Top 14 Free Online History Courses

Are you a high school or university student interested in history or taking a course in history? The free online history courses discussed in this post will provide you with the materials and resources you need to complete a history assignment or study for a test.

This post offers a wealth of information on free online history courses. You can take these courses if you are a high school student seeking materials for a history assignment, test, or simply interested in history and want to gain a few insights. You can also use these courses to test the waters if you are aspiring to pursue a degree in history at a university or college.

College students pursuing a history degree may also find a few courses here that can help in their studies. The content of this post is good resource for anything related to history whether academically or for relaxation purposes.

History can be interesting to read, you can learn about the beginning of various things that exist today and others that didn’t make it through. This includes cultures, arts, music, technology, politics, innovations, inventions, fashion, religion, government, and so much more. This way, you can learn about the origin of some of the things we use and do today.

You will also learn about certain people that stood for this or destroyed that and so on. It is just really interesting but there might be a little bit of trouble when you’re asked to give dates of so and so happenings. If you want to walk the field of history, you must possess retentive memory to remember all these dates and be able to remember details to the last drop.

The free online history courses discussed in this post are taught by professors and history experts from some of the best universities in the world. These courses are then provided for free on various online learning platforms for easy access to interested individuals in any part of the world.

These free online history courses are designed to be flexible and self-paced and you can literally learn from anywhere that you find convenient enough. What is mostly required to enroll for the free online history courses are a PC, tablet, iPad, or smartphone that can connect to the internet and your zeal to learn.

Most of the platforms through which these free online history courses are offered grant unlimited access to the course content when you enroll for the first time. This means that you can always go back to the materials of a particular history course and refresh your memory on something you might have forgotten.

What Is History?

History is the study and the documentation of past events, as well as, memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events, particularly in human affairs.

Importance of Studying History

The importance of learning about history are:

  1. You get to learn about past societies, ideologies, cultures, tech, systems, and governments and how they were built, operated, and how have changed, thereby helping you develop a better understanding of the world.
  2. It paints a detailed picture of how things used to work back then
  3. Historical stories can serve as a source of inspiration to individuals and motivate them positively
  4. Learning about history develops your critical thinking skills
  5. With history, you can learn to understand yourself and other people
  6. Makes you a better decision-maker
  7. It will help you develop a new level of appreciation for just about everything
  8. It acts as a tool for you to become a decent citizen

How to Find Ancient History Courses Online

To find ancient history courses online is easy. First, you need a smartphone or laptop that can connect to the internet. Secondly, you need to have a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and type in “online ancient history courses” from the search results you will find online learning platforms offering courses based on what you searched for.

Top Free Online History Courses

The free online history courses listed and discussed here have been curated to fit your needs. They are taught by some of the best universities in the world. These classes are fun and exciting, they are also self-paced allowing you to enroll whenever you are ready to learn.

The free online history courses are:

  • WW1 Heroism: Through Art and Film
  • Medieval History: Art and Architecture
  • Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization
  • Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature
  • Japanese Culture Through Rare Books
  • Great Works and Authors of World Literature
  • The History of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain
  • The Ancient Greeks
  • Roman Art and Archaeology
  • Globalization: Past and Future
  • Chinese Culture and Contemporary China
  • Radical Spirituality: The Early History of the Quakers
  • A History of Royal Fashion
  • Arab-Islamic History: From Tribes to Empires

1.     WW1 Heroism: Through Art and Film

This is one of the free online history courses offered by the University of Leeds on FutureLearn – an online learning platform – which explores some of the ways that heroism and World War One are portrayed through art and film. This course will give you an insight into the heroes of WW1 and the part they played in winning the war.

The course is free and completely online, it is self-paced allowing you to learn at your own speed. With a recommended study duration of 2 hours per week, you can complete the course in 2 weeks. While the course is free, it doesn’t offer unlimited access to course content, you will have to pay a fee of $15.83 per month to have unlimited access to course material.

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2.     Medieval History: Art and Architecture

This is one of the free online history courses offered on Alison by One Education. You know as I mentioned earlier in one of the benefits of studying history is that it helps you to learn about past societies, cultures, tech, etc. well this course proves just that.

In this course, you will explore the history, government, systems, technology, theology, religion, art, and science of the Middle Ages. It also explores the power struggles among Christian and Muslim rulers from Byzantium to Antioch and their impact on society.

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3.     Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization

Egypt holds an enormous amount of history just waiting to be explored. From colossal pyramids and powerful pharaohs to strange gods and golden treasures are some of the fascinating cultures of ancient Egypt. And it is said that civilization began there and others which you must have heard not knowing fact from rumor.

In this course, you will explore all of these, from their hieroglyphics to mysterious mummies and other cultures, you will be familiar with them in this course. This course is offered at no cost on Coursera and provided by the University of Pennsylvania. Anything concerning Egyptology is usually interesting and there is no doubt that this course will be fun and exciting as well.

