15 free online classes from Harvard to learn something new

Take world-class courses from your own home.

While a year’s tuition at Harvard University will set you back nearly $50,000 (and that’s before room, board, and fees tack on another $20K), there’s a much cheaper option that doesn’t involve braving Massachusetts winters, or having to be admitted to the prestigious university at all. All you need is an internet connection to take certain Harvard courses for free in the comfort of your own home, thanks to the university’s fabulous online learning portal.

You have options. There are free courses as well as courses that are free to audit, which means you can take the course for free but there is a cost to upgrade for additional content and/or to receive a verified certificate from HarvardX.

We’ve handpicked a selection of some of the best free Harvard courses currently available, from the study of Shakespeare to a class that will help you better understand urban life. Our varied selection is like a wish list of courses we’re hoping to find the time to take in the near future.

1. Justice

Image of professor at a lectern in a lecture hall

 Credit: Harvard University

We’re starting our list with Justice, one of the most famous courses taught at Harvard, which includes the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. This 12-week-long course taught by lauded professor Michael Sandel explores classical and contemporary theories of justice, including discussion of contemporary dilemmas and controversies and present-day applications.

2. Masterpieces of World Literature

image of an old map

This free online class from Harvard requires a time commitment, but what else are you doing right now? Credit: Harvard University

This class invites you to “embark on a global journey to explore the past, present, and future of world literature.” This 12-week course requires a time commitment of up to seven hours a week. During those hours, you’ll study how great writers refract their world, looking at works from Goethe, Voltaire, and Rushdie, among others.

9. PredictionX: Omens, Oracles & Prophecies

drawing of zodiac sky

We developed these belief systems for a reason. Learn why. Credit: Harvard University

This mini-module is a good option for anyone wary of committing to a longer-term learning journey. It’s an introductory-level, one-week-long immersive course that examines “pre-scientific” prediction systems that range from ancient Chinese bone-burning to the Oracle of Delphi to modern astrology and tarot.

11. The Health Effects of Climate Change

Paper cutout rendition of family in a city park with a skyline in the background

This course is described as “not just an elegy for the planet, but a call to action.” Credit: Harvard University

You know about climate change’s impact on the environment, but what about its impact on your health? Created with support from the Harvard Global Health Institute, this seven-week course will explain climate change’s role in nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration. By studying research methods and recommendations from scientists in the field, you’ll learn what you can do to help the cause.

There are a total of 15 free classes to take on-line. Read about all of them by clicking the link below.

By Amy-Mae Turner and Cecily Mauran writing for Mashable.com©

Source: 15 free online classes from Harvard to learn something new (mashable.com)