Skip the Tuition: 100 Free Podcasts from the Best Colleges in the World

April 26, 2023

We’ve shown you how to take online classes for free, but not everyone has the patience or time to spend sitting at a computer. These courses let you take your classroom with you, so you can get an education while you’re sitting in traffic or just hanging out in the park. Check out these courses from some of the best colleges and universities out there to get a high quality education on the go.


Stanford offers free podcast downloads via iTunes. You’ll be able to study physics, computer design, and much more.

Quantum Mechanics: Learn about classical mechanics, theories of relativity, and more in this physics course.

Human-Computer Interaction: This course features a variety of speakers on interaction design.

Geography of World Cultures: This podcast takes a look at geography and considers the way it impacts world cultures.

Hannibal: In this course, you’ll study the life and archaeological trail of Hannibal.

Modern Theoretical Physics: Learn about quantum entanglement and other theories of physics in this course.

Ben Franklin and the World of Enlightenment: You’ll get to learn about Benjamin Franklin’s life and achievements, as well as how he affected and was affected by the Enlightenment.

Straight Talk About Stem Cells: This course discusses the fundamentals of stem cell biology as well as its surrounding controversy.

The Geography of World Cultures: Here you’ll be able to explore locational dynamics and the way they affect languages, groupings, and religions.

The Future of the Internet: This course discusses the issues of network neutrality and ownership on the Internet.

The Literature of Crisis: Learn the art of living and take a look at the circumstances of existence through discussions on writers and thinkers including Socrates and Shakespeare.

Historical Jesus: This course considers the historical evidence of Jesus against that of traditional Christianity.

Virgil’s Aeneid: Here you’ll get an analysis of this work that is essential to the canon of Latin literature.

Computer Systems Colloquium: In this podcast, you’ll hear from guest lecturers that discuss topics like VoIP encryption, computer architecture, and balancing methods.

UC Berkeley

These courses from UC Berkeley are freshly completed from the Fall 2007 semester, and they should be available in full. Highlights include environmental studies and issues in new media.

Foundations of American Cyber-Culture: This course takes a look at computers, new media, and the world wide web.

General Biology: In this biology course, you’ll cover cells, genetics, animal development, form, and function.

The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs: This course offers an introduction to programming and computer science.

Structure and Interpretation of Systems and Signals: Get a look at mathematical modeling of signals and systems in this engineering course.

Crossroads of Earth Resources and Society: Check out this course to learn about the way geological processes intersect with American culture.

Issues in Foreign Policy After 9/11: This course discusses international issues and events with relation to 9/11.

Metal Cutting: Here you’ll learn about processes, procedures, and theories of metal cutting.

Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice: Listen to this podcast to hear about juvenile courts, theories of delinquency, and the justice system.

Human Emotion: Consider emotion with evolutionary grounding as well as a social constructionist approach.

Time, Money, and Love in the Age of Technology: In this course, you’ll take a look at the meaning of life, visionary business, and going beyond being human.

Earthquakes in Your Backyard: Learn about seismology, tectonics, and natural disasters throughout history.

The Ancient Mediterranean World: This course discusses the history of ancient Mediterranean empires.

Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business: Consider search psychology, economics, spam, and other topics relating to Internet search engines with this course.

Introduction to Human Nutrition: In this course, you’ll get an overview of digestion and metabolism.


MIT’s courses feature either audio or video, sometimes both, and are available as podcasts by department feeds.

Aircraft Systems Engineering: This course offers a view of the aircraft as a whole system, with an experienced astronaut as well as a shuttle project manager as professors.

Introduction to Biology: In these video lectures, you’ll cover core biology material.

Introduction to Psychology: Introduction to Psychology is presented as a series of audio lectures, with accompanying lecture notes.

Neuroscience and Behavior: These audio lectures discuss neuronal integration, anatomy, and physiology.

Brain Structure and its Origins: You’ll learn about CNS structures in this series of audio lectures.

Animal Behavior: Learn about adaptive behavior from animals with this audio lecture course.

Principles of Chemical Science: In this introductory chemical course, presented in video, you’ll take a look at basic principles.

Principles of Chemical Science: These video lectures build upon the previous chemistry course, further emphasizing basic principles.

Media, Education, and the Marketplace: This set of video lectures discusses using interactive media to enhance education.

Circuits and Electronics: Get an introduction to electrical engineering with this video course.

Introduction to Algorithms: Learn about techniques in design and analysis of algorithms with these video lectures.

Principles of Digital Communication: In this course, you’ll focus on coding techniques for the Shannon limit of AWGN channels.

Introduction to Copyright Law: This course offers both an introduction to copyright law and general American law.

Engineering Ethics: Learn all about the ethics and philosophy of engineering through the cases in this audio course.


