Best Duke University Online Courses

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 27, 2020

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Duke University has a reputation for providing students with world-class instruction that prepares them for the real world. If you want to experience what it’s like to be a student at this top-tier university, consider an offering found on Coursera. 

The courses are free, so you won’t have to spend a dime on the enrollment fee. Plus, there are options for individuals with varying skill levels and interests.

Benzinga has taken the guesswork out of identifying the best options by compiling a list for you. 

Quick Look: Best Duke University Online Courses

Here’s a sneak peek at the best Duke University online courses from Coursera: 

What Makes a Duke University Online Course Great?

Here are some of the benefits of Duke University online courses from Coursera


These classes start with the basics to ensure you understand the core concepts before transitioning to more complex material. You will experience this, whether you enroll in a course for beginners, intermediate students or advanced students. 


Coursera gives you the flexibility to take these courses any time of the day or night without worrying about pressing deadlines. This is perfect if you have a demanding career, several personal obligations or a combination of both. 


The enrollment fee for these courses is waived unless you choose to have them count toward a degree or certificate program. A tight budget or empty wallet won’t prevent you from continuing your education. 

Our Top Picks

Below, you will find the best Duke University online courses featured on Coursera. We’ve also included a description of what each class covers and who it is most ideal for to ensure you select the best option. 

Best Duke University Online Courses

Here are the best Duke University online courses: 

1. Behavioral Finance 

Who it's for: Individuals who want to improve their financial well-being

Price: Free

Behavioral Finance is a 5-hour course that explores common decision-making errors and how you can avoid them. You will also discover which errors you are most susceptible to so you can start making better financial decisions related to savings, spending and investing. 

Here’s what you can expect to learn each week: 

  • Week 1: The Classical Economic Model of Consumer Choice 
  • Week 2: Distorted Probabilities and Heuristic-Driven Bias 
  • Week 3: Mentals Heuristics and Sub-Optimal Financial Decisions

Economics Associate Chair and Professor Emma Rasiel teaches the class. She provides detailed instructions through a series of online videos and supplementary readings. You’ll take a quiz at the end of each segment to assess your comprehension of the material. 

Enroll now

2. English Composition I

Who it's for: High school and incoming college students 

Price: Free

English Composition I provides high school and incoming college students with a foundational knowledge of college-level writing mechanics. It includes lessons on the writing process, reading carefully, crafting compelling writing arguments, citing sources and more. 

The course is led by Assistant Professor and Director of the First-Year Writing Program Dr. Denish Comer and features these modules: 

  • The Writing Process
  • Critical Reading 
  • Project 1: Visual Analysis
  • Revision Strategies and Visual Analysis Revision
  • Project 2: Case Study
  • Writing Cohesively and Case Study Revision
  • Project 3: Op-Ed
  • Crafting Powerful Prose and Op-Ed Revision
  • Transferring Writing Practices, Skills and Knowledge to New Contexts 
  • Writing in the Humanities, Social Science and Natural Sciences

Expect to spend 25 hours working through the course material. 

Enroll now.

3. Dog Emotion and Cognition

Who it's for: Dog owners  

Price: Free

Do you want to improve your relationship with your furry friend? Consider this course to teach you the essentials of dog psychology, how dogs think and feel about humans and how you can leverage this knowledge to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. 

Dog Emotion and Cognition consists of 8 modules: 

  • Course Information
  • The Paradox of a Best Friend that Evolved from Our Worst Enemy
  • How Biology Studies Cognitive Evolution
  • Dogs Are Cognitively Remarkable 
  • Evolutionary Accidents and Survival of the Friendliest
  • Problems that Dogs Can and Cannot Solve
  • Finding Your Dog’s Genius
  • Final Exam 

Evolutionary Anthropology Associate Professor Brian Hare delivers the lessons through video lectures. You’ll also get access to bonus readings and quizzes to gain even more insight and test your knowledge. 

Enroll now

4. Advertising and Society 

Who it's for: Communications and marketing students 

Price: Free

Interested in learning more about the origins of advertising, creating ads that sell or how ads are interpreted? Look no further than this in-depth course that covers these topics and so much more. 

Cultural Anthropology, Sociology and English Professor William M. O’Barr draws from his experience to bring you valuable lessons that include tidbits of knowledge you can apply to create ads that get results. Here’s how he breaks down the course: 

  • What is Advertising and Where Did It Come From?
  • Am I Being Manipulated by Advertising?
  • What’s In an Ad Beyond that Which Meets the Eye?
  • How Do Ads Get Made?
  • What Do Ads Teach Us About Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality?
  • Does Sex Sell? 
  • What’s the Future of Advertising? 

