21 Best edX courses and certifications from the top universities
American industrialist Henry Ford once said that anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty years old. So, let’s keep learning and stay young in our minds. These days there are virtually no barriers to learn new skills, and eLearning is here to stay.
edX is one of those eLearning platforms you can use to shape your professional skill set in a wide range of disciplines. In this review, we discuss some of the best edX courses and certifications in computer and data science, finance, business, and entrepreneurship.
edX Courses Online – Overview
Designed for high-quality education and skilled learning, edX is a trusted non-profit provider of online courses founded by the world’s top-ranked universities, amongst them are MIT and Harvard. edX hosts about 3,000 online courses across all disciplines and students can choose from more than 160 educational institutions from around the world.
edX’s mission is to provide learning resources and college education to everyone everywhere. It aims to advance teaching and learning through research.
Educational paths – There are many pathways for advancement available. These include online Masters degrees, MicroBachelors and MicroMasters programs to advance a career, Professional Certificate programs to improve in-demand skills, Professional Education for executives, and a list of courses such as XSeries for deeper understanding and learning.
How does it work? edX assists in transforming traditional education by fulfilling students’ needs to learn on their terms and supporting them at every stage of their careers. edX’s MOOC courses are self-paced and free to enroll in. If you want to strategically develop your careers can enroll in edX professional certification programs or MicroMasters.
Best edX Courses Online 2024 – Top Picks
|Computer Science AI
|University of Hong Kong
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
1. Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence, Harvard
Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence (visit website) is a self-paced HarvardX program for individuals looking to secure a broad understanding of computer science and programming. This certification will help expand into or build skills in software engineering.
Some of the core concepts taught include graph search algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence principles, designing intelligent systems, and using AI in Python. This edX certification consists of two modules and will take 19 weeks to complete.
The first module is edX’s popular ‘Introduction to Computer Science’ class and will familiarize learners with the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. In the second module, students learn the foundations of machine learning and AI. By the end, you will feel confident to design intelligent systems using AI in Python.
University: Harvard edX | Path: edX Professional Certification
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Length: 5 Months | Efforts: 7-22 hours/week
Info: View course page. Browse: Search all edX courses in Computer Science.
2. Leadership and Communication, Harvard edX
Leadership and Communication (visit website) is a professional certification by Harvard that aims at helping individuals foster and improve their leadership communication style. This program is for anyone who is curious to learn the ropes of trustful communication and relationships and manifest them to achieve great professional and personal results.
There are a total of two edX courses comprising this program. The first deals with the foundational principles of exercising leadership. It is a 4-week class that will help mobilize individuals to generate the caliber and grit required to deal with a tough problem.
In the second course, The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking, you will acquire an insight into the critical aspects of communication in both writing and public speaking.
By the end, you will know how to implement strategies for leadership development, communicate effectively to yield productive results, employ a variety of communication styles in writing, and craft compelling presentations to convince an audience. This program offers some of the best edX courses to hone professional leadership skills.
University: Harvard edX | Path: edX Professional Certification
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Efforts: 6-18 hours/week | Length: 12 Weeks
Info: View course page. Browse: Search the best edX classes in Business.
3. Data Science, Harvard edX
Data Science (visit website) is a Harvard-authorized, self-paced edX course for skilled builders who want to jump-start a career as a data scientist with R. There are no prerequisites and each edX course builds on the knowledge from the previous one.
Enrolling in this program offers the opportunity to learn about key concepts in data science including statistical conceptions, such as probability, inference, and modeling; machine learning, and knowledge of other fundamental concepts in data science.
This edX certification aims to build key skills by gaining experience with tidyverse and other essential tools for data scientists, such as Unix/Linux, git and GitHub, and RStudio. You will also learn about data visualization with ggplot2 and data wrangling with dplyr.
All of the topics covered in the program span a total of 9 edX courses starting with basics in R to completing a final capstone project at the end. This is among the best edX courses if you seek a career in the field of data science and want to build your foundation with R.
University: Harvard edX | Path: edX Professional Certification
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Length: 12-15 Months | Efforts: 3-10 hours/week
Info: View course page. Browse: Search the best edX courses in Data Science.
4. Blockchain Essentials, IBM
Blockchain Essentials (visit website) is authorized by IBM and designed to help aspiring professionals understand how this new technology is reshaping the way we exchange goods and services. It’s a professional certificate for professionals and managers alike.
