27 places to get a free science education


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Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is just one of the organizations offering course material for free.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feeling like your public school education was lacking? Wishing you hadn’t dropped physics in the 10th grade? Or maybe you just want to explore a new field?

There has never been a better time to be an autodidact, that is, someone who is self-taught. Below, I’ve compiled a huge list of places where you can get a science education for free. You’ll find a wide range of material here, everything from individual science courses, to complete programs, to quick lectures. Levels include high school, college, and graduate school.

Have I missed your favourite science education resource? Leave a comment and share with the rest of the class!

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Brightstorm: More than 600 videos at the high school level in biology, chemistry, and physics. (Free trial for three days)

Open Learning Initiative: College-level courses in 12+ areas, ranging from argument diagramming to statistical reasoning. By Carnegie Mellon University.

Connexions: A huge collection of small knowledge chunks called modules, in dozens of subjects.

CosmoLearning: A good science education aggregation site, which lists more than 515 courses from around the globe in every conceivable topic.

Johns Hopkins: The open courseware initiative for Johns Hopkins university, which focuses on medical science topics.

Learners TV: Videos, lecture notes, course descriptions on everything from biology to that dismal science, economics.

Open Learn: Eight pages of free science courses from Open University in the UK.

Math.com: Everything from everyday math to trigonometry, with a few fun math games thrown in for good measure. There’s also a store where you can buy books, CDs, software, etc.

Merlot: Where do teachers and professors swap their best stuff? At the Merlot repository. You can grab some learning goodies too.

MIT: More than 2100 courses available here, with the majority being science related. Undergraduate and graduate level material.

HippoCampus: A variety of high school and college level courses from the US National Repository of Courses Online.

Yale: This list includes videos, suggested readings, and practice problems, free from an Ivy League school.

University of Michigan: A good list of material focusing on health sciences at the college level.

University of California at Irvine: Here, you can learn about the physical sciences, engineering sciences, and computer sciences.

University of California at Berkeley: Everything from anthropology to robotics here.

Stanford Engineering: Stanford School of Engineering is offering some of its most popular courses online for free.

TED: Technology, education, and design talks from some of the most interesting people in the world.

Science NetLinks: For the children in your life, free K-12 science education from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Science media: Me, I prefer books over video. But which ones? Find top notch reviews of science books and films, also brought to you by the AAAS.

Udacity: If you’re looking for a different kind of learning experience, this one focuses on problem-solving, rather than lectures. Centered around computer science.

University of the People: A tuition-free university designed to democratize education. There are fees to apply and take exams, but these max out at $100. At posting time, they were offering an undergraduate computer science degree.

Coursera: A consortium of US universities offering video lecture-based courses online in several science-related areas.

EdX: MIT and Harvard will be joining forces to offer free courses to a global audience. No material available yet, but this will almost certainly be worth bookmarking for future reference.

Khan Academy: With more than 3200 videos, you could spend months on this site alone. There’s a smidgen of K-12 material, but the rest is high school and college level.

SciTable: Nature magazine brings you material on cell biology and genetics.

YouTube Edu: Believe it or not, there’s more to YouTube than cute kittens. Have a look at the Edu channel for a wide variety of lectures.

iTunes University: Carry your university-level education in your pocket. The link here points to the web page, but a search for iTunes University in the Apple App Store on your favourite device will get you there too.

BONUS: Check out this portal, called Online Courses.


Can you help make this longer? Post your favourite science education resource site below.



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