Free Online Courses at Cornell

October 24, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Free Online Courses at Cornell

Does Cornell University Offer Online Courses?

Does Cornell University offer online courses? Free online courses at Cornell cover topics about computer science, marketing, human resources, public policy, healthcare, business, and real estate. In collaboration with several massive open online course (MOOC) sites, you can enroll in the school’s online certificate program, credit courses, or professional training depending on your educational and professional objectives.

No matter where they are located, students can enroll in MOOC-based courses. The prerequisites for some of Cornell’s credit hour courses must be met, nevertheless. Some courses also provide the option to pay a modest charge for completion certificates that you may show prospective employers, add to your LinkedIn profile, or include in your CV.

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Through the Cornell School of Continuing Education and Summer Programs, Cornell also provides free public online summer and winter sessions (SCE). The SCE professional advancement programs are accessible to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as working professionals who want to broaden their skill set, online and on-campus.

What Courses Can I Take Online For Free?

You can enroll in a few Cornell courses for free without having to move or adhere to rigid class schedules owing to collaborations with online education providers like edX. This is also applicable to other prestigious universities, such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, MIT, and many more. Now, let’s answer the query “What courses can I take online for free?” Here are a few of the free online courses at Cornell you can enroll in.

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A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations

Duration: 6 weeks

You will gain practical experience utilizing a powerful tool from Ansys, Inc. to carry out engineering simulations in this course. As you work through the problems in this course, you will learn by doing.

To progress beyond garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), the emphasis will be on knowing what’s under the black box. You will get some practice applying a common solution methodology to issues involving various branches of physics, including structural mechanics, fluid dynamics, and heat transport.

To comprehend the essential concepts of computational fluid dynamics and finite-element analysis, we will solve cases from textbooks. Then, using the program to mimic real-world examples such as a bolted rocket assembly and a wind turbine rotor, these principles will be put into practice.

Using the advantages of online learning, this course integrates the teaching of basic concepts and tool use. Ansys Student will be available for free distribution to all students.

Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom

Duration: 5 weeks

This five-module, self-paced course, which is situated in the United States and is focused on higher education, provides an inclusive teaching framework with a variety of entry points for reflection and investigation of the research on learning and diversity.

Approaches for inclusive course design, student-centered pedagogical practices, facilitating learning across differences, and change initiatives that support student engagement, achievement, and belongingness will be discussed. These approaches are grounded in the lived experiences of students and instructors, including your own.

As you progress through Teaching & Learning in the Diverse Classroom, bring in your own course in mind and plan for inclusion. It is abundantly obvious from the studies on MOOCs that “taking the course with a friend” boosts completion motivation. It is advised to approach a coworker or acquaintance and ask them to enroll in the course with you.


Duration: 4 weeks

Sharks! Biodiversity, biology, and conservation throughout the world:

Did you know that others follow some sharks’ whereabouts online? Or that humans’ designs for swimsuits, boats, and airplanes have been influenced by the scales on their skin? Perhaps sharks have more senses than we do? You will discover how researchers investigate sharks in this biology lesson.

To learn about the biology, biodiversity, and conservation of sharks, rays, and chimaeras, you will travel with researchers as they do fieldwork in laboratories, aquariums, and oceans throughout the fossil record in this activity-rich course. Around 1,200 extant species’ functional anatomy, sensory biology, reproduction, behavior, and ecology will also be covered.

Biomedical science is a popular major in the university thus delving into this subject in free online courses at Cornell is common.

Relativity and Astrophysics*

Duration: 4 weeks

Our predecessors were awestruck by the night sky after studying it in detail. The advancement of astronomy has allowed us to see into hitherto uncharted spheres of space and time.

You will comprehend these discoveries in this course by concentrating on relativity—Einstein’s fascinating and counterintuitive account of the physical universe. You will gain physical understanding, strengthen your quantitative reasoning, and rediscover a deep feeling of wonder for the world we call home by studying astronomy and relativity together.

Structuring Business Agreements for Success*

Duration: 5 weeks

Have you ever needed to rent an apartment, begin a small business, or lease a car?

