Harvard University is the world's most famous educational institution and is part of the prestigious Ivy League group.
Several U.S. presidents and top CEOs of well-known companies like Facebook and Goldman Sachs are graduates of the East Coast university.
There are only about 20,000 students enrolled on campus at any time.
However, with the help of online courses (MOOCs), millions of learners around the world are enabled to participate in high quality education.
Find below a brief overview of how these courses work.
(Go directly to the list of Harvard courses? Jump to our course directory.)
How Does a Harvard MOOC Work?
Harvard was a founding member of the edX course platform in 2012 (together with MIT) with the goal to make higher education content accessible worldwide.
The online courses are offered as MOOCs (massive open online courses):
Online Courses with Millions of Learners
By far the best-known Harvard MOOC is CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to computer science, programming and web development based on the on-campus course for undergraduate students. More than one million learners have already enrolled in the online version, and the lecturer (Professor David Malan) enjoys cult status among his students worldwide.
Also well-known is a course on moral philosophy (Justice). This MOOC has also had hundreds of thousands of online students so far.
Intro video to the CS50 video course
Further courses are offered in various subjects: From architecture to biochemistry, Chinese history, and world literature. Around 100 courses are available via edX. (List of Harvard courses in our search portal.)
Many of the courses are in computer science / data science as well as in humanities and social sciences.
Free Learning Options Available
The standard video courses via edX are usually structured as follows:
In addition, there are more extensive paid course series that conclude with a Professional Certificate. For example, the course series on Data Science includes 9 individual MOOCs over several months and costs $400-500 to complete.
Get A Harvard Certificate for Your Resume?
If you choose the Verified Certificate option as described above, you can get a certificate upon successful completion.
The certificate is issued under the HarvardX brand, as shown above. This is the university's online course initiative.
Certificates can be integrated directly into your LinkedIn profile and can thus directly be verified by third parties.
When applying for a job, the HarvardX certificates show that you have taken part in a further education program on your own initiative. This can be a positive signal towards potential employers ("Are The Certificates Worth It?").
Please note: MOOCs usually do not offer academic degrees! Verified Certificates should rather be seen as evidence of individual educational efforts.
More Online Courses from Harvard
In addition to the free MOOCs at edX, the university also operates:
How exactly the various online learning initiatives will differ from each other in the future is the subject of current debate.
An interesting experiment regarding 3D Virtual Reality lectures shows that Harvard does not shy away from further e-learning innovations.
With a total of around 6 million learners, Harvard MOOCs offer attractive educational opportunities for users worldwide.
Around two thirds of learners come from countries outside the U.S.. The online format easily overcomes any geographical distance.
Their courses are suitable for many learners: For current students, for professional training or for private education.
Also, since many of the courses can be taken free of charge, barriers to learning are very low.
Another key advantage: In contrast to some other online educational programs, learners can usually expect a certain minimum quality from the Harvard courses and teaching styles.
So what can go wrong? As long as you manage to keep up your motivation (which definitely is a challenge for online learners), we'd say you just give it a (free) try!
Edukatico is Your Search Portal for Online Courses
If you can't find the right course from Harvard, there are various other high-quality universities from around the world (Stanford, Oxford, HEC Paris, and others) that also offer MOOCs. Discover them with our search portal.
You can search 8,000+ MOOCs and other online courses from more than 50 providers and 22 subject areas in our directory.