Online Religious Studies Courses Offered Free by Top Colleges, Universities and Educators

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These free courses are not all necessarily from universities, but they can help broaden your horizons and help you understand religion - whether or not the religion in question is one you practice.
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Free Religious Studies Courses

Religious studies is the investigation and study of religious ideas and practices. Taking a religious studies course can broaden your understanding of various religions, theories and arguments and improve your reading, writing and critical thinking abilities.

The Open University

The Open University has a general religious studies course to introduce students to modern religious practice.

Utah State University (USU)

USU's general course, Anthropology of Religion, examines the relationship between religion, culture and society.

About.com

About.com offers email courses about a variety of theological topics, designed for people who wish to identify as Christian, atheist, agnostic, or something else entirely. Their Guide to Atheism includes two courses worth noting: Theology and God 101, and Logic, Skepticism and Critical Thinking 101. But Christians may prefer to check out The Gospel According to Mark, a Bible Study course.

Gresham College

Gresham College posts some of its more interesting lectures online for public access. One example is Demonisation and Witch Hunts in Religion and Politics, which includes a power point presentation. Another is Hawaiian Religion and Dance, a very unique topic within religious studies.

World Bible School

The World Bible School provides a variety of courses and short lessons for people interested in Bible study.

Yale University

Yale provides videorecordings of previously taught lectures on a variety of topics, religion included. One example is the Introduction to the Old Testament course, which is perfect for people interested in studying the Hebrew Bible.

Brigham Young University (BYU)

BYU has several self-paced courses online for free. Religious topics include courses on sections of the New Testament, as well as studies of the Book of Mormon.

Discover the Bible

Discover the Bible was created to provide a Christian Home Bible Course for people who wish to have a better understanding of the bible. The course is split into seven lessons.

University of Notre Dame (ND)

Although ND no longer runs its own open courseware program, courses from the prestigious university can still be found online elsewhere. The Virtual University requested permission to provide ND courses such as Latino Theology and Christian Tradition. Several other lecture courses, such as Jews and Christians Throughout History, can be downloaded through iTunes.

Catholic Home Study Service (CHSS)

CHSS offers nine courses for Catholics and non-Catholics who want to gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith. Course topics include The Search for Happiness and Christ's Mother and Ours.

Judaism 101

While not technically a course, the Judaism 101 website is the perfect introduction for people who want to learn more about what it means to be Jewish. Each page of the encyclopedia site is labeled to help readers choose to learn information based on their familiarity level. 'Gentile' pages are for non-Jews, 'Basic' pages contain information that all Jewish people should know, and 'Intermediate' and 'Advanced' pages offer scholars a closer look at the Jewish faith.

SGI-USA Riverside Region & Riverside Buddhist Center

On this center's website, a fantastic 'About Buddhism' section can serve as a crash course in the Buddhist faith. This is perfect for understanding some important history and concepts, whether you are interested in Buddhism yourself, or just want to further appreciate the variety of faiths from around the world.

Magicka School

By joining as a novitiate on their website, you can have free access to their beginner's course on what it means to be a Wiccan. Certificates of completion are available, but the school does not offer Wiccan degrees or initiations. Materials are solely for self-fulfillment.

Studying Islam

Studying Islam contains a number of courses focusing on the Quran, Sunnah, and Haddith. Although all courses are free, you will have to create a login for their website in order to access them. If you don't want to join, the site also has links to youtube lectures on Islamic topics of interest.

Free Online Religious Studies Courses at a Glance

Course & SchoolProgram LevelFormatAssignmentsQuizzes & ExamsDownloadable
Religion Today: Themes and Issues course from Open UniversityAdvancedText Lessons/VideoYesNoYes
Anthropology of Religion course from USUUndergraduateVideosNoYesNo
Theology and God 101 course from About.comBeginnerText Lessons
Logic 101 course from About.comBeginnerText Lessons
Bible Study: Gospel According to Mark course from About.comIntermediateText Lessons
Christianity Basics course from About.comBeginnerText Lessons
Demonisation and Witch Hunts in Religion and Politics course from GreshamUndergraduateAudio LectureNoNoYes
Hawaiian Religion and Dance course from GreshamUndergraduateAudio LectureNoNoYes
Bible Study courses from World Bible SchoolVariedText Lessons
Introduction to the Old Testament course from YaleUndergraduateVideosYesNoNo
The New Testament course from BYUUndergraduateExternal Reading ResourcesYes Yes
The Book of Mormon course from BYUUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Christian Home Bible Course from Discover The BibleBeginnerText LessonsNoNoNo
Latino Theology and Christian Tradition course from NDUndergraduateText Lessons/External Reading ResourcesYesNoNo
Jews and Christians Throughout History course from NDUndergraduateAudio LecturesNoNoYes
Home Study courses from CHSSVaried Yes Yes
Judaism 101VariedText LessonsNoNoNo
Buddhism 101 course from RiversideBeginnerText Lessons/VideosNoNoNo
Wicca Revealed course from Magicka SchoolBeginnerTextbook Yes
Islamic courses from Studying IslamVaried

Popular Schools

Featured Schools

The schools and programs listed below are popular educational options, and tuition varies based on program and location

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Arts in Museum Studies

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Political Science

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BA General Studies

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Excelsior College

  • MA in Liberal Studies
  • BA / BS in Liberal Arts [Without Concentration]
  • AS in Arts in Liberal Arts

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Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

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Abilene Christian University

  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Master of Divinity

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