College is the time for self-discovery and growth. As we move towards our dream jobs and cement the path towards a stable career, we may be stuck with the idea of putting blinders on and merely focusing on getting all that coursework checked on our lists. The truth: there’s more to life than getting that highly-coveted diploma.
Skilled trades are jobs that require certain skills to get done. In general, you can take up a short course in an accredited training center, like a vocational school or community college. BUT in the modern era, anyone with some time on their hands can now access a plethora of free online courses to help boost their careers or discover a new professional niche!
As a college student, acquiring skills from free courses would mean dipping your toes into the profession you’re pursuing, acquiring a new hobby, learning practical and survival skills, or merely learning another tool that’ll level up both your academic and professional credentials.
Below is a list of 50 free courses that you can take online. Take a look at these classes that’ll surely add value to your personal and professional development. We categorized them so that browsing them–and deciding on the best course for you–is a breeze!
Use these page-jumps for easier navigation:
Enhancing Your Modern-Day Skills
For That Money-Making Hustle
Complex Courses In A Nutshell
The Human Body And Your Psyche
All About The Arts
Getting It Done!
Hobbies To Pursue During The Pandemic
ENHANCING YOUR MODERN-DAY SKILLS
HubSpot Academy’s Graphic Design Essentials course led by Philippe Polman tackles the 101 on graphic design. If you’re currently pursuing a career in digital arts, marketing or tech, this lesson may be right up your alley. Lessons include fundamentals such as imagery, typography (fonts), color theory, among others. Apart from theory, you will be able to put all of the knowledge you gained in the course in practice, with significant application tips and free resources to help you get started.
Making great videos with just your smartphone just got a whole lot better! Because of the increasing specs and demand for more precise shots and better production value, you can now create beautiful content with just an iPhone or Android device in hand. Skillshare’s Mobile Videography course may be something up your alley if you’re into creating Youtube or TikTok content. Taught by Luke Brown, founder of Our Family Film School, the course will teach you how to create organic content and create appealing videos, with tried and tested techniques that’ll help bring all of your ideas to life.
Made free by Skillshare, the Register your Domain Name Class by Andrew Tye, who is a leading entrepreneur with experience in working with various Fortune 50 companies, will give students essential inputs and ideas in registering the perfect domain name for any purpose. If you’re a budding entrepreneur or a business major with lots of free time, this may be the perfect course for you! Course topics such as choosing and registering a domain name in any web hosting platform will help you take the first steps to create your web page with easy-to-follow guides and useful tools, links, and resources.
Harvard University and edX’s CS50’s Introduction to Game Development Course is a 12-week long program that’s self-paced and easy to follow. Students will learn through lectures and different hands-on projects to facilitate the retention and direct application of concepts. The game design and development program tackles different principles of graphic animation (2D, 3D) and sound design, as well as collision detection concepts. Users will be immersed in different cross-platform tools for app and game development (Unity and LÖVE 2D), as well as programming languages (Lua, C#).
Do you want to break out into the tech world someday? Do you want to work with the best and brightest minds in the world, in one of the most lucrative fields today? You may want to enroll in edX and Harvard University’s CS50x course designed for majors and non-majors alike. This easy to follow program would allow students to explore the beauty of programming like never before. Topics such as algorithms, data structures, software engineering, and website development will be presented in an easy-to-follow module that students will surely enjoy.
If you’re on Instagram, you may constantly see all those beautiful animations and design elements on different stories and posts by your favorite influencers. If you’ve always wondered how you could do it, you may want to enroll in Skillshare’s Animation in Adobe Photoshop course, which will teach you how to bring all of your photos to life using Adobe Photoshop. It’s a relatively digestible and easy-to-follow class taught by Johannes Fast that will help students grasp concepts and principles on animation workflow, and eventually, be able to create amazing Instagram content.
Buzzsprout is giving us buzz-worthy content with their How to Start a Podcast course. It is something that you must consider if you’d want to break out and diversify your online and social media presence. It’s also a way to create an impact by talking about topics that mean the most to you. Through this free course, you can launch your podcast, with a few considerations in mind (i.e., choosing the best name for your branding, picking out a format, learning about recording and editing tools, and distributing your podcast to different providers like Apple Music and Spotify).
It’s hard to believe, but streamers and influencers are raking in a lot of ‘$$$s’ just by keeping their loyal legion of followers entertained. If you’re a college student who likes to vlog and talk it out, you may even turn this interest into a part-time (even full-time) gig that could earn you a lot of extra bucks. Udemy’s Streamlabs OBS course will help you set up Streamlabs OBS, a reliable platform used for recording and live streaming, including troubleshooting and tweaking advanced settings to make your videos stand-out from the rest.
Hubspot’s newly updated Social Media Marketing (SMM) Certification course will help you set-up another valuable income stream. As a college student, it is vital to be able to build effective strategies and skills that you can use in a professional capacity in the future, and SMM is one of them! You will be able to build effective strategies that would build brand awareness and attract customers in the most organic ways. If you’re thinking about marketing and selling stuff right now, it’s good to have SMM as another tool that you can use to grow your business!
In hindsight, we all know that there have been a lot of presentations in school that kind of flopped because we either burst into cold sweats before starting, or we miss out on some lines and freeze mid-sentence. It takes practice to get the hang of speaking in public, and it can be quite a useful skill that you can acquire. With Ginger Public Speaking’s free course on the ten best ways to start your talk, you will be taught by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes, the company’s founder and accomplished coach. She will break down different speaking styles and help you figure out the techniques that would help you power through!
FOR THAT MONEY-MAKING HUSTLE
Do you want to learn more about investing in the stock market, and adding another income stream under your belt? You may want to enroll in Skillshare’s course on Forex trading. The course will teach students all about important concepts, terminology, software, and other pertinent points that will help you begin your Forex journey. At the end of the course, you can trade with confidence and join a community of like-minded individuals and enjoy the bountiful earnings along the way.
If you’re looking for a side hustle right now or just short on cash because of job closures due to the pandemic, you may want to explore dropshipping, a way to move goods from the manufacturer/factory straight into the hands of consumers (minus going through that messy distribution chain). As a college student, you will be able to produce another stream of income by enrolling in Udemy’s How to Start Dropshipping with Shopify and Aliexpress course for free, so you can launch your very own store, market your goods and start earning!
COMPLEX COURSES IN A NUTSHELL
Coursera and the University of Edinburgh’s course on Animal Behavior and Welfare involve a discipline that’s complex and more relevant than most individuals may think. If you love animals and would love to venture into the world of veterinary science or agriculture in the future, you may want to enroll in this free course. Course topics include the meaning and relevance of animal welfare, management of issues and concerns related to animal welfare, and the truth behind different animal groups (domesticated and captive wild animals).
For millions of people, working in fashion design may be one of the most lucrative and glamorous careers that anyone could ever have – the runways, red carpet events, and glitzy lifestyle give it all away. Oxford Home Study Centre’s free online fashion designing course is a 101 class for students who want to get a feel for the said industry. This self-paced, twenty-hour short module has no particular entry requirements, covering three main topics: Introduction to Fashion Design, the Elements of Design, and lastly, the Principles of Design.
Are you considering a career in medicine and healthcare, but don’t have it all quite figured out yet? You may want to explore the world of dental medicine via UPenn and Coursera’s introductory course. The course will talk about important parts of dental health, the functions of health care professionals involved in the said discipline, as well as the anatomy, physiology, pathology, and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth and teeth. The course will also tackle different research and innovations in dental health, offering a unique preparatory course for those who are interested in this area.
Studying philosophy may seem like a highly-outdated (and sometimes taboo) subject that keeps on resurfacing on everyone’s syllabi at any given point in their schooling – but with good reason. Philosophy helps students analyze personal experiences using different reasoning and logical tools that explore every thought, action, and decision. Coursera and the University of Edinburgh offers an introductory course on contemporary philosophy that distills ancient and modern theories and principles into an easy-to-digest format that will surely entice students from all walks of life (even non-majors).
Photography is a must-acquire skill for individuals who would like to get behind the lens and express themselves in the most tasteful and striking ways. If you’d like to get to know more about the technical and nitty-gritty aspects of photography and visual arts, you may want to enroll in MIT’s introductory course on photography and related media. It covers different aspects of photography, including analog and digital SLR media, as well as black and white darkroom techniques for the budding professional.
Emerging Respiratory Viruses, including COVID-19: Methods for Detection, Prevention, Response and Control
With a global pandemic taking the world by storm, it may be essential to know more about the ‘invisible threat’ that we’re all facing right now. The World Health Organization’s course on emerging respiratory viruses will be one of the most relevant classes today, which will provide students with the basics on the subject (with a greater emphasis on COVID-19, its origins, mode of transmission, and prevention). This three-hour course is especially useful if you’re currently pursuing any allied medical health profession, or engaging and living in a high-risk community.
THE HUMAN BODY AND YOUR PSYCHE
As a course offered in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, Coursera’s Psychological First Aid course borders on the practical aspect of its value, making it one of the most valuable skills in high-tension, critical events. Employing the RAPID model, students are taught how to make sound judgment in stressful situations, helping individuals and members of the community recover from trauma-inducing conditions. Students will be able to learn reflective listening techniques, as well as prioritization and mitigation of dysfunctional crisis responses.
Coursera is teaming up with Wesleyan University to give students a chance to learn more about the inner workings of one’s mind – their decision-making processes, how they behave in a group, and what makes them tick. The Social Psychology course gives students an insight into human behavior, with elements and a brief introduction to classic and contemporary principles of social psychology. You’ll be quite surprised at what you’ll discover not only in others but also the subtleties that other people may possess. This would work to your advantage in your personal and professional life.
If you’re currently pursuing a field in social work and health care, you may want to enroll in Coursera and the University of Toronto’s course on the arts and science of relationships, tackling the concept of SSLD or Strategies & Skills Learning & Development. This course will allow you to look inwards and gain a lot of insight into yourself and your relationships with other people. You will learn how to communicate and express yourself adequately while building healthy relationships with the people around you. Additionally, it shed light on dysfunctional relationships, and how you can turn it all around for your benefit.
Life’s throwing lemons right now, but sometimes, you just have to breathe in, let go of all the stress, and release all the tension. Learn more about effective mindfulness and relaxation techniques with FutureLearn and Monash University’s Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance course. By enhancing your mindfulness practice, you will be able to reduce your stress levels, manage all of your emotions and keep you running like a well-oiled machine—by merely turning on a few switches in your mind and paying attention.
Since the previous decades, we have been shedding light on pressing issues related to mental health, debunking false misconceptions, and reducing the burden of stigma on those who have issues. With COVID-19 as the background, it gets even more relevant, as the added stress overwhelms just about everyone. Coursera, partnering with the University of Sydney, is offering a free Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health course, which tackles a dual-approach to mental health. It talks about how better and healthier lifestyle changes and building strong support systems could help in distressing conditions.
Do you have a particular fascination for how the brain controls every action we do, as well as how we think and feel? If you want to see cause-effect on a grander scale, you can enroll in Coursera and The University of Chicago’s Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Life course today. Students will be learning the exact mechanisms in our nervous system (neuroscience) that produce behavior, as well as common conditions concerning the said body system that plagues our world today.
Feelings of inadequacy and social anxiety are just a few negative emotions and responses that most of us deal with daily. With Coursera and The University of Southern Queensland’s course on overcoming imposter syndrome, students will be able to explore these emotions of worthlessness and inadequacy and help them identify strategies that they can employ to help them overcome these unhealthy responses. In turn, they are expected to feel more empowered and replace any harmful coping mechanisms into healthier outlets.
When we hear the words’ vital signs,’ a couple of exciting themes reminiscent of a Grey’s Anatomy episode may come rushing into our heads. Coursera’s Vital Signs class will help students learn different vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory cycles), gaining a deeper understanding of how different body functions affect these parameters. Students will also be taught how to measure these parameters correctly. Even if this course may spark the interest of students focused in healthcare areas, this class is aimed at a general audience and expressed in layman’s terms for everyone’s convenience.
Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re facing another global crisis: obesity, which often comes as a precursor to other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In partnership with Stanford University, Coursera is now offering an introductory course to food and health, focusing on practical discussions about the food we eat and the environment it grows on, with emphasis on the importance of slow and simple home cooking. Subjects include Background on Food & Nutrients, Contemporary Trends in Eating, and Future Directions in Health.
Culture – it’s an aspect embedded within the recesses of our humanity, and a force that has changed this world forever. Class Central’s Introduction to Intercultural Studies course allows students to look inside the marketing lens and see how branding is making use of stereotypes, appropriation, and pandering, influencing consumer behaviors and appealing to their senses. With important cultural turning points surfacing today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, it may be a good start to know more about different aspects of cultural identity across a diverse landscape.
Let’s get this fact out of the way first: the world is entering crazier times. Even before the pandemic hit, we usually turn to religion as a source of strength and as an essential part of our upbringing and character, but it’s not always pretty when you look up-close. Harvard University (through the edX platform) allows students to explore contemporary conflicts related to different belief systems across the world, how it is woven and intertwined with different politics, economics and culture, and the repercussions of its involvement in the promotion and mitigation of violence.
Undoubtedly, there is just so much political divide in the US today, with the administration receiving criticism for questionable and inadequate social and economic policies rooted in personal interests, as well as a brewing recession that’s taking a toll on the lives of Americans. Harvard University’s course on US public policy discusses the emerging sources of conflict, the organizational structure or nature of the country’s welfare and fiscal policies, as well as the regulatory policies that make the US the economic powerhouse that it is today.
Women’s rights, which started with the passage of suffrage laws in the 1920s, are better off today than the previous decades, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done. The Harvard University and edX course entitled: Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories, will shed light on these enduring and compelling stories while exploring ten different objects preserved in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, in time for its 75th anniversary. Exploring these important artifacts will give students an idea about how women’s roles are continuously evolving and how they are fighting against years of discrimination.
EdX and Georgetown University’s course entitled Sign Language Science: Emergence and Evolution of Sign Language may be of great interest to you if you’re currently pursuing a career in Special Education (SpEd) or Occupational Therapy (OT). ASL, or the American Sign Language, also has a long and colorful history that has evolved. Students will be able to learn how these signs came to be, how abstract concepts are translated into individual signs, and how ASL is changing the world and creating opportunities for those who communicate with them.
ALL ABOUT THE ARTS
Do you find yourself seeing the world a bit differently from the rest? Do you feel better when you see beauty and cohesiveness around you? You may want to enroll in the Modern Art and Ideas course by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in partnership with Coursera. This free, five-week module will help students take inspiration from the environment, and challenge preconceived beliefs about what art should be. Use it as an outlet for them to explore their artistic flair.
With Greek and Roman Mythology, there’s no denying it: they are part of the most enduring and powerful sets of stories passed to us from ancient times. Stories and epics of great importance mirror the values and principles of a race that has been immortalized in textbooks, movies, and fiction work all over the world. With Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania’s Greek and Roman Mythology course, students would be able to explore the nature of these myths, and the roles that critical figures (gods and goddesses) had in building a nation and upholding different universal truths, which still apply to this day.
The beautiful faces, the box-office hits, the fancy clothes, and the legion of adoring fans: sound too familiar? It’s Hollywood, darling! Contrary to popular belief, the industry is filled with complexities, backed by an illustrious and colorful history that’s one for the books. Explore the ins and outs of this global powerhouse today by enrolling in edX and UPenn’s course entitled Hollywood: History, Industry, Art. Students will be able to see how the industry emerged from the roaring 20s up to the present, and how it has affected different facets of our lives.
Offered by the University of Malaya (in partnership with Future Learn), the Islamic Calligraphy: An Introduction to the Art of Handwriting course is more than just your ordinary handwriting and lettering course. The best part is you don’t have to be an expert to sign up! It merges crucial aspects of Islam culture and history with pertinent aspects of the art form – the excellent line work, the detailed strokes, and the rich, vibrant history that goes behind every artwork. If you are interested in calligraphy and seeking unique art forms to focus on, this may be your best bet.
GETTING IT DONE!
The ability to think innovatively and creatively can take your career to greater heights. Creatives are the trailblazers that keep ideas fresh and help make our lives better. With Coursera and Imperial College of London’s course entitled Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success, learners will be able to acquire an essential skill set with fun virtual activities, exercises, video demonstrations and fun lectures that’ll help you nurture and organize all of your ideas, and brainstorm effectively.
Effective leaders bring so much more to the organizations and groups that they serve – they forge ahead and develop their subordinates, maximizing their unique potential. In any field (even in the academe), leadership skills are an asset. EdX and the University of Queensland’s course on becoming an effective leader will help you discover what leadership is, as well as different leadership styles and the theories that back them. You will also learn how to use your influence and power for higher endeavors, gaining credibility and essential values along the way.
In the wake of a pandemic, people turn to online strategies to keep their businesses and coursework going. In quarantine, you may have a few group assignments and projects that need to be done, but it may be a bit difficult to work with other people remotely. Future Learn, in partnership with the University of Leeds, is offering a course on collaboration in a less traditional set-up. You will be learning different challenges and opportunities that come with working and learning from home, managing your time, and making use of different tools and resources that would make collaboration and project management a breeze.
More often than not, we encounter people in our lives who don’t share our values, personalities, and interests. Whether in school or at work, it’s never a guarantee that we’ll like our colleagues the first time we meet them. To make the adjustment process a bit easier, you can take Alison’s free course on dealing with difficult people in life and work, even those considered as the worst of the bunch. You will be learning concepts such as conflict resolution and de-escalation, and fostering healthy relationships with people around you.
The University of London has partnered with Coursera to offer its course on managing the company of the future. This will be led by Julian Birkinshaw, a top Coursera instructor who’s also a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the university’s prestigious London Business School. The course aims to bridge learners with important management principles applied in large companies today, as well as principles that may seem out of the traditional practice scopes. This is a self-paced, 13-15 hour course that’s 100% online and flexible.
Is there a one-size-fits-all, all-encompassing rule on happiness? It’s probably hard to say, but Harvard University’s course on the path to happiness following ancient Chinese philosophies may give us valuable insight into what it means to be happy and content. The course will tackle different topics, such as developing a deeper understanding of Chinese philosophy, applying all these principles to gain a better understanding of life, and using self-awareness, mindfulness, and rituals as tools that can change the way you think.
Albert Einstein is a renowned and respected scientist who introduced the particular theory of relativity that has transformed the face of theoretical physics and astronomy since its inception. But behind the crazy hair and scruffiness, what did his process look like? How did he come up with these brilliant ideas, and at what expense did these theories come to life? Join Dr. Larry Randles Lagerstrom of Stanford University as he takes you through the life, works, and challenges of one of the world’s most celebrated minds in Coursera’s course entitled Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity.
Scholars and voracious readers would tell you that indulging in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy would mean questioning the meaning of freedom, identity and accountability, and seeing the world with fresh eyes. If you’re looking for a great read, and an easy-to-digest reading companion this quarantine season, you may want to enroll in Coursera and Georgetown University’s course on The Divine Comedy. Rooted in the medieval culture of the 14th century, the book echoes a lot of concepts that still ring true today, which will be discussed in great detail in the course.
For most colleges and universities, research and development are two of the most important pillars that hold the academe together. It is the pursuit of knowledge and application of theories and concepts that make our world a better place – but it may be the bane of any student’s existence. No worries, because Coursera and University of London’s Understanding Research Methods course will help layout all the facts for you. Especially if you’re looking for research frameworks and ideas for your undergrad dissertation, this course may help out.
For native English speakers, it’s a common misconception that our language mastery and proficiency levels are 100% spot-on. Of course, that’s not true; if it were, we’d be putting apps like Grammarly out of business! All jokes aside, you may want to work on polishing and perfecting your grammar and style by taking edX’s English Grammar and Style program (in partnership with the University of Queensland – Australia). This eight-week, self-paced learning program will tackle different parts of speech and common errors in sentence construction. It is free to enroll in this course, and it is highly flexible to accommodate your busy schedule.
Ah, the wonders of essay writing! Most of us won’t agree that it’s a piece of cake but UC Berkeley, in partnership with edX, is bent on changing that! They are offering a course on how to write an essay – definitely a must-have skill for college students! The course will be teaching students basic grammar terms and concepts, how to develop a coherent and effective essay (and presenting all ideas in an organic, free-flowing fashion), as well as strategies that’ll help students write longer texts and other written coursework.
In any given dilemma or situation, there are two approaches: solving it the conventional way, or taking the road less traveled and thinking outside the box. Coursera and Stanford University’s introductory course on mathematical thinking will teach students how to think like a calculating machine, merging critical aspects of language and science. On the contrary, this course will not teach you how to solve an equation or improve your math skills – it will teach you how to look at the world with the eyes of a professional mathematician, solving real-life problems with patterns, statistics, probabilities, and numbers.
HOBBIES TO PURSUE DURING THE PANDEMIC
If you’re looking to boost your credentials by learning another language, you may want to go oriental this time! Taught by Professor Seung Hae Kang of Yonsei University in Korea, Coursera’s First Step Korean class immerses first-time learners in the beauty and subtleties of the language. It covers elementary-level concepts, consisting of five main lessons with four units across four necessary language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension). You will be learning about basic expressions and culture, as well as read and write Hangul (Korean alphabet).
Becoming a “plant parent” in this pandemic is such a hype among millennials. However, this kind of hobby has been around for ages. Aside from making our world a better and healthier place, caring for plants is known to reduce stress levels, increasing oxygen we breathe. If you want in on the benefits, you can start by attending an online course about it! With Skillshare’s course entitled Happy Houseplants: Caring for Your Plants, you will learn how to pot and repot your beloved plants, how to ensure that they’re getting all the love and care they need and of course, help your plant babies thrive!