This is a program for beginners that will resolve most, if not all, of your queries stemming from conversations inspired today by the rise of blockchain. Participants will be able to understand the very concept that drives the blockchain, how it works, and its application for novice solutions, including the invention and applications of cryptocurrency.
It offers a great chance to broaden your understanding of the blockchain by looking at its pragmatic functions in banking, supply chain, and other transactions in the digital landscape. In addition, you will build up new skills to design and work with smart contracts, fabricode, transactions, chain SDKs, and many other related concepts.
By the end, budding crypto enthusiasts will be able to leverage emerging opportunities as more and more businesses begin adopting blockchain-based solutions and looking for those who possess the proper knowledge. This is one of the best edX courses to expand your web 2.0 business experience with web3 skills.
5. FinTech, University of Hong Kong
FinTech (visit website) is a 3-course edX program authorized by the University of Hong Kong. It is aimed at professionals in the finance industry who wish to take their career up a notch by understanding fintech and its application in the real world.
For individuals interested in the workings of fintech, this edX course explains the fundamental concepts driving this industry. You will understand the major technologies involved in this industry and learn about the key players in the market starting from the regulators to the startups and traditional financial institutions.
Along the way, aspiring professionals will learn about the uses and potential limitations of fintech and the opportunities. You will also discuss the risks and challenges that this transformative technology continues to give rise to. Upon completion, you will have gained an insightful grasp of the current landscape and the tools and trends that shape our future.
University: University of Hong Kong, edX | Path: Professional Certification
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Efforts: 2-4 hours/week | Length: 5 Months
Info: View course page. Browse: Search all edX courses in Fintech.
6. Business Fundamentals, University of British Columbia
Business Fundamentals (visit website) by the University of British Columbia aims to help aspiring business individuals drive their careers forward efficiently. This edX certification will teach participants the art and psychology of becoming impactful and persuasive communicators, the first step towards attracting an audience and scaling your business.
Business Fundamentals will help you prepare some much-needed skills in tailoring messages, story-telling, and advanced communication. You’ll learn about core value propositions, competition, macro-environmental tools, a business model framework, accounting literary fundamentals, and an integrated assessment of business functions.
All of these core topics and business concepts will be covered in the first two modules. The third module, Introduction to Marketing, tackles the importance of market research and the way it intrinsically ties to brand strategy, pricing strategy, social media strategy, marketing communication, and other industry essentials.
This is one of the best edX courses and certifications for aspiring business professionals, and individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets hoping to develop the required soft and technical skills for success in their industry.
University: University of British Columbia, edX | Path: Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory, Intermediate | Efforts: 3-5 hours/week | Length: 5 Months
Info: View course page. Browse: Search all edX courses in Business.
7. Data Analyst, IBM
Data Analyst (visit website) is a professional certification program curated by IBM. In this self-paced edX course, individuals hoping to kick-start a career in data science will learn the fundamental concepts in the industry.
Nine edX courses will take you from basics in data analytics all the way to visualization and analyzing data with Python. This IBM program covers the latest tools needed to become a sound data analyst. Enrollees will learn how to create charts and plot in Excel, work with IBM Cognos Analytics, and compose queries to access data in cloud databases.
Along the way, you will also acquire a working understanding of the Python language, Python libraries like Pandas and Numpy, and the ways to visualize data using libraries in Python. This is one of the best edX courses to start a career in data analysis.
University: IBM | Path: edX Professional Certification
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Length: 10 Months | Efforts: 2-4 hours/week
Info: View course page. Browse: Search the best edX courses in Data Science.
8. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University System of Maryland
Innovation and Entrepreneurship (visit website) by the University System of Maryland, is aimed at budding entrepreneurs and aspiring business persons that hope to transform their ideas into successful ventures. From identifying entrepreneurial ideas to developing the skillset required for implementation, this certification delivers the know-how you need.
In the first module, you will learn to identify opportunities, develop the right mindset, create the ability to assess the industry conditions, and initiate action on your value innovation.
Next comes the module that deals with the problem of creating feasible models for solidifying your ideas and taking them to the next level. These edX courses will teach you to design value propositions, assemble a competent team, pursue your ideas, and most importantly, craft ideas that maximize your chances of success while minimizing risks.
