Free Short Online Courses With Certificates

30 Free Short Online Courses With Certificates

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In this fast-paced world, where time is money, short online courses have become increasingly popular. They offer the opportunity to learn something new, improve existing skills, and boost your resume in just a few hours. The cherry on top? Many of these courses offer certificates upon completion, providing tangible proof of your learning and dedication.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 30 free short online courses with certificates that cover a wide range of topics, from business and finance to technology and creative arts. Whether you are a student, a working professional, or just a curious learner, there is something here for everyone.

These courses are designed by top universities, non-profit organizations, and industry experts, ensuring that the content is relevant, engaging, and up-to-date. You can learn at your own pace, on your own schedule, and from anywhere in the world.

So, what are you waiting for? Whether you want to learn a new skill, advance in your career, or simply satisfy your intellectual curiosity, take a look at these free short online courses and start your learning journey today.

Table of Contents

How to Find Free Short Online Courses With Certificates

Many platforms provide free short online courses with certificates. Here are some methods for locating them:

1. Look for Online Courses on MOOC Platforms

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platforms such as Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and Udacity provide a diverse selection of free online courses with certificates. On these platforms, you can search for courses and filter the results to show only free courses with certificates.

2. Examine Online Course Directories

Class Central compile lists of free online courses from various providers. You can search for courses by topic and narrow down the results to only those that offer certificates.

3. Investigate Government-Funded Initiatives

A number of countries have launched government-funded initiatives to provide free online courses with certificates.

For example, in the United States, you can find free courses with certificates on the websites of the Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation.

4. Look for Courses on University Websites

Many universities, via their websites or online learning platforms, provide free online courses with certificates. You can find courses on university websites or through search engines.

List of 30 Free Short Online Courses

Given all the background knowledge you need about free short online courses, these are the 30 courses we wish to discuss (mind you, this is not an exhaustive list). Most of these courses are available on Coursera and other MOOCs and can be completed at any time convenient for you. Our list spans various disciplines including technology, business, psychology, and philosophy trends, as well as public relations. Whether you are taking part in this as a casual learner, or to sharpen your skills, you are sure to strike gold in these courses.

  • What is a Metaverse?
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Understanding Research Methods
  • The Sustainable Development Goals
  • Stanford University: Introduction to Food & Health
  • Global Diplomacy
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Child Nutrition & Cooking
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to International Criminal Law
  • Materials Science: 10 Things Every Engineer Should Know
  • Understanding Obesity
  • Life Coaching
  • Risk Management
  • Public Relations
  • Leadership & Management
  • Facilities Management
  • Check Point Jump Start: Network Security
  • Check Point Jump Start: Maestro Hyperscale Network Security
  • Financial Planning for Young Adults
  • Learning How to Learn for Youth
  • Diabetes: The Essential Facts
  • Google IT Automation With Python Pro Certificate
  • IBM Data Science Pro Certificate
  • Machine Learning
  • The Complete iOS 10 Developer
  • BUS203: Principles of Marketing
  • AI for Everyone
  • Excel Skills for Business
  • POLSC101: Introduction to Political Science.

Overview of Each 30 Free Short Online Courses Listed

1. What is a Metaverse?

Category: Virtual and Augmented Reality 

Remember the “metaverse” buzz from 2020? Well, it so happens that Meta (formerly Facebook) themselves created a course via Coursera to explain how the future of business interaction and content creation can change with the introduction of the metaverse. This course takes approximately 6 hours to complete and aims solely at educating learners about the virtual world and how people can expect to interact in it.

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2. Psychological First Aid

Category: Psychology 

The Psychological First Aid course offered by the John Hopkins University on Coursera aims to provide learners with the information and practical knowledge of the RAPID model for psychological first aid.

The course will teach students to listen reflectively and develop strategies to mitigate acute distress in individuals. If you’re pursuing a PFA career, this course could provide you with some more useful knowledge.

