Take Free Online Courses from edX

More than 3000 courses from top universities and other institutions around the world are open to anyone who has a desire to learn. edX is the best place to take this opportunity right now!

How to Take Free Online Courses from edX?

Before you get the instruction for it, you need to understand what is edX and how it works.

What is edX?

edX is one of the online education platforms where you can take free online courses from the top universities around the world (Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, etc). edX provides undergraduate and graduate-level courses. 

Currently, edX offers more than 3000 courses from more than 160 world’s leading universities and organizations for high-quality online courses to people who have a desire to learn across the world. 

As of June 2021, about 445,000 students around the world are taking online courses through edX. As you can see below, there are 31 fields of subjects such as computer science, languages, data science, business & management, engineering, humanities, etc. 


Currently, I am taking an introductory course in Computer Science called CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University through edX.

This course is an actual course recorded from the classroom of Harvard University. Amazingly, you can take classes from the top university in the world for free. It is possible to take the class in both directions, such as submitting assignments, asking questions on the bulletin board, and participating in Facebook groups. 

How to Register to edX?

You need to sign up and register for classes to take online classes through edX  Here! When you click Here, this page appears, and click the Register button upper right on the page. 

*You can follow the red star !

After clicking, the membership registration page appears as you see below.

You can create a new account by filling up the form below or simply by linking your Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft accounts. 

After signing up for the membership, you can log in and see this page. And click the Explore Courses. 

Now you can search for the course you want in the search box below.

On this page, you can find Programs and Courses. You need to know the difference between them.

What are the Courses?

The courses section provides  3000+  individual courses covering 31 fields of subjects. There is no prerequisite to taking a course but some are more advanced than others. You can check out more detailed information about the knowledge necessary from the course description.

Most courses need to take 4-12 weeks and require 4-8 hours of study per week. All courses have an end date. If you are registered on a verified track and want to receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score by that date.

There are two types of courses. First is instructor-paces courses which have a schedule for all assignments, quizzes, exams, and a specific deadline. All course materials are available at a specific time and must be completed within a certain time.

The second is self-paced courses. There is no fixed schedule in the self-paced. All course materials will be provided at the beginning of the course and must be completed by the end of the course. Some of the courses have a deadline to help you plan accordingly. 

Once you have registered for a verified track, you will still be able to access all course materials after the course ends. But when you enroll in the Audit track which you can take free online courses from edX, you can only access it for the weeks listed on the course enrollment page.

What are the Programs?

The Program is a series of courses designed for a specific degree or purpose. There are five types of series of courses in the programs.  


The MicroBachelors program is a series of courses for undergraduate education created by top universities and influenced by Fortune 1000 companies.

In June 2021, Edx currently offers 11 MicroBachelors programs: Computer Science Fundamentals, Professional Writing, Marketing Essentials, Elements of Date Science, Introduction to Database, Programing & Data Structures, Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Busines Analytics Foundations, Data Management with Python and SQL, Business and Professional Communication for Sucess, Financial Accounting and Analysis.

The MicroBachelors program comes with real college credit which is transferable. And the cost is affordable at around $166 per credit which is lower than the national college average cost per credit.

The Microbachelors programs are available to anyone. So, you can enroll in this program even if you do not have university experience. Generally, these programs run with self-faced but personal coaching presents to help you to stay on track. 


MicroMaters programs are a series of graduate-level courses created to help you earn credentials in specific career goals through the in-depth learning experience. In June 2021, deX offers 58 MicroMasters programs from more than 15 universities and industry companies including MIT, Michigan University, and IBM.

The average cost of this program is $700- $1500. Most programs take about 1-1.5 years to complete. There is no requirement for qualification and admission, so anyone can enroll in these programs. But some programs suggest prerequisites on the enrollment page.

Once you obtain the MicroMasters certificate, you can apply it to the full master’s program. If you pass an online or on-campus program, you can apply your Micromaster credit toward that degree. In most cases, these credits are granted only by universities that offer Micromaster programs. 

Professional Certificate

The Professional Certificate Program is a set of courses designed for professionals who want to improve their skills and build careers. There are 140 different programs for various on-demand subjects. If you learn at your own pace and complete all courses, you will receive a certificate.

The average cost of the program is $100-$2400. Most programs run for 3-6 months. For example, Harvard University offers Computer Science for Web Programming in this professional certificate program. In the overview of this program, it takes 6 months to complete and requires 6-14 hours per week for the study. The cost of it is $358,20.  It consists of two courses: CS 50’s Introduction to Computer Science, and CS 50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript. 


XSeries programs are a series of courses designed by world-renowned experts and top universities that study a specific subject in depth. XSeries are self-paced programs and need to take several months to complete.

You can get a certificate by enrolling in the verified track and passing each course. The average cost of XSeries range from $100 to $500. 

Master’s Degree

Master’s Degree programs are affordable online graduate degree programs from the best universities of the world including George Tech, The University of Texas at Austin, Purdue University, etc. All courses are online, so it is good for people who have full-time jobs and cannot take classes on campus.

A Master’s degree can be obtained within 1.5-3 years. Comparing the on-campus Master’s program, the average cost is lower than that which ranges between $9,900 and $25,500. 

How to Take a Free Online Course from edX?

This is the main page on edX. To select a course, you should click Explore all courses.

After clicking, this page appears. For instance, if you want to take a course called ‘Python Basics for Data Science’ from Computer Science, you should click Computer Science in the Subject menu bar as you see below.

And choose the course Python Basic for Data Science.

After licking the course, you can see this page. As you see, 330,301 people have taken this course. When you drag this page down, you can see more detailed information about the course such as course length, effort, level, etc. And click the Enroll now.

Afterward, you can see the enrollment has been successful. At this stage, you can choose whether to receive a verified certificate ($99) or take the class for free. When you click on the Audit This Course below, then you can take the course for free. 

If you choose the Verified Track that pays $99, you can 1) access the course materials at any time, 2) get assignments and project grading, 3) get a formal course certificate in your resume, 4) sponsor non-profit edX, but there is no difference in following class between Verified Track and Audit Track. 

I choose Audit This Course. Now, you can see the lecture screen of Python Basics for Data Science. When you drag it down, you can find out how to take the course. By clicking Start Course on the red button, you can begin this course. 

The video lecture provides a video presentation and transcript as well. You can download the transcript by text file.

The courses offered by edX are not just courses that require watching videos, but courses that require active study given tasks, quizzes, and projects. The Python Basics for Data Science class above states that you need to study 2 to 5 hours a week, which is not an exaggeration.

If you are looking for an online course to learn something new and deeper for your career, I would highly recommend edX for free.

What to do next?

If you want to study the world’s fastest-growing industry, check out our guide on 10 Free Machine Learning Courses in 2022.

Smartly Josh

Smartly Josh

Smartly Josh is the founder and chief editor at LearningSmartly.com. He is passionate to learn new skills. His aim is very simply. Just help you take the right courses for your future.

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