Now more than ever, students are turning to online learning (we’re looking at you COVID-19!). But did you know that you can pursue free online graduate courses at the professional level right from home? That’s right: from the comfort of your couch and for absolutely nothing. Cue the popcorn.
Whether you’re looking to brush up on your skills before you enter a graduate program or you just want to further your knowledge for your career, we’ve gathered up 21 places you can find free grad school classes. Some will house thousands of classes and some will serve as a resource, but either way, there’s something here for you.
Some of these offerings, however, do allow you to pay extra to take additional coursework or to earn a certificate for your class, so make sure to pay attention to what you’re actually committing to. It is important to note that you may not receive credit for these courses at your university. Utilize these online free grad school courses as a digital tutor or as essential continuing education. But if you’re looking to earn credentials or a certificate to show proof of your coursework, remember–you may have to pay. Make sure to check the specific details of your platform before moving forward.
Also, many of the colleges and consortiums we will discuss don’t necessarily label whether a free online class is undergraduate or graduate level. Yet, sometimes they do. Confusing, right? We’re here to help. As a rule of thumb, try looking for courses that are labeled as “advanced” or that offer specializations or certifications. When in doubt, contact the specific provider for help.
To keep things simple for you, we have organized these free master’s classes online into the following sections:
- Universities that offer free online graduate certificate programs and free online graduate classes
- Websites that serve as consortiums and offer free online Masters degree courses with certificates and free online graduate courses through multiple universities at once
- 3rd party websites that offer their own curriculum for free graduate credits for teachers and free online graduate courses with certificates available
- And–a good ole fashioned “other” category where all the unlabeled ones hang out!
Make the most out of the time spent in self-quarantine by learning something new! Be ready to further your career when the doors open back up and we begin to work towards a return to the normal.
Reputable Universities that Offer Free Online Graduate Courses
When it comes to universities offering free online graduate credits, you’ll be surprised at the names on this list. Yes, you can pursue advanced and professional level coursework and lectures from reputable and ivy-league institutions. And then? You’ll be able to say, “Hey! I took classes at Yale!” Impressive, right?
The world is your oyster, friends.
Here are a few we found:
Carnegie Mellon University
Through Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative, students can benefit from both open and free classes as well as low-cost independent paid courses. But don’t worry; when we say low-cost, we actually mean it! While there are plenty of free courses, the ones that do cost money will only cost you about $10 or $25 dollars. Choose from a variety of academic subjects or boost professional skills like Evidence-Based Management. Note that many of the academic subject areas are more entry-level. All classes are independent self-paced study with no grades or credits.
Brigham Young University Independent Study
While the free online graduate courses at Brigham Young University aren’t necessarily labeled as graduate courses, we still wanted to include them in this write-up. And with good reason. The subject matter of several courses would be a great fit for someone who is looking to advance their interpersonal skills or even to understand the world around them. Students can take classes in areas like family history and genealogy, parenting, and leadership. Sample free grad courses online include unique options like Planning and Preparing your Garden, Rearing Responsible and Righteous Teens in a Wicked World, Strengthening Family and Finance, and Personal Finance.
Durham, North Carolina
The free online master’s courses at Duke University find themselves on several consortium lists. To access these classes, check out these two platforms: Class Central and Coursera. (To understand these better, read the consortium section below). Class Central houses over 85 free online courses from Duke University. Students can filter by whether or not the course offers a certificate, by start-date, and by subject matter. Similar courses are offered on Coursera; if you are wanting to take free classes from Duke, then decide which platform you prefer.
Students seeking free grad courses for teachers or free online masters degrees in education might want to check out the free education course created by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. “Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning & Teaching” is presented on the Edx platform and will give students a comprehensive understanding of the Data Wise Improvement Process. This class is targeted towards teachers, school and district leaders, and policymakers who desire to improve student outcomes.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
If you’re looking for free online STEM courses, then check out MIT’s options through Open Courseware. OCW enables people all over the world to get access to MIT’s reputable course content for no cost at all. Students can choose from a large variety of STEM and Liberal Arts classes, or one of the programs cross-disciplinary topics–which include Energy, Entrepreneurship, Environment, and more. This program is in collaboration with the Open Education Consortium.
Stanford University’s online division has more free online graduate courses (that are labeled graduate!) than many others on this list. Offered through the edX platform, students can choose courses from several subject areas. Students seeking a free online master’s degree in computer science or a free online master’s degree in project management might want to take a look at free classes like Giving 2.0 from the Graduate School of Business or Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Introduction to Web Security through the School of Engineering. SU also offers many applicable free graduate education courses for those seeking a free master’s in education.
The University of California – Berkeley has a long, rich history of providing a quality education for its students. And in 2012, they extended that reach by forming the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE). The BRCOE is considered a hub for innovative online resources, both for credit and non-credit. Powered but edX, students can pursue many self-paced courses, as well as courses leading to professional certifications like Blockchain Fundamentals and the Science of Happiness at work. Students can find free courses, or paid courses for a nominal fee.
New Haven, Connecticut
Students looking for introductory-level courses can check out Yale University’s archive of free classes on their website. This includes free downloads of class lectures, as well as suggested reading and research. Those looking for other options can also look into Yale’s free offerings on their Coursera site. Options are available in subject areas like medicine, science, politics, and history, which could be a good fit for anyone seeking a free online history degree. Sample course offerings include Addiction Treatment: Clinical Skills for Healthcare Workers, The Science of Well-Being, Financial Markets, and Climate Change and Health. Classes are offered for free, and students who complete the hands-on project are eligible to earn a certificate in the courses.
