List of Free Online Liberal Arts Courses and Classes

See our list of the top free online liberal arts courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.

Online Liberal Arts Courses for Credit

While free liberal arts courses that don't require students to register or pay tuition are plentiful online, these courses won't result in college credit. Students focused on getting credit for the courses they complete might take advantage of online resources that charge a small fee in exchange for access to courses.

Study.com's distance learning program is a fee-based option that offers an inexpensive path to college credit. Registered members can watch engaging and short video lessons and take self-assessment quizzes. Students who want to explore the liberal arts and prepare to earn college credit can choose from a number of courses available through Study.com in fields like literature, philosophy, mathematics, and the social and physical sciences. Some of the liberal arts courses available include:

  • English 102: American Literature - Chapters in this course include literary analysis, the Dark Romantics, literary realism, modernist plays and contemporary literature.
  • Math 101: College Algebra - Take this course to learn more about absolute value, inequalities, factoring with FOIL, rational expressions and exponentials.
  • History 101: Western Civilization I - This course covers such topics as the history of ancient Greece, the Dark Ages and different periods of the Middle Ages, the age of exploration and the reformation.

Free Online Non-Credited Liberal Arts Courses

These liberal arts courses are free and don't require students to register; however, they also don't lead to college credit. Students may need special software, such as document readers and media players, to access course materials.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT's free courses generally include lectures, assignments and quizzes in PDF format.

  • Justice examines liberty in modern society and consists only of selected lecture notes.
  • Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies offers an introduction to the field while posing important questions relating to how sex and gender are defined in society.
  • Macro and International Economics looks at economic policies and environments of firms, offering complete sets of lecture notes as well as class assignments.

The Open University

This school's courses may include illustrated lecture notes and learning activities.

  • Geometry is an introductory course that utilizes Java software called Geogebra in its included activities, although students who don't have Java should be able to complete the lessons.
  • 'Problem' Populations, 'Problem' Places is a 5-hour course that looks at real world examples of poverty and social justice in urban areas.

Tufts University

Tufts University's free online courses don't require registration, but they don't include full content from the original course.

  • Intellectual Development is a graduate-level child development course, and students can access slides of notes from selected seminars as well as a few supplemental study aides.
  • Theories of Public Policy includes texts of 13 lectures, texts for recommended readings and some homework assignments. Students can look at the final exam, but answers are not provided.

Yale University

Yale University's OCW courses include videos of the lectures used in the original courses. Transcripts and audio versions of the lectures are also available. Students have the option to purchase the recommended textbooks.

  • Introduction to Theory of Literature consists of 26 lectures, and students can find PDF handouts for some of the lecture materials.
  • Roman Architecture includes 23 recorded lecture sessions, many with illustrations. The course serves as an introduction to the famous architectural work of the Roman empire.

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