The third module will tap into the problem of marketing. Your focus here will be on conducting sound marketing research and gathering customer intelligence. Finally, you will learn how to demystify the concept of raising funds and capital for your business ventures and indulging the right investors to make your ideas happen.
University: University System of Maryland edX | Path: Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory | Efforts: 6-18 hours/week | Length: 3 Months
Info: View course page. Browse: Search for the best edX courses in Business.
9. Entrepreneurial Mindset and Leadership, Babson College
Babson College (visit website) offers this edX certificate program for entrepreneurs and business professionals who want to acquire a competitive advantage in today’s world. Consisting of four edX courses, the program begins with what we mean by entrepreneurial thought and action and how one applies it to opportunities, new ventures, or innovations.
The next module dives into real-world experiences of corporate leaders and uses them to determine how to initiate social innovations that create genuine value for all parties. This is where you will learn how to maintain a strategic focus, engage stakeholders, keep tabs on the important measurements and take your organization to the next level.
In the third module, learners will discover the toolkit necessary to propagate leadership behaviors, increase the overall firm competency and lead their innovation with the right mindset. Finally, you will take things up a notch by laser-focusing on the specific behaviors required to develop and use your entrepreneurial mindset for exacting change.
University: Babson College edX | Path: edX Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory to Advanced | Length: 5 Months | Efforts: 4-6 hours/week
Info: View course page. Search: Browse all edX courses in Business.
10. Strategic Management, Wharton Online
Strategic Management (visit website) authorized by the Wharton University of Pennsylvania is one of the most popular edX professional certification programs to enhance your leadership skills and create genuine value.
Your transformative journey will begin with a skill-building edX course on business strategy and the ways to gain a competitive advantage in your industry. Participants will learn how to define and identify the competitive advantage specific to their industry and use them to actually improve their position.
The second module focuses on the importance of strategizing and keeping the right parameters in mind. This includes refining connected strategies for maximum competitive advantage or leveraging strategies to foster lasting relationships with clients.
Students also move beyond the traditional modes of customer interaction in favor of new and inspired business models that yield better results. Finally, the capstone project asks to create a portfolio of connected strategies to better manage customer interaction. It’s one of the best edX courses to get professional certification for a career in management.
University: Wharton University of Pennsylvania, edX | Path: Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory | Duration: 5 Months | Efforts: 2-4 hours/week
Info: View course page. Search: Browse all edX certifications in Business.
11. Communication Skills, RIT
Curated by RIT, Communication Skills (visit website) is a skill-building certification program for professionals and employees who value effective communication skills. These include the power of crafting an amazing story that immortalizes the essence of one’s brand, creating effective presentations, and building the right set of tools for greater success.
Consisting of 3 best edX courses, this professional certification will help you build powerful and effective communication strategies and implement them for their intended use.
Your journey will begin with a module on crafting insightful stories that resonate with your audience and achieve the desired result. This involves the concepts of active listening, understanding and mastering the various communication styles, and building rapport.
Later, you will take things up a notch with skills and tools that will help you deliver public speeches and presentations in an impactful manner. Learn how to tailor your messages to the needs of your target audience, remove ambiguities, apply the basic principles of speech communication, and use images to amplify your message effectively.
University: RIT edX | Path: edX Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory | Length: 12 Weeks | Efforts: 6-18 hours/week
Info: View course page. Browse: Search all edX certifications in Communication.
12. Design Thinking, RIT
Design Thinking (visit website) is an edX MicroMasters program by RIT for prospective entrepreneurs and business professionals who wish to refine their thinking skills to create innovative products. In the five graduate-level edX courses, you will develop user-centered research skills to generate user empathy from interviews and observations.
Participants will move on to a module dealing with the identification and comprehension of business problems and products through active listening. Then comes a course on ideation, iteration, and communication. This is where students learn to transform ideas into valid solutions through iteration and validation along the way. The class also teaches best practices to communicate your ideas and solutions effectively to the stakeholders.
Finally, learners will acquire a much-needed insight into the importance of prototyping and user-testing their solutions before launching. This will be compounded with evaluating solutions post-launch to enhance the effectiveness of your products.
University: RIT edX | Path: edX MicroMasters
Level: Introductory to Adavnced | Length: 8 Months | Efforts: 8-12 hours/week
Info: View course page. Browse: Search for the best edX certifications in Business.
