The Best Free Online Courses for University Students- March 2022

free online courses


Online learning is a great way to explore your academic interests and develop practical skills that can potentially boost your employment prospects. Several international universities and e-learning platforms are offering free online courses for university students in myriad disciplines including social sciences, computer sciences, artificial intelligence, machine learning, business studies, and law, to name a few.

Do you wish to make up for your lost time at the hands of the pandemic and gain practical skills that can help you for your future academic and professional undertakings? Are you itching to study online courses offered by some of the leading higher education institutes globally? Would you like to attend a Yale or Harvard lecture at the comfort of your home? Would you like to experience a sample course in the university you plan to apply for your Graduation?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we got your back. In this article, we have jotted down a list of the top free online courses for university students offered by accredited international universities and e-learning platforms, so you can expend your time well during summer holidays or semester break as well as develop real-world skills that can help you outshine your contemporaries.

What Online Courses Look Like?

Online courses, just like on-campus courses, are grounded on both theory and practice. They require an ample amount of time and dedication. However, they offer much more flexibility than rigorous on-campus learning mechanisms. You are free to manage the course activities at your pace, as long as you meet the course’s deadlines and requirements.

Your online instructor typically expects you to review the learning objectives, complete and submit the assignments before deadline, complete the readings and course material, and participate in the discussion boards by the end of each week.

benefits of online learning

Benefits of Free Online Courses

Adjusting to the online learning model can be tricky for students, as they are used to learning in an in-person classroom setting. However, you can quickly adapt to this format with time, which is more independent and self-paced. Following are some benefits or advantages of free online courses:

Flexible and Self-Paced

University students often juggle between in-person classes and everyday life routines such as traveling, family time and leisure activities or hobbies. However, online courses provide them the flexibility to manage their learning as per their own schedules, without the fear of missing out on lectures and assignments. Rather than missing a friend’s get-together or their vacation plans due to commuting to and fro university, they can easily log in to their accounts when they have free time, without interfering with other commitments. This flexibility and self-paced learning allow them to balance their studies and personal life.

Also, university students at times struggle to keep up with the pace of their professors and hesitate to ask them to repeat specific points or chapters. However, online courses allow students to stop and return to previous topics or chapters to revisit the past material. They can efficiently work through the system at their own pace and can stop in between to refresh themselves. Also, they can master the material before shifting to the next chapter or section, getting the most out of their virtual learning experience.

Time Management

Employers are always looking for potential candidates with top-notch time management skills. Online courses can make you an expert in this specific domain. Since virtual learning has no set timelines and allows students to make their own schedules, you can quickly learn how to manage your time well. Online courses enable university students to manage their projects proactively and make regular schedules to meet their professors’ daily and weekly deadlines. A sample schedule can provide a snapshot of tasks that need to be completed daily, allowing the students to keep themselves on track without overwhelming themselves.

Time management skills

Keeps you motivated

By completing online courses, you can demonstrate your commitment and motivation to increase your employability chances and gain some valuable real-life skills. Successful completion of these courses will prove that you are a multi-tasker and team player who is willing to step outside their boundaries and adapt to the varying learning or working conditions.

When it comes to online courses, instructors want students to engage with their peers and learn at their own pace. Similarly, an employer wants employees to be self-motivated and look for new opportunities to assist them in improvising their skillset. Hence, one can say that the more heart you will put into such online learning endeavors, the higher the chances are that you will impress your prospective employers after stepping into the corporate world.

Improves collaborative and virtual communication skills

People who can work and communicate well with their peers and colleagues in virtual spaces have more chances of becoming influential leaders. Working in such challenging environments can help develop critical leadership skills and help learn the art of communicating well with diverse audiences.

Free online courses allow you to communicate with your peers on the discussion board and collaborate with them to complete tasks. It also allows you to reach out to your professor via email and learn new software programs. After completing your course, you are better positioned to share your ideas and make compelling arguments, both through text and orally.

Top ten free online courses for university students

Harvard University- Introduction to Computer Science

Harvard University offers over 500 free online courses for university students, so they can learn from eminent professors and teachers who teach at the varsity and get a taste of their top-notch curricula or academic studies.

CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science is one of the most popular free courses offered by Harvard University that focuses on developing the intellectual prowess of next-generation computer sciences enthusiasts, so they can learn different types of programming and the right ways of solving problems.

