14 unique University of Michigan courses you can take for online for free, from Storytelling for Social Change to The Science of Success

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Free University of Michigan courses 4x3
  • The University of Michigan ranks as one of the top colleges in the world.
  • Through e-learning platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn, you can take UMich classes online completely for free (or earn a paid certificate of completion).
  • Below are 14 standout classes, in subjects from coding and data analysis to ethics and public health.

With the advancement of online learning, many top universities like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, and MIT offer free online classes and remote certificate programs that can be more cost-effective than traditional degrees. 

Joining them is the University of Michigan (#17 of the world's best colleges, according to US News) which offers free online courses through e-learning platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn. All of the classes offer optional (paid) certificates of completion to add to your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

Additionally, UMich has longer multi-course professional certificate programs such as an edX MicroMasters in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement ($940.50) or a Coursera MasterTrack in Social Work ($2,000). For a comparison of edX's MicroMasters and Coursera's MasterTrack programs, you can read more here.

Below are a few of UMich's free online offerings, in subjects ranging from programming and data science to history, ethics, and public health.

14 free online courses from the University of Michigan:

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
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Length: 7 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Python is one of the most popular programming languages used today, and this beginner course is a great way to test out if you like Python — or coding at all — before committing to a longer program or bootcamp.

Programming for Everybody (button) Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change
computer work woman freelance wfh

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Part of Coursera's Social Work MasterTrack program, this course zooms in on social workers and how they can create change for individuals, families, and communities. Topics covered include the history of social work and current challenges in the profession.

Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (button) Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers
Hand typing on laptop on table outside

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

If you're a manager or own your own business, understanding data analytics can make an enormous difference in your success. This course is designed for those who want to learn the basics but don't have any background in data science or analysis.

Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers (button) Data Science Ethics
How to learn Java person holding code sticky note

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Whether you're a data scientist or not, exploring the ethics behind data sharing, privacy, and algorithms is vital in a society that's becoming increasingly more digital. This course covers who owns data, how to get informed consent, and how to use data in a fairer, more ethical way.

Data Science Ethics (button) Resilient Teaching Through Times of Crisis and Change
Person waving to and typing on laptop

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

For educators who've had to rethink their teaching strategy during the pandemic, this course can help build resiliency and connection through reprioritizing goals; utilizing new technology and tools, and drawing inspiration from examples of success.

Resilient Teaching Through Times of Crisis and Change (button) Storytelling for Social Change
Person video chatting on computer with mask on

Length: 5 weeks 

Certificate cost: $49 

Strong public speaking skills and the ability to tell impactful stories can inspire momentous change through collective action. In this class, students learn how sharing compelling personal stories can help sway a skeptical audience if they can relate to the protagonist.

Storytelling for Social Change (button) Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making
Person at desk with phone, calculator, and notebook looking at computer

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Using real-world, relatable examples, this course is for anyone who wants to enrich their understanding of their finances and make more informed choices around money. Topics discussed include an overview of the financial world and decision-making frameworks.

Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making (button) The Science of Success
woman e-learning

Length: 7 weeks

Certificate cost: $59

This course answers the questions "What predicts success in life? And how can you achieve the success you desire?" with research-backed solutions to help students form an action plan to gain more career success and happiness in life.

The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know (button) Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the US
Police and protestors behind barricades at city protest

Length: 5 weeks 

Certificate cost: No certificate available

Launched in July 2020, this course examines the history of police violence (including the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor) and is led by experts from all over the US who specialize in subjects like activism, social work, law, government, and higher education.

Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the U.S. (button) Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts
Stack of newspapers

Length: 1 week

Certificate cost: $25

As more and more inaccurate information is shared and amplified across social media through highly partisan news outlets, this course is perhaps more important than ever in understanding how false or misleading stories undermine our democracy.

Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts (button) Preventing Sleep Deprivation
Person sitting on couch in front of laptop drinking coffee

Length: 2 weeks

Certificate cost: No certificate available

Sleep deprivation is a huge, hidden global health problem, exacerbated by screens. This teach-out covers the importance of sleep in curbing depression and heart failure, as well as how to actually ensure you get enough hours of sleep every night.

Sleep Deprivation: Habits, Solutions and Strategies Teach-Out (button) Impacting the Opioid Crisis: Prevention, Education, and Practice for Non-Prescribing Providers
Person on video call with another person in mask on laptop

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Intended for those who work in non-prescribing health care or social work, this course walks students through the opioid epidemic along with research-backed solutions for prevention, treatment, education, and even policy.

Impacting the Opioid Crisis: Prevention, Education, and Practice for Non-Prescribing Providers (button) Democratic to Authoritarian Rule
Laptop on floor with book and mug

Length: 1 week

Certificate cost: $25

Bringing global experts and UMich staff together, this teach-out discusses challenges to democracy, the gradual steps towards authoritarianism, and how others can work together to create policy and change to better protect democracy.

*This course is archived but you can still access the learning materials for free

Democratic to Authoritarian Rule (button) Inspiring and Motivating Individuals
Person speaking with laptop outside

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $74

Even if all your meetings are over Zoom right now, being able to share your vision for growth with your team is crucial for reaching your goals. This course teaches you how to effectively communicate with and motivate your team as a leader.

*This course is currently unavailable, but FutureLearn will email prospective students when available again.

Inspiring and Motivating Individuals (button)
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