The 10 Best Harvard Courses You Can Take Online for Free

Kenneth Palmer

Harvard is a prestigious school with a lot of name recognition, but more than that it provides great education for anyone who can manage to get in. Fortunately, you can now get an education from Harvard regardless of your prior learning. And the best part? It’s entirely free.


If you’re at all interested in educating yourself at one of the most famous universities in the world, then here are 10 of its best free online courses to consider.


A Screenshot of Harvards Free CS50 Introduction to Game Development Course

The first of the free Harvard courses that makes it to this list is CS50’s Introduction to Game Development. CS50 (standing for Computer Science 50) is an on-campus and online course in computer science that is taught at Harvard and Yale University.

This course focuses on game development. If you enjoy playing video games and have always wanted to know how to do it for yourself, this is a great introductory course to do just that.

The course itself is 12 weeks long and entirely self-paced, so you can work through the material at your own leisure. It focuses on teaching the fundamentals of Lua and C#, which are both programming languages that you can use with a variety of free game development software to make your own games.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Introduction to Programming with Scratch Course

Following on from Harvard’s free Introduction to Game Development comes its Introduction to Programming with Scratch. Also part of CS50, this free course focuses on teaching you the fundamentals of programming.

It does this using Scratch, an educational program that aims to teach programming skills through a block-based programming language. The course itself is only three weeks long, which is perfect to tip your toe in and learn more about programming without committing to something bigger.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Principles of Biochemistry Course

If you’re the type of person who’s always trying to find the best ways to get your daily dose of science, then Principles of Biochemistry may be the type of Harvard course that interests you.

The course is a relatively long one, clocking in at 15 weeks. This is plenty of time to learn all about the structure of the chemical building blocks of life, as well as how to navigate protein structures using PyMOL and much more.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Cell Biology Mitochondria Course

If Principles of Biochemistry sounds interesting, but you’re worried about the level of complexity or the time commitment, then Cell Biology: Mitochondria might be what you’re looking for.

This free course focuses on the fundamentals of all cell biology, and includes a focus on the Mitochondria. It also teaches how the internal structure of cells work and how they metabolize food, among other things.

This course only requires a four-week commitment, and is entirely self-paced, so perfect for any skill or commitment level.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Fundamentals of Neuroscience Part 1 The Electrical Properties of the Neuron Course

If you’ve found yourself drawn to the longer free courses that Harvard provides, but are worried about potentially being unable to finish due to their length, then Fundamentals of Neuroscience might just be what you’re looking for.

This course runs for five weeks and teaches you the fundamentals of bioelectricity and how it interacts with your nervous system.

What’s great here is that there’s a part two and part three to this course that focuses on more advanced concepts and grow steadily longer. This is a great avenue to continue your study if you really enjoy the first part, or simply stop once you’ve completed it.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Energy and Thermodynamics Course

For those of you who don’t have much interest in biology, Harvard still has science courses available for free that may interest you. Energy and Thermodynamics is a course that focuses on chemistry and energy that you can take, for example.

This course focuses on describing the different forms of energy, and how they interact with power and chemistry. The course itself is 10 weeks long, and covers a range of topics over that time.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Women Making History Ten Objects Many Stories Course

If you’re interested in the humanities, then Women Making History may be the course that you’ve been looking for. This teaches about the many ways that women have impacted American history, with a focus on the way that history is complex and nonlinear.

The course runs for eight weeks, but has a lower weekly time commitment than many other courses of the same length, which makes it a great way to learn something extra in your free time.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature Course

For those of you who are looking for a free course in the humanities, but have little interest in history, there’s Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature.

This six-week Harvard course focuses on the fundamentals of literature, such as how to critically analyze literary works and how they are transformed and recovered by modern technology.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Calculus Applied Course

If you want to brush up on your math or are just worried that the help you’re giving your children on their homework might be wrong, then there’s no better way than with a free Harvard course.

Calculus Applied! is a 10-week-long course focusing on real-world uses for calculus and how to perform them. This includes working with variables, constants, and parameters, among other key elements of calculus.

A Screenshot of Harvards Free Introduction to Probability Course

Finally, we have Introduction to Probability, another math course provided for free by Harvard. This course focuses on teaching how to think about uncertainty and randomness, how random variables work, and what common probability distributions are.

This course runs for 10 weeks and has a somewhat high daily time commitment, but considering that probability is such a useful skill to know, this is largely warranted.

Learn More Without Breaking the Bank

As you can see, Harvard has an impressive range of different courses available for you to take, and they’re all entirely free. If you want, you can even pay for the certificate to prove that you’ve studied at Harvard, which is a pretty nice touch.

Whether you’re on the go or studying at home, technology has made it easier than ever to get educated. All you have to do is find the best ways for you to learn and get to it.

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