List of Free Online Liberal Arts Courses and Classes
See our list of the top free online liberal arts courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.
Online Liberal Arts Courses for Credit
While free liberal arts courses that don't require students to register or pay tuition are plentiful online, these courses won't result in college credit. Students focused on getting credit for the courses they complete might take advantage of online resources that charge a small fee in exchange for access to courses. Fee-based courses prepare students to earn college credit.
Education Portal's distance learning program is fee-based and offers a path to college credit. Registered members can watch engaging and short video lessons and take self-assessment quizzes. There are also free transcripts available for the video lessons. Students who want to explore the liberal arts and prepare to earn college credit can choose from a number of courses available through Education Portal. Some of the liberal arts courses available include:
- English 102: American Literature - Chapters in this course include literary analysis, the Dark Romantics, literary realism, modernist plays and contemporary literature.
- Math 101: College Algebra - Take this course to learn more about absolute value, inequalities, factoring with FOIL, rational expressions and exponentials.
- History 101: Western Civilization I - This course covers such topics as the history of ancient Greece, the Dark Ages and different periods of the Middle Ages, the age of exploration and the reformation.
Free Online Non-Credited Liberal Arts Courses
These liberal arts courses are free and don't require students to register. These courses don't lead to college credit. Students may need special software, such as document readers and media players, to access course materials.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT's free courses generally offer lectures, assignments and quizzes in PDF format. The online course materials for Justice, a course examining liberty in modern society, consist only of selected lecture notes. Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies and Macro and International Economics offer complete sets of lecture notes as well as class assignments, but no solutions. Exam questions are available for the Macro and International Economics course.
The Open University
This school's courses may include illustrated lecture notes and learning activities. Geometry is an introductory course that utilizes Java software called Geogebra in its included activities, although students who don't have Java should be able to complete the lessons. 'Problem' Populations, 'Problem' Places is a 5-hour course that looks at real world examples of poverty and social justice in urban areas.
Tufts University's free online courses don't require registration, but the courses available online don't include full content from the original course. Students utilizing course materials from Intellectual Development, a graduate-level child development course, can access slides of notes from selected seminars as well as a few supplemental study aides. Extensive materials are available for the Theories of Public Policy class, including texts of 13 lectures, texts for recommended readings and some homework assignments. Students can look at the final exam, but answers are not provided.
University of Notre Dame
- Islamic Societies of the Middle East and North Africa: Religion, History, and Culture
- The Rise and Fall of World Communism
Students can download detailed lecture notes and reading assignments for both of these courses. Some required reading for The Rise and Fall of World Communism is available online. Discussion questions and writing prompts are also given for this class. Course materials for Islamic Societies of the Middle East and North Africa: Religion, History, and Culture include a glossary of terms and names and essay topics.
Yale University's OCW courses include videos of the lectures used in the original courses. Transcripts and audio versions of the lectures are also available. Students have the option to purchase the recommended textbooks. Introduction to Theory of Literature consists of 26 lectures, and students can find PDF handouts for some of the lecture materials. The Roman Architecture course has 23 recorded lecture sessions, many with illustrations.