As more and more colleges and universities begin to offer their courses online, many of them have also decided to offer parts of their programs to students entirely for free. With the advent of free online college courses, anyone can be a student. From the comfort of your own computer, you can learn about almost any topic, completely free of charge. Students who want to broaden their horizons and learn more should check some of our favorite places for free online courses. Enjoy!
(In Alphabetical Order)
Amassing classes from 13 of the top universities in the United States, Academic Earth was created on the idea that everyone should have access to a quality higher education. Sourcing classes from these different institutions, Academic Earth provides an entryway into the world of academia to students who would otherwise not be able to enroll in such lofty institutions. Covering 18 different subjects, Academic Earth organizes its courses into playlists that are curated by the staff at Academic Earth. Academic Earth also offers a series of video electives that act as one-off videos about specific topics. Visit Academic Earth to expand your mind and learn from the top universities in the United States through free online college courses.
One of the world’s largest learning platforms, Alison was inspired by the United Nations Declaration that “everyone is entitled to free education.” Leveraging the power of the internet, Alison has worked to make thousands of courses available to students online no matter where they are located. Alison specializes in providing free online college courses as well as a large selection of career training materials. Students are able to sort through Alison’s courses by what is currently trending, the most popular courses, as well as the most certified. Alison also provides students with access to a career guide what will help them to find a career based on their academic interests.
Funded by the National Sciences Foundation, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository is part of an overall project known as the National Science Digital Library. Built on the Internet Scout platform, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository is a collection of free college courses and materials that were created for use in Technical and Community Colleges. Made available entirely online for free, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository focuses on providing resources to STEM students in order to help make the study of math and science more accessible. With over 20 different main subjects to choose from, students are afforded access to a wealth of knowledge through the AMSER platform.
For students who are interested in gaining an education from one of the most prestigious schools in the United States, Ars Digita University offers students the opportunity to enroll in a full post-baccalaureate program offered by MIT. Made possible by Phillip Greenspun, a professor at MIT, Ars Digita University is an entire computer science program made available to students online absolutely free of charge. Containing a multitude of lectures, coursework, and exams, students are able to access a wealth of knowledge and information in relation to computer science. Students can study courses that cover subjects such as web applications, the theory of computation, artificial intelligence, and much more.
Built on the widely-used and highly popular online education platform Blackboard, Open Education is a collection of different academic programs and college courses made available to students everywhere. Offered by a multitude of different institutions, Open Education powered by Blackboard contains over 1,000 different courses of study. These programs range from undergraduate programs all the way up to doctoral programs. Students can choose programs that are self-paced or are being taught in virtual classes. A wide selection of free online college courses are made available to students from schools across the globe.
Made possible by Boston College Magazine, Boston College Front Row is a collection of filmed events that have taken place at Boston College. While not necessarily a collection of college courses, Boston College Front Row offers students access to a variety of cultural and educational talks that have been held on the Boston College campus. Ranging from discussions of poetry to religion, Boston College Front Row is a great collection of free insightful lectures that anyone can benefit from.
Established in 1921, Brigham Young University Independent Study is a program designed by Brigham Young University with the explicit goal of providing college courses and programming from the school to students across the globe. Operating for nearly a century, the Brigham Young University Independent Study program has grown to offer over 550 different programs. These programs are offered to students entirely for free across the entire United States as well as over 90 different countries across the world. Courses in the Brigham Young University Independent Study program range from middle school level all the way up to the undergraduate level.
Focusing on providing students with access to science and engineering coursework, Caltech Online is a collection of college courses offered at Caltech that have been made available to students online entirely for free. Students can study courses on “The Evolving Universe”, “Learning from Data”, “Circuit and Systems”, and much more. Leveraging the power of both Coursera and edX, Caltech Online makes its programs available to students who might otherwise not be able to attend classes at Caltech. While the programs are identical to the ones offered on campus, these free online college courses do not count towards college credits at the school.
Partnering with over 90 different institutions of higher learning, Canvas Network is one of the largest collections of MOOCs on the Internet. Built on the Canvas Learning Management System, the Canvas Network allows access to thousands of courses being offered in both self-paced and virtual class formats. Students will have access to lesson plans, course materials, exams, and lectures that will help them learn a variety of new topics covered by courses in the Canvas Network. By leveraging the power of Canvas Learning Management System and its vast network of partner institutions, Canvas Network is able to offer students a wealth of free online college courses to enroll in.
