Harvard University is one of the world’s best universities. Learn from leading researchers, professors and frontline workers about the contemporary challenges of humanitarian action, disasters relief, inequalities and diplomacy. The courses below are available to audit for free. If you would like to receive a Harvard certification after course completion you can opt-in to receive credentials for an extra fee.
Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster
Religion, Conflict and Peace
These online courses are offered by Harvard University in the United States of America. They span across many disciplines, humanities, law, business & management, chemistry, computer science, religion etc., and deal with conflict, peace, humanitarian responses, contracts, negotiation, amd many others.
Justice is a humanities course which lasts for 12 weeks, with 3-6 hours weekly. Using online readings, videos and quizzes, the instructions are passed in English with subtitles in Deutsch, Espanol, Mandarin, Portugues and English. This introductory course focuses on critical analysis of different theories of justice, as well as how they apply in modern times. Learners will read a lot of writings and texts by philosophers, and also court cases. Weigh in on philosophical arguments with knowledge gained, as well as critique your views on various controversial issues eg., same-sex marriage, debates about rights, equality etc.
Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster is a Health & Safety course which lasts for 5 weeks, with 3-4 hours weekly. This introductory course looks into humanitarian response to emergencies; the rules that guide them, and the challenges faced in the course of carrying out the task. These ethical and professional principles are hinged on legal and historical frameworks. Learners will explore all these, as well as how they apply as solutions to the challenges faced in the course of alleviating human suffering. Four case studies highlighting responses to crises in Afghanistan, Somalia, Balkans, Zaire, and Pakistan will be looked into.
JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change is a Humanities course which lasts for 7 weeks, with 2-3 hours weekly. Starting from a place of anonymity, learners will engage in civic discussions where emotionally charged issues are deliberated with the instructor and other students, and also get to experience how a jury undergoes transition from division to agreement, by virtue of speaking, listening, persuading and then deciding. This is a 6-module course which will teach you how to carry on a meaningful dialogue, as well as history of the jury. Learners will also take part in a mock criminal case, acting as the virtual jury.
MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe is a Biology & Life Sciences course which lasts for 8 weeks, with 3-5 hours weekly. This introductory course is taught in English, with subtitles in English, and Francais. This course is recommended for people interested in gaining leadership skills and technical expertise required for work in health programs, and has a prerequisite of undergraduate-level biology and quantitative methods. Explore the biology of malaria; challenges involved in its eradication; cutting-edge science and technology employed; policies made for its control and elimination; and finally, the monitoring and response of the health systems to it.
Religion, Conflict and Peace is a Humanities course which lasts for 8 weeks, with 4-8 hours weekly. It is taught in English, and open to everyone, especially professionals who are interested in understanding the function of religion in contemporary world affairs. By examining a series of conflicts, learn the many roles of religion in encouraging and reducing violence; the evolution and change of religion; methods to recognize and analyze how they are embedded in human cultures; and explore the impacts of these conflicts on civic life in different areas, by answering a series of questions.
Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles is a Business & Management course that lasts for 4 weeks, with 2-3 hours weekly. In these times, there are so many challenges for everyone, and leadership skills are required to push people against them, and improve things as a whole. This introductory course will explore strategies for leading in a changing world; discover ways to approach complex systems and carry out thoughtful actions; reflect on how to move past the challenges of leadership; learn how to approach conflict; understand the functions of formal and informal authority, amongst others.
Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice is a Social Sciences course which lasts for 28 weeks, with 1-3 hours weekly. Everywhere, children are at risk from abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, natural disasters, sexual exploitation and trafficking, child marriage, child labor etc. More needs to be done on enforcing rights of children if we are truly going to protect them. This course explores ways of protecting children using a human rights framework via law, policy and practice. Consider the standards, strategies, resources and international laws required, as well as how to strengthen and assess the child protection system.
Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety is a Social Sciences course that lasts 10 weeks, with 2-4 hours weekly. If you care about health and healthcare, want to learn more about the measurement and improvement of care, and are interested in learning with leading thinkers who have hands-on experience, then this is for you. This introductory course ushers you into the emerging field of global healthcare quality. Learn how to relate quality and population health; all about the framework required for understanding healthcare quality; approaches used to measure quality; different tools needed; and roles of IT in improving quality.