In the next paragraphs, we list some of the best edX courses online based on edX’s founder universities, most important contributors, and partner universities. You may use the links to browse the program catalog of free edX courses and professional certificates.
13. MIT edX Courses (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
MIT or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (view program catalog) is a top-ranked privately endowed research university founded in 1861. It’s one of the founder universities of edX. The university is contributing to the advancement of skills and quality education by offering 200+ MIT edX courses online in a variety of subjects.
Topics include basic sciences, technology, engineering, business studies, humanities, education, social sciences, computational skills, and personal development, or languages.
Many MIT edX courses are free to learn including Machine Learning with Python, Probability, Manufacturing Process Control, Supply Chain Technology, and Systems, Principles of Synthetic Biology just to name one of the best edX courses online by MIT
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT edX)
Categories: Science, Business, Management
Level: Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced
Info: Browse Program Catalog and MIT edX courses online.
14. Harvard edX Courses (Harvard University)
Another founder university of edX is Harvard (view program catalog), which is the oldest institution of higher education in the US. Harvard is devoted to excellence in research, teaching, and learning. It offers 150+ best edX courses online in a variety of subjects ranging from law, literature, and computer science to humanities, religions or history.
Almost all of the Harvard edX courses are free to learn including Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather, Advanced Bioconductor, Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Shakespeare’s Life and Work, and Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature.
Institution: Harvard University (Harvard edX)
Categories: Science, Business, Management
Level: Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced
Info: Browse Program Catalog and Harvard edX courses online.
15. Berkeley edX Courses (The University of California)
As an edX partner and contributor, Berkeley University (view program catalog) is committed to innovative learning and teaching by publishing and providing many online courses, degree programs, and MOOC projects.
To enhance the learning experience, Berkeley is working with edX to establish small private online courses (SPOCs) on-campus around the world that will provide local faculty with high-level pedagogy.
To name a few examples of their variety, the number of free Berkeley edX courses includes Academic and Business Writing, The Foundations of Happiness at Work, Blockchain Technology, or Writing for Social Justice.
Institution: University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley edX)
Categories: Computer Science, Business, Technology, Communication
Level: Introductory to Advanced
Info: Browse Program Catalog and Berkeley edX courses online.
Below are some ideas for individual edX courses. You can enroll in those edX classes for free. Or, you can have them verified to increase recognition by your employer.
16. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science
CS50 Computer Science by Harvard University (visit website) is a free entry-level edX course but is also part of a Professional Certificate program. It will teach you the fundamentals of computer science and programming.
The core topics include introductions to abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, software engineering, and web development.
17. CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This entry-level Harvard edX course (visit website) gives you a solid overview of what artificial intelligence (AI) is and how to use machine learning in Python. It aids in understanding the basics of how machine learning provides the foundation for AI and how the cognitive services in applications can be leveraged.
This Harvard edX course will cover a range of topics from graph search algorithms, logical inference, and probability theory to reinforcement learning, neural networks, and natural language processing. CS50, basic experience in Python plus the willingness to learn through exploration and perseverance are suitable prerequisites for this free edX course.
18. Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT)
This popular edX course (visit website) helps in understanding the basics of the internet of things technology including components of IoT, their importance and value, connectivity strategy, and key requirements to design suitable IoT solutions.
It will enable you to develop IoT ideas that are based on technology and IoT related functions and catered to a specific industry or market. You will also be able to handle and examine cybersecurity and privacy issues, to optimize processes and improve the key parameters of your business.
19. Becoming an Entrepreneur, MIT
Becoming an Entrepreneur by MIT (visit website) is among the best edX courses online for aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides the right tools and techniques to overcome common obstacles in entrepreneurship but also the initial challenges of any startup.
By the end, you will be able to define your goals, develop new business ideas, identify business opportunities, and perform market research to design and test your offers. This MIT edX course will open many entrepreneurial paths by teaching you lean methodologies and how to develop a product design thinking mindset.
Furthermore, students will be able to better plan their business logistics, pitching, and selling. Thus, Becoming an Entrepreneur aims to have a practical impact as well by taking students away from the computer screen to the real community and world.
20. Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
This Harvard edX course (visit website) is one of the most popular and best edX courses to explore the ways of tackling complex social problems in emerging economies as well as prior attempts to address these problems.
