The demand for computer scientists means there are plenty of jobs out there for those with the right skills. Students and working professionals who are serious about entering the computer science field can benefit greatly from enrolling in a free online degree program.
To help you find the top free online computer science degree program, we researched and reviewed 15 top programs.
Professional opportunities for those who earn a degree in computer science span the business, creative, educational, engineering, medical, and scientific sectors.
Any graduate of a computer science program, whether it be in a traditional classroom setting or online, can find work as an application programmer, coder, network administrator, software engineer, systems analyst, or video game developer, just to name a few of the many possible occupations in the field.
Don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars; it will pay off. We’re not going to lie and tell you that getting a free online computer science degree is going to be easy.
Free online computer science degree
CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science
This Harvard-led edX course has attracted more than 1.5 million learners so far. This free online version of the University’s largest course, CS50, is nearly as comprehensive as the on-campus version. The fact that you can take the course for zero dollars is even more unbelievable. If you want to show off your knowledge and skills by earning a certificate, the platform will help you do so for just $90, which is a steal compared to traditional classroom training.
The course is comprehensive, so it is at the top of our recommended list. If you’re looking for the top free online CS course, you should start here. The course can be completed at your own pace with no prior programming experience required.
Computer Science 101
This Stanford Online course is one of the best available on the edX platform. It’s one of the best introductory computer science courses available online for free, as it assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the user. The course is designed to be completed in six weeks, with students devoting four to six hours per week to learning the fundamentals of computer science.
There are no prerequisites or prerequirements for this online computer science course. The course may be too basic for students who are familiar with the aforementioned topics, but it is perfect for those who are just starting out. The course is available in its entirety for no cost, though a verification certificate can be purchased for $149.
Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization
The three courses that make up this introductory computer science specialization are available on the free audit basis on the Coursera platform. While the practical exercises and final exam are unavailable in the demo version of the course, the rest of the material is complete. You can apply for funding on the site if obtaining the certification is particularly important to you but you lack the resources to do so on your own.
Data Structures in C , Data Structures in Java, and Data Structures in Python are the three courses.
This free online computer science course taught by professor Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider assumes that you have some familiarity with programming and have taken an introductory course in a language like Python.
Half of those who enrolled in this free Princeton online course reported tangible career benefits, per Coursera’s Learner Career Outcomes. Wow, that’s incredible! Students taking Computer Architecture will gain an understanding of the complexities involved in designing the internals of today’s microprocessors. There are 21 different units to the curriculum, covering things like directory protocols and parallel programming. Those with more experience in computer science will benefit most from the course. About 50 hours are needed to finish it.
Computer Science: Programming with a Purpose
Coursera provides a free online CS course titled “Programming with a Purpose.” As stated in the course description, “learning to program is an essential part of the education of every student,” including those majoring in the arts, social sciences, and humanities in addition to the hard sciences. Ten individual lessons make up this adaptable curriculum. Fundamentals of programming and the languages in which they are written are among the many topics covered. This introductory course has an estimated 88-hour duration.
Cybersecurity and Its Ten Domains
The University System of Georgia presents Cybersecurity and Its Ten Domains. It’s written for anyone with an interest in computers, including students, professionals, and curious laypeople. In this course, students will learn everything there is to know about cybersecurity. The course is supplemented with video lectures, quizzes, and class discussions and activities. The 25-hour course is designed for those with no prior experience.
How Computers Work
This free online course from the University of London is a great option if your interest in computer science stems from the fundamental question, “how do computers work?” Students will complete four separate units. Networking, the World Wide Web, and software will all be covered in depth. They will have a firm grasp of the inner workings of a computer by the end of the course. This class is great for complete newbies. The total time to finish it is around 10 hours.
Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization
This specialization in CS fundamentals consists of three courses, all of which can be taken for free on the Coursera platform in audit mode to get the full specialization experience.
The free mode provides access to the entirety of the course except for the hands-on projects and the certificate. If you need financial aid to obtain the certification but are unable to do so on your own, you may do so through the website.
There are three different data structure classes: Object-Oriented Data Structures in C , Ordered Data Structures, and Unordered Data Structures.
Professor Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider teaches a free online introductory computer science course for those who have already taken a course in a programming language like Python and can write basic programs.
Internet History, Technology, and Security
The free online course from the University of Michigan is a great resource for anyone curious about the evolution and inner workings of the internet. The impact of the Internet on society and culture is explored in depth in the course Internet History, Technology, and Security.
Students will gain an understanding of the development of the internet from its infancy in the era of electronic computing at the start of World War II to its current state of rapid growth and commercialization across the course of ten modules. Students will also gain knowledge in the areas of application and website development, encryption, and distribution. It takes about 15 hours to finish the course and is designed for both novices and experts.
Computers and Office Productivity Software
At the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, you can take a course that serves as an introduction to computers and office productivity software. If you need to update your resume or CV and want to learn how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then take this free online computer science course. The use of GIMP, an image editing program, will also be covered.
The various hardware components of a computer and the many forms of computer software are discussed. The 15-hour course is offered to anyone interested in learning and is conducted entirely in English.