For a long time, attending courses at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University was a privilege granted to only a select group of students. With the creation of the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, students from across the globe are now able to enroll in courses offered by the legendary school entirely online and entirely for free. With courses geared towards both students and teachers, the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative covers topics including computer science, business, language and speech, and much more. Many of these classes are offered for free, while some are offered for a very small fee. Students are able to enroll in both self-paced courses as well as programs that are built around a cohort style of engagement.
With over 1500 different courses to select from, Class Central is one of the largest providers of free online college courses. Students who choose Class Central are given access to programs offered by the world’s top universities. Students can choose from programs in Computer Science, Data Science, Business, Humanities, and much more. Class Central allows students to sort programs by rating, relevancy, recency, and much more. Each year, Class Central releases a review of the past year’s top MOOCs. This is a great resource for students who are looking for some of the popular topics of study. Class Central also keeps a collection of other MOOCs across the Internet, acting as an aggregator of free online college courses.
A nonprofit organization, Code.org was created in order to provide students from across the globe with access to high-quality online programs related to coding and computer programming. Students who are interested in learning more about computer programming can create an account with Code.org and enroll in a variety of different programs to learn the basics of computer programming. Code.org is supported by major technology companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Code.org offers special “Hour of Code” lessons designed for students of all ages that can be completed in just under an hour.
For students who want to learn more about computer programming and coding, Codecademy offers a variety of different free and paid courses in coding. Using an advanced web platform, Codecademy not only provides lesson plans for learning about computer programming, but it allows students to directly interact with and write their own code to learn by practice. Codecademy is known for its easy to use interface as well as the clarity of its lesson plans. The Codecademy platform provides students with entire lesson plans devoted to learning computer programming languages. For one of the most comprehensive online experiences for learning to code, students should check out Codecademy.
Created by two Stanford Computer Science professors, Coursera is now one of the top platforms for online college courses. Building on the Coursera platform for the last six years, Coursera has now grown to have over 150 different university partners. Students can select from over 2,700 courses of study across 250 different specializations. Coursera also offers over four different degrees that are made available entirely through the platform. At this time, Coursera offers students free college courses as well as a number of premium college courses that are priced modestly. For students who are looking for free college courses from schools like Stanford University, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins University, Coursera is the perfect choice for free online education.
To promote the ever-growing amount of materials that enter into the public domain, the Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain is a repository of free online college courses that focus on the realm of materials that have entered into the public domain. No longer bound by intellectual property rights, these items within the public domain are now free for all to use and adapt. To promote the importance of the public domain and how the public domain affects our society, the Duke Law Center for the Study of the Public Domain offers a number of free online college courses for students to select from to help broaden their understanding of the public domain. These courses are made available to students entirely online and are also made part of the public domain for all to use however they see fit.
A technology-forward platform for online learning, EdCast uses a number of cutting-edge technologies to increase the quality of online learning. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, EdCast is able to better discover and curate different content that can be useful for a variety of different organizations and individuals based on their learning needs. Creating these custom learning playlists, EdCast is able to properly adjust and augment itself to the needs of its users.
Through a collaboration between Harvard University and MIT, edX is an online learning platform and provider of MOOCs. Collecting courses and programs from over 120 different partner institutions including MIT, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Texas System, edX has committed itself to provide higher education to students across the globe for free. Since its founding in 2012, the edX platform has grown to provide students the ability to engage in the coursework offered through the platform in a variety of different ways that leverage multimedia technologies. For students looking for a cutting-edge platform filled with the latest college courses, edX is a great place to start.
Specializing in the curation and collection of video lectures, FreeVideoLectures is one of the web’s largest repositories for video lectures. Collecting video lectures from the world’s top universities, FreeVideoLectures is now a leader in free online video college courses. Students can study topics including programming and web development, maths and sciences, engineering, and much more. Many of the programs offered by FreeVideoLectures are programs that are also offered by top schools, including Ivy League universities. Students are also able to access playlists that have been curated by experts and blend lectures from different schools.
FutureLearn is an online platform that offers students access to a multitude of different online courses and degree programs. Offering both paid and free courses, FutureLearn allows students to access the most popular online college courses being offered to create their own playlists and course schedules in order to pursue an education that is customized to their needs. For the paid courses, students are able to pay as they go. FutureLearn also offers programs of various lengths in order to cater to the time students have to pursue different educational goals.
Harvard offers over 40 MOOCs through the edX platform that may be taken for free, or for verified certificates for a nominal fee. Their edX offerings include a many-part series on China, as well as a number of courses on data analysis, literature, and history courses.
