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100 Intro Open Courses on Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Learn

Posted on Wednesday May 12, 2010 by Staff Writers

While the classes you take through an online college are a great resource, you can augment your learning by taking some time to see what entirely free courses are out there offered by universities. Taking these courses can be a great way to get a foundation of knowledge or expand on what you already know. Here are 100 open courses that are designed for beginners, so you can start your educational journey on the right foot.

Business and Finance

These courses will help you learn a little bit more about the business and financial worlds.

  1. Introductory Economics: Take this course to learn the basics of economics. [Carnegie Mellon]
  2. Introduction to Microeconomics: Not even sure what microeconomics is? You’ll learn that and more here. [Utah State]
  3. Introduction to Copyright Law: Knowing a little bit about copyright law can help you no matter what field you’re in, so take a free course in it here. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting: Those going into business and financial work can benefit from this course. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Operations Management: Get some tips on better running and managing a business from this course. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Marketing: Taking this course can help you with a marketing career or selling your own products. [MIT]
  7. Strategic Management I: Give your management skills a few new tricks with this course on analytical and strategic management. [MIT]

Math

Improve your understanding of math with these courses.

  1. Introduction to Probability and Statistics: Learn how to better use statistics and probability in real life through this course. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Partial Differential Equations: Through this course, you’ll learn about the essentials of differential equations. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Functional Analysis: This undergraduate course covers topics like normed spaces, completeness, functionals, Hahn-Banach theorem, and duality. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Algorithms: Take this course to learn more about how algorithms can be used efficiently and in practical applications. [MIT]
  5. Calculus for Beginners and Artists: Even those with little math knowledge can learn basic calculus through this course. [MIT]
  6. College Algebra: If you still need some help with learning algebra, this course can be a big help. [Utah State]
  7. Introduction to Numerical Methods: Check out this course to learn more about the basic methodology of numerical linear algebra. [MIT]

Science

Through these courses you can gain some valuable scientific knowledge.

  1. Introduction to Ocean Science and Engineering: Take this course to learn about the relationship between engineering and the functions of the ocean. [MIT]
  2. Freshman Organic Chemistry: Through this course, students can learn about basic organic chemistry, essential to taking further courses in the subject. [Yale]
  3. Fundamentals of Physics: Learn more about classical mechanics through this free course. [Yale]
  4. Agricultural Science and Policy I: This course from Tufts will teach you the essential chemical, biological and physical properties of agriculture. [Tufts]
  5. Introduction to Modern Physics: Don’t know much about quantum physics? This introductory course will give you a great overview. [Tufts]
  6. Introduction to Biology: This course features video lectures that will educate you on basic cellular structure, function and chemistry. [MIT]
  7. Nano-life: An Introduction to Virus Structure and Assembly: In this course, you’ll get a chance to learn more about the reproduction and biology of viruses. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Experimental Chemistry: If you have access to a lab, you’ll be able to experiment with different chemical properties and reactions in this course. [MIT]
  9. Introductory Quantum Mechanics I: This course will teach you the essentials of quantum mechanics. [MIT]
  10. Introduction to Applied Nuclear Physics: Even if you’re a nuclear physicist, you can find plenty to learn in this course. [MIT]
  11. Introduction to Astronomy: Explore the solar system and beyond through this beginning course in astronomy. [MIT]
  12. Introduction to Special Relativity: You’ll learn the equations and applications of Einstein’s Special Theory in this course. [MIT]

Literature

From contemporary to ancient, these courses cover a wide range of literary subjects.

  1. Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: In this free course, you’ll get a walk through of the most important Latin American and Iberian fiction. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature: Those unfamiliar with modern Hispanic literature can learn more about it through the recommendations and guidance of this course. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Fiction: Learn more about the basics of fiction from narratives to styles in this course. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Theory of Literature: This survey course offers an introduction to the major literary theories of the 20th century. [Yale]
  5. Foundations of Western Culture: Homer to Dante: Get a survey in the most important works of literature from ancient times to the medieval in this course. [MIT]

Social Sciences

Use these courses to learn about psychology, anthropology, sociology and more.

