9 Harvard computer science classes you can take online for free — including an intro course that's already enrolled 2 million people

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  • Harvard University offers its popular CS50 computer science classes online on edX.
  • You can enroll in the courses for free, or pay a low fee starting at $90 to receive a certificate of completion.
  • Below you'll find a list of Harvard's CS50 courses available on edX. If you're looking for a full professional certificate program, you can find a list here.
  • Read more: UPenn is offering an online master's degree in computer science that prepares students for a successful career in tech — for one-third of the on-campus cost

Harvard University has over 140 of its classes publicly available online through online course provider edX, including its CS50 classes and professional certificates.

CS50 classes are introductory computer science courses, and its baseline CS50 is the largest course on the Harvard campus. Online, it's already enrolled about 2 million people through edX.

Below, you'll find all the CS50 courses available to enroll in for free (with the option of a paid certificate of completion). Topics range from the standard CS50 intro course to mobile app and game development to an AP course for high school students. You can also enroll in a CS50 professional certificate program, which compiles multiple related courses together to master a skill. You can find the full list of those programs here. 

Below are all 9 free Harvard CS50 courses available on edX:

CS50's Introduction to Computer Science

Free to enroll, add a verified certificate for $90

In this introductory course, students will learn "how to think algorithmically and solve programming problems efficiently" using concepts like abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. They will become familiar with programming languages such as C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript, plus CSS and HTML. 

Students will develop and present a final programming project to their peers. Altogether, the program should take 12 weeks. 

CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript

Enroll here, free to audit and $90 for a certificate of completion

Students will learn about data, design, scalability, security, and user experience. Using hands-on projects, they'll become well versed in writing and using APIs, creating interactive UIs, and leveraging cloud services like GitHub and Heroku. The class will touch on HTML, SQL, JavaScript, Front Ends, Flask, and more. 

The class should take 12 weeks. 

CS50's Introduction to Game Development

Enroll here, free to audit and $149 for a certificate of completion

Learn about the development of 2D and 3D interactive games. Using lectures and hands-on projects, students will explore the design of popular games such as Super Mario Bros., Pokémon, Angry Birds, and more.

The class takes 12 weeks to complete.

CS50's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

Enroll here, free to audit and $199 for a certificate of completion

In this introductory course to AI, students will learn to use machine learning in Python. Through hands-on projects, students will be exposed to the theory behind graph search algorithms, classification, optimization, reinforcement learning, and other topics. Students will also learn about adversarial search, logical inference, Markov models, and natural language processing.

It should take seven weeks to complete.

CS50 for Lawyers

Enroll here, free to audit and $99 for a certificate of completion

This is a variant of Harvard's introductory computer science course that's been designed specifically for lawyers and law students to impart a deeper understanding of the legal implications of a client's technological decisions. The original CS50 takes a bottom-up approach, but this course does the opposite. Instead, it begins with high-level concepts and related design decisions.

The class should take students 10 weeks to complete.

CS50's Computer Science for Business Professionals

Enroll here, free to audit and $90 for a certificate of completion

This introductory course is CS50 for business professionals such as managers, product managers, founders, and decision-makers so they can make technological decisions even if they're not specifically tech experts. Unlike CS50's bottom-up approach, this course is also top-down, emphasizing a mastery of high-level concepts and related decisions. Topics include computational thinking, web development, and more. 

The course should take students six weeks to complete.

CS50's Understanding Technology

Enroll here, free to audit and $90 for a certificate of completion

This is Harvard's CS50 course for students who wouldn't call themselves fans of computers. It's best for people who work with technology every day but don't necessarily understand "how it all works underneath the hood" or how to troubleshoot. Harvard designed this version of their class to help fill in the gaps. Basic concepts like hardware, the Internet, multimedia, security, programming, and web development are all covered. 

The course should be completed in six weeks.

CS50's AP Computer Science Principles

Enroll here, $162

Designed for high school students, this AP version of the CS50 course introduces computer science and programming and teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. It also satisfies the College Board's AP CS Principles curriculum framework. Students can earn an AP credit for it if their school approves the credit and administers the College Board's end-of-year exam. 

Students who earn a satisfactory score on nine problem sets and a final project are also eligible to receive a verified certificate from HarvardX.

This course will take students five months to complete.

CS50's Mobile App Development with React Native

Enroll here, free to audit and $90 for a certificate of completion

Here, students pick up where CS50 leaves off. They'll learn about mobile app development with React Native. Students will be introduced to modern JavaScript (including ES6 and ES7) as well as to JSX, a JavaScript extension. After hands-on projects, students will implement an app entirely of their own design in a final project.

The course will last 13 weeks.

*This course is currently archived, but it is still available to audit.

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