Where Can I Find Free Online Design Courses?

Online design courses are offered for free at The Open University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Interested individuals can access course materials from a laptop or home computer and an internet connection. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Free online design courses are available through accredited universities and other OpenCourseWare platforms. In addition to readings and assignments, some courses include design projects that you complete at your own pace.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers Second Summer Introduction to Design, an OpenCourseWare (OCW) course that originated as a for-credit class taught to undergraduates at the school's campus. Another course, an Introduction to Design Inquiry course is an OCW course that two professors taught to graduate students at the school's campus. You can access each of these course's contents for free, but you will not receive credit.

Second Summer Introduction to Design

What Will I Learn?

You will learn how to use basic design processes to finish projects within budget and on schedule. Topics covered include creating and selecting design concepts, estimating cost, visual thinking and teamwork.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

You could design a product and create a PowerPoint presentation that includes sketches, diagrams and models. You may also include the product's development costs and an analysis of its potential for the mass market. Completing assignments isn't required because you won't communicate with an instructor.

What Materials Are Provided?

This course includes readings on the design process and requirements for product presentation. You may access examples of products designed by students who took the original class on campus.

Introduction to Design Inquiry

What Will I Learn?

You will study the design processes of individuals and groups, focusing on developing ideas that are influenced by knowledge, experience and observation. The course will prepare you to conduct design research.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

You could complete ten assignments, most of which were originally designed for small teams of students. You may write essays about designed objects and structures and create designs and design systems.

What Materials Are Provided?

This course provides readings from several instructors on topics such as generative design technologies, calculating shapes and visual reasoning. You may also access six examples of completed student assignments. Additionally, lecture notes are provided in the form of PDF files of readings that were given before the lectures were delivered. Notes from classes are also included, spanning 27 topics of assignments and discussions.

The Open University

Based in the United Kingdom, The Open University is an online institution that provides OCW courses, including a design course, through the school's OpenLearn program. You can access all course content for free and study at your own convenience, but you will not receive credit.

What Will I Learn?

The course covers the complexities of the design process and examines general assumptions about the way designers work. You will learn to identify innovative aspects of designed products and analyze the impact of the innovation.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

You could complete self-assessment questions and 12 exercises with answers. As part of the assignments, you could describe models to assess the performance of products, choose which design problems have more than one solution, and compare the qualities of polymer and metal kettles.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course includes lecture notes that are divided into five main sections, including design, innovation and conceptual design. You may access illustrations of design processes, designed objects and math formulas used by designers in various fields, such as aerodynamics.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Brenau University

    Brenau University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brenau University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame