Biological Sciences OpenCourseWare Rankings
This article ranks colleges and universities that offer free biological science courses based on the breadth and number of biology courses offered and the school's overall national ranking. Explore some options for high-quality, free biological science courses below.
#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ranked first for its number of biology courses, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers nearly 100 free undergraduate and graduate biological science courses to self-learners around the world. This well-regarded university was also ranked sixth among national universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2014. Nearly all of the biology courses offered by MIT can be downloaded in multiple formats and include materials like lectures, assignments, readings, labs, quizzes and exams. Course topics include introduction to biology, biological chemistry, molecular biology and developmental biology.
#2. Harvard University
Like MIT, Harvard University is highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. It was ranked second among graduate schools in biological sciences in 2010 and second among national universities in 2014. This university offers approximately four biological sciences courses online through its Open Learning Initiative and edX, a Harvard-MIT initiative.
#3. University of California - Berkeley
UC Berkeley was ranked second among the best graduate schools for biological sciences in 2010 and 20th among national universities in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report. This university publishes webcasts of select biology courses each semester, so new options are constantly being added. In addition to courses, self-learners can also access labs, lectures and biology-related events. Students seeking free online biology courses at UC Berkeley will find courses in cell biology, biochemistry, and general biology, to name a few.
#4. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona's Biology Project makes biological science education available to everyone. The Biology Project includes full courses, tutorials and practice problem sets. You'll also find a number of other valuable resources on the site, including activities, pre-college lesson plans and information for young explorers. Courses include cell biology, human biology and molecular biology. This university was ranked 34th among the best biology sciences graduate programs in 2010 and 119th among national universities in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report.
#5. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Ranked 12th among national universities in 2014 and fifth for graduate schools in biology in 2010 by U.S. News and World Report, the John Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health offers free biology-related courses, such as biostatistics, public health biology, bioinformatics, and public health toxicology courses. Each course includes a detailed syllabus, lecture materials, labs and other valuable educational materials.
#6. Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative includes free online biology courses. Course topics include introductory biology, modern biology, and biochemistry. Courses are broken down into modules and include practice questions. This university was ranked 23rd among national universities in 2014 and 46th among the best schools for biological sciences in 2010 by U.S. News and World Report.
#7. University of California - Irvine
The University of California - Irvine offers a biological science course covering organisms to ecosystems. The course includes 14 video lectures. While this school is highly ranked - it was 34th among best biological sciences graduate schools in 2010 and 24th among national universities in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report - it only offers one open course in biology.
#8. University of Massachusetts - Boston
The University of Massachusetts - Boston offers two free biology courses that provide a good overview of general biology. Both courses stress the principles of biology and examine life processes. Course materials include lectures, readings, labs and other self-learner friendly materials.
#9. Utah State University
The Utah State University provides courses in biology and biological engineering as part of its OpenCourseWare collection. These courses are free to self-learners and include lecture notes, assignments and exams. This school is ranked 190th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.
#10. The Open University
The Open University offers many free online courses related to biology on its OpenLearn site. Users who take advantage of OpenLearn can gain access to many free text-based courses and have an opportunity to connect with other self-learners around the world. Some course topics include polar biology, biology and health and genetics.