The best free online university courses

You’re never too old to learn – and free online university courses make it easy to challenge yourself and delve in to new subject matter.

These courses are perfect if you don’t want to earn a degree but do want the challenge of in-depth learning.

From the Open University to courses from world-renowned professors at Harvard, here’s our pick of some of the most interesting – and most importantly, free! – courses to be found on the web.

The Business of Football

Think you have what it takes to be a Premier League Manager? This course introduces you to the business and management of clubs, and exploring how their business model differs from other industries. There’s 15 hours of learning here and you can work at your own pace.   

Art and Life in Ancient Egypt

If you’ve ever been fascinated by Ancient Egypt, this course from the Open University offers a fascinating introduction. There’s about 30 hours of learning here, and the modules are designed to last a total of five weeks.

Start writing fiction

If you’ve ever wanted to write fiction but don’t know where to start, this online creative writing course is the perfect introduction. You’ll get an insight into how authors create their characters and settings, as well as how to examine and understand different genres of fiction. 


Justice is one of the most famous courses taught at Harvard, and offers a fascinating dive into moral and political philosophy. There are courses throughout the year – including one this summer – taught by professor Michael Sandel. To enrol and view the course syllabus, visit the edX website.

The Holocaust

If you’re interested by history and the Second World War, The Holocaust from the Open University takes a deeper look into the events that shaped history. It looks at the ideas and incidents which prompted the Holocaust, the war and its legacy. This course will take you 12 hours of study.

Beginners’ French: Food and Drink

Improve your language skills and learn more about French culture through food and drink with this fascinating beginners’ course. By the end you’ll be able to confidently express likes and dislikes, order food and pay restaurant or café bills with ease.

Interested in finding other free university courses? Browse the Open University or EdX for more options.

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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10th Feb 2019
Thanks for voting!
Always a fan of getting qualifications

Normally had to pay for them all, so this is a wonderful piece of information.

I Will be making the most of this.

Thank You so much!!
25th May 2018
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And there is also meant to be an "n" in the word "in"...... to quote Homer Simpson "D'OH" Hoist with my own petard - that'll teach me!
25th May 2018
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Hello, Rachel. some very good stuff on here. I fancy the Egyptology.

By the way - there is an "s" i the word "Assistant". But my noticing it shows that I have read what you have written.
12th Dec 2017
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1st Dec 2017
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As well as the courses you have mentioned above, you can log onto Open Learn with the OU and Future Learn, where you can undertake many interesting free courses covering a multitude of genres from 2 weeks to 8 weeks in length - from 2hrs to 4hrs per week. You can also log into Duo Lingo where you can learn any number of foreign languages, again for free, certainly enough to get you through a vacation - it is also a good grounding if you want to take a language further.
29th Aug 2017
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We’re working with University of Liverpool on a free online course to refresh your knowledge of biology and how the body works. All while interacting with a community of learners across the globe.

Scientists will take you beneath the surface of three key systems in our body – respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems. You can find out more here:

It starts on 25 September and is completely free to take part.

Andrew Mackenzie
The Physiological Society
25th May 2018
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Hello - your course was dated for 2017. Is it to be repeated? I would be very interested indeed.
21st Jul 2017
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Hi, I just wanted to add that there is a website called Udemy that also has some free interesting courses usually delivered by video.

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