Free Online College Courses

There are plenty of free online college courses for students who want to learn a new topic. Colleges that offer access courses don't generally lead to college credit. However, free online classes can be a great way to try college online for free.

Free online college courses can be a great way to try college for free

Students who want to use free online college resources can go to the school's website, scroll through the list of available courses and lectures and view or download the available content. Although these courses don't offer access to instructors or award credits, they're self-paced and students don't have to register or pay tuition.

Carnegie Mellon University

This university offers free online courses in the sciences, languages, engineering and social sciences. The 'course details list' specifies required software or other materials. Courses include text and audio, along with targeted feedback so that students may check their understanding of the material as they work through the classes. Users may need to test and configure their systems before attempting courses by accessing the available link. Carnegie Mellon offers free online courses such as the these:

  • Introduction to Programming in Java
  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering Statics
  • Elementary Chinese

Duke University

Duke university offers free online courses through a partner platform to any students interested. Many of these courses are excellent starting points for new careers and offer starting points for people of different experience levels. You can take beginner classes in science, writing and other core areas, or focus on specializations such as medical neuroscience. Some offerings include:

  • English Composition 1
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • MySQL
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Intro to Chemistry

Johns Hopkins University

Students will choose from a variety of courses related to health and the sciences that are snapshots of the face-to-face courses. Users may read lectures from PDF files or listen to them in an MP3 format. The reading lists note textbooks and other necessary sources. Johns Hopkins' OpenCourseWare focuses primarily on public health courses:

  • Approaches to Managing Health Services Organizations
  • Ethical Issues in Public Health
  • Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Obesity Economics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Learners choose from areas like architecture, engineering, health, humanities, management and science. Lists of available courses in each subject area have icons denoting what's included in each course, such as lecture notes, assignments, online textbooks, projects, exams, images, study groups or multimedia content. MIT has a diverse range of courses, including:

  • American Dream: Using Storytelling to Explore Social Class in the United States
  • Public Transportation Systems
  • Matrix Methods in Data Analysis, Signal Processing, and Machine Learning

Open University

These courses often present materials through text, image, audio or video. Learners choose from topics including the arts, business, computing, education, engineering, health, languages, sciences, law, math and social sciences. Students may access these courses online, download them or print them out. Open University has a huge variety of online courses at no cost. Here are some of them:

  • The Ancient Olympics: Bridging Past and Present
  • The African Diaspora: An Archaeological Perspective
  • Asset Allocation in Investment

Princeton University

Princeton University offers a variety of free online college courses. These courses can be audited for free or for a small fee, students can earn a certificate of completion. Students can choose from topics like government, engineering, science, writing and more. Some of the free online college courses from Princeton include:

  • Civil Liberties
  • A Global History of Capitalism
  • Writing Case Studies

Stanford University

Multi-media courses and lectures are available in categories like teaching and learning, science, religion, social science, math, literature, history, allied health and pre-med, business, art, architecture and engineering. Additionally, users will sometimes find supplementary materials, such as exams and assignments. Here are some of the typical course offerings:

  • Cryptography
  • Probabilistic Graphical Models
  • Introduction to Logic
  • Writing in the Sciences

University of California

Students may access courses in many areas of the curriculum, such as art, science, business, computer science, engineering, health and math. Learners view webcasts of lectures and courses through YouTube and iTunes. Additionally, iTunes also offers audio recordings. UC – Berkeley's free course offerings include:

  • Academic and Business Writing
  • Foundations of Data Science
  • The Science of Happiness

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame X has several massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for math, history, and religious studies. Notre Dame has a selection of courses available for free online:

  • Introduction to the Quran: The Scripture of Islam
  • The Meaning of Rome: The Renaissance and Baroque City
  • Understanding Wireless: Technology, Economics, and Policy

University of Pittsburgh

Like many other free online colleges the University of Pittsburgh offers a wide range of free online college courses through Coursera. There are many courses offered and most are available around the world. Courses include specialized topics such as medicine, epidemiology, gender studies and more. Some examples include:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Epidemics, Outbreaks and Pandemics

Utah State University

These courses may implement text, image, audio or video. While some sources have available links, students may need to locate some sources noted on reading lists. A large number of departments offer courses, from anthropology to wildland resources. In addition, a variety of landscaping courses are available through the university extension department. Here are some of USU's online courses:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Uncertainty in Engineering Analysis
  • Research for the Classroom Teacher

Yale University

Recorded in Yale classrooms, these courses are available in text transcripts, as well as video and audio on YouTube and iTunes. Each course includes a full set of lectures. Learners choose from courses on topics like astronomy, chemistry, literature, economics, geology, history, music and philosophy. These are some of the courses anyone can take for free at Yale:

  • Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics
  • Roman Architecture
  • Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature