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[2021] 500 Free Computer Science Courses from the World’s Top CS Universities

We combined leading university rankings to find the best computer science courses available online.

Every year, Class Central publishes rankings of the world’s best and most popular online courses. The rankings are based on course ratings and enrollments. To see our annual rankings, visit Class Central Rankings.

In this article, however, let’s adopt a different approach. First, let’s figure out which are the best universities in the world for studying computer science in 2021. Then, let’s find all the computer science courses they offer online.


I started with the three leading global university rankings and looked at the latest editions of their computer science rankings:

My approach was simple. First, I combined the three rankings by averaging each university’s position across each ranking. Second, I limited the list to the top-50 institutions that offer computer science courses online. Third, I leveraged Class Central’s database to build a list of those courses.

Combined Ranking: Top-10 Universities

As you can see, the top three institutions are #1 MIT, #2 Stanford, and #3 Carnegie Mellon. If you’d like to see the entire data and process, check out the project repo on GitHub. After compiling each university’s offering, the end result is a list of over 500 online courses offered by the 2021 top-50 CS universities in the world.

Notable Courses

Unsurprisingly, some of these courses are also part of Class Central’s best online courses of all time. You can find them below. They’re all great options, especially for new e-learners since they represent the best online education has to offer.

Full Course List

The list is split into subjects. Click on one to go to the relevant section. Courses also in Class Central’s best online courses of all time are denoted with a star (⭐).

With over 500 courses to pick from, I hope you’ll find something you like. But if these aren’t enough, check out Class Central’s catalog of over 30K online courses.

AI & Machine Learning (69 Courses)

Algorithms & Data Structures (53 Courses)

Bioinformatics & Healthcare (29 Courses)

Computer Science (91 Courses)

Cybersecurity (28 Courses)

Data Science (106 Courses)

Programming Languages (84 Courses)

Software Development (56 Courses)

Quantum Computing (9 Courses)

Manoel Cortes Mendez Profile Image

Manoel Cortes Mendez

Software engineer and online graduate student in computer science passionate about education, technology, and their intersection.

Comments 2

  1. Ambreen Asif Qureshi

    I am an educationist since 1994 and am presently working as Director Quality Enhancement Cell at one of the private universities in Pakistan.

    I am pretty good at almost all MS Office applications, and an avid user of computers for daily professional work.

    However, I think post Covid-19, there will be lots of lay offs through the the world, and, God forbid, I may not be an exception considering my salary package and age.

    Therefore, I want to gain knowledge and brush up my qualifications which may help me in working online from Home. Can you please advise me what would match my experience (mainly University Administration and Quality Assurance in Higher Education) and qualifications (M.A. English).

    I want to remain gainfully employed. Please help me understand new technologies and equip myself for future.

  2. XYG

    Very helpful list. Thanks very much!


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