List of Free Environmental Studies Courses and Training Programs

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

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Online Environmental Studies Courses for Credit

Free courses in environmental studies can be found online, allowing students to learn without the trouble of registration. However, if you're looking to earn credit for school, you'll have to seek out other options. One option to consider is the comparatively inexpensive material found on, where you can study at your own pace through engaging courses that allow you to earn college credit. These courses include video lessons with corresponding transcripts, interactive practice quizzes, and other helpful resources.

Students interested in environmental studies can delve into Environmental Science 101: Environment and Humanity, which consists of chapters such as:

  • Biological Science - Learn about species richness, desert ecosystems, extinction, and related biological concepts.
  • Habitats & Ecosystems - Explore topics including carrying capacity, conservation biology, and ecological balance.
  • Environmental Sustainability - Review human behaviors that threaten sustainability, principles of sustainable development, and sustainable consumption.

Free Online Non-Credited Environmental Studies Courses

Below, you'll find information on schools offering tuition-free environmental studies courses that don't require you to register. These can help you boost your knowledge in the subject area at your own pace, but they do not award credit.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Studies

Free Online Environmental Studies Class List

African Virtual University

  • Ecology and Environment is structured around five different units with four distinct learning activities per unit. There are introductory lessons devoted to teaching ecological terminology and explaining how environmental scientists classify organisms. The course also covers how human activities directly affect the environment and takes a detailed look at deforestation and biodiversity. African ecology is an important focus of this course. Different course materials are downloadable in QuickTime format, YouTube, Microsoft Word and PDF files.
  • Environmental Chemistry covers the overuse of natural resources, acid rain, climate change and the effect of atmospheric pollutants on the environment. Students learn how chemical compounds react in natural environments and polluted ones. The course includes both video and text files of lectures and notes.

Johns Hopkins University

  • Environmental Health analyzes how pollutants and environmental contamination contribute to human health problems. The course also takes a look at emerging issues in environmental health. The course is structured around 9 lectures that are downloadable from the course website. The course also has required readings assigned, but users need to obtain those materials on their own.

University of Notre Dame

  • Environmental Philosophy is a free opencourseware podcast covering topics like ecology and structure, recovery strategies preserving growth, dismantling consumer society, and related environmental concepts.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Environmental Politics and Policy includes case studies that tackle diverse subjects like endangered species protection, toxic waste cleanup and disputes between politics and science. Course lectures are downloadable as PDF files, and users can access a list of course assignments that can help them master the course materials. Some of the course readings are also downloadable, while others must be obtained independently.

United Nations University

  • Environmental and Sustainable Development is a doctoral-level course structured around 10 lectures that cover topics like management and innovation, environmental degradation and societal transformations. These lectures are collected on the site as downloadable slides. The course site also includes a reading list, though few of the readings are available for download.

The Open University

  • Introducing the Environment: Ecology and Ecosystems covers identification and scientific naming of organisms. It discusses interrelationships among members of ecosystems as well as ecological health. Each topic area includes text and images in addition to intended learning outcomes.
  • Managing Coastal Environments focuses on the coast of the United Kingdom, taking a specific look at the Blackwater estuary on the Essex coast. This area is used as an isolated example of the way in which the environment can be studied and why environmental inquiries are so crucial. Conservation and sustainability are incorporated into the lessons. This course includes video, text and graphical content on each subject area.

Tufts University

  • Tropical Ecology and Conservation is designed for both undergraduate and graduate students. It covers topics like climate variation, ecosystems and biological interactions, available as downloadable lecture slides and written lectures. Only a selection of all lectures is available. Additionally, students can find a sample research proposal that can help them learn how to design their own.

University of Cape Town

  • Vulnerability to Environmental Change serves as an introduction to the topic of vulnerability and focuses on three distinct approaches to the subject. These include risk and hazard, political economy and ecology, and ecological resilience. The course is presented in a series of 6 PowerPoint presentations and also recommends readings for further research.
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