Deals are a regular occurrence in life. It’s crucial to understand how to put together a functional agreement, but many individuals are unaware of its structure or what they can do to assist a successful arrangement. This course offers helpful advice and tools to aid in the creation of effective agreements, as well as several instances of scenarios in which you might need to strike a bargain.

Three Cornell Law professors and numerous practicing attorneys have collaborated on this course to give you a hand-picked selection of topics that will serve as the basis for creating effective contracts. Together, they bring a wealth of expertise from their respective backgrounds as eminent lawyers and legal experts.

The course will start by giving you a quick rundown of the system used to enforce laws and contracts. Then, you will concentrate on numerous types of clauses in contracts that support and facilitate successful agreements. You will get more familiar with the legal jargon and principles used in transactions, improving your ability to work with legal counsel.

The Ethics of Eating*

Duration: 4 weeks

Every time you choose what to consume, you must make a moral choice. What bearing on your choice should animal rights have? Is the pain involved in producing meat, eggs, and dairy so great that you should become vegan? What impact do your dietary decisions have on the economy and the environment? Do you need to adopt a local diet? Should you exclusively consume “farm to table,” sustainably produced food? Or is food produced in industrial settings more effective and ultimately better for the environment?

At the political-social level, we also deal with challenging food-related issues. Should governments impose restrictions on individuals’ food preferences to promote healthy eating? Should GM crops be eligible for patent protection by governments? And how can society as a whole apply sensible food regulations for a planet whose population is growing so quickly?

The skills needed to reflect on these difficult problems clearly and successfully will be covered in this course. The objective is to give readers a practical understanding of some of the most influential ethical theories in addition to the key empirical problems surrounding food production, distribution, and consumption.

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching*

Duration: 8 weeks

Future STEM faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows will learn about effective teaching techniques and the research that backs them in this course.

The eight-week course’s objective is to better the learning experiences of the thousands of students who will be taught by the next generation of STEM faculty by preparing them to be effective instructors.

The course makes use of the experience of seasoned STEM professors, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centers. Many of these individuals are connected to the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of research universities that works together to prepare STEM graduate students and postdocs for careers as faculty members.

American Capitalism: A History*

Duration: 4 weeks

The history of capitalism is maybe the most important story to get properly. Almost all our views about advancing advancement are based on how we see the 500 years of economic transformation.

Even though capitalism’s fundamental components—wage labor, financial markets, private property, and entrepreneurs—remain constant, the crises of the past decade serve as a constant reminder of how much it evolves. Even though capitalism has a long history, the United States has a unique place in it.

You will learn important lessons about what has happened and what is still possible in the ongoing revolution of capitalism as you learn how the United States rose to become the top economic power in the world.

Networks, Crowds, and Markets*

Duration: 10 weeks

The course allows you to explore the fundamental issues surrounding how our social, economic, and technical worlds are intertwined to investigate the interconnectivity of contemporary life. Students will investigate social contagion, the spread of social power and popularity, information cascades, game theory, Internet structure, and these topics.

This MOOC is based on the multidisciplinary Networks course that Professors David Easley, Jon Kleinberg, and Éva Tardos taught at Cornell University. The book Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World was also inspired by that course. There are no official requirements for this basic undergraduate course.

The Science and Politics of the GMO*

Duration: 5 weeks

Why do scientists create genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and what are they exactly? Understanding the science behind GMOs helps us comprehend how biotechnology might be used to address issues in agriculture.

You will study the fundamentals of genetic engineering, examine the political controversy surrounding GMOs, and go over the reasons for and against their use in this beginning Food and Nutrition course. US News and World Report has classified the school’s biology and agriculture programs as the sixth best in the nation. Free online courses at Cornell tackle these subject matters extensively.

We will examine the politics around GMOs and the effects on both individuals and society, as well as the issues, misconceptions, advantages, and risks related to GMOs. In addition, the science underlying how GMOs function as well as the limits in order to better comprehend the complications surrounding this issue will be tackled in this course.

We will also talk about how crucial information literacy is as a tool for accurately recognizing and assessing problems.

