Where Can I Find Free Online Science Courses?

Free online science courses are offered by several universities in a variety of disciplines. You won't earn credit for these courses, but you can learn more about the different sciences without changing your major or career or committing to a classroom learning environment.

What You Need to Know

Free online science courses are available in broad disciplines, such as biology, physics and chemistry. You can also delve deeper into subdisciplines, such as genetics, astronomy, biochemistry and neuroscience. Science courses can contain the original lecture notes that you can view online or download, and you can also find courses with slideshows, assignments, exams and virtual labs. In some cases, you can pay a nominal fee to get a certificate of completion that you can use to apply credit toward a degree.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

With one of the largest OpenCourseWare (OCW) libraries available, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a variety of science courses online for free, self-paced study. MIT's OCW classes combine required textbooks, lecture notes, slides and other materials, and most course materials are available for download in a .zip file.

What Subjects Are Available?

The science section of the MIT OCW library has five categories, including biology, chemistry, cognitive science, earth science and physics. Each category offers individual graduate and undergraduate courses, organized into a list with icons to indicate which features are included, such as lecture notes, assignments and image galleries.

What Materials Will I Need?

Each individual course has a combination of required materials, depending on the features included. Most have at least one required textbook, plus supplemental reading materials, and you can find those requirements on the syllabus page. The majority of the courses use Portable Document Format (PDF) files for lecture notes, assignments and exams, so you'll need a program capable of displaying those files.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Many of these OCW classes combine assignments, projects and exams. You can check the list of available courses to see which types of assignments are required for each class.

Various University Courses on EdX

This library of free lecture video and audio files includes several science disciplines. Whether you're interested in biology, computer science or toxicology, the universities that participate in EdX courses have an online course for you. You can pay for a certificate, though you can study at your own pace for free.

What Subjects Are Available?

A variety of science disciplines are represented, including biology, chemistry, physics and public health. You can also learn about nutrition, computer science or psychology. Lecture files from multiple topics in the same discipline are available, such as general, clinical and developmental psychology course materials.

What Materials Will I Need?

You'll need a media player to access the embedded audio and video files, such as Adobe Flash Player. A high-speed Internet connection will enable faster, smoother file streaming.

How Will These Materials Help Me?

Access to lectures via free audio and video files will allow you to learn about multiple science topics, whether you're a current student or you're considering studying a science discipline in the future. If you take notes while accessing the lecture files, you can use those as a study guide or reference material to compliment your studies.

Utah State University

These OCW non-credit classes combine lecture notes in PDF files, homework assignments and required reading on a variety of science disciplines. You won't gain college credit for your efforts, but all course materials are free to use.

What Subjects Are Available?

Course materials are sorted into departments, and biology, anthropology, physics and psychology are all available. Each department offers a few individual courses on specific science topics, such as quantum mechanics, general ecology and wild land resources. Additional courses that combine natural sciences and liberal arts are also available, such as cultural anthropology and human development.

What Materials Will I Need?

Each of the courses has a different combination of technical requirements, which can include a program capable of displaying PDF files or a media player to access .mp3 (audio) and .mov (video) files. Additional reading materials are often recommended, but most courses provide resources in PDF files or as off-site links.

How Will These Materials Help Me?

Free OCW non-credit courses allow you to learn about specific science disciplines without committing to a degree program. If you're a student, these materials could be used as a study guide or reference. You can also explore alternative areas of science specialization through these free online courses.

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:

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.

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