This course encompasses various topics, including algorithms, resource management, web development, languages such as CSS, HTML and Python, data structures, abstraction and software engineering, etc. The length of this program is 12 weeks.

You can access this course here.

Stanford University- Machine Learning

Stanford university is one of the leading teaching and research institutes globally that aims to prepare students to contribute to social transformation as responsible citizens and leaders of tomorrow.

Stanford offers a range of flexible and affordable online courses for university students to acquire valuable real-life skills and learn the art of giving back to society by finding solutions to contemporary social issues. Stanford offers numerous courses in health and medicine, education, engineering, and arts and humanities.

This introductory machine learning course focuses on different aspects of data mining, the basics of ML and statistical pattern recognition. Through this course, students can learn the most effective machine learning techniques and how they can implement them in their everyday work activities.

You can access this course here.

machine learning course by Stanford

University of California, Berkeley – The Science of Happiness

The University of California is a public land-grant research university and ranked among the world’s top universities. This varsity aspires to enhance the virtual learning experiences of students, so they cannot only reap the benefits of its first-rate curricula but can fearlessly pursue their educational and career goals.

The Science of Happiness is one of the premier online courses offered by the University of California for students who wish to learn more about positive psychology as well as the right ways to maintain long-term happiness and mental wellbeing through a series of practical activities and tips. This course focuses on the art of living a happy and meaningful life with the help of science and life improvement messages, altering the perspectives of learners towards life challenges.

You can access this course here.

The University of Oxford – From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development

The University of Oxford is the second oldest university globally and ranked among some of the prestigious higher education institutes. Oxford also operates one of the largest university press, with one of the most extensive library systems in the UK.

The university offers a range of online and distant learning programs in a wide range of disciplines, including creative writing, art and literature, gender studies, history, data studies, philosophy and psychology, to name a few. However, some of these professional courses are free.

One of the most popular free online courses offered by Oxford University is “From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development.” This course focuses on the role of government in elevating any society from poverty to prosperity.

This course also explores how societies sustain financial prosperity and engage with other countries in terms of international trade. It also delves deeper into the social, political and economic dynamics that affect a country’s national identity and its financial obligations.

You can access this course here.

free online course by Oxford university

Georgia Institute of Technology – Probability and Statistics I: A Gentle Introduction to Probability

Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university, well recognized for its degree programs in engineering, computer science and business studies. The university has been offering free online courses for university students since 2012. It offers more than 300 online courses and certifications for university students, so they can learn virtually from some of the best experts and mentors.

This course titled “Probability and Statistics I: A Gentle Introduction to Probability” introduces learners to some of the basic probability concepts in statistics and the prospective career paths in the fields of science and technology. This course allows learners to get thorough know-how of the probability axioms and the tools to use for permutations and combinations etc.

You can access this course here.

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The University of Cambridge- The Psychology of Emotions: An Introduction to Embodied Cognition

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world. The university encompasses 31 colleges, six schools and over 150 faculties and departments, with a student body of over 20,000 students hailing from different parts of the world. The University of Cambridge offers live short online courses so that students can join classes in real-time at the comfort of their homes.

The psychology of emotions: An introduction to embodied cognition course is one of the most popular free online courses offered by the University of Cambridge through edX. This interactive course explores the various facets of cognitive psychology of emotions and what mechanisms humans employ to understand the feelings of people around them.

You can access this course here.

free online course by Cambridge university

Yale University- The Science of Well-Being

Yale University was founded in 1701 as a collegiate school and later transformed into one of the most prestigious private Ivy League research universities. It is the third oldest university in the US and the first to award a Ph.D. degree in the US. Yale has produced over 65 Nobel laureates, five US presidents and 31 living billionaires.

The Science of wellbeing is one of the most popular courses offered by the Yale university through the Coursera platform. It focuses on all the elements that can truly make us happy. It also includes a range of activities for learners so they can keep a check of their emotions as well as increase their happiness levels by developing a range of productive habits.

You can access this course here.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

MIT is one of the world’s most prestigious higher education institutes. It has been ranked as the number one university in the most recent QS World University Rankings, highlighting the prestige and academic excellence that the varsity strives for.

The MIT OpenCourseWare is a web application that encompasses all the MIT course material and is open to researchers, university students and academicians around the globe. This project aims to empower young minds by providing them with some additional resources that can help them succeed in their personal and professional undertakings, turning them into independent researchers capable of tackling the most difficult challenges globally.

