Online Economics Courses for Credit
Students can find a number of free economics courses available online. While these courses don't require students to register or pay tuition, they also don't lead to college credit. Students who want to earn alternative forms of credit might look into courses that charge a small fee in exchange for access to online resources. Study.com has this type of distance learning through its short and engaging video lessons, full transcripts, self-assessment quizzes and practice exams. Both the videos and the transcripts can prepare students to earn real college credit.
Students interested in economics can explore the Economics 102: Macroeconomics course, which includes lessons covering a variety of topics like macroeconomic equilibrium, foreign exchange, inflation, unemployment and comparative advantage in addition to the following:
- Scarcity, Choice, and the Production Possibilities Curve - Topics include opportunity cost, the production possibilities model and the function of choice.
- Measuring the Economy - Examine the circular flow of economic activity, gross domestic product and investments.
- Aggregate Demand and Supply - This chapter covers the Keynesian model, the classical model, marginal propensity to consume, sticky wages and favorable supply shocks.
- Economic Growth and Productivity - Subjects covered include potential output of a nation, real GDP per capita, physical capital and growth policy.
- Fiscal and Monetary Policies - Find out about fiscal policy tools, expansionary fiscal policy, progressive tax code, supply side economics and more.
Free Online Economics Courses
Marginal Revolution University (MRUniversity) was created by economics professors from George Mason University with the goal of providing a free online library of educational videos focused on economics. More than 800 videos are available that cover topics like price ceilings, comparative advantage, demand curve, real exchange rates and inflation. Lesson videos are downloadable and accessible on MRUniversity's website as well as on YouTube, and many feature transcripts, suggested materials, practice questions, bonus topics and an exam. Registration is not required to access the courses.
- Principles of Economics: Microeconomics: This course examines fundamental concepts in microeconomics, including supply and demand, pricing, monopoly and public goods. The course offers about 12 video hours, explores the bonus topic of game theory and features a final exam.
- Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics: Lessons in this fundamental macroeconomics course examine reasons some countries become wealthy and others remain poor. Other topics examined include national banking systems, fiscal and monetary policy and the Solow growth model. A final exam is available consisting of 30 multiple-choice questions. The course features about eight hours of video content.
- Everyday Economics: Instructors in this self-paced course take a close look at the many ways economics impact our everyday lives. This course consists of approximately 30 minutes of video content that focuses on innovation, the division of labor, buying local, fair trade and much more. Some lessons share suggested materials for users who want to learn more about topics covered. This course does not include an exam.
- Development Economics: Included in this course are approximately 25.5 hours of video content covering the reasons some countries have wealth and others do not. Taking a close look at the field of development economics, lessons examine water economics, foreign aid, migration, corruption, health and more. This course includes a midterm and final exam as well as case studies.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT OpenCourseWare offers more than 2,000 free online courses for students interested in learning a variety of subject areas, including business, fine arts, math, science and social science. The following economics courses teach students through downloadable lecture notes and access to assignments, problem sets, quizzes and more. No registration is required to access these courses.
- Behavioral Economics and Finance: This graduate-level course looks at the psychology behind economics, including the impact of self-control and thinking processes. Topics also include mental accounting, altruism and anomalies of financial markets. Students can download lecture notes and handouts in PDF form and access three problem sets with no solutions. Two required textbooks for this course are Choices, Values and Frames and Inefficient Capital Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance.
- Economics and Psychology: In this course is an examination of how psychological tests have been used to learn about economic thinking and behavior. Specific topics covered include game theory, hedonic adaptation, bounded rationality and a lack of patience. Lecture notes for most lessons are available for downloading, and students can access problem sets but not the solutions. Two textbooks are required: Inefficient Capital Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance and The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life.
- Introduction to Statistical Methods in Economics: Through downloadable lecture notes, assignments that include problem sets with solutions and practice exams, students can learn basic information on statistics and probability. Among topics covered in this course are sampling and probability theory and statistical estimation. The textbook Introduction to Mathematical Statistics and Its Applications helps guide this course, which is geared towards undergraduate economics and social science students.
The Open University
OpenLearn, a free learning platform presented by The Open University, offers a wide range of free courses, videos and interactive content students can access at no cost. Subject areas available to study include history, money, business, law, nature and psychology. While signing up for an account is not required, doing so offers access to additional features.
- Economics Explains Discrimination in the Labour Market: This course examines workplace discrimination from an economist's perspective as well as microeconomic theory and the application of theories and models to analyze economic issues. Students can download lectures with illustrations and graphics. Learning activities are included with some lessons. Available download formats include Microsoft Word, Kindle and PDF.
Modern States has partnered with edX, Harvard and MIT to offer free courses designed to help students prepare for the AP and CLEP exams, both of which help students earn college credits. More than 30 courses are available, including chemistry, financial accounting and information systems. All courses include free access to textbooks and other materials as well as links to mentoring and tutoring services. To access Modern States courses, you must sign up for a free account by sharing your full name and email address and creating a username and password.
- Principles of Macroeconomics: In this self-paced course, the instructor explores the principles of economics on a major scale, looking closely at income, output, fiscal policy and supply and demand. The introductory-level course offers the equivalent of four weeks of content when studied at a pace of six hours per week. No prerequisites are required. Upon completion, students should be ready to take and pass the CLEP Principles of Macroeconomics exam.
- Principles of Microeconomics: Students taking this introductory-level course learn how to examine consumer behavior and businesses within the economy. Concepts explored include free markets, decision-making in economics and the allocation of resources. Learning materials are designed to span four weeks at a pace of six hours per week. Completing this course can help students take and pass the CLEP Principles of Microeconomics exam.
Yale University's Open Yale Courses offer individuals free access to several introductory classes taught by Yale scholars and teachers. In addition to the economics courses listed below, students can take courses on such topics as modern poetry, Roman architecture, financial markets and the American Revolution. Lectures are available as texts, videos and audio with no registration requirements to obtain access. Credits, certificates and degrees are not available with these courses.
- Financial Markets: Students taking this course can learn about the institutions in our society that help manage risk while encouraging business. They can also develop an understanding of banking industries and principles of behavioral finance. Students have access to 23 video lectures, some with quizzes, as well as exams with solutions. The lessons include links to reading assignments, some of which can be found for free online. Two textbooks are required, and there is a lengthy list of recommended readings.
- Financial Theory: This course goes over how the U.S. financial system fits into the global economy through 26 video lectures. Topics covered in this course include efficient markets, corporate stocks, investment banks and real estate. Students can learn from exploring downloadable lectures and reading two textbooks and multiple additional texts. Students should be proficient in arithmetic and elementary mathematics before starting the course.