Top 7 Stanford Online Courses to Enroll for

If you’re interested in exploring a new field, want to advance your skills in an area of expertise, or are just interested in personal development, you can benefit from the numerous Stanford online courses offered on the Internet.

Leland Stanford Junior University was founded in 1885 and has since become one of the top universities in the United States. It has many notable alumni, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk. Although not everyone is fortunate enough to attend Stanford, anyone with an Internet connection can take advantage of free Stanford online courses.

stanford online courses

7 Stanford Online Courses to get You Started

These seven Stanford online courses are offered on a regular basis. Some courses begin and end at a set time; others are completely self-paced. In some cases, the materials from previously offered courses are available in an archived format. The courses are offered through Coursera or Stanford’s own public MOOC-system Lagunita.

1. How to Learn Math: For Students

Although Stanford is known for its cutting edge contributions to science and technology, it also provides basic courses to help more novice learners. This free, self-paced course is designed to give learners knowledge and skills that can be used to learn math more effectively.

It addresses many misconceptions learners have about math and will help reduce math anxiety. If math has been a barrier to you in advancing in education or in your workplace, this course is for you.

2. Principles of Computing 

The modern world is immersed in technology. Everyday conversation is filled with references to the Internet, wifi, and gigabytes (among others). This free, self-paced course teaches the principles of computing without assuming any prior knowledge on the part of the learner.

The course focuses on simple patterns in explaining how computers work. It also explains many terms and concepts that are essential in understanding all forms of computing, from smartphones to networks. This course can help those who just wish to learn more about technology and those that are thinking about a technology-oriented career.

3. Writing in the Sciences

Although secondary education can provide a good background in writing and communication skills, many professions require effectiveness in technical writing. This self-paced course focuses on the development of scientific writing. Unlike creative writing, scientific writing requires special formats and attention to issues such as precision and clarity.

The first part of the course is directed towards general principles of effective writing. The remainder of the course would be more relevant to those learners specifically in the sciences and interested in publishing peer-reviewed research.

working on the computer

4. Organizational Analysis

Many of the Stanford online courses focus on technology, but there are other areas that are explored. For example, this course on organizational analysis would benefit anyone involved in management or wishing to become a manager. It exposes the learner to organizational theories and how to apply them.

Regardless of whether you are managing a business, a non-profit, or another type of organization, these theories help you understand how performance can be managed and improved. Understanding organizational theories help you decide the best way to address issues and problems in the workplace. Almost everyone can benefit from this type of learning to improve organizations with which they are involved.

5. Child Nutrition and Cooking

If you are involved in providing for the health and welfare of a child, this course on nutrition will be extremely valuable. As opposed to referencing numerous websites and often contradictory advice, this course gives you up-to-date, scientific information on nutrition for children in one place. Topics include health risks from child obesity, issues with processed foods, and how to prepare easy home-cooked meals. Stanford online courses like this provide ways to make an immediate, positive impact on your family’s lives.

6. International Women’s Health and Human Rights

While some courses focus on personal development, others deal with bigger issues. This course takes on the global concern of the health and human rights of women. These concerns begin in infancy, are prominent during the reproductive years, and extend into maturity.

Economic, social, and political factors are addressed. In addition to creating understanding on these issues, the learner’s engagement within the local community is emphasized.

7. Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

Most people understand that Albert Einstein was a special genius that made major contributions to science, but have you ever considered understanding exactly why this is so? This popular course explains Einstein and his special theory of relativity in a way that is accessible to most people.

In approaching this topic, basic concepts are defined and the impact on our scientific understanding of the world is explained. In addition, the theory’s impact on the popular concepts of faster-than-light and time travel is explored. Some knowledge of algebra is suggested for those enrolling in this Stanford online course, but it is open to everyone.


These seven topics are just a sampling of the Stanford online courses currently available. Others continue to be developed. They are free and available for you. The best part is that you can try as many or as few as you desire, and you are under no commitment to finish a course that you begin. Whether you want to select one or two courses to acquire some new knowledge or desire to learn a whole new set of skills through multiple courses, these resources were made for you.