This beginner-level course offered by MIT is designed for university students who hold no prior experience in computer sciences and programming. In this 9-week course, students can learn the nitty-gritty of computer science and programming and some basic algorithms.

You can access this course here.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – Digital Design

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is a world-class research university, well-known for its degree programs in science, technology, business, engineering, and social sciences. The university is ranked among the top universities in the Asia Pacific region and secured the number one spot in the QS Asian University Ranking in 2011 and 2012.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology offers a range of free online courses for university students, some of which include an introduction to java programming, psychology of personal growth, English for doing business in Asia, big data computing with spark, and ergonomics in design and agriculture to name a few.

The university offers a unique digital design course for university students through edX. This course introduces learners to the basics of digital design technology and the ways they can enhance their design skills. It also explores computer-aided design and animation and other design-related topics such as rendering and rigging, etc.

You can access this course here.

University of Toronto- Quantum Machine Learning

The University of Toronto is a public research university located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The university offers over 700 undergrad and 200 grad programs in various academic and research disciplines. The University of Toronto is known as the birthplace of stem cell research and insulin. It is also known for conducting the first successful lung and nerve transplant.

Quantum machine learning is offered through the platform of edX and explores the advantages and uses of current and future quantum technologies in machine learning. It also focuses on algorithms that can be challenging for classical digital computers, emphasizing the implementation of various protocols with the help of open-source frameworks in Python.

You can access this course here.

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Top Websites and E-learning Platforms for Free Online Courses

edX- Open Online Course Provider

edX is an American massive open online course provider developed by Harvard and MIT. This online platform was established with the vision to serve the global community of learners and students so they can access unparalleled educational services and unlock their true potential -regardless of geographical barriers. It offers advanced courses for learners, businesses, and educators, allowing them to learn new knowledge and skills so they can propel in their respective careers.

edX free online courses

edX aims to provide affordable quality education for all, enhance the teaching and learning practices globally and lend support to the research community. edX offers 50+ free online courses for university students, some of which include quantum mechanics, solar energy, threats of nuclear war, circuits and electronics, audio production, epidemics, and management, to name a few.

edX also offers a range of MicroMasters programs, MicroBachelors programs and verified certificate programs. However, these programs and certifications are not free.

You can access different courses here.

Coursera- Wide Array of Free Online Courses

Coursera was established in 2012 by two professors from Stanford University, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. It has become the leading e-learning platform that offers free online courses for university students in over 200 universities and organizations globally.

Coursera provides many learning prospects, ranging from entry to mid-level career certifications to hands-on academic projects to prepare learners for their degree specializations. Some of these courses focus on writing, psychology, health sciences, machine learning, finance and economics, statistics, brand management, business and marketing, and languages, to name a few.

Coursera also allows annual paid subscription packages, so learners can access most of their courses as well as get certificates on course completion.

You can access different courses here.

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Future Learn

Future Learn is a British e-learning platform that was founded in December 2012 by 12 higher education institutes, including the University of Warwick, University of Bristol, King’s College London and St Andrews University, to name a few. It was also one of the first learning platforms that allowed students in the UK to earn credits towards a degree from some of the top universities.

Future Learn offers a range of short courses and online degree programs, with a 14-day free trial option. After an upgrade, you are eligible to apply for a certificate or get unlimited access to a diverse range of course content at the comfort of your homes.

You can access different courses here.

Future learn free online courses

Udemy

Udemy launched in 2010 to support teachers and instructors to develop creative online content for university students, professionals and executives. With over 50,000 instructors across the globe and over 175,000 online courses, Udemy is leading the e-learning milieu with a student body of over 46 million learners, hailing from different parts of the world.

The majority of courses offered by Udemy cost around $15; however, some professional courses go up to $300. To meet the evolving needs of learner’s post-pandemic, Udemy launched a free resource center with almost 150 free online courses for students and professionals in over 75 languages.

You can access different courses here.

Conclusion

Online courses are becoming the next favorite of university students. They are flexible and convenient, connect the student community, diminish geographical boundaries, allow learners to study from eminent professors, and bring education right at the comfort of their homes. It is a great way to spend your summer holidays or semester break, connecting you with academics and research.

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