It’s no secret that many people stay away from formal postsecondary education because it’s extremely costly. Additionally, educated people who want to extend and enhance their knowledge and expertise also face a lack of affordability in college courses. Fortunately, the introduction of the internet brought many courses online, making them cheaper. Additionally, there are many platforms where you can find free college courses. Here are some that we listed.
The completion of online free college courses comes with various benefits and drawbacks. They offer more flexibility, ability to check them and come back to them whenever you want, all that for free. However, they don’t offer any Credit Hours or certificates, meaning there’s no visual proof of completion. Nevertheless, completing them enriches you with more knowledge, experience and the rewarding feeling of completing a course.
We compiled the best places to find free college courses you can attend from the comfort of your bed and laptop, and even a smartphone – since a lot of these platforms offer a mobile app you can use. Read on and enjoy it!
1. edX | Free Online Courses by Harvard, MIT, & more
No list could start without the largest learning platform available on the internet. It offers a great variety of online courses coming from the most prestigious U.S.-based universities and farther.
It numbers over 14 million users who learn from free courses offered by universities and institutes like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Caltech, Boston University, Berkeley University of California and other U.S.-based and international schools. There are over 2500 online courses from over 140 universities.
If you’re worried about the expertise offered on the website, don’t be. The website hosts multiple disciplines and fields, including liberal arts, science, medicine, history, business, computer science, languages, business management, and others. There is a special emphasis on the computer science discipline. Therefore, the site is equipped with a special section with free programming and coding courses.
2. MIT OpenCourseWare | Free Online Course Materials
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a firm and growing pillar of exponentially growing technology and science in the world. That said, the site offers its own free online college courses to help ambitious tech geeks kickstart their journey into the technology. MIT is known for its innovations and research in STEM fields and now it allows students to be part of all that through a repository of archived courses it offers online.
Its free online platform OpenCourseWare will help you learn about mathematics and statistics, science, architecture, interior design, software development, data science and more. The site sports a great variety of classes it boasted over the past years and decades. There’s one huge downside, however. Students who enroll in their open courses still need to buy the books that help them keep up with the curriculum dictated by the course.
The most favored courses, however, include electronics, economics, project management, and computer science. The best part is that students can also pay a small fee and get verified certification for the old courses they participated in. Even though some courses may be a little outdated, it’s worth mentioning that they are still extremely insightful for innovation in the 21st century.
3. Free Online Courses | Harvard Universit
You know someone is truly smart and dedicated to their career path when you hear they got a scholarship at Harvard University. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the prestigious courses this high-priced educational institute offers. Fortunately, this Ivy League university has its own learning platform called Harvard Online.
There is a great variety of subjects on the site – Religion, Law, Economics, History, Science, Mathematics, Computer Science and more. The best part is that students can audit these classes online for free. Additionally, they can pay a generous fee to receive a certification that will vastly help them in finding a job in the career field.
Keep in mind that Harvard’s online platform doesn’t host all its courses for free. Some need to be paid for. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of free courses that will equip you with knowledge and ambition to learn more, using a modern approach and valuable assets.
4. Open Yale Courses -- Free access to a selection of introductory courses
Another Ivy League research institute Yale University is the top-ranked university next to Harvard University. It’s difficult to become one of the best. However, there is a platform that allows you to study some introductory courses provided by the university.
They are taught by Yale teachers who were awarded various distinctions in their field of expertise and research. Additionally, they are much easier because you can learn them online, from your own comfort zone. The lectures are administered directly from the classrooms of Yale college. That said, students can access them through audio, video, or even text documents. Another great thing is that registration isn’t required.
If you’re interested in the coursework and disciplines Yale offers, we listed some of the most demanded. Those are liberal arts, social sciences, and humanities, biological sciences, mathematics, and others. Students can enroll in the class lectures, theoretical classes, get reading material and problem sets awaiting to be solved.
While completing Yale courses online doesn’t offer any kind of credits of completion. There is an option to attend courses through Yale Summer Online for a fee.
5. OpenLearn -Free access to course materials and expert opinion on topical issues
OpenLearn is a platform developed by The Open University. It is one of the best opportunities for students who want to learn new courses for free because the university has a promise on its site that it will provide free courses for as many people as possible.
This university originally operates in the UK where it has its facility and classrooms for students to study. Nevertheless, its content is available online to anyone who wants to learn new things. The coursework has a wide specter of classes you don’t normally learn at school or college. OpenLearn classes introduce students to how to be more efficient and spending and saving money, how to apply mathematical and statistical methods to large amounts of data, biology, cybersecurity, computer science and more. The new courses just keep emerging.
