Online PhD Physics

By Erika Lasrado

Updated February 12, 2023

Erika Lasrado

Erika has broad experience in counseling, psychology, and human resources. Although she has done a master’s in psychology, she is currently pursuing a master’s in educational psychology to change careers. Erika is a foodie and reader and loves to research and write about various topics when time permits.


Master of Psychology, Master of Educational Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Physics is a branch of science that explores the relationship between matter and energy. It is a scientific study of the interactions between forces, motion, matter, and energy. It is relevant to many other sciences such as geology, astronomy, and biology. Individuals interested in physics research and its various aspects should consider pursuing an online PhD Physics. A PhD in Physics Online will prepare them to teach in higher education, conduct research, and work in leadership roles at every level of a scientific organization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physicist and astronomer jobs are projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030. This guide analyses various factors of a doctorate in physics, including curriculum, specializations, certifications, accreditation, and more.

Best PhD in Physics including
Online Programs

PhD programs in physics are offered in various universities across the country. Choosing the right program that meets the student’s interests and requirements is crucial. When selecting the best PhD in physics program, prospective students should consider several factors such as the experience of the faculty, ranking & reputation of the institution, research opportunities, support facilities, student services, the institution’s infrastructure, and so on. Based on these and other factors, here is a list of the best PhD physics programs in the United States: *

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from Online PhD
Physics Programs

Areas of Specializations in PhD
in Physics Programs

Specialization helps gain expertise in a specific topic or a subject. It enables the individual to focus on a particular area and become an expert. By pursuing a PhD in a specialized area in physics, students will gain an opportunity to increase their specific knowledge and skills, enhancing their career prospects and earning potential. Here are some specializations available for the doctorate program in physics:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
Applied Physics PhDThe PhD in applied physics is a research-oriented doctoral program. It combines research and study in one of several physics areas and a core physics curriculum that deals with applying physics to a technical discipline.Graduates of applied physics PhD can pursue their careers in national and corporate laboratories, academic institutions, research institutes, and more.
PhD in Quantum PhysicsThe PhD in quantum physics is usually studied as part of the physics PhD program. It investigates the nature of matter’s particles and the force with which they interact. At its most fundamental level, quantum physics is the study of matter and energy and explains how everything works.Graduates of theoretical physics can work as professors at universities or as researchers, theoretical physicists, experimental physicists, quantum physicists or mechanics, etc.
PhD Theoretical PhysicsA PhD in theoretical physics involves research at the forefront of theoretical physics. It studies various components, such as advanced thermodynamics, nanophysics, chemical thermodynamics, solid state physics & kinetics, and applied physics.Graduates of theoretical physics can work as professors at universities. They can also work as researchers at private corporations and research centers.
Engineering Physics PhD ProgramsEngineering physics PhD programs involve a wide variety of research topics such as studies of the sun and stellar activity, space neutral and plasma environment, theory, measurement, orbital stability and dynamics, remote sensing measurement, and more. There are various research areas within engineering like photonics engineering, nuclear engineering, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, etc.Engineering physics graduates can work in various positions such as experimental physicists, research engineers, professors, and so on.
PhD in Nuclear PhysicsThe PhD in nuclear physics emphasizes the dynamics and structure of the nuclear system. The research in nuclear physics also includes applications that add to society’s benefits in diverse areas from security to power production and medicine.Graduates of nuclear physics can work as nuclear engineers, experimental physicists, accelerator physicists, computational physicists, and so on.

Why should I get into Online PhD
Physics Programs?

Free Courses for PhD in
Physics Students

Free courses help in gaining additional knowledge about the subject. They can be helpful while completing coursework or conducting research as well. However, it is essential to note that none of the free courses are accredited and do not lead to a PhD degree. Here are a few free courses related to physics that online PhD physics students can use:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Various Topics Related to PhysicsSeveral courses are offered by MIT OpenCourseWare on a variety of topics in physics, like vibration, relativity, electricity and magnetism, classical mechanics, and so on.MIT OpenCourseWare
Various Topics Related to PhysicsEdX offers a few physics courses, and only some of them are free, like quantum physics and plasma physics.EdX
Various Topics Related to PhysicsSome of the free courses in physics offered by Coursera are – introduction to mechanics, introduction to physics, understanding modern mechanics, and exploring quantum mechanics.Coursera

How to enroll into the PhD in Physics
Online Programs?

Online PhD Physics No
GRE Programs

How Long does it take to complete the Online
PhD Physics Programs

Accelerated Online PhD
Physics Programs

Accreditations for Online PhD
Physics Programs

The external recognition of an educational institution to hold a certain status or to set standards to perform an activity is known as accreditation. The accreditation of an educational institution is assessed by non-governmental, private agencies that have been mainly created to review programs and educational institutions. Accreditation assures the institution’s overall quality, which helps students make an informed decision while choosing a program. When deciding on the program and the institution, students should ensure they select from accredited PhD colleges for physics. The accreditation status is usually provided by 6 regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which are:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

The Guide to College Accreditation has fuller information on college accreditation.

How to Pay for Online PhD
Physics Programs?

Fully Funded PhD in Physics

PhD aspirants can apply to a fully funded PhD physics program. These fully funded PhD programs provide stipends that cover living, research and travel expenses, and health insurance. It is worth noting that each program has different criteria for funding, which students much check with the college before applying. Some examples of fully funded physics PhD programs are:

Northwestern University – Physics PhD, Astronomy PhD & Applied Physics PhDNorthwestern University provides PhD programs in which first-year students are fully-funded for 12 months and subsequently funded through teaching or research assistantships.
The University of Chicago – Doctoral Programs in the Physical SciencesThe University of Chicago provides its doctoral students financial support through various programs, including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, training grants, and/or fellowships.
The Hertz Foundation FellowshipThe Hertz Foundation offers fellowships to students pursuing their master’s or doctoral studies in applied physical and biological sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

FAQs Related to the Online PhD
Physics Programs

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Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Online PhD Physics Programs

Certifications and Licensing for PhD in
Physics Students

Additional Resources for PhD in
Physics Students

Author Bio:

Erika Lasrado

Erika has broad experience in counseling, psychology, and human resources. Although she has done a master’s in psychology, she is currently pursuing a master’s in educational psychology to change careers. Erika is a foodie and reader and loves to research and write about various topics when time permits.


Master of Psychology, Master of Educational Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners. | Page last updated: Dec 2023.