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10 Best Free Courses Online From Harvard University

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Harvard University is the oldest institution in the United States and includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. It was founded on September 8, 1636, and it is named after its first benefactor John Harvard, who was a Puritan clergyman and donated half of his estate and library of 400 books to the school.

It is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, and many alumni, University professors, Nobel laureates, members of the U.S. Congress, eight U.S. Presidents, and many researchers graduated from this University. The Harvard Library is one of the largest academic libraries in the world and contains 20.4 million items, and is open to all Harvard affiliates. 

To democratize learning, Harvard University offers free online courses without being admitted to the University at all. The only thing you need is a stable Internet connection; you can take them in the comfort of your home, and no need to pay the yearly fee for tuition that will cost you nearly $50,000. (1

The location and the steep tuition are no longer obstacles when it comes to learning, and now you can find many free online courses with paid printable certificates that are available to everyone around the world. These courses include Mathematics, Programming, Social Science, Humanities, Business, Health & Medicine, and Poetry.

So, you can learn from home, and no-fee registration is required, but you have to pay for the verified certificate.

This is an outstanding chance for you to get a mark from Harvard on your CV and make your credentials more attractive for your career opportunity. You can push the limits of learning and get the best knowledge in almost every field and every genre of human knowledge. 

Harvard University once again proved to be devoted to improving the quality of learning, teaching, and research and making a difference in the learning abilities globally. 

One of the biggest opportunities for these free online courses is that no IELTS/TOFEL or any other proficiency test is required and what is more top, quality professors and mentors from Harvard University give lectures. 

Apart from a variety of choices the student can make, the courses are available in compliance with the time the student chooses, and it is one of the offered chances you should not miss. 

The  10 Best Online Harvard Courses

We have selected 10 of the best online courses Harvard offers for free online, and we hope you will find some free time to take them in the near future.

1. Masterpieces of World Literature

This 12-week course embarks you in the world of literature, and you need to spend 7 hours of your time per week to take it. You will explore how great writers impacted the world they lived in and connected the neighboring countries, even the distant world regions.

The course is focused mainly on authors whose themes are connected to the experience of the broader world that can help us to understand better the deep roots of today’s connected global cultures. (2

2. Shakespeare’s Life and Work

If you want to learn about this famous dramatic genius, you can make it with this free intensive short course that last only four weeks and you need to study only 7 hours per week. You can be present directly in the place where the author was born in 1654, Stratford-upon-Avon, and visit the Globe Theatre, where he was present as an author and where his plays were performed.

This will give you a chance to make a completely new point of view of his work and shift you to another era, which you will love and you can see how his dramas are timeless no matter the era they are performed. (3

3. 6-Week Plan For Healthy Eating

This is a very short course, but it will supply you with dozens of recipes that will introduce you to healthy eating. Our modern living increases the chances of getting many modern diseases like diabetes, stroke, and even cancer.

So, by taking this course, you will be engaged in a new healthy chapter of your life, revealing many cooking secrets through many interactive quizzes, informative charts, fascinating slides, and even pintables of shopping lists and foods that will help you to stay on the track.

It is just 2 weeks long, and you do not have to commit a lot of your time to take it, but you will get a 6 weeks plan for healthy eating. (4)

4. Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics

This course is offered by Harvard Law School and looks into all murky questions that consider legal, medical, and ethical issues regarding reproduction and human genetics.

You will see how the reproductive technology industry works and what is the legal status of the sperm donors, the law behind the ethics of surrogacy, and all civil lawsuits to take when something goes wrong with reproductive technology. All this is supported by interviews with individuals who used surrogacy and sperm donation.

It is 10 weeks long, and the time commitment is 2 – 3 hours per week. (5)

5. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

One of the most important aspects of modern living is engaging in social discourse and having strong and passionate beliefs. This course that takes only 8 weeks will teach you how to be argumentative, form arguments and communicate them successfully. You will learn how to write a persuasive opinion and a short speech and how to evaluate the strength of an argument.

You will study some of the greatest speeches in history, like that of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, and others. 

It is 8 weeks long and takes about 2 – 3 hours per week. (6)

6. The Einstein Revolution

You will learn about the role of physics in the 20th and 21st centuries through the life and work of Albert Einstein and his engagement with relativity and quantum mechanics, nuclear weapons, philosophy, and technology, which has a major impact on the broader history.

