Our blog posts may include affiliate links. These affiliate links don't cost you anything, but we might earn a few Euros if you decide to purchase something from one of our recommended website partners. Thank you for your support to help keep this platform up and running!

Online content and has been going viral in the last couple of weeks because people like you and I are finding alternatives during COVID-19 to keep busy. Tons of people are now enrolling in online courses on popular platforms like Udemy (for free or super affordable classes) and FutureLearn (for free and paid high-level learning). However, there are now a number of world-renowned universities opening up some of their most prestigious and coolest courses to students online and for FREE.

We are thankful to have Alyssa Abel from Syllabusy back sharing her favorite free university courses being offered for free online. While there are quite a few English university programs in Düsseldorf, don’t forget about all the amazing opportunities we have online as well.

There are now so many free online university courses available that it can be hard to know where to start. With hundreds of thousands of exciting topics to explore, where do you begin?

If you’re looking for the best free online university courses, there are some great resources out there.

From health and wellness to food security and computer science, there’s sure to be a subject that catches your eye.


1. Entrepreneurship

Harvard Business School offers a fantastic course on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The class focuses on exploring the creative processes of emerging economies in a variety of industries all around the world.


2. Health and Wellness

Yale University teaches a class called the Science of Well-Being, focused on increasing your productivity and happiness. This option, using techniques such as meditation and gratitude practices, is excellent for individuals interested in self-improvement and a better understanding of how the mind works.


3. Animation

The best part about free online courses is that they are available in a variety of mediums, from traditional lectures to video learning. This Animation for Illustration course focuses on learning how to use two programs, Procreate and Photoshop, to design your animations.


4. Food Security

For people interested in food justice, one of the top Dutch universities offers an awesome course on Food Security and Sustainability. It explores the basic principles of food access and the major players in food distribution at the regional and local levels. It’s an excellent course for those interested in nutrition, policy, public health, and social work.


5. Painting

If you are looking for a free online course to explore art, this class on Botanical Illustration is a great place to start. This course utilizes watercolor and other techniques to help you prepare sketches and layer detail while drawing inspiration from nature.


6. Communications

Regardless of your professional life, negotiation skills are an essential piece in navigating your career. The University of Michigan offers a course entitled Successful Negotiation that focuses on strategy, key tactics, and final evaluation to state your point.


7. Philosophy

If you spend your free time wondering about the meaning of life, this is your class. Philosophy, Science, and Religion is taught through the University of Edinburgh and covers how humans inquire about the world, explorations in neuroscience, and what current leaders are doing today.


8. Computer Science

If you already have a pretty good understanding of computer science but are interested in exploring diverse subjects, UC-Berkeley’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence might be the perfect fit. This course features lecture materials from previous classes at the college, completely free.


9. Photography

The Museum of Modern Art course on Seeing Through Photographs helps us to understand how photographs display artistic expression and transmit ideas unbound by language.


10. Architecture 

The built environment reflects a region’s cultural, social, and economic values. Harvard University’s The Architectural Imagination explores how to read and analyze architectural forms. How innovative technology transforms architecture is also covered, as well as how architecture reflects cultural aspirations.


11. Health and Medicine

Another great course from Harvard covers how nutrition, disease, and climate change intersect. The Health Effects of Climate Change explores how climate change impacts human health and how to implement strategies to mitigate those effects.


12. Psychology

If you’re interested in learning more about practicing meditation but want to discover the scientific research behind it, look into the Buddhism and Modern Psychology course offered by Princeton University.


13. American History

Yale University’s course on African American History explores American history from 1863 to the present. There is an extended discussion on the modern civil rights movement, including features on leaders like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B DuBois, and Martin Luther King Jr.


14. Cooking

For individuals who love to cook and are interested in learning more about the science behind it, Harvard’s Science & Cooking course takes a unique look at the role of chemistry and physics in modern cuisine.


15. Personal Finance

We can all probably learn a thing or two about how to handle our finances better. UC-Berkeley’s course on How to Save Money teaches the basics of personal finance, including how to set up an IRA, understanding your credit report, and how to make smart investments.


16. World History 

This course on Global China covers China’s history and culture from the Mongol Empire to the Ming Dynasty. This fascinating course is ideal for individuals looking to learn more about how historical, social, and political forces set the context for the country today.


17. Stress Management

Sometimes, we are so focused on learning that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves. This course on Mindfulness and Resilience teaches how stress impairs our work performance and what we can do to improve our response to anxiety.


18. Positive Psychology

On a topic related to stress management, positive psychology explores how gratitude and meaning in our lives help us cultivate more joy and less stress. The Science of Happiness utilizes research from the fields of neuroscience and evolutionary biology to find practical strategies to improve emotional well-being.


19. Music

While the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is best known for its prestigious contributions to the world of science and technology, they also offer some great resources on the humanities. This course on the Music of India explores the role of classical music and dance in North Indian culture.


20. Poetry

Sometimes we need poetry to help make sense of the world around us. This course on Modern Poetry explores literary techniques, groundbreaking authors, and historical and gender criticism.


Knowledge Is Free With These Great Courses

Learning from the best universities around the world doesn’t need to come with a hefty tuition bill. Some of the coolest courses are free and range in topics from positive psychology to computer science. Utilizing these resources may contribute to your academic, professional, or personal goals — all while teaching you about time management and self-development. Whatever your purpose, discover the best free online courses you can choose from.

New to Germany? Join our Welcome Program! Want to join our author team? Send us an emailJoin our Life in Düsseldorf | Expats & Locals Community group and register for our newsletter (packed with the hottest events, seasonal activities, upcoming job opportunities and more)!