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Course Report

[2022] 150+ edX Courses That Are Completely Free

Did you know edX has courses that still offer an entirely free learning experience? Here’s the full list.

With a catalog of more than 3500 courses, edX should have something for every online learner, no matter the subject they’re interested in. However, free course access on edX is typically limited: most often, you’ll only have access to part of the course content and only for a limited time.

Fortunately, this limitation doesn’t apply to all courses. At Class Central, we’ve scoured the edX catalog to identify courses that still offer free, unlimited access, and we’ve put them in a handy list that we’ll continue to update.

If you enjoy this list, you may also want to have a look at our list of 1600+ Coursera Courses That Are Still Completely Free.

Is edX free?

There once was a time when MOOCs (or massive open online courses) were free, including those offered on edX. But in their quest for a sustainable business model, one after the other, online course providers started introducing paywalls. We reported on it as it happened.

Nowadays, if you want unrestricted access to an edX course, you’ll typically have to pay. More specifically, most edX courses offer the following access modalities:

  • Paid full access: In this modality, you’ll have access to all course material and graded assignments, and upon completion of the course, you’ll earn a verified certificate of completion.
  • Free audit: In this modality, you’ll have temporary access (usually, a month) to the course material, but you won’t have access to graded assignments, and you won’t earn a certificate upon completion.

For example, the popular edX online course Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science that currently tops our ranking of the best data science courses offers precisely these two modalities, as you can see below:

The most common access modalities on edX: Paid full access or free audit

However, while most edX courses default to these two modalities, fortunately for us, some courses still offer free access to all learning materials, including graded assignments.

The only thing these courses don’t include is a certificate (though, for some CS courses, that’s not entirely true). But in terms of content, you’ll have access to the full learning experience.

When you try to enroll into one of these courses, you’ll either immediately have access to the full course, or you’ll be given a choice between paid certificate and free full content access, as shown in the image below.

Note that this is different from the choice shown in the image above. Here the free option isn’t time-limited nor restricted to ungraded assignments. Instead, you’ll have access to all the learning materials. So, unless you absolutely want the paid certificate, pick the option on the right.

Less common edX modalities: Paid certificate vs free full content access

Free edX Courses

The difficult thing is to find these fully-free online courses buried among the rest in edX’s catalog. The provider doesn’t offer a handy filter to easily identify them. So instead, we’ve searched the provider’s catalog and found them for you.

We discovered that currently, more than 150 courses on edX are still completely free in terms of learning content. These courses cover a wide variety of subjects. For your convenience, we’ve broken down the list by subject. Click on a subject to jump to the corresponding courses.

Free Computer Science Courses (7)

Free Health & Medicine Courses (32)

Free Engineering Courses (4)

Free Social Sciences Courses (28)

Free Mathematics Courses (4)

Free Programming Courses (6)

Free Education & Teaching Courses (18)

Free Science Courses (19)

Free Humanities Courses (8)

Free Data Science Courses (1)

Free Business Courses (16)

Free Personal Development Courses (7)

Free Art & Design Courses (5)

Tags

Suparn Patra Profile Image

Suparn Patra

Suparn developed an interest in MOOCs through a project he worked on during his MSc in Artificial Intelligence. He joined Class Central as a Full Stack Engineer.
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 1

  1. Dennis E. Hamilton

    Thanks for this. For some institutions the edX auditor version, with only limited access, is too similar to how auditing works on-the-ground, without participation in any of the quizzes and examinations and forcing to an on-the-ground schedule. It seems antithetical to the entire MOOC concept. The nagging to convert the courses and the reduction in Q&A, peer involvement, etc., are all ridiculous.

    I notice that Harvard is a welcome alternative in your listings. It is fascinating to me that top-tier institutions and research universities are often less interested in the revenue and more welcoming. That seems to apply to their bricks-and-mortar operation too, especially for public institutions. I appreciate that the creation and operation of MOOCs is not without cost to the institutions and faculty might not be recognized for the extensive effort involved. Still … .

    Reply

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