31 free Harvard University classes you can take online through edX

harvard campus

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Librarygroover/Flickr

EdX, a popular online learning platform and nonprofit founded by Harvard and MIT, aims to democratize learning by “removing the barriers of cost, location, and access.”

The site’s over 2,500 online courses are free to audit, and edX counts many of the world’s top universities – including Berkeley, MIT, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton, Georgia Tech, and the University of Chicago – among its participating institutions. Courses cover virtually every topic and range from its MicroMasters programs to skills you’d need to gain before changing fields and starting new hobbies.

Of the site’s course catalog, about 145 are Harvard online courses that are free to audit. Harvard’s edX courses cover everything from public health and history to the science of cooking, computer programming, and poetry.

You can audit edX’s classes for free, but you can opt to pay $50-$200 for a course. Paid users get access to graded assignments, a certificate that you can add to your CV, resume, and LinkedIn profile, and unlimited course access (even after the course ends). Paid and free users get access to discussion forums, videos, readings, and ungraded practice problems.

Below, check out 31 of the most interesting Harvard courses available to audit online for free. The descriptions are provided by edX.


Masterpieces of World Literature

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edX

Free to audit

Embark on a global journey to explore the past, present, and future of World Literature.


CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

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edX

Free to audit

Learn to use machine learning in Python in this introductory course on artificial intelligence.


CitiesX: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Life

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pom-anger/Flickr

Free to audit

Explore what makes cities energizing, amazing, challenging, and perhaps humanity’s greatest invention.


The Opioid Crisis in America

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jamiesrabbits/Flickr

Free to audit

Learn about the opioid epidemic in the United States, including information about treatment and recovery from opioid addiction.


Introduction to Family Engagement in Education

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edX

Free to audit

Learn about successful collaborations between families and educators and why they lead to improved outcomes for students and schools.


Improving Your Business Through a Culture of Health

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edX

Free to audit

Learn how a Culture of Health can transform your business to improve the well-being of your employees and company, while increasing revenue.


Statistics and R

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edX

Free to audit

An introduction to basic statistical concepts and R programming skills necessary for analyzing data in the life sciences.


Introduction to Probability

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edX

Free to audit

Learn probability, an essential language and set of tools for understanding data, randomness, and uncertainty.


Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up

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edX

Free to audit

Increase your quantitative reasoning skills through a deeper understanding of probability and statistics.


Data Science: Inference and Modeling

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edX

Free to audit

Learn inference and modeling, two of the most widely used statistical tools in data analysis.


Data Science: R Basics

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edX/Facebook

Free to audit

Build a foundation in R and learn how to wrangle, analyze, and visualize data.


Using Python for Research

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edX

Free to audit

Take your introductory knowledge of Python programming to the next level and learn how to use Python 3 for your research.


The Health Effects of Climate Change

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nucho/Flickr

Free to audit

Learn how global warming impacts human health, and the ways we can diminish those impacts.


Justice

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Free to audit

This introduction to moral and political philosophy is one of the most popular courses taught at Harvard College.


Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster

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eu_echo/Flickr

Free to audit

Learn the principles guiding humanitarian response to modern emergencies, and the challenges faced in the field today.


Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

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edX

Free to audit

Gain critical communication skills in writing and public speaking with this introduction to American political rhetoric.


Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories

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edX

Free to audit

Learn how American women created, confronted, and embraced change in the 20th century while exploring ten objects from Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library.


MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe

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liverpoolhls/Flicker

Free to audit

How can we eradicate malaria? Explore cutting-edge science and technology, and examine policies needed, to control and eliminate malaria.


Prescription Drug Regulation, Cost, and Access: Current Controversies in Context

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Free to audit

Understand how the FDA regulates pharmaceuticals and explore debates on prescription drug costs, marketing, and testing.


Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic

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jurvetson/Flickr

Free to audit

Understanding the context for the Ebola outbreak: What went right, what went wrong, and how we can all do better.


Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology

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pyramidtexts/Flickr

Free to audit

Explore the archaeology, history, art, and hieroglyphs surrounding the famous Egyptian Pyramids at Giza. Learn about Old Kingdom pharaohs and elites, tombs, temples, the Sphinx, and how new technology is unlocking their secrets.


American Government: Constitutional Foundations

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pedrosz/Flickr

Free to audit

Learn how early American politics informed the US Constitution and why its promise of liberty and equality has yet to be fully realized.


US Political Institutions: Congress, Presidency, Courts, and Bureaucracy

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Free to audit

Examine the inner workings of the three branches of the US Federal Government.


Citizen Politics in America: Public Opinion, Elections, Interest Groups, and the Media

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Free to audit

Learn about the forces in American politics that seek to influence the electorate and shift the political landscape.


Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

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Free to audit

Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how traditional and modernist cooking techniques can illuminate basic principles in chemistry, physics, and engineering. Learn about elasticity, viscosity, mayonnaise, baking, and more.


CS50’s Understanding Technology

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edX

Free to audit

This is CS50’s introduction to technology for students who don’t (yet) consider themselves computer persons.


Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A Roadmap for Getting Results

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Free to audit

Learn the skills and tools of improvement science to make positive changes in health, healthcare, and your daily life.


Health and Society

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Free to audit

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect population health.


CS50’s Mobile App Development with React Native

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edX

Free to audit

Learn about mobile app development with React Native, a popular framework maintained by Facebook that enables cross-platform native apps using JavaScript without Java or Swift.


Saving Schools: Reforming the US Education System

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Johannes Thiel/Flickr

Free to audit

An overview of the past, present, and future of the United States public K-12 education system.


Poetry in America: Modernism

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edX

Free to audit

Reading works by Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, among others, learn how American Modernist poetry departed from past traditions and past forms.