10 Great Free Online Courses for Project Management – Online Course Report

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Project management is an area of study that has grown rapidly worldwide. It may be a soft skill that is part of one’s job or a stand-alone career path. According to a survey conducted by PwC, around 97 percent of organizations feel that product management is critical to their operations. While project management has always existed in society, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that it began to take hold. Today, it is an essential role within most leading companies, and project managers can be found in nearly every industry.

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Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.

If you want to learn project management, there are many options. Naturally, you can go to a four-year college and earn a Bachelor’s degree in product management. But if you are on the fence about whether it’s the right career choice for you, we’ve got a list of free project management online courses to help you decide. We’ve created this list using a methodology we developed to sort through some of the best product management courses online for free.

The list of free online project management courses is ranked in descending order, with our personal favorite choices at the top of the list. However, all ten of these offerings are terrific for any prospective student to begin learning the necessary skills to be a product manager. 

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Ranking 10 Free Online Courses for Project Management

 1. RITx’s Project Management MicroMasters® Program

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Offered by Rochester Institute of Technology via edX

This Project Managers MicroMasters Program hosted on the edX platform is an excellent choice for those who want a comprehensive learning experience. While taking advantage of the course’s full features requires a fee, students who don’t mind foregoing some of the bells and whistles can take all of the courses in the learning path at no cost by completing them in audit mode. You will have access to all the videos, lectures, readings, and quizzes but will not participate in peer or instructor interaction or class projects.

It’s an excellent self-paced program that takes about eight months on average to complete. However, you can take it at your own pace so your mileage may vary. There are three courses in the program. Each can also be taken separately:

• Project Management Life Cycle

• Best Practices for Project Management Success

• International Project Management

The courses are taught by two instructors from the Rochester Institute of Technology—Leonie Fernandes and Celine Gullace. Both have industry experience and are dedicated to teaching online. This comprehensive offering is our favorite pick for the best free online courses in project management.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Eight months

Curriculum: Introductory to Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•The most robust course on our list

•Offered through RIT

•No previous skills required

Cons:

•Certification requires a fee

2. Introduction to Project Management

Offered by The University of Adelaide via Edx

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In this free introduction to project management course, students will learn the necessary skills to manage projects at work or at home, no matter how big or small they are. It’s an excellent practical resource that gives an overview of various project management techniques and how to apply them to real-world scenarios. It is suitable for those who are considering a career in project management as well as students who just want to learn how to organize projects in other areas of their lives.

You will learn step-by-step how to identify the scope and goals of a project and how to plan, schedule, and budget it from beginning to end. The course also teaches students how to communicate, delegate, and manage others in order to complete a project successfully.  

The recommended completion time is six weeks and this can be accomplished by taking the course for two to three hours per week. However, you can go at your own pace and complete it sooner if you desire. It is completely free to take in audit mode. Students who wish to obtain a project management certificate can do so for a modest fee.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Six weeks

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Excellent user platform

•Taught by instructors from the University of Adelaide

•Course was a 2017 edX prize nominee

Cons:

•Fee charged for a certificate

 3. PMP Exam Prep: Project Management Certification

Offered by Udemy

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This helpful course is just shy of seven hours long. It is hosted on the Udemy platform and taught by Bayhas Al Sawady. Sawady knows his stuff— he holds PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP certifications and is the founder of Bridge Consulting Co. The free online project management course is designed to prepare students to take the PMP exam, but it is also a terrific resource for learning how to use the knowledge you’ve gained to manage a real-world project.

We love the comprehensive resources the course offers, including:

• 11 sections

• 83 lectures

• 18 quizzes

• 35 project management document templates

• Free supplementary lecture with tips and hints to help you pass the PMP exam

• Hands-on experience with WBS Pro and MS Project

The course will also walk you through how to complete the 35 contact hours that are required in order to submit your PMP application. It’s one of the top options when it comes to project management courses for free. 

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with an upgrade

Time to Complete: Seven hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by an industry expert

•Hands-on and practical

•Easy-to-follow modules

Cons:

•Some students have remarked that the course is somewhat repetitive and too slow.

4. Budgeting and Scheduling Projects

Offered by Offered by University of California, Irvine via Coursera

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One of the most important aspects of good project management is planning and implementing a budget. This free online course for project management is taught by Margaret Meloni of Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. who has real-world experience in navigating the world of project management. Meloni takes students through five engaging modules covering:

• Identifying the resource needs of a project

• Using a responsibility assignment matrix

• Techniques for estimating activities, quantities, and costs

• Creating a network diagram

• Defining milestones and creating a schedule

• Using leads and lags

• Quality management plans

Toward the end of the course, students will listen to industry-expert panelists discuss real-world aspects of product management budgeting. Part of a larger Career Success Specialization, the course takes just six hours to complete. Students can pay an additional fee for the project management certification if they desire. 