The course lasts 14 weeks and you need to commit yourself from 2 to 3 hours per week, and you do not need any scientific knowledge to take it. (7

7. Fundamentals of TinyML

Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) is at a crossroads between all algorithms, hardware, software, and Machine Learning (ML) applications, and it is one of the fastest-growing areas of Deep Learning.

You will focus on machine learning, deep learning, and embedded devices and systems such as smartphones.

This course teaches you the basics and fundamentals of TinyML, and you will be ready to dive into the application for any future, more advanced courses.

It takes only 5 weeks to finish it with a commitment of 2 – 4 hours per week. (8

8. Justice

This course is one of the most popular online courses and it offers a very good introduction to the fundamentals of political philosophy, understanding of social injustice, criminal justice, same-sex marriage, and equality. The Law School at Harvard University is the oldest one operating in the United States and is taught by the distinguished law professor Michael Sandel, who will invite you to make your own view on all these controversies.

You will study the writing of famous philosophers and court cases. It is 12 weeks long with a 3 – 6 hours per week time commitment. (9

9. Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather

In this course, you will learn the basics of the science behind weather systems. You will learn the observational skills needed to make a forecast, estimate the local wind speed and direction, identify different cloud types and features and predict tomorrow’s weather.

It can save your life by instructing you how to avoid being struck by lightning. The time commitment is 3 to5 hours per week, and it is 6 weeks long. (10)

10. The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches Us about the Good Life

Explore Chinese philosophy, political theory, and ethics to understand better the meaning of life and be happy with this course that is one of the most popular at Harvard.

You will learn about the philosophy of Confucius, Mozi, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi and learn how to find the right path in your life. See how important is sensing the world around you, the power of ritual, and all this with the help of animations, discussions, and reflective diaries. Start your path towards happiness with this course that lasts around 7 weeks and you need to commit yourself from 2 to 4 hours per week. (11

Are Harvard Online Free Courses Worth It?

Every certificate you make opens your door to fulfilling your career and may deepen your knowledge. Taking an online course doesn’t require a lot of time and other sacrifices like quitting your job, and it is free. You do not have to pay for it. (12)

However, taking just one single course is not the same as a full-fledged degree program, no matter residential or online, but it can boost your career and open new opportunities, as some students have already reported, and one in four students respondents said they had been promoted after finishing an online Harvard course.

Let’ see some of the benefits of taking a Harvard online course:

Possible Pros

1. You may live abroad and take it online and save money

If you live abroad, it may be hard for you to travel and pay the costs related to this education and traveling. When you learn online, you can eliminate all costs related to room and board fees and commute.

2. The courses are short

Some courses are short and do not need to be completed for a year or two as most courses are typically completed.

It is ideal for people who do part-time jobs or people who study at University. It is usually 3 to 5 hours per week, and you can easily split it into your free time, and you can learn on time and complete it whenever you like.

3. The course has easy access

With the help of technology, these online courses are easily accessible. In addition to it, you can find many additional learning materials and relevant webinars that are related to it for free online.

Possible Cons

1 . Some courses are limited to certain subjects

You may find yourself scrolling and searching for some subjects and you may not be able to find any course related to your interest as most of the courses are related to Law, Literature, Data/Science, or Religious Studies.

2. The interaction is hard

In some cases, you will find it hard to interact with other students and your professor on Zoom during lessons. You may also prefer face-to-face interaction and mentoring, and when you follow this type of course, you may feel you are not following at all.

3. You have to pay for the verified certificate

This option may be expensive for some people, but if you have real benefits from the online course, you may try to overlook the benefits over the costs involved. Still, compared to some other online courses, the online courses offered by Harvard University are not as expensive, as some of the cost up to  $2000. 

Finally, to answer the main question… Is it really worth it?

As e-learning is blooming nowadays and online, the learning market has become so popular and profitable that it is, to some extent, worth it.

It is very eye-catching because it is free, and many people are struggling with finances today, which is true.

However, before enrolling in a course, you should explore different courses and make a good selection. Read the description of the course first and see whether it suits your time schedule and whether it is convenient for you.

Are Harvard Certificates Worth It?

Yes, they are absolutely worth it, and you can add them to your resume to attract more potential employers. It will surely show that you are a self-directed learner that improves your knowledge all the time.


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