Looking to gain new skills so you can take your career to the next level? Want to learn a new hobby or pursue a passion? Or maybe you’re just a lifelong learner who loves discovering new things?
Coursera is a popular online learning platform that boasts thousands of courses on just about every subject you can imagine. Whether you want to pick up new skills that will help you earn more money or you’re just interested in learning for fun, you can take classes from the likes of Yale, Stanford, Google, and IBM on Coursera.
The best part? You can learn for free with Coursera.
That’s right, Coursera lets you audit any of their courses absolutely free, giving you access to a majority of the materials being taught.
You only need to pay enrollment fees (these vary by course) for full access to course content if you want to get a Certificate for completion, which may be the case if you’re taking a class for work purposes. Course fees also get you access to some additional features like getting your work graded or being able to access assignments.
While auditing will provide access to course content for free, the Certificates included in the enrollment fees can demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers on LinkedIn or on your resume.
If you are interested in paying for full enrollment so you can get your Certificate for completing the class, you’ll typically have a few options available:
- Individual course payment–For individual courses, you can purchase full enrollment on an a la carte basis. Fees vary.
- Specializations and Professional Certificates–For these collections of multiple courses that are designed for a learner to dive deeper into a subject, you’ll need to pay for a Specialization subscription on a monthly basis for as long as it takes to complete the included courses. A Specialization subscription only includes the courses within the Specialization and typically ranges between $39 to $89 per month.
- Coursera Plus–This subscription gives you access to 7,000+ courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates on Coursera (over 90% of their offerings). Through the Coursera Plus subscription, learners earn certificates for courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates they complete. Coursera Plus is $59/month when billed monthly or $399/year when billed annually. You can try it free for 7 days.
But remember, the paid options above are totally optional and are only required if you want to get the Certificate for completing a course (our Coursera pricing guide has more details). You can always audit most of the course materials at no cost.
With that in mind, we put together a list of the best Coursera free courses you can audit at no cost in 2022.
For your convenience, we’ve broken the best Coursera courses out into categories, so you can browse to the topics that interest you most.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
Arts & Humanities
Taught by Dr. Tracy Bear and Dr. Paul Gareau, this Coursera course is designed by the University of Alberta and is amongst the platform’s most popular courses, with over 450,000 enrolled learners from all over the world.
This comprehensive course comprises 12 modules that cover indigenous history in Canada and allow you to dive deeper into themes such as political disputes, indigenous life, political action, laws, rights, land claims, environmental concerns, and the fur trade.
This course allows for self-paced learning or by following the prescribed setting and completing it weekly.
This art and humanities Specialization is designed by the Museum of Modern Art and consists of 4 courses.
Modern Art and Ideas includes videos that connect with the museum’s art collection and audio interviews, readings, and resources from renowned artists, designers, and curators.
The other 3 courses include exploring ancient and modern photography and learning how artists operate and think about today’s urgent concerns and developing critical abilities to understand, examine and interpret fashion design from a variety of perspectives.
Offered by the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), this Specialization series of courses are amongst the best Coursera courses. These introductory courses will teach you the fundamental skills required to become a professional graphic designer.
You’ll obtain a solid grasp of graphic design from formal and conceptual procedures through the implementation of the learned principles.
This program consists of 5 introductory courses that relate to graphic designing, typography, image-making, history of graphic design, and a course named “Brand New Brand” which lets you tie all the learning objectives under a final capstone project.
Excel Skills for Business is a series of courses provided by Macquarie Business School.
Taught by 3 lecturers of Macquarie Business School, this is a 4-course Specialization and teaches applied Excel skills to students. Its 4 courses are Essentials, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced.
Its topics include constructing professional spreadsheets and dashboards, executing complicated calculations, handling large datasets, and data analysis through the extraction of data and information.
Furthermore, you will learn the skills required to validate datasets as well as eliminate mistakes in spreadsheets and design spreadsheets that forecast and model data.
This is a free Coursera course offered by the University of Michigan and it is taught by George Siedel. One of the most crucial skills to develop in the business world is negotiation. It enables you to create effective contracts and pave the route to a successful career.
The 4 stages of negotiation taught in this course are: Prepare (helps you plan your negotiation strategy), Negotiate (enables you to use key tactics requires for success), Close (helps you in creating a contract), and lastly, Perform and Evaluate (delivering on your agreement and assessing performance).
This self-paced learning course requires you to watch brief interactive videos and tests your negotiating skills through questions and different activities.
This beginner-level series of Coursera courses is offered by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is designed to deliver essential knowledge of fintech and implementation of its concepts through case studies.
This Coursera online Specialization has 4 courses and may be completed in 4 months if the student devotes about an hour each week to it.
This series of courses will prepare you to implement modern financial technologies in your firm and you will learn different concepts including investment strategies, cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, marketplace lending, Robo-advising, applications of AI, and a lot more!