  1. Introduction to Asian American Studies: Literature, Culture, and Historical Experience: This course is a great opportunity to learn more about Asian cultures and literature even if you know little about it to start. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Latin American Studies: Take this course to learn about Latin American history, culture and people. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Psychology: Here you can learn about human behavior and emotions like perception, communication, learning, memory, decision-making, religion, persuasion, and love. [Yale]
  4. Introduction to Peace Studies: Get insights into the causes and potential resolutions of conflict around the world. [Notre Dame]
  5. Introduction to Social Psychology: In this course, you’ll learn how others and our own experiences shape who we are. [Notre Dame]
  6. Introduction to Anthropology: Learn the methodology and theories of cultural anthropology in this course. [MIT]
  7. The Human Past: Introduction to Archaeology: Take this course to get an excellent overview on the field of archaeology. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies: Explore issues in culture and society that affect how we see and understand gender and sexuality. [MIT]

History and Politics

Discover new parts of the past and gain a greater understanding of international relations through these free courses.

  1. Introduction to Environmental History: Through this course, you can learn about the ways humans have interacted with their environments throughout history. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Political Philosophy: You’ll read some of the major works of literature in political philosophy in this course. [Yale]
  3. Introduction to Ancient Greek History: Explore the history of the ancient Greeks through this introductory course. [Yale]
  4. A Passage to India: Introduction to Modern Indian Culture and Society: Those seeking to learn more about modern India as well as Indian history should take this course. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to the History of Technology: This course will teach you about where technology as we know it today comes from. [MIT]
  6. American Urban History I: Trace the history of the city through this free course from MIT. [MIT]
  7. Introduction to Political Thought: You’ll examine the major texts in political history in this course. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to the American Political Process: Study the US government using traditional and modern methods in this course. [MIT]
  9. Introduction to Comparative Politics: This course will teach you the basic analytical frameworks–culture, social structure, and institutions–to understand modern politics. [MIT]

Technology

If you’re not quite tech-savvy, consider taking one of these courses.

  1. Intro to Tech Communication: Those in the technological fields can learn to better communicate through written and spoken words in this course. [MIT]
  2. Communication Systems I: Study analog communication systems in this course. [Utah State]
  3. Introduction to Open Education: Learn about open education and its applications through this free course. [Utah State]
  4. A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python: Don’t know much about Python programming? This course can help. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Mathematical Programming: Check out this course to learn how to apply math to programming with optimization problems and algorithms. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Technology and Policy: Through this course, students will learn how to use math to make better business decisions. [MIT]
  7. Introduction to Robotics: If you’ve got an interest in robotics, you’ll learn how to design and build ones that actually work in this course. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Technology and Cities: Take this course to learn about the impact of information and communication technologies on urban planning. [MIT]

Engineering

Increase your expertise in engineering with a few of these courses.

  1. Introduction to Aerospace Engineering and Design: Take this course to learn the basics of aerospace engineering. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Lean Six Sigma Methods: This course will teach you how to make your engineering designs more efficient. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Bioengineering: Here you can learn about the intersection between biology and engineering. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Electric Power Systems: Electrical engineers in training can use this course material to learn more about electrical power systems. [MIT]
  5. An Introduction to Intelligent Transportation Systems: In this course, you’ll learn about the impact of intelligent transportation systems and how to design them more effectively. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Modeling and Simulation: Learn to build models for computer and structural engineering in this course. [MIT]
  7. Principles of Computer System Design: An Introduction: Tech geeks can learn how to design and build computer systems in this course. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Radar Systems: This ten-lecture series will help you learn how radar works and its modern applications. [MIT]

Arts and Architecture

These courses can help you learn about drama, architecture, music, photography and a wide range of other arts.