Rather like a train station, the platforms offered by educational consortiums can take you anywhere you want to go. And unlike public transport, many of the educational offerings are free!
Consortiums that offer free online graduate courses from multiple universities
By now, you’ve read about platforms like Class Central and Coursera, but what are they? These platforms are consortiums which serve as a hub for a number of universities offering free online grad courses. That means that instead of visiting each individual university’s website, you can visit the platform’s website and access all the free courses available across multiple colleges.
Here are a few we are highlighting:
With a mission to make sure everyone can access free education, Academic Earth created the first collection of free online courses by top universities back in 2009. Choose from reputable colleges like Yale, George Washington, Dartmouth, and Berklee College of Music. When it comes to subject areas, students can pursue free online graduate courses in Physics, Psychology, Chemistry, Computer Science and more. Look for advanced or professional level lectures and courses.
What’s so great about Class Central is that you can set filters so you can search for what you’re looking for! When you put “graduate” into the search bar, nearly 400 options come up, about 275+ of them with certifications. The site works sort of like a search engine. It generates the results and then points you toward the resource (like Coursera or edX). The courses are pulled from a range of highly sought after universities. Pursue classes like Writing For Graduate School or Getting Organized: How to Be a Together Teacher.
Join the millions of people who are learning for free on the platform Coursera and go after your goals. Whether you’re trying to learn the latest skills, earn a professional certificate, or complete training for your job–you certainly need to check out their platform. According to a survey conducted in 2019, “87% of people learning for professional development report career benefits like getting a promotion, a raise, or starting a new career.” Choose from free video lectures in popular subjects like business, computer science, data science, and language learning.
Another platform to check out that houses free online graduate courses as well as professional courses is edX. Over 2,500 courses from 140 institutions are represented. When searching for applicable courses, you can filter your results by categories, including options like “self-paced,” “advanced” courses, and more. Options to earn credits and certificates are also available.
Free Video Lectures
Free Video Lectures is exactly what you think it would be: free video lectures! What is so enticing about this website is that there aren’t any hidden costs for anything. All of your unlimited access to these lectures is truly free. Enjoy nearly 1400 courses from 68 universities. This platform focuses on four key areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Engineering, and Math/Science. This website might be a good fit for students seeking a free master’s in computer science or a related field. Join the other 5 million students who are using Free Video Lectures!
With a goal to transform access to education, Future Learn is a platform to really dive into. But here’s the catch. You will have access to free online graduate courses. However, you can only get so far. In order to “unlock” unlimited access to the courses, you will need to pay $250 per year, which isn’t that bad considering what you would be getting access to. When trying to make a decision, browse around their site–look at what free options are available and relevant to you. You can also pursue those first and then decide about the $250 later on.
Open Education Database
Open Education Database claims to be the “most comprehensive collection of online college rankings and free courses anywhere online.” If that’s really true, then RUN, don’t walk, to their site! What makes this platform stand out is its “advice” section that helps guide students towards a successful online learning experience. The free online graduate courses are powered through OpenCourseWare and offer options in fields like the Arts, Health and Medical, Science, Education, and Math.
Think of Saylor Academy more like a boutique academy. Unlike OED above which houses over 10,000 classes, Saylor Academy is home to 100 full-length courses. So you won’t be piece-mealing your classes together–you can actually take courses in their entirety. Students at SA are typically seeking career advancement, degree completion, or professional development. Some even just casual learning. Whatever you’re looking for, Saylor is there. You can earn digital certifications or free college credit–or even go a step further and earn a low-cost degree.
The following didn’t necessarily fit in any of the above categories, so we let them all hang out down here!
Educators! Or those seeking a free online Master’s in Education! Listen up! Canvas Networks is your place for lifelong learning and professional development. Canvas Networks houses many courses with the mission of openness, innovation, and experimentation. Sample course offerings include Finding and Helping At-Risk Students (K-12), Genius Matters, Safe and Resilient Schools: Mental Health, and Research Data Management Librarian Academy.
Yes–we’re talking the actual Forbes! Like the Forbes Media you know and trust. Students can pursue online professional coursework through their [email protected] sector. Get a competitive edge at your job and invest in yourself through their on-the-job tailored courses. The material taps into the platform’s global network of executives and educators. But yes, there is a catch. [email protected] offers a 14-day trial for you to try out their classes for free. If you like what you’re learning and the platform itself, you can unlock access to the network for a low monthly fee. Specializations include HR Management, Marketing, Finance, and Leadership.
Online Course Report
No matter what kind of graduate student you are, Online Course Report exists with you in mind. So whether you’re looking for Continuing Education Credits, Personal Enrichment Learning, For-Credit College Courses, or Professional and Graduate Degrees–you can find something for you. For example, if you’re looking for a free Master’s in public health or a graduate degree in science, OCR has information for you. Less like a consortium that houses full-length courses, OCR can point you in the right direction matched with your interests. The articles break down where you can find what you’re looking for–with detailed analysis, including cost and outcome.
You can create an Open Learn account completely for free and get access to over a hundred courses. When searching, the site labels the course level so you can keep up with what free online graduate classes might be right for you. Students can choose topics like Money and Business, Nature and Environment, and Language. You can take classes to help your studies or to boost your employment skills. An option to earn a digital badge or Statement of Participation is available.
We know what you’re thinking. YouTube? Yes! Don’t underestimate this platform. It’s not just for watching silly videos and how-tos. On their comprehensive website, search for whatever free online graduate course you are looking for. You will be able to find videos of full-length lectures or you could find shorter videos that will point you towards the right resources for you. Yes, this way might be a little unconventional, but with the technological world we live in–we can use that non-traditional pathway to our advantage. Ready, set, go!