Where Can I Find Free English Literature Courses?

Students can access course materials on English literature at any time with these free courses. Yale University and The Open University each provide interested individuals with this opportunity. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A variety of non-credit English literature courses are available online to be completed at your own pace. With these courses, you can learn to analyze and discuss literature, while examining theoretical approaches to literary works and investigate their cultural significance. You'll likely need a Javascript-enabled browser, a PDF reader and a media player to access course materials, and you'll need to borrow or purchase any books or essays that aren't available for free online.


Yale University

Yale University offers an Intro to Theory of Literature course. This free class - offered as part of the Open Yale program - combines course transcripts with accompanying audio and video lectures.

What Topics Are Included?

This course discusses many facets of 20th century literary theory, including gender performance and queer theory, deconstruction, feminist theory and postmodernism. In these 26 class sessions, you'll study a variety of literary criticisms and interpretations. You'll also examine the works of theorists such as Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Freud and Derrida.

What Materials Will I Need?

You will need a Javascript-enabled browser to listen to the MP3 files. The video lecture files require either Flash Player or Quicktime Media Player. You will also need a copy of the required text and any additional readings in order to complete the reading assignments that correspond with each lecture.

The Open University

Offered as a series of Web pages, the free Approaching Prose Fiction class teaches you the critical skills needed for literature studies. A printable version is available, enabling offline access.

What Topics Are Included?

This course discusses the origins and appeal of prose fiction as well as the seven elements of narratives, including style and language, characterization, perspective, setting and genre. A glossary and list of references are provided.

What Assignments Are Available?

Several sections include activities that feature novel and short story excerpts from writers such as George Orwell, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen along with with discussion questions. Once you read the excerpts and answer the discussion questions, you can click to reveal the discussion responses and compare them with your answers.

What Materials Will I Need?

The activities contain portable document format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Reader to access. The learning journal provided through Open University - while optional - is a free resource to help you keep track of your notes while you progress through the course.

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.

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