Completing the courses from this platform doesn’t mean receiving Credit Hours or any formal certificate of completion. You, however, receive a statement of participation in the subject which is a great asset appreciated by employers when applying. It’s important evidence that you gained the necessary knowledge to continue learning and working in the field of expertise.
6. FutureLearn -- Online Courses and Degrees from Top Universities
The vision of FutureLearn is to establish learning methods and experience that will help students earn futuristic skills to break through the top of their workforce. It offers a great number of free courses from universities and schools from around the globe. Most of the courses are available for free and don’t come with any kind of certifications. There are additional fees you can pay to get certificates, however.
The platform sports courses from all popular fields. Still, it has a special emphasis on statistics, mathematics, data science and marketing that it advertises on the site. Nevertheless, students can enroll in other STEM discipline courses, management, business, language, teaching and others.
Besides that, there are other types of skills you can learn at FutureLearn. The platform focuses on preparing students towards life improvement and a better lifestyle. That said the site will help you manage your funds, learn better research skills, make critical decisions and how to crack a job interview.
That said, this is a great site for both people who want to learn some real-life skills, as well as those who are looking after better academic opportunities.
7. Coursera -- Free open online courses, specializations, and degrees
Coursera has immensely grown in popularity with emerging online courses and ambitious people who are looking to expand their knowledge. Many universities and college share their courses online, some of which were also mentioned previously.
Coursera is available for a wide variety of topics, although it specializes in IT and computer science. Its courses are available for free. Students, however, won’t earn proof of course completion, certification or an accreditation unless they invest in a fee and pay to get it.
Still, whether you want to get the degree or a certificate or not, Coursera truly excels at providing knowledgeable courses with a lot of practical examples and comprehensive lectures. The platform doesn’t only collaborate with high-end colleges and universities like Duke, Stanford or the University of Colombia. Even tech giants like Intel, Google, and Amazon upload their courses there and prepare students to apply the obtained knowledge solving real-life problems.
8. Carnegie Mellon OpenLearning
Carnegie Mellon University is equipped with a plethora of online courses available for free. There are even a lot of materials offered to professors who want to use the material from the courses to teach students at school.
Nevertheless, if you’re an individual learner, you can choose among a lot of quality courses from computer science, psychology, philosophy, biology, science and more. A large drawback is that there is far fewer courser than on other platforms. Nevertheless, students can get a fair share of value-driving lectures and learn some new skills they can get while looking for a new job.
Another thing worth highlighting is that the courses Carnegie Mellon OpenLearning offers are similar to the courses paying students to attend, except that you won’t get Credit Hours or extra certifications for completing them.
9. Stanford Online -- Free online courses, online degrees, grad and professional certificates, e-learning
Stanford University is a university with a lot of rewards and distinctions that set it as one of the more prestigious institutions. Its Stanford Online program is no exception. Although a lot of its programs are already available on edX, it’s important to say that the most valuable and detailed courses are available on this platform free of charge, but no certifications, unfortunately.
The courses offered at Stanford Online may also differ as some other schools also share on it. You can also get the courses from Stanford School of Medicine and Business school for free. When it comes to coursework, Stanford Online keeps up with the most recent and revenue-driving. In some of the courses, you’ll learn everything about starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur. Some others teach about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Lastly, there are ecology and sustainability programs, as well as many other traditional courses.
While participating in these programs won’t result in you getting a certification for free, it’s a great option for enhancing and deepening the knowledge from fields you’re already familiar with or aspire to learn.
10. Cornell Classes Online
Next to Yale and Harvard University, Cornell University also lists in the group of Ivy League universities. It’s also an important partner to State University in New York. Its online platform offers a wide selection of courses for free which lets students gain knowledge in multiple disciplines and help improve the overall quality of life.
It targets graduates who’d like to expand their knowledge and be more prepared for the job positions they are applying for. Also, it has a goal to provide high-quality knowledge to students who are aspiring to learn new courses and gain new skills.
You can study from a lot of disciplines at Cornell University online, including technology, computer science, data science, marketing, engineering, leadership, teaching, nutrition and more. They are free to access by anyone, although they require a small fee for earning a certification. Some of its courses are available on EdX, but most are available on an online platform.
11. University of Adelaide Free Online Courses
Available both on EdX and its official website the University of Adelaide offers a great variety of courses from agriculture, healthcare, project management, coding and programming, human biology and data analytics.
