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Southern New Hampshire University

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Grand Canyon University

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Ashford University

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Liberty University

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Purdue University Global

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Regent University

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Columbia Southern University

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New England College

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Florida Tech University Online

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Penn Foster High School

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Where Can I Find Free Online History Courses?

Free history courses are available online from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Course materials are available for download and independent study at your convenience.

What You Need to Know

These noncredit classes can give all students a better understanding of the concepts, events, ideas and people that shaped today's world. Offered through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, free online history courses typically include a syllabus, lecture notes and a list of recommended readings, along with optional assignments.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Through its OpenCourseWare (OCW) platform, MIT offers courses in history online for free. The first course is a theories and methods in the study of history, which originated as a graduate-level course, taught in fall 2010. The second course, American History to 1856, has an archived course syllabi and some of the reading materials are available in portable document format (PDF).

Theories and Methods in the Study of History

What Will I Learn?

This course examines the advantages and disadvantages of methods historians use to record, analyze and write about history. You'll also explore the types of sources historians use to support their accounts.

What Assignments Can I Complete?

You could write a 2-3 paragraph critique of the assigned readings. You could also write a paper comparing and contrasting different historical approaches to the same event. Because this is a non-credit course, you will not turn in these assignments.

What Materials Are Provided?

You can view a course syllabus as well as reading lists and bibliographies. Some of these reading materials may be accessed through links to other websites.

American History to 1865

What Will I Learn?

You can study the economic, political and social history of America from the early 1600s through 1865. The course covers the nation's British and Spanish settlements, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

What Assignments Can I Complete?

The course provides two essays based on assigned readings. Instructors will not grade your work.

What Materials Are Provided?

Materials include links to required readings such as the United States Constitution and Abraham Lincoln's speeches. You may also access an online copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin and syllabi from previous on-campus versions of this course.