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Course Report

[Update: Enrollments are Closed] 40+ Stanford Online Courses that Offer a Free Certificate in 2020

Stanford’s free online offering includes courses in computer science, engineering, and medicine. Here’s how to get a free certificate.

Stanford University main campus
Stanford University main campus

[Update: 28 Jan. 2020] Today, Stanford removed most of their free-certificate courses from Lagunita. This is likely a result of the university becoming an institutional member of edX. Some of Stanford’s courses that just yesterday were offered on Lagunita have now been transferred to edX. Unfortunately, on edX, they don’t include a free certificate of completion. You can find more details here.

Recently, we wrote about CS50, Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science, which allows learners to earn a free certificate. This time, let’s go over Stanford’s free-certificate offering.

Stanford University offers 69 free online courses through Lagunita, Stanford’s own MOOC platform, which is based on Open edX. Of those 69 courses, 44 offer a free certificate of completion, including courses in computer science, engineering, and medicine.

The courses are self-paced and involve auto-graded assessments. In some courses, learners may earn a special mention if their final course score is high enough. For instance, in Statistical Learning, a 50% gets you a regular certificate, but a 90% gets you one “with distinction.”

Stanford’s free-certificate courses notably include Algorithms: Design and Analysis, which is often regarded as one of the best introductions to algorithms and data structures available online — notably by Class Central founder, Dhawal Shah, who recently wrote about it.

The course is also offered as a Specialization on Coursera. But there, the equivalent certificates cost $200. On Lagunita, they’re free (albeit not ID-verified). Here’s how they look:

Stanford free certificate of completion
Stanford’s Algorithms: Design and Analysis free certificate

Note that Stanford prefers to call them “statements of accomplishment” rather than “certificates,” probably to distinguish them from the university’s paid certificates.

Below is a complete list of Stanford’s free-certificate courses. To get a fuller picture of the university’s online offering, explore Stanford’s online courses on Class Central.

Stanford Courses with Free Certificate


Engineering & Computer Science

Introduction to Databases

This course is split into 14 minicourses, each offering its own certificate (except the first).

  1. Introduction and Relational Databases (No certificate)
  2. XML Data
  3. JSON Data
  4. Relational Algebra
  5. SQL
  6. XPath and XQuery
  7. XSLT
  8. Relational Design Theory
  9. Unified Modeling Language
  10. Indexes and Transactions
  11. Constraints and Triggers
  12. Views and Authorization
  13. On-Line Analytical Processing
  14. Recursion in SQL



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 5

  1. Jakob

    Enrollment is closed for these courses. It seems like Lagunita is closing down by the end of March.

    • Manoel Cortes Mendez

      Thanks. We updated the article.

  2. Jakob

    I now see that a number of the courses have been transferred to EdX. No free certificates.

  3. Drew

    I understand their desire to move courses, but I’m looking for their Natural Capital Course and cannot find it on either platform?

    Who can I contact at Stanford to ask about it?

  4. Muhammad Qasim

    Same goes with the advance MATLAB Courses which were there before shutting down but i cant find them in any plateform like Edx or Coursera


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