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3. Understanding Research Methods

Category: Education 

This course is all about unmasking advanced approaches for students to employ and carry out better research in their technical presentations and essays. Sequel to that, this course will largely appeal to you if you’re a postgraduate student in search of better techniques of deploying research in your studies.

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4. The Sustainable Development Goals

Category: Global SDGs for Business 

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been the founding basis for many modern businesses drawing their mission to impact global lives. This MOOC aims to educate how businesses, whether large or small, play crucial roles in global shaping, and how they can align their visions to collective goals that prioritize the human quality of life and profit.

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5. Stanford University: Introduction to Food & Health

Category: Food, Health, and Nutrition

Stanford University, being a top global school, delivers this free short online course that delves deeply into food, nutrition, and food health, as they affect humans. If you’re particularly interested in nutrition or food science, this course will absolutely appeal to you.

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6. Global Diplomacy

Category: Business and International Relations 

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamental principles and practices of diplomacy, including topics such as negotiation, conflict resolution, and multilateral diplomacy, all taught by experts in the field.

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7. Child Nutrition & Cooking

Category: Nutrition

The Child Nutrition and Cooking course on Coursera is an excellent resource for parents and caregivers who want to learn more about providing healthy and delicious meals for children. Through this course, participants will gain valuable knowledge about the nutritional needs of children and learn practical cooking skills to help them create balanced and flavorful meals that kids will love. Moreso, food and diet enthusiasts can also take this course to learn more about child nutrition.

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8. Introduction to Psychology

Category: Psychology 

This course covers a wide range of topics, including the history of psychology, biological and cognitive processes, social and personality psychology, and mental health, and provides a solid foundation for further study in this field.

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9. Introduction to Philosophy

Category: Philosophy and Science 

This course answers the big questions of human existence. Offered by the University of Edinburgh, Introduction to Philosophy spans a variety of philosophical topics, including ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and logic, and provides a broad understanding of different philosophical perspectives throughout history.

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10. Introduction to International Criminal Law

Category: International Law

This course covers a range of topics, including the history and development of international criminal law, different types of international crimes, the role of international courts and tribunals, and the challenges of enforcing international criminal law.

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11. Materials Science: 10 Things Every Engineer Should Know

Category: Engineering

Participants in this course will learn about the structure and properties of materials, material selection criteria, failure analysis, and the latest trends in materials science research, among other topics that are crucial for a successful career in engineering.

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12. Understanding Obesity

Category: Health Education

This course covers a variety of topics related to obesity, including the biology of obesity, environmental and genetic factors, psychological aspects, and public health approaches to prevention and treatment.

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13. Life Coaching: Coaching Practices 

Category: Counseling, Business Psychology

This course covers a range of topics, including the fundamentals of life coaching, coaching techniques and tools, communication skills, and ethics, and provides practical guidance for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a life coach.

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14. Risk Management

Category: Personal Risk Mitigation & Management

This course covers a range of topics related to risk management, including risk identification, assessment, and mitigation, risk communication, risk governance, and emerging risks, and provides practical guidance for managing risks in a variety of contexts.

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15. Public Relations and Media Specialization 

Category: Public Relations

This MOOC is a great resource for anyone interested in learning about the fundamentals of public relations and its applications in various fields.

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16. Strategic Leadership & Management Specialization 

Category: Business Leadership

This free short online course is part of the University of Illinois’s international MBA program. However, this course exists independently and can be taken online by anyone. The program is aimed at beginner learners who want to learn the processes of how leadership (including self-leadership) and people management apply as crucial tenets that directly impact businesses. By the end of the course, you’d have learned the ropes of being an organizational leader and set yourself up for management.

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17. Technology and the Role of Facility Management

Category: Construction Management

This MOOC is a part of the Construction Project Management Specialization course that aims to teach learners all about project initiation and planning. The course contains ten modules dedicated to teaching project management in construction planning, how to work structure breakdown is done, as well as fundamentals that drive health, safety, and environmental policies.

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18. Check Point Jump Start: Network Security

Category: Network Security

Offered by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, one of the leading firms in cybersecurity solutions, this MOOC provides a pathway, a beginner course for learners to get hands-on experience in network security.

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19. Check Point Jump Start: Maestro Hyperscale Network Security

Category: Maestro (Network Security)

In this 3-hour course, you will learn Maestro Orchestration installation, creation, and configuration of security groups via the web user interface, and SmartConsole features. This course applies to learners who want to get first-hand training and demonstration of the Maestro product; thus, it is not for beginners.

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20. Financial Planning for Young Adults

Category: Personal Finance

As young adults, there are only a few things that affect our lives more than money; and it’s not a lot. Growing up at such a young age, it is evident that money will play an important role in our lives, such as in areas in education, for example. But this course guides you on what basic financial planning is, and how not to overspend your money in your youth. You will find this course helpful if you’re learning how to take care of your finances better.

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21. Learning How to Learn for Youth

Category: Education

In this unique free short online course, you will learn about something that not many other courses like to focus on. It is not knowledge, per se; but it teaches you mental models that impact assimilation, and how you can be a better learner at anything you do. If you struggle to learn efficiently, you will find this six-hour course brilliant. Filled with animation and practicality, ASU delivers one of the best free short online courses on the internet with this.

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22. Diabetes: The Essential Facts

Category: Health Education

This course teaches you about diabetes; its symptoms, and every health-related fact about the dreaded condition. Suitable for learners of all ages and backgrounds, this course delivers on its promise of one of the best research-centric diabetes enlightenment programs out there. And even if you do not work in the health sector, this course explains health jargon in plain English that you will understand; and this could be useful knowledge for you.

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23. Google IT Automation With Python Pro Certificate

Category: Information Technology

Get fast-track training in IT Automation with this course. Here, you will learn how to automate tasks by writing Python scripts, you will also learn how to use Git and GitHub and manage IT resources at scale. If you dream of a career in IT Automation, this is an ideal place to start.

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24. IBM Data Science Pro Certificate

Category: Data Science

This is a specialization course for learners who are keen on learning data science and data science methods to solve world problems. IBM, one of the tech giants in the world, provides in-depth tutorials on crucial aspects of the in-demand skill, like SQL and Python. And you can get done in under 5 months, learn how to create a portfolio for yourself, and scout for entry-level jobs as a data scientist.

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25. Supervised Machine Learning: Regression and Classification 

Category: Data Science: Machine Learning

This course is one of Andrew Ng’s 46 machine learning courses on Coursera. And this is just the first course in the Machine Learning specialization; all free courses with financial aid. In this particular course, Andrew takes his time to explain how learners can build their first or next machine learning model using popular libraries like Numpy and Scikit.

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26. The Complete iOS 10 Developer 

Category: iOS App Development

If you have a dream of becoming an iOS developer, then this course is for you. In this course, you will learn how to build apps for iOS using Swift 3 and Xcode 8, as well as how to host them on servers. It lasts for just 29 hours, and 30 minutes, and can be completed on one of your weekends.

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27. BUS203: Principles of Marketing

Category: Marketing and Brand Communications

Offered by SAYLOR Academy, BUS203 thrusts you into the world of foundational marketing with real examples of how businesses build traction and establish themselves in their various niches. You will also learn how to scale marketing campaigns yourself. Essentially, this could be an ideal course for you if you love marketing.

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28. AI for Everyone

Category: Artificial Intelligence

If you’re reading this in 2023, there are high chances you’re still recovering from the dizzying noise about artificial intelligence happening during this time. A lot of talks about how AI will become a groundbreaking technology in the next decade or so. But, what even is artificial intelligence? And how does it affect you in the grand scheme of things? This course attempts to answer it, and does a pretty good job at it.