The Computing Technology Inside Your Smartphone*

Duration: 10 weeks

We use our smartphones for communication, life organization, information search, and entertainment. All of this is made possible by the robust computer processor found in smartphones, which is the topic of this course. Beginning with the basic layers of computing technology—binary numbers to application software—this computer science course proceeds step-by-step through each one before moving on to more advanced performance strategies and the specifics of real smartphone processors.

Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology*

Duration: 6 weeks

In studies of urban rejuvenation and urban ecology, the behavior of common people is frequently absent. People who are fed up with environmental deterioration and the disintegration of their communities band together from all over the world to transform desolate vacant lots, degraded stream corridors, contaminated estuaries, and other “broken places.”

By engaging in civic ecological activities like community gardening, wetlands restoration, river clean-ups, and tree planting, individuals may demonstrate their resiliency and help communities who have suffered from tragedy and underinvestment.

To comprehend how and why people care about nature and their communities, civic ecology draws on psychology, sociology, political science, education, ecology, and the resilience of social-ecological systems.

Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection*

Duration: 6 weeks

How is widespread surveillance made possible by cellular technology? Do users have any protections from surveillance? How do cellular and other technologies change as a result of surveillance? How does it impact the institutions of our democracy? Do you realize how much a cellular network may learn about its users from the metadata it collects? You will investigate these questions and others connected to Wi-Fi and Internet spying in this course.

Anyone interested in the technological, political, and moral concerns raised by the usage of information networks will find the topics covered in this course, which cross networking technology, law, and sociology.

The course will provide broad overviews for individuals who are just starting while also pointing out the specific resources required for those working on corporate or governmental policy creation.

*You will still have access to these free online courses at Cornell because they have been archived, but you won’t be able to upgrade for graded homework or obtain a certificate of completion.

Are Online College Courses Worth It?

If you would ask “Are online college courses worth it?” although they cannot take the place of a typical educational program, these courses still provide several advantages.

A free online course’s best feature is, well, that it’s free. A new subject can be tried out with less risk if you don’t have to consider the cost. You may unwind, delight in, and discover.

Unidentified man using a laptop in a desk

The passion for learning can be rekindled through free online courses. Additionally, they can assist you in moving forward with your career or academic objectives. Free online courses at Cornell, or in general, can be used by learners to test out a new professional field, develop skills for a promotion, or brush up on their knowledge before returning to school.

How Do I Choose A Course At Cornell?

Listed below are five crucial variables to consider while looking for free online courses at Cornell if you’re wondering “How do I choose a course at Cornell?” Keep in mind that the importance of each aspect will differ depending on your preferences as an individual and your professional objectives.

Cost of the Class

The cost is the most crucial aspect while selecting a Cornell online course. The university’s online certification programs can be expensive, so be sure to pick one that fits your budgetary needs. To make this choice, you can also research the university’s financial strategies.

Course Duration

Another aspect you should take into account while picking a course is its length. An online certification program may take four to five months to complete and will require eight to ten hours per week of your time. Therefore, it’s crucial to select a course that works with your schedule.

Course Syllabus

Everyone should consider the course curriculum while selecting a course or a certification program. Make sure the course you choose aligns with your career objectives, and your educational background, and gives you the in-demand skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen area.

Male student typing in a table.

Delivery of Classes

You should think about the course delivery technique in addition to the course length. Depending on your desired learning approach, this aspect will vary. A self-paced course is your best choice if you learn best on your own. A course conducted by a teacher is a better option if you learn best under close supervision.

Class Size

Another crucial aspect to think about while selecting an online course is the class size. You are better off enrolling in a small class group if you want plenty of one-on-one time with the instructors.

One of the most prestigious universities in the world is Cornell. You must be one of the 8.7% of applicants who met the requirements for admission in terms of exam results and extracurricular activities. With 67,830 applicants and 5,836 admitted students, the Class of 2025 shattered records for the lowest acceptance percentage in recent years.

Male student using a laptop to write an essay.

If you are interested in getting into Cornell, you may seek an expert’s help from AdmissionSight. We have been in the college admissions industry for 10 years and even help students get into postgraduate schools or prepare as early as junior or senior high school. If you simply want to learn more about free online courses at Cornell to widen your knowledge, book an initial consultation with AdmissionSight for further discussion.


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