Like with other courses, you can choose to pay a small fee and earn a certification that would be an essential part of your resume. Otherwise, you can take the courses for free and obtain knowledge for yourself.
12. University of Pennsylvania – College Certification Courses
University of Pennsylvania or Pen has been active in the online course sphere for a while. Its first MOOCs were available since 20111 and now it’s available on Coursera and EdX, as well as its own site. It constantly delivers new courses, both archived and new ones. They are available for free, or for a fee if you are looking after the certification.
One of its most praised programs includes getting a Master’s degree in Computer Science for those who were always interested in it, had no Master’s degree and no technical background whatsoever. There is a great variety of subjects available for students starting from Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Journalism and language studies for journalism and media literacy and much more.
13. Open Education Database (OEDb)
Open Education Database is one of the largest platforms with a lot of courses from around the world. All courses are accessible online and available from different universities and colleges. The database is constantly getting updated with new courses and new trendy topics.
It became popular when MIT launched the program in 2002. Back then MIT wanted to make courses more available to humanity online and that they should launch as many courses online as possible. You don’t have to be a student to have access to these courses online. You can access any course you’d like based on any topic you’re interested in.
You can find the courses from computer science, data science, engineering, agriculture, entrepreneurship and business and much more. The courses can not only help you learn for the newer job opportunities, but they can also serve as a preparation towards the next level of education. Lastly, it can help you get knowledge about a general topic you may be interested in.
14. Open Culture
This is another great site that lists the most popular courses from different universities from around the globe. You can enroll in the programs from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and other worldwide universities. You can choose what form of a course you’ll download. There are text-based lectures, but you can also download audio and video content. It’s shared through repositories like YouTube, iTunes, while at times the link may lead you to the official website of the university.
The site contains over 45,000 hours of free video and audio courses you can access online. It’s worth noting that some courses are directly sponsored as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) However, there are a lot of free MOOC versions that you can access by opting for the “Full Course, No Certificate” option which is accessible through other sites like EdX and Coursera.
15. Alison -- Free online education platform that mostly focuses on workplace-based skills.
Alison is one of the largest and most perspective learning platforms online. It also hosts a great deal of video content provided by different colleges and universities around the world. It was founded thanks to the United Nations Declaration in which it’s stated that everyone has the right to free education.
Thanks to the prominence and widespread use of internet technologies, there are thousands of free courses available to students around the world. Besides courses, Alison hosts amazing career training materials that help people prepare for job interviews and tests.Bottom of Form
You can study through a variety of disciplines including healthcare, nutrition, liberal arts and humanities, business, computer science, and other courses. The platform looks futuristic and is easy to use. As the new courses emerge, students can sort them based on the trending, or recently added courses.
16. New York State University Computer Science Department
Computer science and IT have grown enormously over the past few years. Now, the New York State University Computer Science Department, managed by the University Libraries at New York State University at Albany, the New York University Computer Science Department students can enroll in different coding, projecting and administrating jobs in the field thanks to the educative and comprehensive courses.
Students get everything for free – the courses, the materials, tutorials and class lectures. The university is punctual at adding newer programs and materials so students can continue learning new things and enhancing their expertise. This course will help teach you about data, coding, development, databases, computer networks, mathematics and more.
Study.com has a clear mission – to bring tuition-free colleges online, for everyone to learn and enjoy the knowledge. It’s available as a web app, as well as an iOS and Android app. The courses offered on the site focus on a variety of topics and aim to expand students’ knowledge and help them prepare for their career path.
In addition to university programs, there are middle school courses that can help students remind themselves of something they’ve forgotten but need during the university studies. There are also programs with optional certification, although they are available for a small fee.
18. The Writing University
For those in love with writing and literature, the University of Iowa has a special Writing University program that has a collection of writing-oriented courses and MOOCs where students from around the globe can enhance their writing abilities.
The site contains a series of courses that help students excel at creative and business writing, answer the questions about how to write properly and punctually, how to write poetry and much more. The site also has a social aspect, where students can communicate with other users of the site and participate in podcasts.
We’ve finally reached the end of this detailed and hopefully useful list. There are a lot more universities, although we’ve selected only those that meet our criteria in the best way. Really, online education has become a thing and online free colleges are just going to emerge more in the future.
When choosing an online program you’d like to participate in, it’s extremely important to look at the other aspects, as some programs excel at certain disciplines more than the others.
Lastly, we’d like to highlight an extensive Quartz report which overviews 600 free or partially free courses offered by the universities from around the world. Make sure to check them out.