Tech, Now + Beyond

You’ll love these online science classes, even if you flunked high school chem

All the science classes you ever wanted to take, right at your fingertips. For free.

I like science. Really, I do. What I don’t like is the fact that the classes that don’t fit into my schedule, or that I have to put up with a lecture that doesn’t teach me anything — and that I pay ridiculous amounts of money for. So why not trade the price for a high quality, free course?

No matter your how strained your relationship with science may be, you can get a second chance with these 15 online classes.

1. Dog Emotion and Cognition

Yup, dog science is a thing. You may recall a thing or two about the animal kingdom from middle school, but how much do you know about woman’s best friend? Save yourself that marathon of Planet Earth and take this class, taught by a Duke University professor, instead.

2. What a Plant Knows


If you’re into reblogging pretty pictures of plants like I am, you might be wondering what else goes on in those leaves besides photosynthesis. Unfortunately our science education mainly focused on humans, but courses like these give plants a chance.

3. Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body is Telling Us


I’ve had my body for more than two decades, and sometimes it’s still hard for me to figure out what it’s telling me. Get to know yourself, and I mean really know yourself, with this course on your parts.

All your parts.

Just kidding, only the ones you can talk about at dinner.

4. Clinical Terminology for International and U.S. Students


There’s always the joke that you can’t understand your doctor’s handwriting — but even if it was legible, what do all those abbreviations and big words mean?

Whether you’re studying to enter the medical field or are bringing a loved one in and out of the hospital often, this course could help you understand what’s really happening behind the scenes.

5. Sleep: Neurobiology, Medicine, and Society


Why is it that I can have 5 hours of sleep and feel rested, while getting 10 hours of sleep makes me feel exhausted? Even though it’s something we do every day, many of us fail to grasp exactly how sleep works. Experts from the University of Michigan on sleep teach this course, and the workload allows for, you guessed it, plenty of sleep at night.

6. Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space

If you got excited when you saw the announcement that there’s really water on Mars, or when you saw that picture of Pluto, this University of Arizona course is for you. Neil DeGrasse Tyson videos are optional.

7. The Science of Gastronomy


Yes, something as delicious as food is totally a science. (If you’ve ever tried to make macarons, you know what I’m taking about.) You’ll learn all about preparing and cooking food, and even what goes into making something taste great. Biology, chemistry, and physics included.

8. Algorithms, Biology, and Programming for Beginners


It’s like three courses in one! If you’re anything like me, DNA has always been a mystery to you— so why not finally figure it out? Every living thing is like a computer in itself, generating its own amount of possibilities.

9. Introduction to Forensic Science

Something always told me the forensics department on a TV show wasn’t how it really worked out in the field. Courses like this one from Nanyang Technological University can help clear up the air, and make you that person who points at the television and say “No! That’s not how it works!”

10. How the Brain Makes Decisions

I’m really curious to figure out how my brain makes decisions sometimes. What made me decide to wear that awful outfit in middle school, and why in the world did I not try to take online classes sooner? Maybe courses like this introduction to neuroeconomics might help me out here.

11. Major Depression in the Population: A Public Health Approach


A lot factors into depression, but despite that, I’ve never learned much about them in school. Which is important, considering that many university and high school students have it.

While this Johns Hopkins course isn’t a diagnosis, it will help you understand such a widespread illness in our society.

12. The Meat We Eat


Films like “Supersize Me” made us more aware of what exactly we put into our bodies, whether we wanted to know or not. Since then more documentaries have been trying to do the same thing. Here’s to learning more about what exactly we’re putting in our mouths.

13. Vaccines


A course that your conservative relatives should take, no? Get it straight with this course on the medicines we take to prevent diseases that were basically exterminated fifty years ago. If nothing else, it will prep you for the inevitable Thanksgiving dinner debate.

14. Optics for Robots and Drones

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know drones are the next big thing. Besides their use in combat, there’s talk of them delivering packages, pizza and Wi-Fi to everyday folk.

While you might not be able to build one after this UC Irvine course, you’ll learn a lot more about how the next frontier of innovation works.

15. From the Big Bang to Dark Energy


The Big Bang Theory is outdated, but you don’t have to be. Skip out on the “Bazinga!” jokes and head straight toward the actual information. By the end you’ll figure out the difference between Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and more — and confuse everyone at a cocktail party.