Online Finance Courses for Credit
If you're interested in taking finance courses and are not worried about attaining credit, there are plenty of free online courses to choose from. The courses are offered by reputable schools and professional institutions and typically don't require registration to access learning materials. However, if you're looking to earn college credit, you can consider the comparatively low-cost options found at Study.com, where engaging material taught by professional instructors can lead to credit for school. The courses include video and text lessons, multiple-choice quizzes, practice exams and much more to help you confirm your understanding along the way.
Students can take Finance 101: Principles of Finance, which provides introductions to core subjects in finance and the processes involved. Topics covered include bond and discount cash flow valuation, dividend policy, international corporate finance and short-term financing. Here are a few sample chapters from this course:
- Financial Statement Basics - Topics include control of cash, preparing financial statements, liquidity ratio and more.
- Stock Valuation - This chapter examines types of growth, the New York Stock Exchange, dealers and brokers and the definition of stock.
- Cost of Capital - Get info on required return, financial policy, the dividend growth model and related topics.
Free Online Finance Courses
Graduate-level online finance courses are available for free and can teach students about the laws, ethics, implications and theories of the finance field. There are also free introductory online courses for students who want to learn the basics of finance from expert instructors. While the courses are not offered for college credit, they typically provide a well-rounded learning experience and include study materials like video lessons, lecture notes, handouts, assignments, quizzes and exams. Students taking these courses are allowed to study independently and typically do not have to register to access learning materials.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Students taking courses through MIT's OpenCourseWare can benefit from access to more than 2,000 courses from categories like energy, humanities, math and engineering at no cost. The following finance courses do no offer credits; however, they do provide students with lecture notes, assignments and other learning materials available in courses originally taught at the school. Registration is not required to access these courses.
- Behavioral Economics and Finance explores concepts that include mental accounting, altruism and the thinking process. Additional topics covered in this graduate-level course include categorization, anomalies of financial markets and incentives. Students can access downloadable lecture notes and problem sets. Readings for this course include the textbooks Choices, Values and Frames and Inefficient Capital Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance.
- Finance Theory II helps students understand how financial theory can be applied to daily business decisions. This graduate-level course explores external financing, how to value investment projects and risk management through downloadable lecture notes and assignments. In order to follow this course, it is recommended that students acquire the textbooks Principles of Corporate Finance and Analysis for Financial Management.
- Financial Management shows students how finance plays a role in business decisions. Specific topics covered include asset valuation, corporate financing and risk and expected return trade-off. Included in this graduate-level course are lecture notes as well as problem sets and exams with no solutions. To get the most from this course, students should read the textbook Principles of Corporate Finance.
- Real Estate Finance and Investment is another graduate class that covers mortgage underwriting, project evaluation, capital structure debt and equity, land value and finance decisions. Students also learn about real estate cash flows and leverage. In addition to reviewing lecture notes, problem sets and exams, students have the option of downloading case studies to get a sense of actual real estate finance situations.
- Analytics of Finance is a graduate-level course that covers pricing models, simulation methods and standard errors along with topics like dynamic optimization and the applications of analytics to proprietary trading. While some of the lecture notes are in PDF form, others require students to download MATLAB software. Students can also download problem sets, recitation notes and examinations. Course textbooks used include A Course in Derivative Securities: Introduction to Theory and Computation and The Econometrics of Financial Markets.
- The Law of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets is a graduate course that provides students with an overview of business law. There are five modules covering such items as the laws and ethics of raising and investing money, competition, mobility and insolvency. Other topics covered in the modules include the different types of business entities, the law of duties and tax considerations to make when a deal is being structured. Lecture notes in PDF form are available for several of these topics. The primary reading for this course is The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law.
The Open University
OpenLearn is The Open University's free online learning platform, designed to help millions around the world learn subjects ranging from psychology and sports to politics and law. Students interested in studying finance concepts can access the following course free of charge. While registration is not required, students can benefit from progress tracking and a free statement of participation after signing up for a free account.
- Equity Finance is an advanced-level course that covers the concepts of finance in relation to markets and investments. The course has eight sections that teach students about private equity, venture capital, equity performance and cross listing. In addition to written lessons, this course includes short quizzes, activities and case studies to help students deepen their knowledge of concepts covered. Approximately six hours' worth of learning materials are available and can be downloaded as Microsoft Word, Kindle, PDF or other types of files.
Marginal Revolution University (MRUniversity) offers free online courses to individuals interested in learning about a variety of economics and business topics. Courses help students learn basic money skills, economics terminology, data analysis and more via video lessons and practice questions. Registration is optional and not required to access learning materials.
- International Finance teaches students about real vs. nominal exchange rates, currency manipulation, the Italian Crisis of 2013 and many more topics, including capital controls, speculative attacks and the balance of payments. This course offers about six hours' worth of video lessons and is accessible anytime.
At Saylor Academy, students can take free college and professional-level online courses covering subjects like art appreciation, computer science, history, physics and psychology. Students do not have to sign up to gain access to the courses, however, doing so provides the opportunity to track course progress and take final exams.
- BUS202: Principles of Finance: is an in-depth course examining the basics of finance, including ways to assess an investment's value. Topics covered in this course include financial analysis and statements, risks and returns, the CAPM model and much more. Learning materials include written lessons, study guides and review exercises. Assessments are also available to ensure students fully grasp each unit.