54 free online courses from the best colleges in the US - including Princeton, Harvard, and Yale

stanford university campus

  • Online learning sites Coursera and edX allow you to audit classes from top universities for free.
  • For additional fees, you can gain access to course certificates, assignments, tests, and even receive a final grade.
  • Course topics vary widely - from business management to social justice, food science to structural engineering - there's something for everyone.
  • Now that social distancing and shelter-at-home policies are in place across the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, taking an online course is a good opportunity to pass time, learn something new, or advance your career.

Every year, US News & Reports releases its ranking of the top universities in the country. These schools are renowned for their rigorous academic and research programs, professors and faculty members with resumes packed with accomplishments, and beautiful campuses - but they're not easy to get into, nor are they affordable to attend.

Thankfully, online learning sites like Coursera and edX are helping to increase access to high-quality education for everyone. Their free and low-priced courses are taught by instructors from the best universities and academic institutions around the world, allowing anyone to advance their education, professional goals, or personal interests. Advertisement

Both Coursera and edX allow you to audit any course for free. You get access to course materials and follow along with the class as it progresses. For an additional $40 to $160 (depending on the course) on edX, you receive a verified certificate that you can include in your resume or on your LinkedIn profile. If a course is listed as "Archived" on the site, that means you can't get the certificate, access to the course staff on forums, or graded assignments, but you can still take the course.

Meanwhile, expanded access to Coursera courses includes assignments, tests, and a final grade, and costs $29 to $99 per course.

Coursera and edX also each offer in-depth specializations that require some more commitment and help learners develop the professional skills that are in demand in their industries today.
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A decade ago, you wouldn't have been able to easily take classes from these top-ranked schools. Now, you can. We rounded up the Coursera and edX courses from each of the schools so you can skip directly to your favorite university, or browse all that each has to offer.

Note: The following list includes Archived courses on edX. They are designated with an asterisk (*).

Take these online classes from top 10 universities in the country:

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1: Princeton University

1: Princeton University
Browse all courses from Princeton University at Coursera here Browse all courses from Princeton University at edX here

2: Harvard University

2: Harvard University
Browse all courses from Harvard University at edX here
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3 (tie): Columbia University

3 (tie): Columbia University
Browse all courses from Columbia University at Coursera here Browse all courses from Columbia University at edX here

3 (tie): MIT

3 (tie): MIT
Browse all courses from MIT at edX here
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3 (tie): Yale University

3 (tie): Yale University
Browse all courses from Yale University at Coursera here

6 (tie): Stanford University

6 (tie): Stanford University
Browse all courses from Stanford University at Coursera here
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6 (tie): University of Chicago

6 (tie): University of Chicago
Browse all courses from University of Chicago at Coursera here Browse all courses from University of Chicago at edX here

6 (tie): University of Pennsylvania

6 (tie): University of Pennsylvania
Browse all courses from University of Pennsylvania at Coursera here Browse all courses from University of Pennsylvania at edX here
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9: Northwestern University

9: Northwestern University
Browse all courses from Northwestern University at Coursera here

10 (tie): Duke University

10 (tie): Duke University
Browse all courses from Duke University at Coursera here
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10 (tie): Johns Hopkins University

10 (tie): Johns Hopkins University
Browse all courses from Johns Hopkins University at Coursera here