Students who want to attend college programs offered by Harvard University should check out the Harvard Extension School. Housing all of Harvard University’s distance education programs, Harvard Extension School is also home to over 40 different MOOCs that are hosted on the edX platform. These programs are offered to students entirely for free. If students want to receive accreditation or certification after completing the programs, Harvard Extension School offers certification for a small fee. By offering these online college courses to students for free, Harvard Extension School has allowed people from across the world to study courses by Harvard University.
Developed by Apple and built on the iTunes platform, iTunes U is a service that allows colleges and universities to upload audio and video podcasts of their lectures to students worldwide. Offered for free, iTunes U also has updated capabilities that allow students to use the multimedia functionality of iOS devices to allow them to better engage with the course material. With Apple’s software prowess backing the platform, iTunes U is a great way for students to use their iOS devices to access a large library of free online college courses offered by some of the top universities in the United States.
Using the OpenCourseWare platform, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has worked to make many of its top online college courses available to students. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health encourages people to take their online college courses and remix and reuse them however they feel is best. The courses offered through Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are offered on a standalone basis and do not include any interactions with the professors who designed them. Programs are organized into collections that cover a variety of topics including ethics, public health, food, and much more. Students who want to learn more about public health without spending money should visit Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s OpenCourseWare page.
One of the most popular online platforms for online learning, Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering online courses to people across the world. Currently, Khan Academy boasts one of the most robust and feature-rich platforms for online college courses. Leveraging a variety of different technologies, Khan Academy presents free online college courses to students in an interactive and multimedia-rich manner. At this time, Khan Academy offers over 2,500 different free courses for students to select from. This massive catalog covers courses designed by institutions such as MIT and NASA.
Catered to students studying business, the Small Business Development Center of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is an organization that not only provides free online courses to students studying business but also guidance and mentorship. At this time, the Small Business Development Center of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is offering over 90 different online courses for students to choose from. Available for free, these online courses cover topics including sales, marketing, tax law, and much more. Some of the programs available at the Small Business Development Center of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania are offered in Spanish. If you want to learn more about business, the Small Business Development Center of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania might be the place for you.
Built on the OpenCourseWare platform, MIT OpenCourseWare is an effort by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to make all of the MIT School of Engineering’s content available to students entirely online and available to everyone, free of charge. Since the creation of MIT OpenCourseWare, MIT has been able to publish over 2,400 different courses and serve over 300 million visitors. Students can study topics including engineering, medicine, mathematics, humanities, and much more.
Created by the William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University’s College of Education, MOOC-Ed.org is a platform that collects a variety of MOOCs designed to help educators. While many of the platforms listed are aimed towards students, this platform provides classes that are geared towards continuing the education of educators. Educators can enroll in courses including “Teaching the Beauty and Joy of Computing Curriculum”, “Teaching Foundational Reading Skills”, and much more. For educators who want to continue to grow and learn, the MOOC-Ed.org platform is a great place to continue your educational journey. Many of these programs offer what are called micro-credentials that act as a type of mini-certification.
Spanning over 24 universities internationally, the Massive Open Online English Course is a collection of over fifty different English language courses. These programs are designed for non-native speakers in order to help them better learn English. Created in Brisbane, Australia, the Massive Open Online English Course is supported by the Queensland State Government to help promote the learning of English. Courses offered through the Massive Open Online English Course are organized into five categories: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Short Courses. If you are a non-native English speaker, the Massive Open Online English Course is a great resource to help bolster your understanding of the English language.
Maintained by the University Libraries at New York State University at Albany, the New York University Computer Science Department offers students a number of different computer science courses to students entirely online for free. Through this offering of course materials, students are given access to fully online courses, class materials, tutorials, and lectures. University Libraries continues to maintain this program over time by adding new materials to the course site. For students who want to learn more about computer science, this website provides a wealth of knowledge and information from one of the country’s top universities.
Founded in 2007, Open Education Database provides its users with access to one of the largest collections of free online courses. At this moment, students can select from over 10,000 free online courses offered by Open Education Database. These programs are collected from a variety of different institutions including Johns Hopkins University, MIT, and many more. Students who would otherwise not have access to these elite institutions can choose to enroll in these online courses entirely for free. Through their iLibrarians program, students can also access hand-curated playlists of various courses that are designed to teach entire topics of study across programs offered at different schools.
One of the Internet’s largest collections of free online courses, Online Course Report was founded to help link students to quality online programs. Today, Online Course Report has grown to offer students over 10,000 online courses from which to choose. A large number of these programs are available to students entirely free of charge. Online Course Report also provides reviews of different online courses as well as reviews of online learning platforms. By visiting Online Course Report, students can gain access to a wealth of different educational opportunities that are made available entirely for free.
