- Top universities from around the world are offering free online college classes for interested individuals.
- Courses offered are in diverse fields like science, engineering, medicine, management, arts, media, humanities, and more.
- There’s something for everyone! Take a look!
10 Top Universities In The World Offering Free Online College Courses
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2. Harvard University | 3. Stanford University | 4. University of California, Berkeley | 5. Princeton University | 6. Yale University | 7. University of Pennsylvania | 8. Johns Hopkins University |
9. Columbia University | 10. Boston University
- Courses are offered directly through the university website or through a variety of online course provider platforms like edX, Coursera, Udemy, etc.
- Many of these free courses do not offer credit, but in some instances, students are given the option of paying a small fee to receive credit in the form of a diploma or certificate of completion.
- Also, there are dedicated master’s and professional degree programs offered online for a certain fee.
How We Tested? World university rankings from trusted sources were collected. They base the ranks measuring the quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research performance, and other key indicators. Further, the quality of free online courses offered by these top universities was considered for preparing this list.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a research university established in 1861, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- It has played a crucial role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and is widely known for its innovation.
- They are the pioneers in offering free online college courses. They have published thousands of courses over the years through their OpenCourseWare project and made them available free of cost.
- Classes are available on a wide range of topics, including engineering, science, mathematics, arts, business, management, society, medicine, and more.
- In fact, MIT OpenCourseWare provides the actual recording of the real class proceedings for learners online.
- MIT is the founding member of the popular online course provider platform edX and offers most of its course material through it.
- You can pay a small fee and get verified certificates for the courses you successfully complete on edX. It’s a great way to add more value to your professional profile.
2. Harvard University
- Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
- Its history, influence, wealth, and academic reputation have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
- The free online courses were created for any motivated student from across the globe to take the courses at Harvard.
- Harvard is also a founding member of the popular online course taking platform edX through which it provides its course material.
- These online courses are offered in a variety of subjects that one can opt for as per their interests.
- All courses can be audited for free. Also, you can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee after course completion.
3. Stanford University
- Stanford University is a place for learning, discovery, innovation, expression, and discourse.
- It was founded in the year 1885 and is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, which is home to Google, Facebook, HP, and more.
- The university publishes one of the highest numbers of research papers every year.
- Stanford offers its courses through the popular online course platform Coursera. Currently, less number of courses are available.
- It offers hundreds of online courses through its official website. Some of these courses are free, but for most, it charges a certain fee.
4. University of California, Berkeley
- UC Berkeley is a place where the brightest minds from across the globe come together to explore, ask questions, and improve the world.
- It is a highly respected public research university founded in the year 1868.
- UCB is one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities. It spends millions of dollars every year on research.
- Many popular rating agencies like Academic Ranking of World Universities and U.S. News & World Report Global University Rankings list this university in their top ranks.
- It offers various online courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students in numerous disciplines.
- All its courses are extensively listed on edX. You can pay a small fee and get certificates after completion.
5. Princeton University
- Princeton University is an Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey.
- Founded in the year 1746, it is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States.
- Princeton University has a longstanding commitment to service, reflected in Princeton’s informal motto – Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.
- For almost a few decades now, Princeton University was ranked either first or second among national universities by U.S. News & World Report.
- It provides online courses via both edX and Coursera. However, only a few courses are listed so far.
- Some of the courses require you to pay a small fee for learning, while others are offered for free.
6. Yale University
- Since its founding in 1701, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information.
- It is one of the Ivy League research universities based in New Haven, Connecticut.
- Yale facilitates online learning through a program called Open Yale Courses or OYC.
- Each course includes a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video accompanied by course materials, syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets.
- The courses span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.
- The lectures are available as downloadable videos and also as an audio-only version. Besides, searchable transcripts of each lecture are provided.
- Most of these courses are also offered via the popular platform Coursera.
7. University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pennsylvania or Penn is another Ivy League research university located in the city of Philadelphia.
- It was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, one of the United States’ founding fathers, eager to create a school to educate future generations.
- It’s Online Learning Initiative (OLI) aims to advance the development and delivery of online learning, creating flexible options for learners across the globe.
- You can search for credit and non-credit courses and create a customized path to gain new skills. Also, there are many online Master’s programs to choose from.
- The university provides most of its online courses via both popular platforms edX and Coursera.
8. Johns Hopkins University
- Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a globally high rated university founded in the year 1876. It is based in Baltimore, Maryland.
- With the motto ‘Knowledge for the world’, the university offers a lot of its courses online for global students.
- The university offers its courses through the OpenCourseWare program and also through Coursera.
- The courses offered are mostly in the field of medicine and public health.
- JHU also offers Master’s degree courses for a certain fee.
9. Columbia University
- Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and, at the same time, a distinctive and distinguished learning place for students.
- Established in the year 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York.
- It offers online courses in diverse fields for learners of various genres in order to provide professional development and higher education opportunities.
- Most of its course material is offered through edX and is of very high quality. Some of the courses are available on Coursera and Kadenze too.
- You can audit the courses for free and get a verified course completion certificate by paying a small fee.
- It also offers an online Master’s program on a variety of subjects taught by top instructors at Columbia University.
10. Boston University
- For more than 145 years, Boston University has been synonymous with pioneering research, academic innovation, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni.
- BU has been offering award-winning online learning programs for a long time now.
- It enables students worldwide to pursue their educational goals and even earn a college degree from Boston University. It offers different undergrad programs to doctoral degrees.
- Hundreds of its online courses are available freely on edX to audit. Students can also pay a small fee to get verified certificates.
- Boston University is highly ranked in the World Universities Rankings. Fun fact – Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, was a professor here at BU.
More Popular Universities Offering Free Online Courses
1. Imperial College London
2. The Georgia Institute of Technology
3. The University of Texas
4. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
5. Rice University
6. Delft University of Technology
7. Arizona State University
8. Curtin University
9. The University of Queensland
10. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Now, You Can!
A decade ago, you wouldn’t have been able to take courses from these top-ranked universities.
But now, you can!
Make the best use of this opportunity. There are thousands of courses, choose the one of your interest.
Learn something good; learn something new!
Author: Nik is an author with over 14 years of expertise in software and tech. Holding an Engineering degree in Information Technology and a Master's degree in Data Science from Liverpool University, he is adept at dissecting and discussing the nuances of technology with clarity and precision. Disclaimer: The content on this website is originally created by human authors and is refined using AI tools solely to ensure grammar, flow and clarity.