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Course Report

100 Top FREE edX Courses of All Time

A list of edX’s 100 most popular free online courses. Combined, they’ve gathered over 32M enrollments.

edX Most Popular Courses

edX, founded in the heyday of the MOOC hype, is one of the world’s largest online course providers and boasts an active catalog of over 3,500 courses. 

The world’s most well-known and prestigious universities now offer courses on edX: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge. According to Class Central’s EdX’s 2020: Year in Review, edX’s total registered learners grew to 35 million, with 110 million course enrollments by the end of 2020.

Originally edX was a non-profit entity backed by MIT and Harvard, but in July 2021 it was acquired by 2U for $800 million dollars. The acquisition is expected to close soon. To learn more about the acquisition, check out the in-depth analysis by Class Central’s founder @dhawal: 2U + edX Analysis: Win for 2U, Risk for edX, Opportunity for Coursera

These courses are free to audit i.e you get access to the course materials for a limited time but do not receive a certificate or access to graded assignments and exams.

100 Top Free edX Courses of All Time

The most popular edX course of all time is Harvard’s CS50 Introduction to Computer Science with over 3 million enrollments. In fact, the CS50 brand has expanded to include 10 courses. The whole series has received 5.5 million enrollments.

Class Central’s @manoel has published a guide to help you select the right CS50 course for you.

Here’s a quick summary of edX’s 100 most popular free-to-audit online courses of all time, based on the number of enrollments:

  • Enrollments range from 123k to 3 million. There are four courses with over 1 million enrollments.
  • Together, they account for over 32 million enrollments, with an average of 326k enrollments.
  • Almost 30% of the courses are in the field of Data Science, Programming, and Machine Learning. The rest are distributed over a variety of domains.
  • 96 courses are in English, and 4 are in Spanish.
  • Combined, they represent thousands of hours of content.
  • Around 70 courses are beginner level and 6 are Advanced level.

Here are the top 100 free edX courses available for free audit, sorted by number of enrollments:

  1. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University ★★★★★(108)
  2. IELTS Academic Test Preparation from University of Queensland ★★★★★(4)
  3. TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide from ETS ★★★★★(6)
  4. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★☆(126)
  5. CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript from Harvard University ★★★★★(11)
  6. Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel from Microsoft ★★★★☆(13)
  7. Introduction to Linux from Linux Foundation ★★★★☆(37)
  8. English Grammar and Style from University of Queensland ★★★★☆(32)
  9. Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies from Harvard University ★★★★★(10)
  10. Data Science: R Basics from Harvard University ★★★★★(11)
  11. The Science of Happiness from University of California, Berkeley ★★★★★(33)
  12. Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started from Universitat Politècnica de València ★★★★☆(355)
  13. Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract from Harvard University ★★★★★(13)
  14. Justice from Harvard University ★★★★★(48)
  15. The Architectural Imagination from Harvard University ★★★★☆(11)
  16. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking from Harvard University ★★★★☆(5)
  17. Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the Neuron from Harvard University ★★★★★(20)
  18. CS50’s Introduction to Game Development from Harvard University ★★★★★(2)
  19. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from University of Michigan
  20. Python Basics for Data Science from IBM ★★☆☆☆(3)
  21. CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python from Harvard University ★★★★★(2)
  22. Academic and Business Writing from University of California, Berkeley ★★★★☆(14)
  23. Introduction to Project Management from University of Adelaide ★★★★☆(6)
  24. HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ★★★★☆(6)
  25. Statistics and R from Harvard University ★★★★☆(20)
  26. Excel: Fundamentos y herramientas from Universitat Politècnica de València ★★★★★(481)
  27. Data Science: Machine Learning from Harvard University ★★★★☆(4)
  28. Introduction to Java Programming: Starting to code in Java from Universidad Carlos iii de Madrid ★★★★☆(7)
  29. How to Write an Essay from University of California, Berkeley ★★★★☆(26)
  30. Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19 from Harvard University ★★★★★(24)
  31. Introduction to C++ from Microsoft ★★★★☆(7)
  32. The Science of Everyday Thinking from University of Queensland ★★★★★(48)
  33. Conversational English Skills | 生活英语听说 from Tsinghua University ★★★★☆(12)
  34. CS50’s Mobile App Development with React Native from Harvard University ★★★★☆(1)
  35. Principles of Biochemistry from Harvard University ★★★★★(13)
  36. Using Python for Research from Harvard University ★★★★☆(12)
  37. Python for Data Science from University of California, San Diego ★★★★☆(47)
  38. Introduction to Java Programming – Part 1 from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology ★★★☆☆(6)
  39. Artificial Intelligence (AI) from Columbia University ★★★★☆(12)
  40. Leaders of Learning from Harvard University ★★★★☆(25)
  41. Gestión de proyectos de desarrollo from IDB ( Inter-American Development Bank ) ★★★★☆(2)
  42. HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ★★★★☆(11)
  43. Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice from Harvard University ★★★★★(3)
  44. Supply Chain Fundamentals from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★★(14)
  45. Italian Language and Culture: Beginner (2021-2022) from Wellesley College ★★★★☆(3)
  46. Learn to Program in Java from Microsoft ★★★★☆(5)
  47. Querying Data with Transact-SQL from Microsoft ★★★★☆(4)
  48. Probability – The Science of Uncertainty and Data from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★★(32)
  49. Programming Basics from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay ★★☆☆☆(16)
  50. Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles from Harvard University ★★★★★(1)
  51. Becoming a Successful Leader (Inclusive Leadership Training)
  52. Supply Chain Analytics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★☆☆(3)
  53. Nutrition and Health: Macronutrients and Overnutrition from Wageningen University ★★★★★(266)
  54. A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations from Cornell University ★★★★★(2)
  55. Data Science: Visualization from Harvard University ★★★★★(3)
  56. Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University ★★☆☆☆(19)
  57. Introduction to Kubernetes from Linux Foundation
  58. Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★☆(31)
  59. Buddhism Through Its Scriptures from Harvard University ★★★★☆(6)
  60. Introduction to Marketing from The University of British Columbia ★★★★★(5)
  61. How to Learn Online
  62. Cybersecurity Fundamentals from Rochester Institute of Technology ★★★★★(24)
  63. Computing in Python I: Fundamentals and Procedural Programming from Georgia Institute of Technology ★★★★★(184)
  64. Inglés básico: conversacional y networking from Universidad Anáhuac ★★★★★(47)
  65. JavaScript Introduction from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  66. Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★★(100)
  67. Data Science: Probability from Harvard University ★★★★☆(2)
  68. Machine Learning from Columbia University ★★★★☆(11)
  69. Human Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Cases from Harvard University ★★★★★(8)
  70. Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University ★★★☆☆(16)
  71. Marketing Digital: Content & Community Manager from Galileo University ★★★★★(213)
  72. Hinduism Through Its Scriptures from Harvard University ★★★★★(2)
  73. Operations Management from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore ★★★★☆(2)
  74. Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making from Delft University of Technology ★★☆☆☆(4)
  75. Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology from Harvard University ★★★★★(5)
  76. Introduction to Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies from Linux Foundation ★★★★☆(1)
  77. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies from University of California, Berkeley
  78. Introduction to Algebra from Schoolyourself ★★★★★(19)
  79. Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety from Harvard University ★★★★☆(10)
  80. Becoming an Entrepreneur from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★★★(5)
  81. Solar Energy from Delft University of Technology ★★★★★(8)
  82. Christianity Through Its Scriptures from Harvard University ★★★★☆(7)
  83. C Programming: Getting Started from Dartmouth College
  84. The Health Effects of Climate Change from Harvard University ★★★★★(5)
  85. The Psychology of Criminal Justice from University of Queensland ★★★★★(16)
  86. Machine Learning with Python: from Linear Models to Deep Learning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology ★★★☆☆(28)
  87. Excel: gestión de datos from Universitat Politècnica de València ★★★★★(40)
  88. Introduction to Agile Software Development: Tools & Techniques from University of California, Berkeley ★★★★☆(20)
  89. Human Anatomy for Stroke from Hong Kong Polytechnic University ★★★★☆(5)
  90. Introduction to Family Engagement in Education from Harvard University ★★★★★(8)
  91. Digital Branding and Engagement from Curtin University ★★★☆☆(14)
  92. Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 from University of Newcastle ★★★★★(1)
  93. Introduction to Corporate Finance from Columbia University
  94. Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster from Harvard University ★★★★★(8)
  95. People Management from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  96. Project Management Life Cycle from Rochester Institute of Technology
  97. Super-Earths and Life from Harvard University ★★★★☆(5)
  98. Big Data Analysis with Apache Spark from University of California, Berkeley ★★★★☆(43)
  99. Introduction to Probability from Harvard University ★★★★★(1)
  100. Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning & Teaching from Harvard University ★★★★★(1)


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.

Comments 1

  1. Jim

    Suparn, do you mean free to audit? As far as I know, edX doesn’t offer full access to any courses for free if the learner isn’t affiliated. Thanks.


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