Introduction to Digital Humanities is a Humanities course that lasts for 7 weeks, with 2-4 hours weekly. Learn how to bring your course of study to life using digital tools, methods and sources, and exploring the many aspects of digital research and scholarship. Learn and develop skills in digital research and visualization techniques. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) are two of the tools used by humanities researchers to process enormous amounts of textual data, and digitize them. Sounds, videos, and images aren’t left out too. Also learn how various file types can be used to create, gather, and organize data, and how to use command-line functions to analyze text.
China Humanities: The Individual in Chinese Culture is a Humanities course which lasts 8 weeks, with about 2-4 hours weekly. This introductory course looks into China from the perspective of individuals who are striving for culture and morality. Join in and explore the Chinese history and culture via usage of literary works, philosophical texts, and art. Discuss theories of early Chinese thinkers, poetry of writers, readings, painting and calligraphy, and see how they’ve shaped China. Also, learn how to interpret Chinese philosophical texts, and analyze their literature.
The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches us about the Good Life is a Philosophy & Ethics course which lasts for 13 weeks, with 1-2 hours weekly. Using lectures, discussions, animations and reflection diaries, this course applies past philosophies to modern contexts of how best to find happiness. Readings from ancient Chinese philosophers like Confucius, will be used in discussions to show how your actions, rituals, and senses can increase personal happiness, and change your life. Challenger your assumptions of happiness via exploration of these Chinese ethics, philosophy and political theory.
Central Challenges of American National Security, Strategy, and the Press is a Social Sciences course which lasts for 6 weeks. Learners will analyze some of the hardest national security challenges the US will face. You’ll be called upon to act in an advisory role to the president, and will need to explore these dilemmas by going behind the scene to understand the dynamics between the media and the government. Learn to navigate the political landscape of an era where nothing really stays hidden. There’ll be weekly assignments requiring the learners to think strategically, and summarize their analyses in a memo. Gain an appreciation for the complexities of communicating to many audiences.
The Health Effects of Climate Change is an Environmental Sciences course which lasts for 7 weeks, with 3-5 hours weekly. This introductory course teaches the impacts of global warming on human health, and how we can work to reduce these impacts. Learn about the research methods used in measuring health effects of climate change, and recommendations of experts on how best to respond to these challenges on nutrition, infectious diseases, and migration. Learn how changes in the atmosphere affect health outcomes, and how to assess methods of addressing the health effects of global warming.
Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies is a Business & Management course which lasts for 6 weeks, with 3-5 hours weekly. This introductory course takes on an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding and solving complex social problems. This approach is hinged on innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn about past attempts, identify points of opportunity, and come up with creative solutions by gaining an understanding of the conceptual framework for evaluating the opportunities. Learners will also look into other issues, such as those related to financing, branding, scaling up of operations, management of property rights, etc.
The Quantum World is an advanced Chemistry course which lasts for 26 weeks, with 3-5 hours weekly. College chemistry and calculus are required, and some programming experience is recommended too. Learners are invited to learn the core of quantum mechanics, and program simulations in Python, so they can apply quantum theory to chemistry, in form of atoms, molecules and materials. Also learn about probability, approximations, wave functions, and special notations, all of which will make application of quantum mechanics easier.
Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures is a Humanities course which lasts for 4 weeks, with 5-10 hours weekly. It forms part of the XSeries program, World Religions Through Their Scriptures. Religion is such a rich and fascinating aspect of the human experience, and has played a role over time in contemporary and historic contexts. Join in to explore case studies on how internally diverse they are, as well as their evolution over time. Learners will also explore these via scriptures and varying themes such as science, power and authority, gender and sexuality, violence and peace, and art; and also look into strengths and limitations of learning about religions via their scriptures.
