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10 Amazing Free Online Classes You Can Take From Harvard, MIT And More

There's no catch. We promise.

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illustration of ladies engaging in online learning activities
Hanna Barczyk
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You may have a job and a mortgage and kids and all that other stuff that’s preventing you from being a college student all over again (we won’t even mention the lack of funds). But if spotting all those bright-eyed and eager newbies moving into the dorms is making you feel a tad nostalgic — we’ve got a secret: You can take free online classes for fun and knowledge from some of the top universities totally gratis from home. No catch.

18th-Century Opera: Handel & Mozart
Taught by a Harvard University music professor, you’ll study Baroque and Classical opera, specifically Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Learn how they’ve changed since their original premieres, how performers and orchestra interact and more. Expect to study three to four hours weekly for five weeks. This is an introductory-level course, and it’s via rolling admissions — so start whenever you’re ready.

Human Rights: At Home and Abroad
This was a course taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a few years ago. You’ll be able to download the syllabus, readings and course material. You will learn about the international human rights movement and its influence on the United States.

Masterpieces of World Literature
While you were off studying calculus or biology, did you feel like you missed out on some of the lit classics? Here’s your chance to catch up via Harvard. It’s a 12-week course, and you can expect to work five to seven hours per week. This introductory-level class will teach you about past and present works of world literature from Voltaire, Goethe, Homer, Jhumpa Lahiri and more.

Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Want to start your own biz sans the MBA? Try this course taught by Stanford University professors and Silicon Valley leaders. You’ll learn how to lead, develop your strategy and grow your customer base. It’s the basics, and it’ll get you off to the right start. Enrollment gives you 60-days of access to the online course.

English Grammar and Style
Embarrassed by your poor grammar? Or want to move to the next level? Then this is the class for you. Taught by professors from the University of Queensland in Australia, the eight-week course focuses on strategies to elevate and enhance your writing, whether it’s a report for work or an email to a friend.

The Science of Happiness
This should be required at all colleges. You’ll learn “science-based principles and practices for a happy, meaningful life.” The course, created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, cites psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology research that proves happiness is linked to social connections and being tied to a greater good. It’s an eight-week course, and you’ll work four to five hours per week.

Stanford Introduction to Food and Health
You’ll learn practical skills to eating healthy. Instead of dieting, you’ll have the tools you need to determine foods that are good for your health and those you should limit. The course, taught by Stanford professors, is four hours total spread out over five weeks.

Introduction to Drama
The class was taught at MIT years ago, and you’ll be able to download everything the MIT students received to study. You’ll learn about the history of theater and the relationship between drama and culture.

Principles of Population Change
Originally offered a few years ago at Johns Hopkins University, this class will teach you about population issues — such as child survival, social and economic inequality, the role of women, and world demographic patterns. You’ll have access to the original syllabus, schedule, lecture materials and readings.

Build Your Very First iOS App
Got an idea for an app? You’ll learn how to build it from scratch using Swift programming language, Apple developer tools and App development technique. Be prepared to dedicate eight to 10 hours per week for eight weeks. You must have access to a Mac.