Machine Learning for All
Machine learning is a hot topic in the field of computer science, and this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
While most other courses on the topic cover the various programming tools available, this free online course from the University of London does not.
In its place, this course introduces students to the fundamentals of machine learning technologies while discussing their social benefits and potential drawbacks. By the end of the course, participants will be able to use datasets to train a machine learning module. The total time commitment for this introductory course is about 22 hours.
Master the Theory Behind Programming
Master the Theory Behind Programming, a course offered on Skillshare, is an excellent introduction to the field of computer science for those who are just getting started in the field. The fact that it is based on Skillshare, one of the best online learning platforms out there, is a major plus for this program. If you have no prior experience with computer programming, you will find this program to be very user-friendly.
The many areas of computer science covered in this open and free online course include arrays, program analysis, sorting algorithms, and more. There are four major assignments spread out over the course of this semester. These capstone assignments are meant to test students’ comprehension of the material and their ability to apply their knowledge.
This degree program allows students to learn at their own pace, so they can graduate whenever they’re ready. Students will walk away with a solid grounding in the theory of computer programming.
Programming with a Purpose
This online computer science course is based on the materials offered by Princeton University and is suitable for those with no prior experience. We highly recommend this free introductory computer science course for any student with little to no prior experience in the field. This online computer science course is taught by two Princeton professors and is available through Coursera; it covers the first half of Princeton’s required textbook.
This degree requires roughly 88 hours of study time. This convenient online computer science course has multiple start dates spread out throughout the year. You will learn the fundamentals of programming and get an introduction to object-oriented programming in this course. Once this degree is earned, a continuation course is available. That software is also provided at no cost.
Students who want to start learning how to code can benefit greatly from this self-taught program. This free, open-access introductory computer science course is highly recommended for newcomers.
Foundations of Computer Science: Theory and Practice
If you want to learn the basics of computer science, this free online course offered on the Udemy platform is an excellent choice. Students with no prior experience with computing will benefit most from this open online course. Program analysis and construction are central topics of this course. Fundamentals of computer science will also be ingrained in you. This training is offered at no cost whatsoever.
Over 4.5 hours of instruction are included in this program. One of the more adaptable choices is to go at your own pace while going through that material. This degree does not lead to a certificate. Direct instructor-student collaboration entails additional costs for students. Students can get the actual coursework for free.
This program is well worth your time if you’re looking for a free online computer science course that can serve as a crash course and quick introduction to fundamental computer science concepts.
Introduction to Computer Science and Programming
This free online computer science course from one of the best universities in the country will teach you the fundamentals of the field. This online computer science course is based on an existing MIT curriculum and features video lectures, recitation videos, homework assignments, exams, and a digital textbook. The target audience for this course is newcomers. This online computer science course is one of the more extensive options, spanning an entire semester’s worth of study.
This course is entirely self-guided, so students can work through it at their own pace. MIT’s massive open online course provides access to the lecture notes. Anyone interested in learning more about computer science will benefit from this course. Everyone can learn the problem-solving skills necessary to grasp the fundamentals of computer science from this course.
Students can take part in an MIT program at no cost by signing up for this online computer science course. Check out this free introductory computer science course we found online.
Is an Online computer science degree program hard?
Yes, it can be challenging to study computer science. The field requires an in-depth familiarity with complex topics like IT, software, and statistical algorithms. However, anyone can achieve success in a challenging field like computer science given enough time and motivation.
What Are the Requirements and Prerequisites?
Mathematics and computer science (CS) are inextricably linked, so students who are interested in the field should have a solid foundation in the subject. But don’t worry if you aren’t confident in your math abilities. Most of the aforementioned sites also host a plethora of free math courses.
Those who are considering a degree in computer science should be strong in math but also have strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The vast majority of students who are interested in this area already possess the level of imagination that will be required to succeed in it.
You’ll also need a strong will and an unbreakable spirit. In computer science, you often need to try a few different approaches before you find one that works. It will take a lot of setbacks before you can finally call yourself successful. If you know what to expect, you won’t have any trouble.
What should I do after completing a free online computer science course?
After finishing a free online computer science course, you can go in many different directions. There are many online computer science courses available, and many of them are free. If you’re finding the material interesting, it might be worthwhile to finish the course. Taking the next course in a sequence is an excellent way to expand upon the foundation laid in the first.
After finishing a free online CS course, you may want to think about enrolling in a coding course. Coding classes help students learn how to code in a specific programming language. This can be extremely helpful for those seeking employment in computer-related fields. Job placement assistance is often built into the curriculum of many coding programs.
After completing a free online computer science course, you can always decide to go on and earn a degree in the field if you feel so inclined. Earning a degree in computer science is a smart move that can open doors to a prosperous job in the field.
Expert computer scientists who can tackle difficult problems are in high demand across all sectors of the economy, from banking and healthcare to the airline and automotive industries.
A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from one of the online schools featured in this article will equip you with the advanced skills necessary to succeed in any industry and meet the evolving demands of companies around the world.