Take Stanford Business Classes Online For Free

December 31st, 2013

Whether you are currently on the hunt for a new job or just looking to advance within your current company, increasing your skill set is an excellent way to make yourself more attractive as an employee. One great way to bolster your resume is to take a class or two at Stanford University.

It may sound like an outrageous suggestion. Odds are, you live nowhere near Palo Alto, have never applied to the school, and would be reluctant to take on a pile of student loans, but these days anyone can take Stanford courses online – for free.

There are three varieties of online courses available.

  • The first type, called “In Session” courses, require a commitment of four to ten hours a week and run for eight to ten weeks. A Statement of Accomplishment is issued by the instructor upon successful completion of the course, which means you can officially list Stanford on the education section of your resume.
  • For those looking to learn at their own pace, the “Self-Study” courses offer instruction on topics such as Computer Science, Databases, and Robotics. These classes are available on iTunes free of charge, and often include over fifty hours of instructional content. They can be listened to during a morning commute or on your lunch break. No official recognition is given by the school for completion, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn a whole lot.
  • The third category of classes is called “Professional Education” and is intended to provide continuing education in fields such as medicine, law, business, and engineering. These courses are aimed at practical skills such as scientific writing, or statistics in medicine. To earn credit toward continuing education requirements for licensed professionals there is a fee, but most offer free participation.

Committed individuals can even earn graduate certificates for free by completing three to five courses within two years. Graduate certificates are offered in subjects ranging from aeronautics to international studies. Click here to see a current listing of available courses.

If you’re curious what courses would best serve you in your current career, talk with your supervisor. If you’re currently seeking work, a good way to gauge the skills you may need is to look at job postings in your desired field. Make a note of where your experience falls a little flat, then peruse the Stanford site to see if any of the available courses could help fatten up your knowledge base.

Learning is a life-long adventure. Investing the time and effort to nurture your skill set will garner increased satisfaction in your work and greater opportunities for advancement. As we head into 2014, it’s hard to think of a better New Year’s resolution.

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