Ivy League Schools Are Offering More than 300 Free Online College Courses

A statue in front of a Columbia University building.
Columbia University in New York City. Lya_Catte/Getty Images

Oh, those hallowed, ivy-covered halls of…  your bedroom?

Yep, your home just became the newest honorary inductee into the Ivy League — joining the list of long-established and highly regarded universities that includes Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania.

So how did your humble abode with its decided lack of lecture halls and libraries come to receive such an honor, you ask?

Because anyone can now take online courses offered by Ivy League universities for free from the comfort of their living room (or bedroom, your pick) — without being enrolled at one of these highly selective universities.

Take Free College Courses from Ivy League Universities

The courses are offered on a variety of platforms across the internet and span several subjects: computer science, business and management, art and design, science, health and medicine, education and teaching, mathematics, humanities and engineering.

So far, between the eight schools, more than 430 classes have been created. Of those, 344 are currently active. All of them are listed on Class Central, although once you select a course, you may be taken to a different site like edX or Coursera to actually sign up.

They’re all completely free to take online, and while you won’t actually receive college credit for them, you will have a chance to learn specialized skills and understand more about the world around you with course materials designed by Ivy League instructors for an elite group of students.

Some of the courses do offer an opportunity to receive a certificate at the end, but you’ll have to pay a small fee. (Fifty dollars to $90 looks like the general range, and some of the platforms allow you to apply for financial assistance). If you choose to forgo the certificate and just want to learn the information, those same courses are free.

The details of each course are listed on the sign-up page, so you’ll know things like how much time you should plan to dedicate to the class each week and how many weeks a course is expected to take. Some of the courses are self-paced, but some have a set start and end date.

You can also see student reviews of the courses, along with an overview and brief syllabus. Each class includes a mix of reading materials, videos, tests, quizzes, discussion forums and assignments.

If you want to browse the course options and pick a class or three to sign up for, you can see the full list of available courses here.

Now, whether you join a sailing team is entirely up to you (and no, there’s not an online course for that offered here).

Grace Schweizer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.