Top Free Online Courses From Well-Known Universities

Want to be an expert on something? Top universities are offering some of their best courses for free. Here are some of the best.

Top Free Online Courses From Well-Known Universities

If you'd like to boost your employment prospects by adding some flair to your CV, free online courses are your best bet. Besides being a great talk piece in interviews, they can also be a great way of spending time during your leisure time. However, choosing a free online course to take can be overwhelming when so many established universities are now offering them.

Below are a few of the most popular free online courses from some of the most prestigious schools in the world. This list is in no way exhaustive but merely gives you a sense of the many schools that offer online learning opportunities. So, without further ado, let us get started with the list of the best universities that offer free courses.

List of Top Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. University of California, Irvine
  4. Ecole Polytechnique
  5. Michigan State University

Harvard University

It is possible to get a free taste of Ivy League education by taking over 600 free online courses offered by Harvard University. Below are a few popular subject areas that Harvard University offers and some of their programs you might find interesting:

  • Art & Design: Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology, 19th-Century Opera: Meyerbeer, Wagner, & Verdi, Beethoven's 9th Symphony and the 19th Century Orchestra, etc.
  • Business: Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Webinar: Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements, Become a More Resilient Leader in Turbulent Times, Salary Negotiation Techniques, etc.
  • Computer Science: CS50 for Lawyers, CS50's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python, Fundamentals of TinyML, Using Python for Research, etc.
  • Data Science: Advanced Bioconductor, Case Studies in Functional Genomics, Statistics and R, Introduction to Linear Models and Matrix Algebra, etc.
  • Education & Teaching: Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Interventions, Leaders of Learning, Introduction to Family Engagement in Education, etc.
  • Health & Medicine: PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, The Health Effects of Climate Change, Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster, Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic, etc.
  • Humanities: Shakespeare’s Life and Work, Japanese Books: From Manuscript to Print, Tangible Things, Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The Ghost, etc.
  • Mathematics: Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up, Introduction to Probability (on edX), Calculus Applied!, etc.
  • Programming: CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript, CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, CS50's Understanding Technology, etc.
  • Science: Cell Biology: Mitochondria, Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather, Food Fermentation: The Science of Cooking with Microbes, Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks, etc.
  • Social Sciences: Systematic Approaches to Policy Design, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education, New Ideas for Nonprofit Leaders Webinar, 4P Model for Strategic Leadership Podcasts, etc.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

In the most recent QS World University Rankings, MIT ranked first worldwide as one of the world's most prestigious universities. Below are a few popular subject areas that MIT University offers and some of their programs you might find interesting:

  • Business: Just Money: Banking as if Society Mattered (Spring 2021), Leveraging Urban Mobility Disruptions to Create Better Cities (Spring 2021), Collaborative Data Science for Healthcare (Fall 2020), FinTech: Shaping the Financial World (Spring 2020), etc.
  • Energy: Leveraging Urban Mobility Disruptions to Create Better Cities (Spring 2021), Land, Water, Food, and Climate (Fall 2020), Introduction to Computational Thinking (Fall 2020), Climate Science, Risk & Solutions: A Climate Primer (Fall 2020), etc.
  • Engineering: MIT Little Devices Lab (Fall 2021), Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (Fall 2021), Introduction to Machine Learning (Fall 2020), Visual Navigation for Autonomous Vehicles (VNAV) (Fall 2020), etc.
  • Fine Arts: Visualizing the Birth of Modern Tokyo (Spring 2021), Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes (Spring 2021), Playful Augmented Reality Audio Design Exploration (Fall 2019), Environmental Technologies in Buildings (Fall 2018), etc.
  • Health and Medicine: MIT Little Devices Lab (Fall 2021), Black Feminist Health Science Studies (Spring 2021), The Sustainability Response to COVID-19 (January IAP 2021), Collaborative Data Science for Healthcare (Fall 2020), D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (Fall 2019), etc.
  • Humanities: Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (Fall 2021), Kanji Learning Any Time, Any Place for Japanese VI (Spring 2021), Visualizing the Birth of Modern Tokyo (Spring 2021), Language Acquisition I (Fall 2020), etc.
  • Mathematics: Introduction to Functional Analysis (Spring 2021), Theory of Computation (Fall 2020), Introduction to Computational Thinking (Fall 2020), Computational Science and Engineering I (Summer 2020), etc.
  • Science: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Pandemic (Fall 2021), MIT Little Devices Lab (Fall 2021), Introduction to Special Relativity (January IAP 2021), Land, Water, Food, and Climate (Fall 2020), etc.
  • Social Science: Just Money: Banking as if Society Mattered (Spring 2021), Leveraging Urban Mobility Disruptions to Create Better Cities (Spring 2021), Black Feminist Health Science Studies (Spring 2021), The Sustainability Response to COVID-19 (January IAP 2021), etc.
  • Society: D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (Fall 2019), History of Women in Science and Engineering (Fall 2017), Race, Ethnicity, and American Politics (Spring 2017), etc.
  • Teaching and Education: Case Studies in Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (Fall 2021), The User-friendly Classroom (Fall 2020), Envisioning the Graduate of the Future (Spring 2020), Education Technology Studio (Spring 2019), etc.

