13 free and fascinating online courses for History buffs


The Internet has revolutionized the ways in which we learn, giving us access to knowledge at an unprecedented level. There are tons of free university-level online courses out there to help you satisfy your love for history, which you can follow at your own pace without needing to register or wait for a start date. So close all of those tabs filled with cat pictures and spend some time learning about the history of our big, beautiful world with 13 of our favorite online history courses that will get you started on your path of self-learning.

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Crash Course: World History

Khan Academy

The history of the world covered in 42 lectures, by John Green. Naturally, it can’t cover everything, but it’s a good place to start to brush up on all of that history you learned in school and have since forgotten.

A Brief History of Humankind

Coursera, by Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Starting with the Stone Age and concluding with the 21st century, this series of 17 lectures gives a brief summary of humankind.

Introduction to Ancient Greek History

Open Yale Courses

Professor Donald Kagan teaches the basics of Ancient Greek History, looking at the development of culture, politics, and art from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period.

The Ancient Mediterranean World

archive.org, by U.C. Berkeley Lectures

This audio-only series of lectures begins in 1500 BCE Egypt and covers a variety of civilizations such as the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Empires, Greek Empire, and Minoan civilization, concluding with fall of the Roman Empire.

The American Revolution

Open Yale Courses

Delve into the complexities of the American Revolution in this course that examines one of the most important events in US history from a broad perspective, “tracing the participants’ shifting sense of themselves as British subjects, colonial settlers, revolutionaries, and Americans.”

The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Open Yale Courses

This series of lectures by Yale professor David W. Blight examines the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War.

The Kennedy Half Century

Coursera, by University of Virginia

This self-paced online course with Professor Larry Sabato of UVA explores the legacy of US President John F. Kennedy, covering his Presidency, assassination, and lasting impact on the country and politicians.


edX, by HarvardX

You’ll need to create an account for this one, but it’s still free to learn about Chinese history. This course has 10 mini-courses that examine historic events and ideologies, spanning 6,000 years.

European Civilization, 1648-1945

Open Yale Courses

Nearly 300 years of European history is quite a lot to pack into one course, but Professor John Merriman of Yale gives a broad but good survey to get you started. The series starts with the end of the Thirty Years’ War and finishes with the aftermath of WWII, examining events such as major revolutions and the effects of such events on ordinary people.

Internet History, Technology, and Security

Coursera, by University of Michigan

The Internet is a huge part of our daily lives now, so why not learn about its history? This course by Charles Severance studies the history of the Internet, covering things such as how it was created and how it works, as well as many important people that innovated the tech that we hold so dear today.

New York City: A Social History

New York University

Professor Daniel Walkowitz of New York University takes you through the history of the Big Apple, starting with the settlement of New Amsterdam in the 17th century. The course focuses on the people and ideologies that helped to form the city.

Science, Magic, and Religion

UCLA Courses

Learn all about science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time in this lecture series by UCLA’s Professor Courtenay Raia.

Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600

Open Yale Courses

Interested in plagues and disease? This course lead by Professor Frank Snowden takes a look at the epidemics that have plagued humanity throughout history, such as Bubonic plague, HIV, and SARS, and the effects on society. It also examines how these epidemics have changed public health perceptions and laws.

Which of these online history courses looks most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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1 reply
  1. Boberra
    Boberra says:

    I’ve done the Brief History of Humankind and it was good. Looking forward to trying the rest, thanks


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