Foundations of Positive Psychology is a Specialization series offered by the University of Pennsylvania and is taught by qualified doctors in their respective domains.
This elaborated Specialization contains 5 courses and can be completed within 5 months at a pace of 4 hours per week.
This series of courses will sharpen your research methods and will build a deeper understanding of terms such as resilience skills.
These massive open online courses (MOOC) are among the best free Coursera courses for learning or improving your Python skills. Provided by the University of Michigan, this introductory Specialization is best for beginners and can be completed within 8 months at a pace of 3 hours per week.
Taught by Charles Russell Severance, this Specialization consists of 5 courses, including the Capstone project to learn retrieval, processing, and visualization of data. These courses help you learn important programming fundamentals such as data structures, networked application program interfaces, and databases.
These Coursera free courses are designed by Stanford and taught by Professor Tim Roughgarden.
This Specialization focuses on conceptual learning and presents algorithms to beginners.
This series of courses is the jack of all cards for algorithm learning, from educating users to grasp technical algorithms to presenting them with crucial concepts.
This Specialization consists of 4 courses, and it teaches a variety of concepts such as divide and conquers, sorting and searching, randomized algorithms, graph search, data structures, greedy algorithms, dynamic programming, and NP problems.
This Specialization from the University of Virginia teaches basic principles of product management.
With this series of 5 Coursera courses, you will learn how to communicate and pay attention to potential stakeholders, how to assess growth and engagement using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and how to focus on creating a targeted long-term program to make your product competitive.
Duration for this series of courses is 5 months at a pace of 3 hours per week.
The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is a fundamental series of courses for anyone interested in learning data foundations. Coursera’s Google Data Analytics courses are among the best offerings on this subject and will provide you with all of the information, skills, and tools you’ll need to start a career in data analytics.
The 8 courses in this series will help with understanding the foundations of data, asking questions to make data-driven decisions, preparing data for exploration, processing data from dirty to clean, analyzing data to answer questions, sharing data through the art of visualization, analyzing data with R programming, and lastly completing a capstone project.
Developed by the University of California, Davis, this Coursera Specialization makes it easier for beginners with no coding experience to gain SQL fluency.
This Specialization series contains 4 courses:
- SQL for Data Science
- Data Wrangling, Analysis, and AB Testing with SQL
- Distributed Computing with Spark SQL
- SQL for Data Science Capstone Project
These courses will equip you to study and analyze data through SQL and to apply SQL skills to solve real-world business issues.
This data science Specialization series consists of 5 self-paced courses offered by IBM.
Start your career in data science by achieving first-hand experience with data analyzing tools and through the use of real-world data sets.
From providing knowledge of data tools such as R Studio, GitHub, and Jupyter Workbooks to introducing Python programming basics, this series of courses has covered it all for you. The series includes statistical analysis techniques as well as fundamentals of a relational database.
These courses can be completed at your speed, helping you develop key foundational skills for building your career.
Provided by IBM, this Professional Certificate series of courses on artificial intelligence is offered by IBM through Coursera. This intermediate-level course has been created to teach you the skills and tools you’ll need to get started as an AI or machine learning engineer.
The curriculum consists of 6 self-paced courses that teach individuals about machine learning and deep learning concepts as well as how to put the concepts into practice.
The 6 courses included in this Professional Certificate are:
- Machine Learning with Python
- Introduction to Deep Learning and Neural Networks
- Introduction to Computer Vision and Image Processing
- Deep Neural Networks with PyTorch
- Building Deep Learning Models with TensorFlow
- AI Capstone Project with Deep Learning.
By the end of this series of courses, you’ll know how to take the knowledge you’ve gained and apply it to a real world situation.
Provided by Yale University and taught by Professor Paul Bloom, this beginner-level course teaches you basic psychological ideas and how they influence events impacting us.
You will be enlightened with a greater understanding of yourself and others, learning how people think and interact with one another. The course will conclude with a discussion of how to measure happiness and the things that contribute to a happy life.
This free Coursera course can be completed in 4 weeks with about 15 hours total of work.
This course from Johns Hopkins University teaches students the RAPID model to deliver psychological first aid to the ones in need. RAPID model is an abbreviation for Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition.
The syllabus of this course consists of 5 lessons and starts with an introduction followed by reflective listening/rapport, assessment and prioritization, intervention and disposition, and self-care and wrap-up successively.
The methods you’ll learn in this course could be applied in public health settings, work environments, nonprofit/faith-based organizations, and even in your daily life as you deal with significant events.
This course will not take much of your time and can be completed within 6 hours only.
Taught by Maya Adam, this course will teach individuals to be able to differentiate between healthy meals as well as harmful meals. Furthermore, this course will provide a compelling argument towards adopting basic home cooking to attempt to live a longer and healthier life.
The goal of this course is to educate you on how you can eat better so you can avoid preventable chronic diseases and avoid the global epidemic of obesity.