  1. Beginning Costume Design and Construction: If your passion is theater, this course can help you learn how to design great costumes. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Drama: Learn more about the basics of drama, from the history to great works you should know. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Media Studies: This course will educate students on modern technology and media and how to be more intelligent consumers. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Anglo-American Folk Music: Take this course to learn about the production, transmission, preservation and qualities of folk music. [MIT]
  5. Understanding Theatre: Here, you’ll be able to learn about theater as an art form. [Utah State]
  6. Introduction to the Visual Arts: With the help of this course, you can learn to analyze contemporary art and become familiar with a number of art practices. [MIT]
  7. Introduction to Integrated Design: Explore the basics of architectural design, design history and visual arts in this course. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Urban Design and Development: Try out this course to learn about modern urban design as well as to understand how cities evolve over time. [MIT]
  9. Introduction to Design Inquiry: Read through this course material to understand how the process of developing architectural plans and designs works. [MIT]
  10. Introduction to Sculpture: This course addresses issues important to creating and understanding sculpture, like materials, location and aesthetics. MIT]
  11. Introduction to Photography: Want to try your hand at photography? This course will help you understand images and how to make your own. [MIT]
  12. Introduction to Video: Get help with techniques in shooting, editing, and presenting video in this course. [MIT]
  13. Fundamentals of Music: Even if you have little knowledge of music right now, this course will help you discover the basics of Western music. [MIT]

Foreign Language and Culture

Start learning another language with help found in these courses.

  1. Beginning Japanese I: Start learning Japanese through this introductory course. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to French Culture: This course will help you to learn more about French people and culture. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Spanish Culture: Those studying Spanish will appreciate this course on Spanish culture. [MIT]
  4. French I: Through this course, students will learn the fundamentals of French language. [MIT]
  5. German I: Learn to speak a little German with help from this course. [MIT]
  6. Chinese I: With China playing a bigger role in business all the time, knowing a little Chinese, as this course can teach you, can be a big help. [MIT]
  7. Spanish 1: Take this introductory course in Spanish to start learning the language. [MIT]
  8. Beginning Latin: Latin may be a dead language, but knowing it can help you better understand all the languages people still speak that are based on it. [Utah State]

Health and Medicine

Try these courses out to learn more about medical science.

  1. Introduction to Neuroscience: Take this course to learn more about how the brain works. [MIT]
  2. Basic Human Pathology: Parts I and II: Gain a greater understanding of how diseases and illnesses affect the human body in this course. [Tufts]
  3. Medicine I: If you’re planning to be a doctor or a nurse, this course in basic medical skills can be a great place to start learning. [Tufts]
  4. Introduction to Clinical Pain Problems: Learn more about the mechanisms, research and treatments of pain in this course. [Tufts]
  5. Introduction to Neural Networks: Learn how the brain acquires knowledge, perceives the world and processes information in this course. [MIT]

Philosophy and Religion

From the spiritual to the philosophical, these courses have it covered.

  1. Introduction to Philosophy of Language: This course addresses language on a deeper level, examining meaning, reference, and truth. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to the Old Testament: In this courses, you can learn more about the Old Testament, what it says and the history that surrounds it. [Yale]
  3. Introduction to New Testament History and Literature: Not only will you learn about the New Testament in this course but the history of the origins of Christian faith as well. [Yale]
  4. Introduction to Philosophy: This course will help you learn about the essential questions of philosophy and the great minds who posed them. [Notre Dame]
  5. Foundations of Theology: Biblical and Historical: Students can take a look back at the origins of Christianity in this course. [Notre Dame]
  6. Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology: Those not familiar with the Catholic religion and those just wanting to learn more alike can do so here. [Notre Dame]

Language and Linguistics

Learn more about language and writing through these courses.

  1. Introduction to Linguistics: This course will introduce you to the basic vocabulary and workings of modern linguistics. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Syntax: If you don’t know much about syntax now, you will when this course is complete. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to Phonology: In this course, students will explore phonological analysis and study current debates, research and analytical techniques in the field. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Writing Academic Prose: Get a crash course in writing for your college and grad school courses from this resource. [Utah State]