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Six hours

Curriculum: Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

 •No set schedule, so students can begin at any time

•Subtitled in Arabic, Vietnamese, Russian, Thai, and English

•Great user experience

Cons:

•Certification is only offered at the paid level of the program

5. Project Management: The Basics for Success

Offered by University of California, Irvine via Coursera

OIP 5 1

Over 250,000 students have enrolled in this project management course from UCI. It is taught by highly-rated instructor Rob Stone and is designed to teach elements of leadership and project management all in one offering. Upon completion, students will understand:

• The role of teams and leadership in project management

• The tools and techniques for building strong high performance teams 

• The stages of a project cycle

• Best practices for planning and controlling projects for the most favorable outcomes

• How to monitor and assess project activities and progress

• How to communicate the status and performance of a project to stakeholders

The free online project management course is the first in a larger specialization titled: Career Success Specialization and is broken into four modules that consist of on-demand videos, quizzes, readings, and exercises:

Foundational Project Management Elements

The WBS

Planning and Scheduling

Project Leadership, Teamwork, and Dealing with Difficult People

Students who wish to obtain a certificate of completion can opt for an upgrade that also unlocks features like direct messaging with peers and the instructor.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Seven hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by industry experts

•Part of a larger specialization

•Great online learning platform

Cons:

•Certification requires a fee

6. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Offered by University of California Virginia via Coursera

OIP 6

This eight-hour course offered on the Coursera platform has a 97 percent rating by former students. Taught by Associate Professor of Business Administration Yael Grushka-Cockayne, it’s ideal for those who are ready to learn the methodologies and principles of project management.

Designed for beginners, the course consists of four modules covering four weeks of classes, but students can complete the modules in their own time. They contain on-demand videos, readings, case studies, quizzes, slides, and practical exercises and tools to help you learn the basics of project management. Upon completion of the free online project management course, students should be able to:

• Initiate and organize a project

• Assess and manage project risks

• Develop a project plan

• Use the earned value approach to monitor and control the progress of a project.

Classes on Coursera can be taken for free in audit mode, which gives students access to all the lectures, readings, videos, notes, quizzes, and course materials. Those who want one-on one interaction with their peer or instructor or who need a certificate of completion will need to purchase an upgrade. However, the upgrade is optional. 

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Eight hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros: 

•Engaging instructor

•Lots of practical real-world examples

•Highly rated by former students

Cons:

 •Certification is only available at the paid level

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7. Project Management Templates Creation Course

Offered by Udemy

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We love this free online course in project management templates. It’s hosted on the Udemy platform and features over six hours of on-demand content. Instead of just teaching students about what project management entails, it provides expert instruction on one of the most important practical aspects of the field—template creation.

The course covers 31 stages of project management and how to create a template for each. Some examples include:

• Project Charter Template

• Cost Cumulative Curves Template

• Quality Planning Template

• Consultant and Vendor Evaluation Template

• Project Budget Templates

• Change Request Template

• Risk Management Templates

• Service SOW Templates

By the end of the course, students will not only know how to design a template for each specific project management task, but how to plan, execute, and monitor them 

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Six hours and 24 minutes

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

•Covers all the basics of project management templates

•Taken by over 11,000 students

•Practical and useful for a variety of applications

Cons:

•Some students have complained that the instructor could be more engaging

8. Become a Project Manager

Offered by LinkedIn Learning

OIP 7

Many LinkedIn Premium members don’t realize that LinkedIn maintains a learning platform free to those with upgraded accounts. There are hundreds of short courses on the site for members to take advantage of, and if you don’t have a premium account, you can enjoy a free month trial to check it out.

The trial is long enough to take this course—Become a Project Manager—and earn a completion badge to display on your profile. The free online project management course takes approximately 17 hours to complete and is jam-packed full of educational content and covers topics like ethics, schedules, budgets, teams, communication, risk, and stakeholders. 

Students will also learn how to master Microsoft Project 2019 and Project Online Desktop, two leading project management software tools. 

There are 11 modules in all, featuring on-demand video taught by five industry experts. Transcripts are also available if you prefer to read along. 

Cost: Free Try a free trial for Linkedin Learning.