Focusing on courses related to culture and education, Open Culture is a large repository for educational media for students who want to take their education online. All of the resources offered on Open Culture are offered entirely for free. While some websites on this list have a mix of free and paid content, students will never come across materials that cost money on Open Culture. At this time, students are able to choose from over 1,300 online courses from some of the world’s top universities. Open Culture also offers a large number of different supplementary materials including audiobooks, ebooks, and movies to students for free. Students who do not want to worry about coming across material that might cost them money should check out Open Culture.
To better make available the research and resources generated at the University of Michigan, the Open Michigan initiative was started as a place for all the research, teaching, and creative work generated at the University of Michigan to live. Students can search through the Open Michigan database to find thousands of materials being offered to students entirely for free. Students can also use the Open Michigan platform to communicate with other users who are interested in similar topics in order to foster new connections to help generate even more knowledge. By adding social media aspects to this platform, Open Michigan has been able to deliver on a collaborative environment for its users.
Offered by the Open University, Open Learn is a platform that stores all the free online courses offered at Open Univerisity. Students who visit Open Learn can choose from over 1,000 free courses. Open Learn organizes these courses by levels, helping to ensure that students are able to quickly and easily assess whether or not they are knowledgeable enough for the program they are planning to enroll in. Students are also able to access a number of different playlists that are set up to take students through a variety of related courses. Upon completing different programs, students are also awarded badges that allow them to track their accomplishments and compare them to their friends.
Created out of a collaboration between institutions across twelve different European countries, OpenUpEd is one of the largest collections of MOOCs. In order to democratize college education, OpenUpEd offers students nearly 200 different online courses from which students can enroll in entirely for free. These programs cover a variety of topics and are offered in many different languages. OpenUpEd organizes these programs by workload, which allows students to get a better idea of how long a program might take to complete in relation to other programs offered by the site. The site also maintains a strict set of rules that govern the quality of the various MOOCs offered by the site in order to ensure that students are only being given quality courses to choose from.
With nearly 300 different degrees to select from, Open Universities Australia allows students to select from courses and programs offered by 14 different universities and colleges in Australia. Covering over 1,600 topics of study, Open Universities Australia has been around since 1993. Originally known as Open Learning Australia, Open Universities Australia has constantly worked to revolutionize the ways that students learn online. Students can select from single subjects offered by the program or entire degrees. Currently, Open Universities Australia has over 400,000 users. Students who are looking for courses from some of the top schools in Australia should consider Open Universities Australia.
Saylor Academy is an online learning platform that offers students the opportunity to earn actual college credits from different participating schools entirely for free. At this time, students can choose from over 100 online courses that actually translate to real college credits. The programs offered on Saylor Academy are also designed for students to reuse and remix in whatever ways they see fit. By creating an account with Saylor Academy, students can track their progress in all the courses they enroll in. Saylor Academy also offers a certification process that can help students to become certified in a variety of different disciplines.
Taking their most popular online courses in engineering, Stanford Engineering Everywhere provides students access to the school’s top classes entirely free of charge. For students and educators alike, Stanford Engineering Everywhere compiles all of the necessary materials needed to complete a variety of different courses offered by Stanford University’s engineering department. Students are given full access to course materials including syllabi, homework, handouts, and tests. Lecture videos are also available to be streamed to both PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Some of the courses offered on Stanford Engineering Everywhere are Introduction to Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and much more.
With the slogan “Bringing tuition-free college to the community”, Study.com is one of the largest providers of free online courses on the Internet. Offered as a web browser experience as well as an iPhone and Android application, Study.com allows students to access their courses from whatever device they see fit. Study.com provides students with courses that focus on a variety of different topics as well as lessons on particular school-related skills such as test-taking and studying. The website offers programs ranging from middle school courses all the way up to post-graduate levels. Certain programs at Study.com also offer an optional certification.
Offered by the prestigious writing program at the University of Iowa, the Writing University is an online collection of resources and MOOCs that allow students from all over the world to have access to some of the university’s resources and lessons. Visitors of the Writing University can access lectures from major authors as well as a series of podcasts on a variety of writing topics including “How Writers Write Poetry” and “How Writers Write Fiction”. Students can also use The Writing University as a place to stay in touch with other users of the site. Adding this social aspect to the site, The Writing University has been able to help like-minded students find each other in order to push each other’s educations forward.
Using the edX platform, the University of California at Berkeley offers students the opportunity to enroll in a variety of different courses offered at the school completely for free. Topping out at over thirty courses, students are able to enroll in programs in statistics and computer sciences as well as many others. Many of the programs are offered as self-paced, allowing students to take them at their leisure. The programs are made available entirely for free, but students are able to pay a small fee to receive certification after completing many of the programs. Students who want to learn from some of the best professors at the University of California Berkeley should check out these free online courses.
