The 5 Best Online Master of Physics Graduate Schools in 2023

Online Master of Physics - featured image

An online Master of Physics can help improve your qualification for more specialized and advanced roles as a computer scientist, medical scientist, biophysicist, and more.

A physics program can be extremely challenging, dealing with specialized areas like quantum mechanics, astrophysics, astronomy, mathematical physics, and more. However, an undergraduate physics degree is also a rewarding field especially if you dedicate most of your time to studying and doing research.


Although it seems limited and confined as a subject, physics education is a very massive area to understand. With a master’s degree in physics, you will learn not only the fundamentals of the area. The course will focus on specializations that provide you with ample knowledge on solving high critical and complex problems of engineering.

In the online master’s program, independent research is crucial and is just as important as discussions, practical lessons, and online lectures.


Getting a Physics master’s degree from the most notable colleges and universities can sometimes get overwhelming because of the numerous options! And since the MS Physics program is of a very wide scope, some students tend to forego their dreams of obtaining the degree especially if they are already busy with their professional careers.

We help you make that decision with our list of the top Master of Physics graduate programs from the country’s top graduate schools! These features make them ideal for students seeking graduate-level knowledge and qualify for top-level research- or application-focused career options:

  • A master’s-level Physics curriculum consisting of online courses or blended courses in asynchronous and synchronous formats, depending on the graduate student’s needs,
  • Physics graduate degree specialization or concentration options that match the field for which the online student seeks advanced study,
  • A Learning Management System that offers students effortless access to their graduate online courses and resources for a positive learning experience,
  • Online or hybrid classes that are handled by the best and most experienced faculty members, coupled with workshops, discussions, and hands-on training,
  • Transfer credit programs,
  • Student aid programs for financial assistance to eligible online Master of Physics students,
  • Career Services to help graduate students navigate their career options, or provide them advice for Ph.D. program readiness,
  • Full accreditation from academic entities focusing on the online delivery of master’s degree programs, as well as organizations that promote Physics as an important discipline.

Best Online Master of Physics Graduate Schools

Arizona State University

Arizona State University
Masters in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering deal with how materials should be made more advanced to use in practically every product we have today: from medical devices to smartphones. Students who complete this field explore the performance, structure, and possible applications for different materials.

  • Students in the field combine physics, chemistry, and engineering skills in making new materials and try to find new and better ways to utilize existing materials.
  • This online physics master’s takes an interdisciplinary method to the field.
  • Students will gain a solid foundation in the technical principles of different specialties and industries.

This is a 32-credit hour program, but covers so many core areas including:

  • Advanced Thermodynamics
  • Advanced Materials Characterization
  • Concepts in Materials Science
  • Kinetics and Phase Transformations
  • Fundamentals of Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Materials
  • Structure and Mechanical Properties
  • Nanomaterials in Energy Production and Storage
Did You Know?

Arizona State University is proud of its committed department faculty members to help you complete the programs you join. Faculty milestones include:

  • National Academy of Engineering members
  • National Academy of Science members
  • National Academy of Inventors members
  • National Academy of Construction members

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University
Online Master of Nanoengineering

This master’s degree is suitable for those with an undergraduate degree in engineering who plan to enroll in classes to obtain a graduate degree in nanoengineering.

  • The course will teach you how to revolutionize technology to improve the quality of life.
  • With this program, you will have a better understanding of the advantages of nanoscale materials, systems, and devices.
  • This 30-credit-hour degree program does not need a final oral exam, on-campus residency, or a thesis.

The program has 12 credit hours in core courses, and 6 credit hours for technical elective courses. The school will equip students with a strong background in nanotechnology and nanoscience for the development of the latest products and procedures. However, students should have a bachelor’s degree in Science (physics or chemistry) from an accredited institution prior to enrolling in this research program.

Did you Know?

NCSU’s online graduate school accepts international applicants, but they must take the IELTS or TOEFL exams unless they have completed at least one year at any university in Canada, Great Britain, or the US.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University
Online MS in Radiation Health Physics

The department of Nuclear Science at Oregon State University offers the Radiation Health Physics program. This is for students who want to secure a career involved in radiation, radioactive materials, and nuclear energy. This Radiation Health Physics profession plays a crucial role in society as this provides several benefits through national defense, energy security, industrial competitiveness, medical health, and other related fields.

  • The online graduate and research program is for students with a keen interest in areas involving radiation protection.
  • The specialized program involves understanding the principles of integrated studies of the physical aspects of non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, its biological results, and the methods used in protecting people and the environment against radiation hazards.

The school offers teaching assistantships and competitive research and fellowships for incoming online graduate students. Plus, the National Academy for Nuclear Training Support, and the US Department of Energy offers several fellowship programs every year for the qualified student.

Did you know?

