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Top 3 Universities in the World Offering Free Online Courses

Are you itching to experience a Harvard lecture or even a Massachusetts Institute of Technology course? 

Fret not because the Covid-19 pandemic has set new educational trends, opening new possibilities and opportunities. Most colleges and universities have delved into online courses to provide uninterrupted education worldwide. The online learning platforms offer an easy and accessible way to explore one's interest or gain value-added skills. 

Some online learning platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn provide free online courses accredited by universities and colleges. There is also an option where you can optionally pay certificates of completion, which you can add to their resumes or LinkedIn. 

According to US News, we have listed five to narrow down the best universities that offer free online classes.

Harvard University

Harvard offers free courses on business, programming, health and medicine, humanities, computer science, data science, and social sciences. Here are some of the online classes:

  • CS50's Introduction to Game Development. Here you will learn about 2D and 3D interactive games. This hands-on course will allow you to explore game designs such as Super Mario, Pokemon, and Angry Birds. Conducted through lectures and hands-on projects, this course explores the principles of 2D and 3D graphics, sound, animation, and collision detection using Unity and LOVE 2D frameworks. At the end of the program, you will program your own game and understand the basics of game design and development. 

  • CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. This 11-week online course will give you a broad and robust understanding of computer science and programming. It will enable you to think algorithmically and solve programming problems efficiently. You will also learn abstraction, algorithms, data structures, resource management, security, software, engineering, and web development. You will also gain familiarity in several languages, including C, PHP, JavaScript, SQL, CSS, and HTML. 

  • CS50 for Lawyers. This course is a variant of Harvard's introduction to computer science. It is designed especially for lawyers and law students. Whereas CS50 takes a bottom-up approach, which emphasizes mastery of low-level concepts and implementation, this course takes a top-down approach, which emphasizes knowledge of high-level concepts and decision decisions. It will equip you with a deep understanding of the legal implications of technological choices made by your clients. 

  • Systematic Approaches to Policy DesignThis course is offered by Harvard University's associate school Harvard Kennedy School. It introduces approaches to analytical decision-making for policy design. It will help senior officials use data and evidence in their everyday decision-making. You will learn to organize your thinking, break a problem into parts, and determine where evidence can help make a decision. 

  • The Health Effects of Climate ChangeCreated with support from the Harvard Global Health Institute, this course will explain how climate change impacts people around the globe and how it directly affects you and your life. Though your risk rises with the rising global temperatures, climate change is a solvable problem, and there are things you can do to mitigate that risk.

  • Religion, Conflict, and PeaceThis eight-week course explores a series of contemporary conflicts in different world regions, focusing on identifying and analyzing the diverse and complex roles that religions play in promoting and mitigating violence. You will learn the method for recognizing and analyzing how religious ideologies are embedded in all areas of human agency and not separated from political, economic, and cultural life. 

Explore Hardvard's other free online courses here


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT ranked the second-best school in the world according to USNews. Despite its exclusivity that comes with its prestige, MIT offers free and accessible educational resources. There are thousands of free MIT courses online in edX and MIT OpenCourseWare. Here are some of the best MIT courses provided for free:

  • Global Africa: Creative Cultures. If you want to learn about Africa's material and visual culture, through MIT OpenCourseWare, you will examine how the continent's literary, musical, and artistic production through anthropology, history, and social theory lenses.
  • Art, Science, CraftThis course will allow you to examine crafts and artworks created and viewed using historical, theoretical, and anthropological lenses.

  • Tools for Academic Engagement in Public PolicyPublic policies have grown increasingly complex and technical, so there is a clear need for scientists and engineers to engage with policymakers in making scientifically informed solutions to public challenges. But, very few academics receive the necessary training on how to impact public policy. This course, taught by an MIT political science professor and Harvard's executive director of the Scientific Citizenship Initiative, aims to close the gap. It is offered for free, but if you want a verified certificate, you have to pay USD 199.

Explore MIT's online courses on edX and MIT OpenCourseware

Stanford University

Like Harvard, MIT, and Yale, Standford University also offers free online courses, which are available and can be accessed in edX and Coursera. Their classes range from algorithms, game theory and even designing your dream career. Some of their courses are free to audit, but you can also pay for a verified certificate. Here are some of their courses:

  • Designing your Career. The Standford Life Design Lab creates this course. It is self-paced, non-linear, and perfect for those stuck on what they want to do with their careers. You can go over how to break into a completely new field, network efficiently, and keep up professional contacts, which can genuinely pay off later. 

  • International Women's Health and Human RightsThis ten-week course will help deepen your comprehension of women's obstacles worldwide, such as poverty, food security, gender discrimination, unequal access to education, and violence. You will learn various topics such as HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, war, refugee, crises, education while participating in discussions.

  • Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers. This nine-week course will give you a prerequisite college-level understanding of physical science and engineering. You will learn the concepts and measurements of quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle, and how to apply them in solving a problem in nanotechnology and photonics.

Explore other Stanford's free online courses

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