Technology Entrepreneurship: Lab to Market is a Business & Management course which lasts for 5 weeks, with 2-4 hours weekly. Research and development is a key aspect in every sector, as they lead to new technologies that are likely to transform our lives. Sometimes though, these technologies never make it that far, so how exactly does an invention become an innovation? Learners will explore how entrepreneurs link promising technology with customer needs to build successful businesses; apply critical thinking to commercialize technologies, and learn about the venture creation process from different contexts.
PredictionX: Lost Without Longitude is a History course which lasts for 1 week, and requires only about 2-5 hours. Using videos, infographics, texts and Worldwide Telescope tours, this course explores history of navigation, with focus on the importance and challenges of measuring longitude. Navigational skill is beyond commercial and economic success, therefore learn how to predict when and where one will reach a distant destination, by looking into the principles of position, direction, speed and time. Also look into the roles of lunar eclipses, and clockmakers as tools for ancient navigators; as well as the story of John Harrison and the longitude prize.
China and Communism is a History course which forms part of the XSeries program, History of China: The Modern Era. Instructions are passed in English for this course which lasts 15 weeks, with 1-3 hours weekly. Video transcripts are available in English and Mandarin. In exploring the Maoist period of China, i.e from the communist party to the death of Mao, and reopening of China, different important questions exist which this course will help you answer. These answers will also help you explore all the changes of this period – political, cultural, intellectual and economic. Learn how this period and its changes have impacted the official narrative in China today.
Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract is a Business & Management course which lasts 8 weeks, with 3-6 hours weekly. Contracts are very important in our everyday life, they give rise to trust, collaboration, promise and credit. Seeing as contracts apply to us all, knowing the principles of contracts is for everyone. Using online videos, readings and case studies, learn what contracts are; analyze their significance; challenges with entering and enforcing them; investigate common pitfalls, and how to remedy them; how contracts create rights for third parties; as well as their relationship to agency, partnership, corporations and government regulation.
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking is a Humanities course which lasts for 8 weeks, with 2-3 hours weekly. This course introduces learners to the theory and practice of rhetoric. Learn the crucial skill of constructing, and defending compelling arguments by exploring and analyzing rhetorical structure and style in selected speeches from prominent 20th century Americans. Gain critical communication skills in writing and public speaking, and how they’re used in American politics as tools to persuade the audience to adopt their viewpoint.
Introduction to Family Engagement in Education is an Education & Teacher training course which lasts for 6 weeks, with 2-4 hours weekly. Learners will be exposed to the topic of family engagement; what it is and why it’s important to the success of not just the students, but the school as a whole. These days, family engagement is being increasingly recognized as an integral element for proficient practice as an educator, so join in and talk to researchers, students, educators and families about promising practices in this field. Look into research done, and what it says about this shared partnership.
PredictionX: Omens, Oracles & Prophecies is a Social Sciences course which is part of the PredictionX series, and lasts only 1 week, with about 3-5 hours in total. Future-gazing is a predominant aspect of many cultures, and thus part of human life as people are constantly trying to see what the future tells. This course acts as an overview of different systems of divination, from ancient Chinese bone burning to modern day astrology. Learners will also examine details of a number of prediction systems, and the theoretical framework that links them.
Leaders of Learning is a Communications course which lasts for 10 weeks, with 2-4 hours weekly. We all have our own theories of learning – be it implicit or explicit, and thus is manifested in the ways we learn, teach, and think about leadership/organizational structure and learning. By taking this course, you’re invited to explore and understand your own theories of learning, how it applies in a changing world, as well as gain tools to imagine and build the future of learning. Learners will also look into how physical and digital design shape learning, and how neuroscience will affect the future of learning.
Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A Roadmap for Getting Results is a Business & Management course which lasts for 7 weeks, with 2-5 hours weekly. The only requirement for this course is curiousity. Learn skills, and use of well-tested tools in translating promising innovations into practice, and how they can improve health and healthcare. Materials and resources will be available for learners to build an improvement toolkit that will serve them. Every skill learnt will be put to test each week as the learners work on their personal improvement projects. Also learn how inter-professional teams collaborate on improvement work.
The courses described above are free to audit, but require a small fee to purchase a certificate of completion. Financial aid is also available to those who qualify.