Prepare to spend 12 hours on the material. 

Enroll now

5. Introduction to Chemistry: Reactions and Ratios 

Who it's for: Chemistry students with little or no background knowledge

Price: Free

Join Professor Dorian A. Canelas as she introduces you to the wonderful world of chemistry. Students with minimal knowledge of the subject who plan to study in healthcare, science or policy-related disciplines may find this course interesting. 

Introduction to Chemistry: Reactions and Ratios covers the periodic table, periodic trends, nomenclature and so much more. Take a quick look at the class syllabus: 

  • Introduction
  • Matter and Energy
  • Compounds
  • Chemical Composition and Reactions
  • Solutions and Solubility Rules
  • Acid-base and Redox Reactions
  • Final Exam 

Register today to access 18 hours of video lectures.

Enroll now

Who it's for: Communications and marketing students 

Price: Free

Emory University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill features Copyright for Multimedia. The course covers 4 different media types and the unique issues that accompany them to teach students how to make more informed copyright decisions. 

It spans 12 hours and entails 5 segments: 

  • Introduction and Getting Started
  • Data 
  • Images 
  • Music and Audio 
  • Film and Video 

The class is co-facilitated by Kevin Smith, former director of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University Libraries, Lisa A. Macklin, director of the Scholarly Communications Office at Emory University and Anne Gilliland, Scholarly Communications Officer of University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Enroll now

7. Image and Video Processing: From Mars to Hollywood with a Stop at the Hospital 

Who it's for: Digital and graphic design students

Price: Free

Image and Video Processing: From Mars to Hollywood with a Stop at the Hospital gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the science of digital images and videos. You will learn how they are made, manipulated, stored and used. 

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Guillermo Sapiro categorizes the lessons as follows: 

  • Introduction to Image and Video Processing
  • Image and Video Compression
  • Spatial Processing
  • Image Restoration
  • Image Segmentation
  • Geometric PDEs
  • Image and Video Inpainting
  • Sparse Modeling and Compressed Sensing
  • Medical Imaging 

You should finish the course in approximately 21 hours. 

Enroll now

8. Art of the MOOC: Activism and Social Movements 

Who it's for: Activists, artists and thinkers 

Price: Free

Are you an artist, activist or innovative thinker searching for ways to help drive social change? Art of the MOOC: Activism and Social Movements, a joint offering from Duke University and Creative Time, is the perfect course for you. 

A host of pertinent topics are covered in the course, including: 

  • Introduction to Activism and Social Movements
  • Activism and Social Movements: Lectures, Guest Presentations and Quiz
  • Activism and Social Movements: Project and Peer Review 
  • Aesthetics, Art History and Cultural Institutions – Lectures, Guest Presentations and Quiz 
  • Aesthetics, Art History and Cultural Institutions: Project and Peer Review
  • Embodied Knowledges – Lectures, Guest Presentations and Quiz
  • Embodied Knowledge: Projects and Peer Reviews 

Nato Thomspon, chief curator at Creative Time and Pedro Lasch, visual artist and associate research professor of Duke’s department of art, history and visual studies, teach the course. 

Enroll now

9. Sports and Society 

Who it's for: Anyone interested in the influence of sports in society

Price: Free

Cultural Anthropology Professor Orin Starn brings you this engaging course on sports from an anthropology, history and sociology perspective. He focuses on baseball, basketball, fishing, mountain-climbing and soccer. 

Sports and Society features these modules: 

  • Getting Started! Games, Play and Sports
  • Globalization, Nationalism and the Politics of Sports 
  • Race, Cultural Identity and the Sports World 
  • Gender, Sexuality and the Rise of Women’s Sports
  • Why Do We Care So Much About Sports?
  • The Megabusiness of Sports 
  • Outdoor Sports, Extreme Sports and the Search for Adventure

You will spend roughly 12 hours watching video lectures, reading supplementary material and taking quizzes. 

Enroll now

Get Started with a Duke University Online Course from Coursera

Don’t delay your continuing education pursuits any longer. Start today with an online course from our list to move a step closer to your educational or professional goals. You will receive an exceptional online learning experience from a knowledgeable instructor committed to helping you succeed. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.