Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses


A growing number of leading business schools and universities are offering free personal finance courses online. Why not take advantage of these sophisticated resources to grow your knowledge and take your finances to the next level? (See also: 10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes)

These free online courses are sometimes known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Many are either based on university courses, or actually are the same university courses that have been offered to paying students on campus. Although you will not get credit toward a degree for taking a free class, you can certainly learn a thing or two that will help you manage your finances and become a better negotiator, entrepreneur, and investor. (See also: 8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School)

1. Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making

This introductory personal finance course through the University of Michigan covers the basics of personal finance, teaching frameworks and methods that will better equip you to make sound everyday financial decisions.

Time commitment: 6 weeks, 5–6 hours per week.

2. Behavioral Economics in Action

Offered through the University of Toronto, Behavioral Economics in Action teaches students how economics drives consumer decisions and how to develop tools that lead to better financial decisions.

Time commitment: 6 weeks, 4–5 hours per week.

3. Personal Finance

Purdue University offers Personal Finance; Improve your money management by improving your understanding of key personal finance concepts such as investments, credit, and insurance.

Time commitment: 5 weeks, 3–4 hours per week.

4. Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society

The Wharton University of Pennsylvania offers an online course on learning to understand global trends, including how you can use that knowledge to make better financial decisions and investments.

Time commitment: 7 weeks, 3–4 hours per week.

5. How to Start a Startup

With Stanford University's video course How to Start a Startup, you'll learn the fundamentals of launching a new business; including how to develop product ideas, make sales, market products, and hire your first employees.

Time commitment: 1,000 minutes of video.

6. Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns

Another Stanford video course, Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns covers the basics of stocks and bonds, including how value is established, what affects market prices, and what you actually get when you buy a stock or a bond.

Time commitment: Self-paced.

7. Finance Theory I

Finance Theory I, offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaches you how the economy and capital markets work, including an introduction to complex investment instruments such as derivatives and options.

Time commitment: Semester-length course.

8. Retail Fundamentals

Learning how retail works can give you an advantage as a consumer. This course from Dartmouth covers the basics of how businesses select inventory and set prices to maximize profit.

Time commitment: 4 weeks, 3–4 hours per week.

9. Economics of Money and Banking

This course from Columbia University teaches the basics of banking and monetary policy and offers insight into the financial crisis of 2007–2009 from the perspective of financial institutions.

Time commitment: 13 weeks, 5 hours per week.

10. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator

Negotiating effectively is one of the most effective ways to get ahead financially. This course from Yale promises to "help you be a better negotiator" by teaching tactics and tools to reach a better deal.

Time commitment: 9-week course.

11. Personal & Family Financial Planning

Personal & Family Financial Planning from the University of Florida teaches the fundamentals of personal finance and money management including budgeting, credit, and taxes.

Time commitment: 9-week course.

12. Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement

Khan University's Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement course teaches the basic principles that will allow you to grow your money through investments and protect your money through insurance.

Time commitment: Self-paced.

13. Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run

In the course Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run through the University of Geneva, you'll learn about active vs. passive investing and how to evaluate the performance of your investments to achieve good long-term returns.

Time commitment: 4 weeks, 1–3 hours per week.

14. Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning

Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning from UC Irvine aims to teach you how to set and reach your financial goals by improving your knowledge of personal finance.

Time commitment: 30 hours.

15. Free Online Personal Finance Course

This personal finance primer from the University of Arizona will teach you how to navigate the perils of today's consumer economy by mastering personal finance principles.

Time commitment: 15 hours.

16. Econ 252: Financial Markets

Become a smarter investor with this economics course from Yale, which aims to help you understand the inner workings of financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and securities markets.

Time commitment: Semester-length course.

17. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs

If you are thinking about starting a business, New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs from the University of Maryland will help you figure out how to fund your venture.

Time commitment: 3–5 hours per week.

18. Marketing in a Digital World

Marketing in a Digital World, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will teach you how digital tools are revolutionizing the way products are bought and sold, and how this is providing unprecedented advantages for consumers.

Time commitment: 4 weeks, 6–8 hours per week.

Like this article? Pin it!

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


/** Fix admin settings safe to ignore showing on unauthenticated user **/