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4.     Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature

History, art, and literature students or aspirants will find this course interesting. Literature began a long time ago but what you are familiar with is the modern ones. In this course, you will explore ancient literature and how they have contributed to today’s civilization, culture, and literature.

The course is one of the free online history courses offered on edX by Harvard University. At the end of the course, you will learn the early history of world literature, how to critically analyze the literary world, and the importance of key technological advances in writing. Learning is self-paced and with a commitment of 3-6 per week, you will complete this course in 6 weeks.

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5.     Japanese Culture Through Rare Books

This is one of the free online history courses offered on edX by Keio University. This course explores the roles of books in Japanese cultural history, discovers the rich history of Japanese literature, learn about the bookbinding styles and how they influenced Japanese literature, and explores old Japanese manuscripts and illustrated books in high-resolution images and video.

The course consists of three modules that take 3 hours to complete with a weekly study of 3 hours. Self-paced learning is available.

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6.     Great Works and Authors of World Literature

This is one of the free online history courses offered by NPTEL on Alison and explores the concept of womanism which is a social theory based on the history and everyday experiences of women of color, especially black women. You will also examine the nature of power through Kafka’s critique of the protagonists in the play and their relationship with power.

History, arts, literature, and social science students will find this course interesting. It is completely online, free, and you can learn at your own pace.

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7.     The History of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain

Great Britain experienced an industrial revolution in the 18th century which is one of the earliest industrial revolutions, therefore requires to be studied. Enroll in this course today and go back in time to examine the various factors that converged to create conditions for developments in industry and science.

You will learn about the revolution of the textile industry, coal mining, engineering, and iron production. The course is self-paced but the whole course material takes approximately 3 hours to complete.

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8.     The Ancient Greeks

The course, The Ancient Greeks, is one of the free online history courses offered on Coursera by Wesleyan University. History cannot be talked about without mentioning the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Japanese. Just like the Egyptians, there are also rumors that the ancient Greeks were to first to have civilization and even did some tech stuff too. Whether this is true or not, you will explore and find out in this course.

The course examines ancient Greek history from the Bronze Age to the death of Socrates in 399 BCE, as well as, studying other events and personalities. There is no way this course won’t be an adventurous one, even I, am itching to sign up and learn. The course takes 20 hours of self-paced learning to complete.

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9.     Roman Art and Archaeology

The University of Arizona in collaboration with Coursera is offering this free online course to students interested in learning Roman art. The course explores the culture of ancient Rome from 1000 BCE till the time of the “Fall of Rome” and certain figures who played a role in Rome including kings.

The course consists of six modules each of which contains video lectures, reading materials, and quizzes. From the reviews left by other students, you will find this course interesting.

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10.  Globalization: Past and Future

This course takes students through a historical and anthropological tour of six distinct waves of globalization and outlines the key factors that drove innovation, technology dispersal, and development during these epochs.

The course is for advanced students, either graduates or those already working in the fields of policy, government relations, international trade, finance, and related field.

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11.  Chinese Culture and Contemporary China

How did the Chinese get to where they are currently? Get the answer to this question and any other one you may have by enrolling in this course. This is one of the free online history courses offered on Coursera And explores the foundations of Chinese civilization and the dimensions of Chinese culture and the current life of Chinese people.

The course consists of 6 modules each of which includes video lectures, reading materials, and quizzes. It takes 12 hours of self-paced learning to complete.

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12.  Radical Spirituality: The Early History of the Quakers

This is one of the free online history courses offered on FutureLearn by Lancaster University and examines the beginning of these radical religious groups as they emerged in the 17th century in England.

It is a three-week course that covers topics in the context of the English civil war, the popularity and unpopularity of Quakerism, Quakerism as a global faith, and many more to improve your understanding of Quakers.

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13.  A History of Royal Fashion

Fashion is one of the most important discussions in history. This course specifically explores how British royalty has influenced fashion over the last 500 years, from the Tudors to the Windsors. British royalty fashion is different from others and if you have an interest in the fashion industry, you may want to take up this course and gain some insight.

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14.  Arab-Islamic History: From Tribes to Empires

How deep is your knowledge of the Arab and Muslim world? Taking this course will help deepen your knowledge and learn how Islam rose as a new civilization in the Middle East, the main phases in medieval Arab and Islamic history, and how to interpret the characteristics of society and culture.

You can learn at your own pace allowing you to progress at your own speed.

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This wraps up the post on free online history courses, links to each of the courses have been provided for you to join any of the courses that pique your interest.

Free Online History Courses – FAQs

What is the best way to learn world history?

Consulting a timeline or a historical map is the best way to learn history, this is because they include maps and charts that depict the evolution of geopolitical landscapes and will help you understand history in a broad view by pinpointing the era when a historical event happened.

How can I learn history online?

You can learn history online from online learning platforms offering history courses.

Should pupils be taught history?

Yes, pupils should be taught history. There are many benefits that come with it such as improving decision-making skills and helping you become a good and responsible citizen.

Is there any disadvantage to learning history?

The disadvantages of learning history are that it can be misunderstood, it can be interpreted in different ways, and it will always have gaps.

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