Duke offers a wide variety of podcast courses, from Italian to discussions on Nintendo.

Nintendo: A History of Innovation: This course discusses Nintendo and some of its more innovative creations.

Documentary Research Methods: Consider the relationship between Duke and Durham with student research and community fieldwork from this course.

Gli Immigrati: In this course, you’ll take a look at the situation of immigration both in Italy and the US.

Gli Sport: Gli Sport considers popular sports in Italy and America.

Italiano 2.02: Una Guida: This course highlights some of the important things in US and Italian culture, like museums.

Italiano 2.02: L’Italia: Take a look at Italian culture, including food, agriculture, and monuments.

Italiano 1: Progetto Museo: Learn about the operas of Museo Nasher in this course.

Game2Know Focus IDC: This course considers topics in online gaming and beyond.

How They Got Game: How They Got Game discusses RPG, Atari, WoW, and different genres of gaming.

Young Latino Immigrants & School: This course will put you face to face with children of migrant farm workers in North Carolina and discuss their educational aspirations.

Italiano 1: Conversazioni: This conversational Italian course covers descriptions, sports, film, and pasta.

Principles of Effective eCommerce: In Principles of Effective eCommerce, you’ll take a look at important figures of the Internet, such as Tim O’Reilly and Jakob Nielsen.

Nursing Informatics: This course delivers graduate level content in systems and management.

Business Ethics: In this course, you’ll learn about business ethics, specifically the difference between stakeholders and stockholders.


Much of the media available from Harvard is presented as one full podcast, but we’ve hand picked a few of their courses and recurring series that you should look for.

The City of Sardis: Approaches in Graphic Recording: Learn about the preservation and recreation of the ancient City of Sardis in this very detailed series.

Human Systems Explorer: Available as video, this course looks at an interactive teaching tool that’s used to teach pathophysiology.

String Theory, Black Holes, and the Laws of Nature: These videos cover a beginning understanding of the basic laws of the universe.

Women and War in the Twentieth Century: Consider the history of gender and war to get a better understanding of war itself with this series and tour of historical collections.

Justice: This very popular course offers an introduction to moral and political philosophy, discussing great philosophers as well as debates on contemporary issues.

50 Years in Media: Changes in Journalism: You’ll hear from eight panelists from the Harvard Class of 1955 as they discuss the changes journalism has experienced in the past 50 years.

In the War Zone: How Does Gender Matter?: Here, you’ll get access to discussions from a Harvard conference that considers gender and war.

Interntional Relations: New Approaches in a Complex World: Take a look at important issues in international politics with this series.

Queen’s University

This Canadian university offers a few iTunesU courses in engineering and social issues.

ELEC 377: This core course for Computer Engineering covers basic concepts of operating systems.

SOFT 423: You’ll learn about advanced requirements in software engineering with this podcast.

Ethnicity & Democratic Governance: This series discusses, globalization, democracies, social construction, and much more.


UCLA has BruinCasts for a number of courses online. Many of them are restricted for student use only, but we’ve listed the ones that are publicly open for the current academic year here.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Science: Take a look at atmospheric circulation and its relation to the oceans in this podcast.

Spectacle Entertainments of Ancient Rome: Look back at some of the ways Romans entertained themselves with this course.

Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Architecture, and Law: In this course, you’ll learn about the way genetic engineering touches many facets of daily life.

Genetics: This genetics course takes a look at a number of topics, from Mendelian genetics to gene structure and function.

Politics and Strategy: Take a look at the use of strategy in politics with this podcast.

Social Psychology: This course takes on psychology as it relates to social situations.

Freshman Computer Science Seminar: You’ll get an introduction to important topics and key ideas for computer science and engineering with this course.

Money and Banking: Take a look at the principles of money and banking in the US, processes, monetary policy, and more with this Money and Banking podcast.

Life: Concepts and Issues: This course offers an introduction to important concepts in life science, such as the evolution theory.

Electoral Politics: Public Opinion and Voting Behavior: You’ll learn about political attitudes and public opinion in this course.

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory: Take a look at various topics in behavioral neuroscience with this course designed for Phsychobiology and Psychology students.

Art as Social Action: Learn how artists can spark social action in this world arts and cultures podcast.

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

UCSF’s Office of Continuing Medical Education currently has podcasts available on the subjects of depression and obstetrics/gynecology.

Depression: Psychiatric Pitfalls & Treatment: Consider the treatment of depression with this podcast course.

Depression: Anxiety Disorders and Exercise: This course taks a look at the link between exercise and anxiety disorders.

Depression: Differentiating Unipolar from Bipolar and Treating Dementia: You’ll learn about assessment and treatment of a few different mental afflictions with this course.

