Great Free Online Courses for Computer Science


Computer Science refers to the study of computer technology. This includes both hardware and software. Computer Science is a fascinating and varied field that can teach students skills that will be in demand in almost any industry in today’s tech-driven world. This broad topic includes multiple sub-disciplines and specializations in theory, analysis, hardware and software systems, as well as data science.

Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be included in some courses. The ranking of courses was used to select them. Affiliate links were only added after that.

This article will discuss some of the best free courses in computer science, as well as courses at many levels of specialization. To choose the most useful and robust courses, we have ranked them in ascending order using a methodology. Each of these free courses is well worth your time and merit.

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Top 10 Computer Science Courses Available Online

1. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science

This Harvard edX course has attracted over 1.5 million students. The University’s largest course, CS50, is offered on campus. This free online version is almost as extensive. It’s even more amazing that it is available online for free. The platform also offers a $90 certificate option if you choose to pursue it. This is a significant savings compared to the school version.

It is a comprehensive course, so we have placed it at the top. This is the best online course in computer science that you can find. The course is easy to follow and requires no programming knowledge.

These topics are covered:

* An in-depth understanding of programming and computer science

* How to use algorithms to solve programming problems

* Concepts like data structures, abstraction, encapsulation, algorithm, resource management and software engineering security.

*Programming languages include C, Python and SQL plus CSS and HTML

You can take the course on your own or as part a professional certificate in Game Development or Artificial Intelligence, Web Programming or Mobile Apps.

No Cost

Certificate: Yes with a fee

Time to Completion: 12 Weeks

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

High Quality Instruction: Excellent


*Covers all aspects of computer science

The most popular class at Harvard University

*Taught by three Harvard faculty members.



2. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MOOC in Computer Science is also free. It is offered through the Institute’s Open Courseware Program and covers the same material as the courses on campus. It is designed for students who have little to no programming experience.

This free online course will teach students the most important skill: computational problem solving.

* How to Use Python

* How to debug and write a program

* The process of turning written problems into computer solutions

* The basic algorithms

* How simulations can be used to solve difficult problems

* How to use computational instruments for modeling and understanding data

Although the online learning platform at MIT has a steeper learning curve than other options, it still offers a wealth of information for those who are willing and able to dig deeper. You will find tons of resources, as well as lecture videos, homework, self-assessment tools and links to further research in the online computer science course.

No Cost

Certificate: Nr

Time to Completion: Variables

Curriculum: Introduction to Advanced

User Experience: Excellent

High Quality Instruction: Excellent


There are no hoops to jump through. You can set your own schedule and move at your own pace.

*Perfect for people who are looking for a solid foundation of computer science

*Completely free courseware from a major college of technology


*There are no certificates available

3. Computer Science 101

Stanford Online presents this self-paced course on the edX platform. This is the best free online course in computer science that we found. It introduces users to the subject with no prior knowledge. Students will learn the basics of CS in six weeks, working four to six hours each week.

* Information about computers and codes and what they can do and cannot do

* How computers work

* Computer terminology and jargon

* How software works

* How digital images work

* Computer code

* Big Ideas: Abstraction, logic, and bugs

* How structured data works

* How the internet works

* Computer security

* Analog vs. digital

* Digital media: images, sounds and video.

No prior knowledge is required. The course is not recommended for students who have a good understanding of most of these concepts. However, it is ideal for beginners. The certificate of verification is available for $149, but it is not required as the course can be taken entirely for free.

4. 4. Computer Science: Programming with Purpose

Coursera offered by Princeton University

Programming is the first step in computer science. This course from Princeton University covers this subject in depth with more than 40 hours of learning. This course uses Java instead of Python like some other introductory courses. However, the primary goal is to teach programming in general.

Learn the essential elements of programming like loops and arrays, conditionals, variables and I/O. This free online computer science course will then cover concepts such as modular programming, recursion and code reuse, before moving on to object-oriented programming.

This class does not come with a certificate, unlike other Coursera offerings. All features, including quizzes, multiple-choice questions, programming assignments, and auto-graded multiple choice exercises are free. The simplified version of IntelliJ, which is perfect for beginners, is available. However, students can use any programming environment that they wish.

5. Specialization in Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals

Coursera University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The specialization in fundamentals of computer science is made up of three courses. Each course can be taken in audit mode on the Coursera platform to get the full experience. While you can’t participate in hands-on projects nor earn a certificate while in the free mode, all components of the curriculum are still available. You can apply for financial aid on the site if you are unable to afford the certification.

These three courses are Object-Oriented Data Structures (C++), Ordered Data Structures and Unordered Data Structures.

Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider is a computer science professor. This free online computer science course is for students who have taken an introductory course in Python programming language and can write programs.


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