Certificate: Badge

Time to Complete: 17 hours

Curriculum: Introductory to Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Free with a LinkedIn premium account

•Completion badge awarded

•Taught by leading experts in the project management field

Cons:

•Must remember to cancel the trial if you don’t want to continue a premium membership

9. Diploma in Project Management

Offered by Alison

OIP 8

The title of this course is a bit misleading as the word “diploma” in the title only refers to a designation on the Alison platform. However, it’s still a great free project management course that will teach you all the basics. Upon completion, students will be able to:

• Explain the phases of the system development life cycle

•  Describe the methodology of project management

•  Explain how project management tools like PERTcharts and Gantt work 

•  Describe documentation types—technical, system, program, electronic, paper-based and specialist user documentation

The course takes around 10 to 15 hours to complete, but students may go at their own pace. It’s organized in modules, with practice questions at the end of each section to test your knowledge. A final assessment is administered and students will need to score 80 percent or better to be eligible for certification. The certificate is the only part of the course that is fee-based, and it is optional. Students can opt to purchase it in the Alison store after completing the course.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: 10 to 15 hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

• Short and easy-to-digest lessons

• Optional certification can be purchased in the online store

• Great for understanding the basics

Cons:

• Course title is misleading

10. Project Management Essentials Certification

Offered by Management and Strategy Institute

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This course offered through the Management and Strategy Institute is designed for beginners who have no prior experience with project management. Those who successfully complete the course can choose to take the exam for a fee. However, the exam is optional. 

It is primarily a read-only course, so it is not as engaging as some of the other options on our list, but the platform is well-designed and easy to navigate. You will need to sign up using your name and other credentials and confirm your email address. Once confirmed, you can jump right into the course and take it at your own pace. There are three basic competencies to learn:

• What is a Project

• How Projects Fail

• Stages of Managing a Project

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Varies

Curriculum: Introductory 

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

•Learn by reading

•Perfect for those who want to prepare for the PMP exam

•Step-by-step lessons

Cons:

•User experience not as good as some of the other platforms

 Frequently Asked Questions About Free Project Management Courses

Project managers are in high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, they command an average salary of over $100,000 annually, and demand for project managers is expected to grow 7 percent through 2028. In this section, we will answer some frequently asked questions about online project management courses and what to expect from a career in the field.  

Why Does a Project Manager Do?

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Project managers are responsible for overseeing entire projects from beginning to end. It’s a complex field and one that will never get dull as there is always a new and exciting project going on. The role varies, but the Project Management Institute describes five main process groups recognized in project management. These are:

• Initiating

• Planning

• Executing

• Monitoring

• Closing

A project manager works with a team of others while also supervising them, and no two days are ever alike. They may help create processes, communicate using various methods, find solutions to different challenges, use tools to help monitor the progress of a project, motivate team members, and much more. They juggle a lot of tasks and wear many hats to ensure a project is completed successfully. 

What Skills Do Project Managers Need?

A strong understanding of project management processes and the tools commonly used in the field are essential for anyone who wants to enter the field, but beyond that, there are a lot of skills you should have if you’re going to be successful.

You should be good at leading people, and the best leaders know how to motivate and inspire a team. It’s not enough to delegate. Great leadership requires excellent communication skills, so you should possess those first and foremost.

You should also have great organizational skills, the ability to adapt, a flexible mindset, and be able to multitask. You will be handling a lot of things at once, and if you are easily overcome with too much on your plate, this is not the career for you. But if deadlines, risk, and not knowing what’s around the next corner are things that energize you, a career in project management may suit you perfectly.

While you probably won’t have all of these skills right out of the gate, great project managers will strive to develop skills like:

• Creativity

• Critical thinking

• Negotiation

• Problem-solving

• Time management

• Business sense

• Leadership

• Self-motivation

• Budgeting

• Working well under pressure

• Multitasking

• Organization

• Teamwork

• Empathy

• Goal-setting

• Attention to detail

• Accountability

• Documentation and record-keeping

• Resilience

What Kind of Job Can I Get as a Project Manager?

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Project managers can be found in every industry and every type of organization. You can be a salaried employee, a manager, or an independent contractor or consultant. One great thing about this line of work is that it can fit in well with other career interests you may have. Whether you want to work in architecture, healthcare, education, politics, or any other field, project managers are in demand everywhere. 

What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Project Manager?

You don’t need a formal diploma to be a project manager. Many people have moved into project management roles as they took on more responsibilities at work, and lots of seasoned employees have moved into the position naturally over time. While some individuals do attend a school specifically to study project management, others have business degrees or strong experience within a particular field.

With that being said, however, doors will probably open quicker with some type of certification or degree. The Project Management Institute offers several certifications in project management, with the most basic level being the Project Management Professional certification. You can take advantage of the resources from the Project Management Institute by becoming a paid member. Still, several of the free courses on our list are designed to prepare students to take the exam required to earn this certificate, and they won’t cost you anything.

How Long Do Free Online Courses in Project ManagementTake?

Because most of the courses on our list are self-paced, the time it takes to complete them will vary. Most have an average completion time ranging from a few hours to a few months, but you may choose to finish them quicker. Flexibility is one of the main benefits of taking online courses, and because you can usually start and stop at any time, you can complete your studies when it is convenient for you.  

Are Free Project Management Courses Worth It?

We think so! There is really nothing to be lost from taking one or more of the free courses on our list. Learning more about project management may help you at your current job or even open doors to a new position. But whether you work for a large organization, have a small business, or run a household, anyone can benefit from the practical skills learned through free online project management courses. 

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