OBGYN: Women’s Medicine: This course will teach you to consider obstetrics and gynecology with a woman in mind.

OBGYN: High Risk Pregnancies: Take a look at some of the risk factors and treatments for troubling pregnancies in this course.

OBGYN: Issues in Women’s Health: This course will ask you to consider health issues for women that every OB/GYN needs to know.

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has a handful of courses in podcast form, offering downloads through RSS as well as individually through their site.

Kant: Take a look at A Priori, transcendental logic, and more in this course.

2D Digitisation: Learn about the importance and use of digitization in teaching and beyond through 2D Digitisation’s 20-part lecture collection.

Document Encoding: In this course, you’ll learn about encoding standards, different types of text, and the examination of text.

Consciousness: Listen to this course on consciousness, and you will get a look at the debate about consciousness in humans, animals, and machines.

Heritage and Cultural Informatics: This course explores information technology as a way to improve access to cultural and natural heritage.


Yale offers a small sample of their courses online, with MP3 downloads for each session.

Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics: This Yale podcast offers information on extra-solar planets, black holes, and dark energy.

Modern Poetry: In Modern Poetry, you’ll learn about major poets, concerns, and the characteristic techniques of modern poetry.

Death: Face the inevitable with this course that explores death.

Fundamentals of Physics: In this course, you’ll get a good introduction to the principles and methods of physics.

Introduction to Political Philosophy: Examine important thinkers and writings of Western politics in this course.

Introduction to Psychology: Introduction to Psychology answers questions about the mind and provides an overview of the study of thought and behavior.

Introduction to the Old Testament: This course discusses the Old Testament as it relates to religious life and Western Civilization.

More Courses

Learn even more from these podcast courses.

Politique: Every week, you’ll hear analysis on a new political subject in this course.

Oxford Medieval English Lectures: Study Medieval English with some of Oxford’s best in this podcast.

Saviors: You’ll learn about politics, economics, philosophy, and other news in this podcast.

Controversy: Hear opposing views on science, politics, and more here.

This list is by no means all-inclusive. Although we’ve specifically highlighted a few iTunesU courses, there are a number of other schools that share lectures there and through the Higher Education portal as well. Additionally, you can visit Princeton’s UChannel to access a huge collection of individual lectures and events from worldwide universities.

Compiled by Heather Johnson

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6 Responses to “Skip the Tuition: 100 Free Podcasts from the Best Colleges in the World”

  1. (Stanley Bronstein) on April 26th, 2008 7:56 am

    Great list. Thanks so much.

    While I recommend listening to the podcasts on this list, I do want to add a disclaimer:

    While listening to these podcasts may increase your intelligence, you will not be issued a piece of paper to hang on your wall or add to your resume upon completion.

    Stanley Bronstein
    Attorney, CPA, Author & Professional Speaker (Stanley Bronstein)’s last blog post..Law #14 - Position Yourself To Be Considerate

  2. Plan Resonate » Download Free Lectures on April 27th, 2008 5:39 pm

    [...] Wright at has pulled together an excellent list of 100 free podcasts from top colleges. It’s a great resource for lifelong learner [...]

  3. Sunglasses Guy on April 30th, 2008 4:57 pm

    Awesome list. I’ve listened to a few of these and it’s really hard to believe they’re free.

    Sunglasses Guy’s last blog post..Welcome to Sunglasses Guy

  4. charles darwin on May 17th, 2008 9:26 pm

    1. Real lecture. 8am, room 101, Tuesday, ages 18-30, $50,000/year at private school.

    Limited audience. ways of past.

    2. Digital lecture. Digital classes. One billion to three billion (half of earth’s people) can beneift.

    Digital world is future.
    Digital education is future.

    any knowledge in world

    This will be great benefit to the world

    Knowledge must be Free.
    Knowledge should be Free.

    Free knowledge.
    Free the people
    Free the world

    Free the world ignorance.
    Free Education for All, worldwide, around the clock

  5. jose valdez on May 18th, 2008 12:06 am

    knolwedge should Not be for the priviledge “few”

    Knowledge belongs to all people of the world.

    Albert Einstein wrote books for little children about his ideas.

    The two (2) evils of world are”

    1. poverty, lack of food, water, health, shelter, medicine, safety, education.

    2. Ignorance, no knowledge, ideas of the world.

    Poverty & Ignorance are the Twin-evils of the world.
    Let can eliminate Ignorance Now.

  6. Bill Bryant on June 5th, 2008 4:15 pm

    Not only is this amazing and free…it could be ground breaking in educating the world as Darwin and Jose have expounded. But, take it a step further. Since these are podcasts are in audio form -have them in all lanugages and all types of knowledge from general to genius. We could educte the world even if they were unable to read or write.

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