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29. Excel Skills for Business

Category: Business Analytics

If you’re interested in learning business analytics, Excel is going to be one of the most crucial skills you will ever learn; probably more important than SQL, PowerBI, or Tableau. So, if you’re ready to finally give your business analytics goals a shot, this is the best Excel course we recommend.

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30. POLSC101: Introduction to Political Science

Category: Political Science

Politics, diplomatic relations, enfranchisement, etc. What do they all mean? This course attempts to paint a pretty good picture. Offered by Saylor Academy, POLSC101 provides a basic introduction to what politics and political studies really mean.

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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Online Course

If you’re going to enroll in these free short online courses that we’ve recommended, then we’re pretty sure you’ve got some asynchronous online learning to do (don’t be shocked, we are magicians!) And being a big aficionado of online learning, I can confirm to you that it doesn’t get easy. We tend to get demotivated and distracted with no help around. As a result, we tend to slack off. And most times, the problem isn’t just about being a self-motivated individual. I will share a few tips for getting the most out of your online course, and hopefully, that can help get started on your goals, and see through your online courses to the end.

1. Pick a Course

The first step is pretty obvious: pick a course. Before you do, it is important, however, that you set a goal on what you want to learn. This helps provide you with a clear path to visualize your goals.

2. Set a Periodic Learning Routine

Now that you’ve selected a course, it’s alright that you just want to jump right in. But, from experience, I can assure you that your initial excitement will wear off; it happens most of the time. So, what you want to do instead, is to set a periodic routine for yourself; this can be daily or weekly. You can decide to shut off activities for Saturday mornings to dedicate to learning. What this does for you is to condition your mind for learning at set periods of time.

3. Use Resources

100% of the time, most free short online courses provide learners with learning resources that aid assimilation. But most times, these things get ignored, in students’ rush to go through the syllabus rather quickly.

Some of these resources are quizzes, assignments, discussion forums, and further reading materials that are supposed to help give you clearer information about your topics and provide you with support. Using these resources will not only help you stay on track, but you can also learn from your peers in discussion forums.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

I know you hear this often but, I’m saying it again: practice as you learn. Don’t wait till you think you’ve got enough knowledge under your belt before you start applying for work. You will never be ready. Instead, you will only get stuck with the knowledge curse.

5. Seek Mentorship

Finally, seek mentorships. Identify people who are ahead of you and have walked through your career pathway. Seek their guidance and apply lessons from them that fit into your own career.

FAQs About Free Short Online Courses

Are these courses really free?

Yes, most of these courses are free with certificates. You can either choose to “audit” these courses on Coursera and learn for free (but pay for certificates), or you can apply for financial aid (takes weeks to get a response) where applicable and get both your certificate for free.

Are Coursera courses worth it?

Worth the knowledge? Heck yes! Coursera is reputable for its high-quality programs offered by the top global universities of our world; including MIT, the University of London, Harvard, and more. So, these free short online courses are being provided by experienced tutors who have garnered years of experience in their subject matter. You can rest assured that you are receiving the best education.

What can you learn for free online?

There’s almost no limit to what you can learn for free online. So many MOOC platforms offer free short online courses for whoever is ready to learn. All you have to do is apply. In this article, we’ve shown you thirty such courses; and this isn’t even an exhaustive list. Aside from medical and professional courses like engineering that need heavy hands-on training and intensive hours of learning, there’s not much else you can not learn online. You can even get your MBA entirely online these days.

Which platform is best for free short online courses?

This may be a bias, but I’ll go for Coursera in my answer. The platform’s user experience, career guides, learning resources, curation, and swift complaint response make it top of my favorite learning platforms. What’s more, there’s no limit to what you can learn on this platform — and mostly for free.

Wrapping It Up 

In essence, learning is fun that never ends; especially if you’re a dynamic-minded person who loves to uncover new things daily. These free short online courses range from courses that can be completed in mere hours, to specialization programs that last for months.

Either one it is, these courses can provide you with the much-needed insight you may need right now to set your career in motion and get the knowledge you need.