Students will learn to better understand the dynamic environment of complex problems, topics, trends, and influencing factors available within emerging economies. The goal is to propose and develop creative solutions to resolve such complex problems.
This edX course also provides awareness of the obvious and rather diffuse opportunities for doing business in fast-growing and emerging markets. You will learn how to identify those points of opportunity and develop an understanding of the conceptual framework to better evaluate such business chances.
21. Project Management for Development
Project Management for Development (visit website) is for professionals who want to lead a team or need to organize entire workflows for large projects. It is among the best edX courses to learn basic project management and techniques in order to identify success factors for each project. Professional certification is available.
This edX course will enable you to communicate successfully in projects by using test tools and techniques based on international standards. Learn best practices for managing larger projects which have both an economic and social impact. Afterward, students will be able to achieve expected objectives with limited resources and run projects effectively.
Like many other best edX courses, students can enroll either as individual participants or as part of a team. If you are an employer and you want to train your team or employees, edX provides this facility for your business.
edX Courses Online – Pros and Cons
Benefits – edX provides free online self-paced courses. Self-paced and free learning can be both beneficial and distracting. One of the best benefits is that students who wish to learn but have only little chance to get enrolled in one of the top-ranked institutes of the world can learn anywhere for free. Any worker interested in advancing in a career can learn part-time with no effect on their jobs.
Obstacles – On the other hand, many learners get registered but often do not complete their edX courses. One of the reasons behind this could be that free and self-paced learning lacks the pressure of deadlines and money funding. Even though it is learning with the best universities, students might fail to effectively prioritize their learning lectures and get too relaxed. As a result, they might lose their motivation to complete their edX courses online.
Review – The platform itself is technically up to date, and it is worth giving the best edX courses a try simply because it is free and because of the high quality and relevance of content to advance your career. You will then only need a well-structured learning plan, stamina, motivation, and basic discipline to reach your goals.
Alternatives – There are many online learning platforms out there. Here is a handy overview to give you some further inspiration and comparison.
Best edX Courses Online 2024 – Verdict
Wrapping up our list of the best edX courses online.
The free access to quality education, applied skills, latest technology, and research-based learning is no less than a blessing. Students, workers, employers, and employees can learn high in-demand skills to not only advance their careers but also help elevate society or alleviate poverty in less developed countries.
edX Premium – Those who can afford the small price of premium edX courses might enroll as premium learners because of two reasons. The first reason is to get access to assessments. As a result, you will likely be more confident after participating in course projects, assessments, and other activities, than those who don’t have access.
Secondly, you will also be awarded a valid certificate, that will prove any newly learned skills and will thus help you in advancing your career in the long run. Another reason to get enrolled in edX Premium is that, since edX is a non-profit platform, paid enrolments will enable edX to spread its services and support those learners in rather less privileged and underdeveloped areas of the world.
Last but not least, remember the words of Abigail Adams. She said, “learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
Best edX Courses + Certifications 2024
- Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence, Harvard
- Leadership and Communication, Harvard edX
- Data Science, Harvard edX
- Blockchain Essentials, IBM
- FinTech, University of Hong Kong
- Business Fundamentals, University of British Columbia
- Data Analyst, IBM
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University System of Maryland
- Entrepreneurial Mindset and Leadership, Babson College
- Strategic Management, Wharton Online
- Communication Skills, RIT
- Design Thinking, RIT
- MIT edX Courses (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- Harvard edX Courses (Harvard University)
- Berkeley edX Courses (The University of California)
- CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science
- CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Becoming an Entrepreneur, MIT
- Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
- Project Management for Development
Popular edX Universities
There are more than 160 partner universities contributing to the edX course catalog. Below are some of the most popular ones.
- Harvard University
- MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Berkeley University of California
- The University of Texas System
- Australian National University
- Boston University
- Curtin University
- Delft University of Technology
- Georgetown University
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- University of Queensland, Australia
- The University of Adelaide, Australia
- University of British Columbia
- ASU Arizona State University
- University System of Maryland
- Cornell University
- Princeton University
- RICE University
- Stanford Online
- Georgia Tech – The Georgia Institute of Technology
- Wharton Online
- Penn University of Pennsylvania
- University of Oxford
- RIT Rochester Institute of Technology
Have you tried edX? What are the best edX courses online in your opinion? Feel free to share your list in the comments below.
Credits: Logo Images by edX, Open edX.
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