In 5 weekly modules, the course covers the following topics: Background on Food & Nutrients, Contemporary Trends in Eating, Future Directions in Health – Part 1, Future Directions in Health – Part 2, and Cooking Workshop.
This series of intermediate courses provides you with essential knowledge to prepare you for a career as a cybersecurity analyst.
The 8 courses included in this Professional Certificate include:
- Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools and Cyber Attacks
- Cybersecurity Roles, Processes, and Operating System Security
- Cybersecurity Compliance Framework and System Administration
- Network Security and Database Vulnerabilities
- Penetration Testing, Incident Response, and Forensics
- Cyber Threat Intelligence
- Cybersecurity Capstone: Breach Response Case Studies
- IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Assessment
When you’ve completed this series of courses, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to put your skills to work in the cybersecurity industry.
19. AWS Fundamentals
The Amazon Web Services Fundamentals is a Specialization series of courses designed for existing or prospective IT professionals who are beginners at cloud computing. It’s a great introduction where you can learn how to use AWS services for different real world cases.
This Specialization consists of 4 interconnected courses, each delivered by a technical professional instructor.
You will learn how to install and run a cloud-native application using and configuring AWS services.
You’ll also master the best practices for protecting an AWS infrastructure and AWS-based apps.
This course has been developed by the experts at AWS and is taught around the globe, so you can be confident that you’re getting high quality information directly from the source.
Offered by Google Cloud, this intermediate-level series of courses will provide you with all the concepts required for you to succeed as a cloud architect.
You will be learning different tools and techniques used in Google Cloud, including its platform’s infrastructure and services, as well as learn how to interface cloud console and cloud shell with Google cloud.
This Professional Certificate consists of 7 courses, including:
- Google Cloud Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure
- Essential Google Cloud Infrastructure: Foundation
- Essential Google Cloud Infrastructure: Core Services
- Elastic Google Cloud Infrastructure: Scaling and Automation
- Reliable Google Cloud Infrastructure: Design and Process
- Architecting with Google Kubernetes Engine: Foundation
- Preparing for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam
This in-depth series will take around 3 months to complete at a pace of 6 hours per week.
Provided by Google, this series of courses is worth a look if you want to change careers or are looking to upgrade your IT abilities.
In 6 months, this Professional Certificate series will help you learn all the tasks required to thrive as an IT professional. With over 100 hours of expert instruction, you’ll learn different skills, including how to use Linux, Domain Name Systems as well as recognizing issues to troubleshooting and debugging.
The Certificate includes the following 5 courses:
- Technical Support Fundamentals
- The Bits and Bytes of Computer Networking
- Operating Systems and You: Becoming a Power User
- System Administration and IT Infrastructure Services
- IT Security: Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts.
Want to improve your English skills so you can get ahead in your career?
Offered by Georgia Tech, this Specialization series of courses will help you improve your communication skills by teaching you how to conduct more productive conversations and communicate more professionally in business environments.
Composing professional emails, participating in meetings, giving a presentation, or creating an e-portfolio, this course covers it all.
This Specialization consists of 4 courses:
- Write Professional Emails in English
- Speaking English Professionally
- Build Your Professional ePortfolio
- Take your English Communication Skills to the Next Level
This language learning course from Yonsei University is for beginners wanting to learn Korean.
Taught by Seung Hae Kang, this beginner course covers the very basics of how to read, write, listen, and speak in Korean.
Topics include the Korean alphabet, basic expressions, greetings, how to read dates and time, and most importantly, how to use Korean vocabulary in your everyday life.
Whether you’re learning Korean for pleasure or for work, this course will get you on the right track to mastering the basics.
This online course from Yale University will require you to complete a series of tasks aimed at boosting your happiness and developing more productive habits.
Taught by Professor Laurie Santos, this course takes approximately 19 hours to complete and allows for flexible deadlines.
With 10 lessons, this course discusses assumptions about pleasant and unpleasant mental traits that force us to think and act a certain way. By the end of this course, you’ll be ready to effectively overcome mental roadblocks to improve your overall happiness and productivity.
Offered by the University of Amsterdam, this Specialization series of courses dives into deep learning and understanding of research methods as well as statistical methods.
The 5 courses included in this Specialization course are:
- Quantitative Methods
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Basic Statistics
- Inferential statistics
- Methods and Statistics in Social Science
For the final Capstone Project of this course, you’ll put the concepts and skills you’ve learned to use by creating your research topic, collecting data, and utilizing statistical tools to analyze and report on the results.
With the information you’ll learn, you’ll be able to more critically evaluate scientific research in the social and behavioral sciences as well as even perform your own studies.
A Final Word on Taking Coursera Free Courses
With Coursera, there’s a world of educational opportunities available at your fingertips.
And remember, you can take all of the best Coursera courses at no cost by auditing them. And if you want to receive your Certificate for completing a course, you can pay to upgrade so you can complete the required coursework and get certified.
Have any questions about taking free Coursera classes? Leave a comment below and we’ll help you out.