics include seismic waves, their recording and management, and the estimation of earthquake source strength, location and mechanism.
Environmental Geology and Planning [Geology]Geologic processes, hazards, minerals and energy resources, and their interaction with planning and regulations.
Lattice Gauge Theory [Physics]Introduction to Lattice Gauge Theory, building on the Wilsonian approach to Quantum Field Theory.
Topics in String Theory [Physics]Modern string theory topics, including aspects of 2d conformal field theory, mirror symmetry, and moonshine.

ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREES IN PHYSICAL SCIENCES

As one might expect, a PhD in the physical sciences represents the highest level of academic achievement one can earn in each of the respective fields. Physical science doctorate programs are often offered in highly specialized sub-fields (such as nanoscience, nuclear chemistry, or analytical chemistry) or in an interdisciplinary format, combining two or more specializations. The time commitment to complete a PhD degree program in the physical sciences can vary substantially by specific field and other degree requirements, but individuals can expect to commit between four and ten years or more to their academic pursuit.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEGREE?

Careers in the physical sciences encompass a wide variety of professions and occupations, with employment in teaching and academia, and by government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private firms and businesses.

Career choices vary greatly among the various physical science subjects. The following list offers a brief glimpse at the types of occupations one might expect to find within each of the physical science fields:

Astronomers

Astronomers study how matter and energy interact in space. They use telescopes and other equipment to study planets, stars, galaxies and other solar bodies. Their research helps to further scientific knowledge of our galaxy and distant galaxies, stars and phenomena. The work of astronomers helps to pave the way for advances in communications, energy, navigation and more.
  • Median Salary: $96,460
  • Median Hourly: $46.37
  • Est. Growth: 10%
  • No. Employed: 2,150
  • Minimum Education: Doctoral/Professional

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians ensure that laboratories are clean and the equipment is ready for scientists when needed. They gather samples, conduct tests and experiments, analyze results, and report findings back to their team. Depending on their specialty, a biological technician may work in the field or in a sterile lab and may do everything from develop new medications to grow cultures in a Petri dish.
  • Median Salary: $39,750
  • Median Hourly: $19.11
  • Est. Growth: 10%
  • No. Employed 72,740
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's

Chemical Technicians

Working in a team, a chemical technician works in a laboratory or manufacturing facility to develop or test chemical processes to ensure they meet certain criteria. They prep laboratory equipment, conduct experiments and analyze, interpret and present their results. Their place of work can vary, depending on their specialty.
  • Median Salary: $42,920
  • Median Hourly: $20.64
  • Est. Growth: 9.4%
  • No. Employed: 61,300
  • Minimum Education: Associate's

Chemists

Chemists study the ways certain substances react to one another and then use this knowledge to develop new and improved products for the benefit of others. They oversee technicians and other staff members as they research and test products such as drugs, plastics, cleaners and other manufactured goods. Most chemists work as part of a team and also work cross functionally with other scientists such as biologists, computer specialists, and engineers.
  • Median Salary: $71,770
  • Median Hourly: $34.5
  • Est. Growth: 5.6%
  • No. Employed: 84,950
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's

Environmental Scientists/Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists work to help protect the environment, which in turn helps to improve the health of those nearby. They test and analyze the air, soil, water, food and other environmental elements and find ways to improve the quality of these elements. These experts are instrumental in helping the government and businesses assess environmental hazards and health risks.
  • Median Salary: $63,570
  • Median Hourly: $30.56
  • Est. Growth: 14.6%
  • No. Employed: 84,240
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's

Hydrologists

Hydrologists study water and how it moves over and through Earth—from the clouds to below the surface of land. They are concerned with the quality and quantity of water and study the impact that water has on erosion, sedimentation and pollution. Their expertise allows them to study and resolve issues with water quality.
  • Median Salary: $75,530
  • Median Hourly: $36.31
  • Est. Growth: 10.4%
  • No. Employed: 6,880
  • Minimum Education: Master's

Materials Scientists

Materials scientists research the structures and chemical properties of different materials in an effort to improve upon existing products or develop new ones. They work in a team to experiment with a variety of materials, such as ceramics, semiconductors, composite materials and metallic alloys, and apply scientific and chemical knowledge as they work.
  • Median Salary: $88,990
  • Median Hourly: $42.78
  • Est. Growth: 5.2%
  • No. Employed: 7,970
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's

Nuclear Technicians

Steeped in research and safety, nuclear technicians monitor radiation levels in the air, water and soil. Using specialized instruments, they measure radiation produced by nuclear experiments, power generation and other activities and make sure that they are operating safely. While some nuclear technicians work in a laboratory, many others work directly in the field.
  • Median Salary: $69,060
  • Median Hourly: $33.2
  • Est. Growth: 14.9%
  • No. Employed: 8,040
  • Minimum Education: Associate's

Physicists

Physicists help to identify and develop new sources of energy and new military technology through their study of the property and laws that govern space, time, energy and matter. While some try to explain the forces of nature, others work in more practical areas, such as developing new materials and medical equipment. In either aspect, the job of a physicist is embedded heavily in research.
  • Median Salary: $106,840
  • Median Hourly: $51.37
  • Est. Growth: 10.4%
  • No. Employed: 17,820
  • Minimum Education: Doctoral/Professional

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design, conduct and analyze the results of surveys in an effort to answer a variety of questions about health, political and social issues, culture, education, the economy or general public interest. These surveys can be used for a variety of things, including business plans, government research, product lines, or to determine the products and services the public desires. Survey researchers are highly analytical and use a variety of statistical techniques to collect and analyze data.
  • Median Salary: $45,050
  • Median Hourly: $21.66
  • Est. Growth: 17.6%
  • No. Employed: 17,370
  • Minimum Education: Master's

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