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13 university-run free online tech courses

22 Mar 2024

Take your pick from this list of free tech courses delivered by heavy hitters such as MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

Think you need a trust fund to study at an Ivy League college? Think again! This list of courses shows that you can do it for free from the comfort of your own home.

Harvard and its prestigious peers such as MIT, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge regularly offer online courses at no cost. There is a pretty decent variety; topics vary from starting your own tech business to AI fundamentals.

We have rounded up some of the programmes out there to get you on your way to a free education at a not-so-free university.


There are lots of courses out there geared towards those who want to learn about business, management and innovation.

For example, there’s a programme dedicated to running a business in an emerging economy, run by Harvard.

MIT offers a six-step course on how to launch a tech company, which is delivered by experienced businesspeople. At the moment, the course is archived but future dates will be announced so keep it in mind if it’s something you’re interested in.

Another MIT offering that is currently accepting enrolments is this course on supply chain analytics. It’s a good one for business leaders who want to understand stats and analytics.

It’s not strictly an entrepreneurship course, but it is certainly worth mentioning – Harvard’s course on how to negotiate your salary is very doable and could prove quite valuable. The best part? It’s only 15 minutes long.


Harvard is offering an introductory course on AI with Python for which you’ll need some previous Python experience. It’s a self-paced, project-based course that aims to help learners incorporate AI concepts such as machine learning and LLMs into their Python programmes. Enrolling closes today (22 March), so hurry.

Through the Coursera platform, Stanford University is running a beginner’s machine learning course that promises to make you competent in skills such as logic regression, artificial neural networks, decision trees and recommender systems. The course itself is free but you have to pay a fee for a certification.

Data science

Stanford and MIT have good data science options if that’s your bag. MIT’s Introduction to Computational Thinking with Data Science course is still open for enrollment even though it started two days ago. All you need is some prior knowledge of Python.

Stanford also has a Python data science course on statistical learning. If you’re looking for another language, Stanford offers a programme on relational databases with SQL.

Computer science

If you want a regular, no-frills computer science learning experience, Stanford’s Computer Science 101 is a decent bet. It’s geared towards a “zero-prior-experience audience” that wants to “play with little phrases of code to understand what computers are all about”.

MIT’s software construction course is from 2016 so it might be a bit dated but you can access a lot of different learning materials for free.

Finally, Harvard offers materials from an older mobile app development programme and an introduction to web programming course, both of which are good options for those who like a project but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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