Harvard

30 Harvard Free Courses You Can Take Online

Harvard

Not everyone has the grades or money to be full-time Harvard student. But as long as you have a computer and access to the internet, you can take courses taught by Harvard professors. There are hundreds of Harvard courses available online, covering a wide range of subjects. Not only do the courses listed in this article take the stress out of learning by letting you work at your own pace, but they are also free. All of these courses will benefit you, no matter if your goal is to learn something new to advance your career or simply because you’re interested. 

Here are 30 of the best free online courses taught by Harvard professors that are available through edX

Harvard Free Courses on Computer Science & Programming

CS50: Introduction to Computer Science

This course is Harvard’s introductory computer science and programming course. While taking this course, you can expect to learn concepts like abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. Additionally, you’ll receive an introduction to many of the most popular programming languages, including C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript plus CSS and HTML. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 10-20 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: About 11 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript

This course is the next step after Harvard’s CS50: Introduction to Computer Science course. It dives deeper into the “design and implementation of web apps with Python, JavaScript, and SQL using frameworks like Django, React, and Bootstrap.” You’ll be able to engage in hands-on projects that help you learn to “write and use APIs, create interactive UIs, and leverage cloud services like GitHub and Heroku.” By the end of this course, you’ll have the knowledge you need to design and launch applications on the internet. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 6-9 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: About 12 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

CS50’s Introduction to Game Development

In this course, you can expect to learn about the development of 2D and 3D interactive video games. You’ll be able to explore the development of the games you may have played as a kid, including Super Mario Brothers, Pong, Legend of Zelda, Angry Birds, and other classics. You’ll engage in lectures and hands-on projects to learn the principles of 2D and 3D graphics, animation, sound, and collision detection. And by the end of the course, you’ll have programmed some of your own games. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 6-9 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: About 12 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

This course will teach you the concepts and algorithms at the foundation of modern artificial intelligence. You’ll get to complete hands-on projects that introduce you to the theories behind graph search algorithms, classification, optimization, reinforcement learning, and other artificial intelligence and machine learning topics. By the end of the course, you should have the basic tools and knowledge you need to design intelligent systems of your own. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit— Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 10-30 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: About 7 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Business

Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles

This course will teach you the foundations of what it takes to be a compelling and effective leader. You will learn how to recognize and break down problems, how to understand the role of authority, how to build and renew trust-filled relationships, how to deal with conflict, how to excel amid change and more. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $139
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Technology Entrepreneurship: Lab to Market

This course will help you develop an understanding of how entrepreneurs build successful businesses by moving technology from the lab to the market. You’ll learn the complexities of the commercialization process and what it takes to answer difficult questions regarding how products will be used, when they are ready to hit the market, and how to secure funding, among other things.  

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 5 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

In brief, this course explores how to be a successful entrepreneur in a developing country with an emerging economy. It teaches you how to fill a void in the market while navigating all of the barriers imposed by an emerging economy. You’ll learn how to identify opportunities for entrepreneurship in growing markets and develop an understanding of how to problem-solve in these situations. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Harvard Free Courses on Humanities

The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches Us about the Good Life

This course challenges what you assume it means to be happy and live a meaningful, impactful life by exploring ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory. This course is part history and part self-help, as it mixes ancient philosophical concepts into modern-day life to help you increase personal happiness. The course dives into passages written by many prominent Chinese philosophers.  

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 1-2 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 13 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories

This course covers women in the 20th century and shares the stories of those who “pushed boundaries, fought for new rights, and challenged contemporary notions of what women could and should do.” In this course, you’ll learn about the tactics that women used to create valuable change. You’ll learn how they embraced education, adopted new technologies, created art, pushed against discrimination, and more. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $139
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

This course will give you an introduction to persuasion, a skill that is important in nearly every industry. You’ll learn about the theory and practice of rhetoric and the art of persuasive writing and speech. Using examples of speeches and written pieces created by historical figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, Ronald Reagan, and others, the course will teach you how to create and defend arguments and effectively convince an audience to share your point of view.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $169
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

PredictionX: Lost Without Longitude

This is a course on the history of navigation. The instructor uses video, text, infographics, and Worldwide Telescope tours to teach students about the tools and techniques that navigators have used over centuries of time. You’ll learn about the challenges of navigating without a GPS system, dive into the scientific progress navigation, and explore how Jupiter’s moons, lunar eclipses, and clockmakers all influenced navigators in the past. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $49
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 1 week
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Art & Design

Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology

This course explores the art, archaeology, and history of the Giza pyramids. You’ll learn the cultural and religious significance of the Giza Pyramids, tombs, and temples, explore the reasons hieroglyphics were painted in tombs, and dive into ancient Egyptian art, among other topics. Additionally, the course explores how new technology is unlocking old secrets surrounding the pyramids, tombs, temples, and more. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $149
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

The Architectural Imagination

This course teaches the fundamental principles of architecture by diving into some of the world’s most historical buildings. In this course, you’ll learn how to understand architecture both from a cultural lens and a technical achievement lens. You’ll analyze prominent buildings and engage in hands-on activities, including drawing and modeling exercises. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $199
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and the 19th Century Orchestra

In this course, you’ll learn how to identify and explain 18th- and 19th-century orchestral music, understand the instruments and voices that make up an orchestra and choir, and recognize the cultural context and significance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. By the end, you’ll understand the basics of musical form and analysis. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 3 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Harvard Free Courses on Science

