Have you ever wondered how free online courses can be so great? Nowadays, we, Internet users, have a daily appetite for all kinds of information we need to know. There are plenty of sources serving educational materials on a wide range of topics. However, many of them don’t give us the hands-on experience we want, and others are too boring to follow. Here is a little secret: there are some free online courses that offer lectures and resources produced by leading Irish universities in Ireland, the UK, and other countries all over the world.
Online learning is the future of higher education. Gone are the days when you had to go to college in Ireland and pay hundreds of thousands of euros (I see you, parents) for your degree. There are plenty of free online courses out there that can make you just as smart as that degree holder but at a fraction of the cost.
Top Ireland Universities
The Irish education system has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. The number of educated graduates has risen significantly and they are working at top companies around the globe. However, it is not just the colleges that have received positive reviews, but many courses as well.
The Irish third-level education system is designed to provide a high level of education to all students who want it.
To do this, there are over 30 universities dotted around the country. From Cork in the south to Belfast in the north and Dublin in the east, Irish colleges offer a variety of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin is the only Irish university represented in the Times Higher Education top 100 “global” league table. Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, founded in 1592, is Ireland’s oldest university. The university has a long-standing reputation for scholarship and research excellence and is one of the leading universities in the world.
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) provides free online courses that are open to everyone.
The university has offered some of these courses for several years, but now anyone can access them through the FutureLearn platform.
From Trinity’s website: “Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in Ireland and internationally. It was once described by poet Samuel Beckett as ‘that beautiful button’ on the map of Dublin.”
Dublin City University
Dublin City University is one of the top universities in Ireland, and its online courses offer high-quality, free online learning.
The courses are designed to supplement the teaching you would get at your local college or university, so they’re not going to do you much good if you don’t live in Dublin. However, there are many other benefits to taking them:
They cost nothing. There’s no reason not to take them.
You can learn from experts. Many of the lecturers have experience working with students big and small. They understand what works for them and what doesn’t.
You can get credit for your course completion. If you do well on a test or an assignment, your school will offer credit based on that performance.
- Dublin City University has over 30 online courses available from the Gaeilge (Irish) portal. These include
- Accounting and Business Management Marketing,
- Web Design, and Computer Science among others.
University College Cork
University College Cork (UCC): Founded in 1845, this university offers free online courses on FutureLearn covering subjects from sustainability to how to write a bestselling novel. Most of these courses last for 4 weeks and require 3 hours of study per week. To receive a certificate from UCC, learners must pay a small fee.
University College Cork is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland and is located in Cork. The university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway. It became University College, Cork, under the Irish Universities Act of 1908.
University College Dublin
University College Dublin (UCD) is Ireland’s largest and most diverse university, with over 30,000 students, drawn from approximately 124 countries. Based in the Irish capital of Dublin, UCD has been ranked as one of the world’s top universities under 50 years old.
The most recent course launches are listed below:
- Data Visualisation with Tableau Specialization
- Deep Learning in Computer Vision Specialization
- Introduction to Cloud Computing Specialization
- Introduction to Programming the Internet of Things (IOT) Specialization
- Introduction to Cybersecurity Specialization
- Executive Data Science Specialization
National University of Ireland Galway
For over 180 years NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find a wide range of options to develop your career with our diverse range of undergraduate, postgraduate, part-time, and online courses.
We foster a culture of engagement in our research and learning communities that takes us beyond expectations. We are inspired by the pioneering spirit of those who founded us; we aspire to be recognized nationally and internationally for our excellence and creativity, for our unique approach, and for the positive difference we make to society.
Maynooth University is offering a range of free online courses in subjects ranging from maths to English, to social science.
The university has been running these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with FutureLearn since 2013 and they have proven to be hugely popular.
More than a million people signed up for the courses across the globe, with tens of thousands of people signing up for each course.
Maynooth University Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar Professor Philip Nolan said that “Maynooth University is delighted to be working with FutureLearn to offer our students and the general public access to MOOCs from across our subject areas.
