Try the Ivy Leagues with these free college courses


Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale are renowned for offering some of the most prestigious academic programs in the world. These universities are sadly difficult to integrate, which makes them inaccessible to most. Moreover, the tuition fees are expensive, even with large scholarship opportunities.

Students looking for free online college courses may be surprised to find the options at Ivy League institutions. More and more universities are offering free college courses online, often in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses cover a wide range of topics in the arts, social sciences, STEM, and other fields.

While they usually don’t count toward a degree, MOOCs can provide learners with valuable and career-relevant knowledge. They also allow students to explore new interests and hobbies.

Ivy Leagues and online courses

MOOCs allow anyone to register and can serve hundreds of learners simultaneously. These courses combine traditional learning materials, such as lectures, with innovative elements, such as social media threads. Students typically take online quizzes and interact in discussion forums.

Ivy League schools were among the first to offer MOOCs. Stanford hosted its first MOOCs in 2011. The following year, professors at Stanford founded Coursera and Udacity, now two of the most popular MOOC platforms. Around the same time, Harvard and MIT teamed up to create edX, another popular online learning platform.

Ivy League schools offer MOOCs for various reasons, including expanding public access to education, building their reputation and conducting research on teaching and learning. MOOCs can also supplement classroom instruction.

Benefits of Enrolling in Free Online Ivy League Schools Courses

Free online college courses provide unprecedented access to high-quality Ivy League education. These courses also allow learners to explore interesting topics without the expense and high pressure of a traditional college course. Students who don’t like a MOOC can just quit without worrying about their GPA or registration record.

Sometimes these classes open up new career paths for students. Other times, learners take these courses for fun or to discover a passion outside of their chosen career.

Learners who engage in a series of MOOCs can gain in-depth, focused knowledge from top schools around the world. Sometimes they can receive a certificate of completion, often for a small fee.

However, most of the time, MOOCs do not lead to course credit, a diploma, or formal references. For learners who need formal credentials, online degree or certificate programs are generally better suited.

Some students find it difficult to complete courses without the structure and responsibility of formal education. Others strongly prefer the face-to-face interaction and relationship building offered by traditional institutions.

Free Ivy League Schools Online Courses

Regardless of their level of study or area of ​​interest, learners can find a MOOC that suits their needs. These free online courses range from general introductions to highly specialized niche courses. Here are some examples :

Yale University via Coursera



This course teaches students how to analyze social media posts to distinguish fact from fiction – a valuable skill in the age of disinformation. Learners explore how to verify statements and differentiate between good and bad research.

Harvard University via edX

Group of students standing together in class and smiling.  Portrait of start-up entrepreneurs with arms crossed

Getty Images / iStockphoto

Many budding entrepreneurs are looking to rapidly developing markets like India, China and Latin America. Offered by the world-renowned Harvard Business School, this course explores how businesses can both generate profits and solve social problems.

Yale University via Coursera


Persuasion and negotiation are key skills for professionals in any industry, not just business. Students learn to negotiate via email, negotiate when lacking in power, examine power dynamics, and chat with people with different points of view.

Princeton University via Coursera


The Dalai Lama encouraged scientists and academics to examine meditation and Buddhist ideas on the human mind. This class does just that, exploring Buddhist principles through the prism of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, evolution, and religion.

Can I get my degree online for free?

It is generally not possible to obtain a degree online for free. Some MOOCs offer a certificate of completion for a small fee. In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply these certificate credits to a degree program.

Which online certification is the best?

The best online certification varies for everyone based on their individual interests and goals. However, any Ivy League school is a great choice for high quality learning material.

Which Ivy League schools offer free lessons?

There are eight Ivy League schools: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. All of them offer free online courses through Coursera and edX.

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