University of California, Irvine

According to US News & World Report, UCI is one of the country's ten best public universities. It was founded in 1965 and is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. In addition to producing three Nobel laureates, the campus is known for its academic achievements, premier research, and anteater mascot. Over 37,000 students attend UCI, which offers 222 degrees under Chancellor Howard Gillman.

The subject areas that UCI caters are: Arts, Biological Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Humanities, Information & Computer Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, Law, Physical Sciences, Social Ecology, and Social Science.

Some examples of free courses available on UCI are:

  • Getting Started with Essay Writing
  • The Blockchain
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Conflict Management
  • Initiating and Planning Projects
  • Introduction to the Internet of Things and Embedded Systems
  • High-Impact Business Writing, Presentations: Speaking so that People Listen
  • Project Management Project
  • Introduction to Research for Essay Writing
  • Getting Started with Go
  • Academic Discussions in English
  • Virtual Teacher

Ecole Polytechnique

École Polytechnique is an internationally renowned French institute devoted to academe, research, and innovation at the leading edge of science and technology. In addition to 29 online courses, it offers 10 English courses and 19 French courses. Among them are:

On-Demand Courses

  • Seismology to Earthquake Engineering
  • Outsmarting Intermittency
  • Random: An Introduction to Probability (PART 1)
  • Random: An Introduction to Probability (PART 2)
  • Quantum Optics 2: Two Photons and more
  • Introduction to Distribution Theory
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Introduction to Documentary Research
  • Studying in France Course in Intermediate B1-B2 French
  • Negotiating Your Salary
  • Towards the Infinitely Small
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • The Two Infinities And Our World
  • From One Infinity to Another
  • Towards the Infinitely Big
  • Silicon Thin-Film Solar Cells
  • Fundamentals of Waves and Vibrations
  • Physics of Silicon Solar Cells
  • Plastic Electronics
  • Photovoltaic Solar Energy
  • Wind Resources for Renewable Energies
  • Quantum Optics: Single-Photon
  • How to Finance your Venture
  • Creating and Developing a Tech Startup
  • How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper
  • Fundamentals of Fluid-Solid Interactions

Michigan State University

Over the last 150 years, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon dedication. Through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges, MSU is a top research university pushing the boundaries of discovery and creating enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges. Michigan State University offers a variety of online courses from one of the largest universities in the United States. The following courses may be of interest to you:

  • Cameras, Exposure, and Photography
  • Getting Started With Music Theory
  • Introduction to Game Development
  • Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)
  • Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age
  • Camera Control
  • Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing
  • Principles of Game Design
  • Developing An Entrepreneurial Mindset: First Step Towards Success
  • Write Your First Novel
  • Journalism, the future, and you!
  • The Search for Great Ideas: Harnessing creativity to empower innovation.
  • Pixel Art for Video Games
  • Photography Capstone Project
  • Game Design and Development Capstone and more.

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