Offered in both audio and video formats, the University of California San Diego offers a series of lectures that are available to students in podcast form. Using the podcast application of your choice, students can subscribe to the UC San Diego Podcast Lectures page and gain access to a variety of different recorded lectures from professors at the school. Many of these recorded podcasts are also published along with a list of additional material that students can use to pursue further studies, including a variety of supplemental reading. The University of San Diego offers almost every single lecture at the school to students in podcast form.
Udacity is an online platform that allows students to enroll in over fifty different courses that are built from the ground up to be taken online. Focusing primarily on technology-related topics, students can pursue what is known as “nano-degrees”. These different programs allow students to pursue topics like iOS development, web development, data analysis, and much more. The online videos are made available to students entirely for free, but the additional content, such as the class assignments and certifications, are behind a paywall. Students can choose to enroll in a monthly subscription to gain access to these additional features. Students who want to expand their knowledge about different technology topics should consider Udacity.
Having served over six million students, Udemy is one of the largest collections of MOOCs on the Internet. At this time, Udemy offers students over 25,000 different courses to select from. These programs cover a variety of different topics as well as different levels of difficulty. Programs on Udemy are offered by a variety of different sources including universities, corporations, and individual professors. Udemy also offers programs in over 80 different languages which have allowed the platform to expand its reach. Students who want access to a large number of high-quality online courses for free should visit Udemy.
Another user of the OpenCourseWare platform, the University of Massachusetts Boston has made available many of its online courses to students for free. While offering the course programs to students, students are not able to gain actual credits towards a degree by completing these programs. Students can enroll in topics in computer science, history, mathematics, psychology, and much more. The University of Massachusetts also encourages fellow educators to access their OpenCourseWare Content in order to bolster their own programs. Students and educators are allowed to use the content on the OpenCourseWare site as long as they adhere to the Creative Common Share Alike rules.
To globalize their education efforts, the University of California Irvine has made over 100 different courses available to students entirely online for free. These programs are hosted on the OpenCourseWare platform. Students are able to sort these courses individually or select collections that group the various courses into topics such as “Open Chemistry”, “Public Health”, “Sustainability”, and much more. UCI Open also offers students access to a number of lectures that have taken place at the University of California Irvine. For students looking for additional University of California Irvine content, the school also hosts some content on Coursera for students to choose from.
Hosted on the edX platform, the University of Notre Dame offers a focused selection of online courses that can be completed entirely for free. Students can choose to either enroll in programs on specific registration dates in order to take them with a cohort, or they can choose to access the archived version of the course at their leisure. The University of Notre Dame offers courses in “Math in Sports”, “Jesus in Scripture and Tradition”, “Data Science Readiness”, and much more. While the selection may be limited, having the opportunity to audit classes at the University of Notre Dame is something that many students were not able to do until now.
Using Coursera and edX, the University of Washington has published a large number of their online courses to students free of charge. Some of the highlighted programs available are “English for Business Networking”, “Essentials of Cybersecurity”, and “IT Project Management”. Started in 2001, the OpenUW platform offers many programs for free and the others at very low cost. Typically, the additional cost offers students access to additional materials in the course. Most courses are offered, at least partially, for free. Students can also apply for certification in different subjects after completing certain courses on UW Online.
Using the popular OpenCourseWare platform, Utah State University has made available over 75 different collections of free courses to students online. Mainly offering courses related to learning sciences, Utah State University does offer courses in many other topics and subject matters. Students are given full access to all the course materials of a given course including exams, lecture notes, lecture videos, and additional readings. Utah University has designed this platform to also be useful to fellow educatiors and encourages other professors to use the materials in their own teaching. Students who want access to Utah State University courses should check out their OpenCourseWare page.
One of the most prestigious universities in the entire world, Yale University has made available many of its courses to students entirely online for free. Typically only offering introductory courses, students who use Open Yale Courses can download an entire course’s materials or choose select materials from a course. Students are not required to register to access Open Yale Courses. The content on Open Yale Courses is also available to be used in whatever means students choose.
The largest provider of online videos in the entire world, YouTube offers students and educators the opportunity to access an amazing amount of video lectures and video lessons from many of the world’s top schools. By just heading to YouTube’s site and typing in a particular subject, students are able to access thousands of videos on any given subject. With videos ranging from Harvard University lectures to refreshers on particular topics, YouTube is always a great first stop to check for courses and videos about a particular topic. Students can also use the ratings and comments section to discuss the merit of various videos found on YouTube’s site.