Oregon State University is just one of the eight participating online universities where a student can attend graduate school on the Nuclear Engineering, Health Physics education research, and Applied Physics fellowship offered by the US Department of Energy.

Rochester Institute of Technology

RIT College of Science - Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science

Online MS in Imaging Science

This master’s degree program is about the introduction and system approach to imaging science. Students taking this course should have a solid background in engineering. Upon completion, career opportunities will open further in the field of product development, research, or management in the imaging industry.

  • This course is made in coordination with various industry partners to stress the skills and core courses needed by managers, engineers, and scientists.
  • If you wish to gain more knowledge in a specific track, you can customize your own. Otherwise, you can have several ‘system tracks’ completed in the course.

The college offers a thesis or non-thesis option. What’s amazing about this master’s degree is that you can have your research thesis completed at the place where you work. Plus you can set aside your worries about the tuition and fees because completion of the program can either be on a full-time or part-time basis.

Did you know?

One of the admission requirements of this school is that a student should hold a bachelor’s degree in calculus-based physics, mathematics, and the like. Prior to enrolling, students are assumed that they have basic knowledge of common computer programs.

John Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins - Whiting School of Engineering

Online MS in Applied Physics

There are only a few online schools offering a master’s degree in applied physics, and one of them is John Hopkins University. This applied physics master’s degree is perfect for students who want to improve their education experience as engineering professionals. This master of science program also prepares students for future careers in the development of the latest in technology.

  • The stellar structure of the program opens doors to different careers in physics like astrophysics, fiber optics, nondestructive testing, laser and quantum mechanics, and more.
  • The teaching staff of this degree includes scientists from NASA, John Hopkins Physics Lab, and the Naval Research Laboratory.
  • Each student can choose either of these two concentrations: Materials and Condensed Matter, and Photonics.

Some of the core courses in the program include mastering mathematical methods used in different fields of engineering and applied physics, establishing a strong understanding of classical mechanics and statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, statistical physics, solid-state physics, and solving problems thru Maxwell’s equation.

Did you know?

At John Hopkins University, at least 78% of the students’ tuition and fees are taken care of by employer contribution programs.

The Different Types of Master’s in Physics Online

Fundamentally, all master’s programs in physics are the same. However, there are different types of physics master’s that provide a specific ‘flavor’. Here are some to consider:

MS Physics is the gold standard in the master’s in physics program. For those who have physics degrees, this is the stepping stone toward a Ph.D. or those who want to be a part of the teaching staff of a college. This physics master’s requires a Project Work or a Thesis to be presented upon completion of the program.

M.Sc. in Physics (Master of Science) largely focuses on combining your skills and knowledge. Both the M.Sc. and MS programs have similar degree requirements. The M.Sc. however, requires an undergraduate of any science subject, while the MS can have a bachelor’s degree in any stream.

MA in Physics (Master of Arts) is another option for a physics master’s. In terms of curriculum, both the MA and MS are similar. What differs is that the MA doesn’t require a thesis.

Paying for Master’s in Physics Online Program

Online programs have lesser tuition than on-campus courses. Still, no matter how meager the tuition is, a master’s program is not cheap at all. Here are some options available for an online student, although the tuition and fee digits will largely depend on the program and the school you wish to apply to.

  • Program Funding- There are schools that offer deferred incremental payment options based on specific criteria.
  • Scholarships and Awards- Check out for available grants, scholarships, and awards to know if you have possible opportunities to aid your program.
  • Employer Sponsorships or Reimbursements- This is ideal for a working professional. Check if your company can allow you to study and work, and pay for both or even reimburse the fee after you complete your program.
Online Master of Physics - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Physics graduate programs worth it?

Our world is surrounded by physics. This is a key science towards advancing what all of us already know and understand. And with an MS Physics degree, it helps make the latest invention and innovations possible. Besides, the labor statistics say a career in physics is very lucrative.

What can you do with a Master’s in Physics Degree?

Having a master’s in physics opens up a lot of career potential– from a sound engineer to a metallurgist to a data analyst. The field of operation you choose will depend on your interests. You can enter research, engineering, or even teaching. Industries that need physics graduates include nanotechnology, manufacturing, health and medicine, telecommunications, and many more.

What is the career and salary outlook for MS Physics Graduates?

The US BLS said that the overall employment of astronomy majors and physics graduates is said to grow at 8% between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for physicists was $128,160 in 2021, with a high of $208,000 and a low of $61,910.

Key Takeaways

  • Physics is a very broad field. As a physics major, you will study energy, motion, and force, and how all these properties react with time, space, and matter.
  • Since this field is both challenging and complex, one of the best ways to stand out is to have a meaningful educational experience.
  • With a master’s in physics, you can enhance your skills and knowledge, and significantly heighten your qualification in a particular area of specialization.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor