Some free online courses offered by Harvard University

A survey done by Times Higher Education in 2020 declared Harvard University to be the third highest-ranking University in the World. When you hear such statistics, you automatically wish you had studied there. You cannot help but wonder what it’s like to learn from its teachers; to have intellectual discussions with its students. Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. Harvard University has been offering free online courses to students across the world. Most of these online courses are only weeks long. And the best part is that 90% of the material is in video format. The courses are available on various subjects. You can choose whichever piques your interest. To give you an idea of what kind of courses there are, here I present a list carefully curated in keeping with everyone’s inclination.

CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

Duration: 7 Weeks

Instructors: David J. Malan and Brian Yu

Hey Computer Science enthusiasts, this free online course is for you. Artificial Intelligence is, without a doubt, the most applicable invention done by mankind. And what is better than learning the fundamentals of AI but with a high-level programming language? From learning AI principles to reading graph algorithms, you will gain a lot from this course. The only prerequisite is some experience in programming. It is available till December 2021. 

Note: If you wish to get a verified certificate, you will have to pay $199.

PredictionX: Omens, Oracles, and Prophecies

Duration: One week

Instructor: Alyssa Goodman

Yesterday my friend came up to me and said, “I’ve been seeing this number 111 for many days. Something spectacular is going to happen. The universe is trying to send a message.” I scoffed after hearing this. I didn’t believe in omens and prophecies until I saw this course. If you are a skeptic like me, this course by Harvard University will make you think otherwise. This course documents all human endeavours in history to anticipate future events. The difficulty level is low which means it is meant for beginners. It showcases detailed studies on divination systems popular around the globe. Although it’s particularly intended for the students of Humanities, anyone interested in the occult can opt for it. It forms a fine bridge between science and superstition. This is the most intriguing free online course I’ve ever come across!

Prescription Drug Regulation, Cost, and Access: Current Controversies in Context

Duration: 8 weeks

Instructors: Aaron Kesselheim, Jonathan Darrow, Ameet Sarpatwari

Do you ever wonder how drugs are regulated? How is it decided which drug to prescribe and which not to? How much quantity is considered safe? You will find the answers to such questions in this online course. Moreover, you will see how controversial drug manufacturing/ marketing can be. The funny part is that it is introductory, which means it is not just for medical folk. In its description, they have clearly mentioned that there are no prerequisites. If drug prescription is something you want to know about, let no one stop you. 

Become a More Resilient Leader in Turbulent Times

Duration: 35-minutes

Instructor: Nancy Koehn

“Turbulent times”- a phrase we’ve been hearing a lot lately. Covid-19 is a one of its kind pandemic never seen before. In such a situation, we need leaders who can drive away the panic and provide stability. Do you imagine yourself to be such a leader? If yes, consider taking up this course. Since it’s such a small course, it will greatly please those who complain that online courses are too time-consuming.

Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

Duration: 8-weeks long

Type: Self-paced

Instructor: James Engell

The art of persuasion is something everyone should learn regardless of his/her profession. Don’t you think from the moment we start growing up, we have to persuade others to get what we want? When toddlers fake stomach aches to avoid going to school, even they know it needs something convincing to change our parents’ mind.

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice: Shylock

Duration: 4 Weeks

Instructor: Stephan Greenblatt

It wouldn’t be fair if we ended without talking about online courses in literature, right? Shylock, from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, is the most colourful character in the whole literature. He is a spiteful, envious, and selfish person who will stop at nothing less than ripping his foe’s heart out. Despite this, on in-depth analysis, one will end up sympathizing with him. Shylock stands for much more than a malicious villain. The way he is treated in the play represents how the Jewish community was being treated at that time in Europe. Apart from this, this course will also throw light on Shakespeare’s artistic genius. 


These are a selected few, but you will find a plethora of such courses on the official website of Harvard University. Every free online course available on the site has been created by experts with utmost care. Let’s make the most of this pandemic and start investing our time in things we love.

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