The Einstein Revolution

This course walks through the life and work of Albert Einstein to explain the “changing role of physics” over the past 120 years. The course covers Einstein’s engagement with relativity, quantum mechanics, Nazism, nuclear weapons, philosophy, the arts, and technology and will help you understand physics in broader history. While some lessons will dive into physics concepts, others will explore the impact physics has had on art, poetry, politics, and more. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $150
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 14 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Energy Within Environmental Constraints

This course examines the engineering, environmental impact, and economics of energy systems. It addresses the major question of how to provide abundant energy to everyone in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. It is “rich in details of real devices and light on theory.” For example, instead of diving into the details of electrodynamics, the course will teach you enough about solar panels for you to make informed decisions about where they would be profitable to install.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $139
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather

This course will teach you how to forecast the weather by “just by looking out your window.” Throughout the course, you will learn things such as the role that air, water, and wind play in weather systems, how to estimate wind speed and direction, how to avoid being struck by lightning, and how to interpret data to predict the next day’s weather.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $149
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Health and Medicine

The Health Effects of Climate Change

In this course, you can expect to learn how the changing climate impacts public health and better understand how to mitigate and adapt to the impacts. The course examines air quality, nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration to explain how increases in greenhouse gases have and will continue to affect our health. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. You’ll have the opportunity to listen to experts’ solutions and recommendations for responding to the challenges. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $149
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 7 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety

This course focuses on the quality of healthcare being provided around the world. It addresses questions such as how to define quality healthcare, how to measure it, and how to improve it. According to the course description, this course will prepare you with the tools and information that you need to raise questions, come up with solutions, and promote changes in the quality of healthcare. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs

This course teaches the core concepts of community health worker programs and covers what it takes to expand and strengthen large-scale programs so that fewer people around the world have to die preventable deaths. “Despite medical and technological advances, half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and over 8.9 million preventable deaths occur every year,” the course description states. In this course, you’ll learn how to design, advocate for, and build community health worker programs. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $79
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Data Science

Causal Diagrams: Draw Your Assumptions Before Your Conclusions

This is an introductory course to causal diagrams. Throughout the course, you will learn different types of causal diagrams as well as how to create effective causal diagrams and use them to identify common biases and guide data analysis. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $169
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 9 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory 
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Principles, Statistical and Computational Tools for Reproducible Data Science

This is a course on the principles and techniques of reproducible research so that you can effectively write your own reproducible research papers. You’ll learn a number of concepts, patterns, paradigms, and tools that support your data science and reproducible research endeavors, no matter what you’re researching. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-8 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Mathematics

Calculus Applied!

In this course, you can expect to learn how calculus is used outside of the classroom. The course virtually visits people in diverse fields, including economics, education, statistics, medicine, and more, to explore how calculus and mathematical models are used in their work. According to the course description, this course is designed to supplement a single-variable calculus course at the high school or college/university level so that you better understand how calculus and mathematical models are applied. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $139
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 3-6 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Introduction to Probability

This Introduction to Probability course will give you the tools and knowledge you need to understand data, science, philosophy, engineering, economics, and finance and make informed predictions. According to the course description, you can expect to leave the course with a “strong foundation for the study of statistical inference, stochastic processes, randomized algorithms, and other subjects where probability is needed.”

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $139
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 5-10 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Harvard Free Courses on Social Sciences

American Government: Constitutional Foundations

This course is a dive into political culture and the constitution. It explores the origins of U.S. political culture, how that influenced the creation of the constitution, and how the constitution continues to influence politics and policy in the United States today. You can expect to learn about the pillars of the constitution, what the framers were trying to accomplish, how power is divided between federal and state governments, and what individual rights Americans have. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

U.S. Political Institutions: Congress, Presidency, Courts, and Bureaucracy

This course covers the three branches of government and dives into how they operate, which unique powers they each have, and how they work together. You can also expect to learn about things like the role of voters, political parties, and the broader federal bureaucracy. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Introduction to American Civics

Taught by professors at Harvard Law School, this course is essentially an introduction to the legislative process. Throughout the course, you can expect to learn the design of the U.S. government and the distinctive roles of each branch, better understand where laws come from and how they are made, and become able to distinguish between the roles of federal and state law, among other things. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE 
  • Time commitment: 1-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 1 week
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice

In this course, you’ll receive an overview of children’s rights around the world. You’ll learn about the origins of child protection in international human rights law, about the impact of violence, exploitation, and abuse on children’s emotional and physical development, how to better analyze child protection issues, and how to evaluate and improve child protection systems, among other things. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Time commitment: 2-5 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 16 week
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Harvard Free Courses on Education & Teaching

Introduction to Family Engagement in Education

This course dives into the fundamentals of family engagement, which, in brief, is what families do at home and outside of school hours to support their children’s learning and development. It also describes the partnership between schools, teachers, and parents/guardians that fosters student development. Throughout the course, you will learn the fact-based benefits of family engagement and develop a better understanding of the concept overall.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $70
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 2-4 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Interventions

This course is geared towards those around the world working in early childhood education. It dives into examples of the best practices and explores what makes them effective and how they can be scaled so that you can implement the strategies within your own organization. Additionally, you’ll become familiar with the proper steps to build a successful program and develop an understanding of which steps to prioritize. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit — Add a Verified Certificate for $99
  • Pace: Self-paced
  • Time commitment: 1-3 hours per week
  • Time needed for completion: 7 weeks
  • Difficulty level: Introductory
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX 

Conclusion

All of these courses give you the opportunity to learn directly from some of the most renowned professors in the world. It is hard to think of a better way to spend your free time than taking Harvard courses online. There’s no money or serious time commitment attached to these courses. All you need to do is enroll.  

For more online courses, check TUN’s list of curated classes, or use the online classes search engine to find the best online courses in any subject. 

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