Courses currently on offer include:
Introduction to Shakespeare (2 weeks)
The first in a series exploring four of Shakespeare’s most popular plays – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Tempest. This course will provide you with an introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times as well as an accessible yet academically rigorous overview of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Making Sense of Climate Science Denial (3 weeks)
University of Limerick
The University of Limerick offers free online courses on a variety of topics and subjects. Students can choose to take their free online courses via our fully interactive, multimedia learning environment, or they can download the course modules and print them out for exam purposes.
Our courses cover a wide range of topics ranging from
- Computing, and media to art and design.
Please note that the University of Limerick does not offer financial aid to any student taking these free online courses. We recommend that students who are interested in furthering their education do some research into available scholarships in order to obtain the best possible return on their investment
Athlone Institute of Technology
Athlone Institute of Technology is one of Ireland’s top institutions with a strong reputation in the field of technology, science, and engineering. The college offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in these fields.
Free online courses are offered by many colleges around the world, including those in Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, and the United States.
These courses allow students to study for their degrees without having to pay for them. The courses are offered by the universities themselves and not by third-party providers like Udemy or Coursera.
The benefits of these courses include:
No fees for tuition
Access to other students at the same level as you
A global network of peers from all over the world who may be in different stages of education than you are
The content is updated regularly, so you’ll learn new things about your subject areas every year
Note: Just because a course is free doesn’t mean it’s completely free of value. There’s still some material that needs to be consumed (such as reading assignments), but when compared to purchasing textbooks, they can’t be beaten.
Cork Institute of Technology
Online courses have become a popular way for many of our youth to get an education without leaving their homes or incurring the high cost associated with college fees.
The government has made significant cuts to the public sector in recent years and this has seen the emergence of private colleges that are willing to take on state-subsidized students.
Online courses can be a good way of filling in gaps in your education and learning new skills that you may not have had time to acquire through conventional means, but there are other considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether they’re right for you, such as studying online being more expensive than traditional lectures.
Dundalk Institute of Technology
To benefit from the free online courses from Dundalk Institute of Technology, all you need is a computer or mobile phone and an Internet connection.
- The mission of the university is to enable its students to become confident, capable, and creative leaders who can make a positive difference in their communities.
- It offers full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as Ph.D. programs across a wide range of disciplines.
Through the institute’s online learning center, you can study and earn an Irish degree or certificate online, blended, or on-campus
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is a non-profit health sciences institution located in Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1784 to train surgeons, today the College provides extensive education and training in the healthcare professions at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is a not-for-profit health sciences institute focusing on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. The Institute was established as the Corporation of Surgeons/Barbers in 1784 and granted its royal charter in the 18th century.
RCSI has been providing education since 1784 and today offers a range of undergraduate, postgraduate, Ph.D., and short courses, including free online courses. RCSI’s faculty members are leaders across their areas of expertise, bringing together the very best in clinical practice and research to deliver excellence in patient care.
Improve your chances of getting a better job or promotion.
Ireland’s top universities are offering free online courses in everything from computer science to creative writing.
- Most of the courses are designed for beginners, but more advanced students will also find courses to interest them.
- All you need is an internet connection and a few hours a week to improve your job prospects with high-quality education.
- Online course providers are also growing in popularity, with some offering diplomas and certificates to demonstrate your achievements.
In Ireland, the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) has been working with education providers around the country since 2009 to offer a range of online learning programs.
The institute says it’s “dedicated to advancing digital education at Trinity College Dublin and beyond”.
For those who want to learn outside the university setting, many opportunities exist that can improve your career outlook. Online courses are usually accessible with a simple login, and there is no charge for these classes. One can gain useful knowledge on topics such as leadership, customer service, and professional development. The courses last for a few months, and some even allow coursework inside the workplace. It’s definitely worth looking into these free online courses to expand your knowledge base when you’re not working on your current degree program.