8 Harvard University courses you can take right now, for free

An Ivy League education without the Ivy League price tag. 

We recently published an article outlining how you can take Yale University courses for free. Given the response to that article, we have decided to show you more classes that you can access at no cost. Just like last time, a certificate of completion is available for all of these classes for a fee, if you want to prove that you have bettered yourself this way. 

So, here are 8 Harvard University courses you can take right now, for free.

Introduction to Computer Science
Knowing how to code is a vital skill in in today’s digital world. This entry level course teaches the basics of computational thinking, programming problem solving, data structures, and web development, among other things. It will leave the learner able to code in several languages including C, Python, and Java.

The class is self-paced, and consists of a time investment of 10-20 hours to finish nine problem sets and a final project, which is done online. This class will help you learn several of the five programming languages that Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of C++, says you should learn in his Big Think interview.


 

The Architectural Imagination
Art and science are often viewed in opposition to one another, but in the field of architecture they meet in fantastic and beautiful ways. In this class, students will learn both the technical and cultural aspects of architecture, and gain a better understanding of how the buildings we inhabit relate to history, values, and pragmatic concerns.

The class is self-paced and consists of 3-5 hours of work over 10 weeks.



Super-Earths and Life
What life lies beyond our small world? Thirty years ago we only knew about nine planets; today we know of thousands orbiting nearby stars. In this course, students will learn about exoplanets, which ones might be the best candidates for harboring life, and why those planets are of the greatest interest. Combining concepts in astronomy and biology which have rarely been put together before, the class is an excellent introduction to one of the most interesting eras in astrobiology; today.

This class is self-paced and is offered over six weeks of 3-5 hours investment. What might life on those exoplanets look like? Jonathan Losos, also of Harvard, explains in his Big Think interview. 

 

Justice
What is the right thing to do in a given situation? Would you still act justly if you could get away with acting horribly? These are some of the oldest and most important questions in philosophy. In this class, students will learn differing perspectives of justice from thinkers like Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. The class is taught in English, but subtitles are available in Chinese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

It requires a time commitment of 2-4 hours a week for 12 weeks.


Leaders of Learning
How do you learn? Why do you learn? Can you name three people who would share your answers? In this class, students will identify their own style of learning and find out how that style fits into the ever-changing landscape of education. Later lectures focus on how to apply that knowledge to leadership, organizational structure, and the future of learning.

This course is self-paced, and is taken for 2-4 hours per week for six weeks.


Using Python for Research
Do you want to learn to code, and then learn how to actually use it? In this course, students will review the basics of the Python coding language and then learn how to apply that knowledge to research projects by means of tools such as NumPy and SciPy. This class is an intermediate level course, and a basic understanding of the Python language is ideal before beginning.

This course is self-paced, and is taken for 4-8 hours a week for four weeks.

American Government
The federal government of the United States can seem like a far off and alien system, one which acts in strange ways; but it is a powerful force in the life of every American. To not understand how it works, and your place in it as a citizen and voter, is to be an irresponsible citizen. This course introduces students to the function, history, institutions, and inner workings of American government. No previous study or understanding of American politics is required, making the course ideal for non-American students who want to understand what exactly is going on there.

This course is self-paced and is taken for 3 hours per week for 16 weeks. It is a great start on issues that NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino finds can be remarkably difficult to interpret:

 

Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster
We live in a world with staggering humanitarian crises, and responses to them that are often lacking. In this class, students will ask questions on how to deal with humanitarian disasters through the case studies of Zaire, Syria, The Balkans, and elsewhere. The history of humanitarian responses, and the frameworks that those responses past and present operate in, will be covered as well, and students will be challenged to ask if they remain sufficient.

This course lasts five weeks and requires 3-4 hours of time investment per week.

The Opioid Crisis in America
One of the greatest challenges facing the United States today is the spike in opioid addiction. In this course, medical experts explain the causes of the crisis, the science of getting hooked, the realities of addiction, treatment options, and more. The class is free, and currently offers credit for SHRM-CP.

This course requires a 1-2-hour commitment per week, for seven weeks. 

Many other great courses are available if these subjects aren't quite what you're looking for. They're free, they're great, and you're looking at them right now: what are you waiting for?



3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.

10 new things we’ve learned about death

If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.

Culture & Religion
  • For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
  • Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
  • Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Master Execution: How to Get from Point A to Point B in 7 Steps, with Rob Roy, Retired Navy SEALUsing the principles of SEAL training to forge better bosses, former Navy SEAL and founder of the Leadership Under Fire series Rob Roy, a self-described "Hammer", makes people's lives miserable in the hopes of teaching them how to be a tougher—and better—manager. "We offer something that you are not going to get from reading a book," says Roy. "Real leaders inspire, guide and give hope."Anybody can make a decision when everything is in their favor, but what happens in turbulent times? Roy teaches leaders, through intense experiences, that they can walk into any situation and come out ahead. In this lesson, he outlines seven SEAL-tested steps for executing any plan—even under extreme conditions or crisis situations.