List of Free Online Religion Courses, Classes and Learning Materials
See our list of the top free online religion courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.
Online Religion Courses for Credit
Students who are looking for an affordable option online to learn more about religion topics can go to Study.com. Doing this can help eliminate the costs of traditional college. With the help from lesson quizzes, chapter tests, and videos, students can get a comprehensive review of religion topics for a minimal fee.
The course named Religion 101: Intro to World Religions teaches students various religion topics. Students will be introduced to chapters like:
- World Religion: Hinduism - Review the Hindu belief system, the importance of the Vishnu and the four stages of life.
- World Religion: Buddhism - Study information about the four noble truths, nirvana, the branches of Buddhism and more.
- World Religion: Christianity - Learn more about the Great Crusades, Martin Luther and the seven sacraments.
Free Online Course Info
Several universities, through their OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives, offer free courses and learning materials related to the study of religion in the Christian-Judeo tradition and beyond. Typically, these institutions provide online access to some of the materials used originally in on-campus or fully online courses. Learners accessing these materials don't interact with professors or receive grades. Though none of the schools listed here grant credit directly for use of these open resources, students in certain cases may be able to earn credit buy passing separate exams.
Free Online Religion Class List
Utah State University
- Anthropology of Religion examines the relationships between religion and society. The textbook is written by the professor, whose lectures may also be accessed in PDF text documents. Each of the 10 chapters is followed by a quiz, for which students can check the answers online. Utah State University offers its students the opportunity to earn credit by exam for knowledge gained from the use of free online educational resources. Some credit-earning options include passing a departmental exam, the CLEP, DANTES Standardized Subject Tests or IB exams.
- Historical Jesus gives learners access to 11 audio podcast lectures through iTunes University. Based more on history than theology, this class investigates historical evidence about Jesus to help students make their own belief-system decisions.
- Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature contains 26 lectures, which may be accessed as low- or high-bandwidth videos, transcripts and audio files. The videos are also available through YouTube. Students analyze early Christian literature as ancient text rather than holy writing. A textbook written by the author is employed as a resource, in addition to several other books.
University of Oxford
- Philosophy of Religion has 8 lectures that are available through Oxford's website, iTunes or RSS feed. Handouts with links to other resources are also accessible. Students explore a variety of arguments for and against the existence of God.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Politics and Religion includes topics like political behavior, nationalism, church-state relations, social movements and terrorism. This course is based on the readings, including books, which may be purchased online, and several journal articles. Learners can access notable examples of the five assigned response papers on the OCW webpage. File decompression software may be required to open downloaded .zip files.
University of California - Irvine
- Religion & Law in Ancient Greece has PowerPoint presentations on various topics, such as Apollo, Athens, ritual, the Delphic Oracle, Demeter and ancient Greek magic are available to students, as well as a list of links on related topics. The syllabus lists 2 required texts and additional recommended readings.
- Religion & Social Order gives learners access to 12 PowerPoint presentations in this course. The syllabus lists print and media resources necessary for study. A list of links on related topics is also available. The course looks at religious phenomena across different cultures and time periods, with a focus on how religion affects social change and power relations. Students apply classical and contemporary anthropological theories to a variety of aspects and types of religious experience.
University of California - Los Angeles
- Science, Magic and Religion has 20 lectures that are available in video format through YouTube. The course takes historical and psychological approaches to the study of science, magic and religion as belief systems. Topics discussed include shamanism, medieval alchemy, witchcraft, Isaac Newton and secular humanism.