Online Education is booming! Top quality degree programs across the spectrum of fields and disciplines, from undergraduate through doctoral levels, can now be earned entirely (or almost entirely) online. But what do you do when you have advanced training, perhaps even a PhD, but you need additional specialized training and don’t want to spend a lot? This article is for you. In it we take a look at some of the most popular online degrees in terms, not of the programs primarily, but in terms of doctoral and advanced level courses. What makes these courses special is that they’re free or very low-cost and offered by top universities! If you’re in the market for PhD level courses at low or no cost from top institutions, you’re in luck.

Table of Contents

Aerospace Engineering

With the advent of Space Force and Space-X, aerospace engineering has been at foundation of some of the most exciting developments in technology and space exploration. The field is not large, nor is it growing at a particularly fast rate. However, the work pays very well and is fascinating and important.

This course provides introductory instruction on aerodynamics.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Introduction to Aerodynamics

Time: 15 Weeks

Cost: Free/Verified Certificate $100.00

Outcomes: Airflow about a body, specifically, an airplane. However, the principles will applicable to a variety of objects

Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematicians are in high demand. Unlike pure mathematicians who study formal mathematical concepts and structures, Applied Mathematicians combine various areas of mathematics as they impact practical difficulties. Combining knowledge of business, physics, finance, industry and the like, Applied Mathematicians develop mathematical models to meet the concrete needs of their clients.

Advanced courses in Applied Mathematics are offered by several top universities, at very low costs. Take a look at the following courses to see if they would bolster your current resume or provide additional training that fits the particular needs of current or upcoming project.

Tecnológico de Monterrey

Professional Certificate in Essential quantitative business skills

Time: Three months, self-paced

Cost: $297.00

Outcomes:

  • Developed Capacity for Quantitative Analysis
  • Data Analysis and Forecasting of Variable in Business Environment
  • Analysis of Company Performance as Indicated in Financial Statements
  • Increased Knowledge of Data Science and Its Application in Business Setting

University of San Diego

Program in Data Science

Time: 10 Months

Cost: $1,260.00

Outcomes:

  • Loading and Cleaning of Real-World Data
  • Reliable Statistical Inferences from Noisy Data
  • Machine Learning for Modeling of Data
  • Visualization of Complex Data
  • Use of Apache Spark

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Statistics and Data Science

Time: 1 Year, 2 Months

Cost: $1,350.00

Outcomes:

  • Foundations of Data Science, Statistics, and Machine Learning
  • Analysis of Big Data
  • Develop Machine Learning Algorithms

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Finance

Time: 1 Year, 3 Months

Cost: $2,025.00

Outcomes:

  • Foundations of Modern Finance
  • Basics of Corporate Finance, Capital Budgeting, Structure, Yield Curve, Corporate Risk Management
  • Financial Decision Making, Efficient Markets, Valuation Theory
  • Financial Reports
  • Applied Computational Techniques.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering is a fast-growing field (BLS predicts 5% growth over next decade) with outstanding salary potential. The current median salary in the US is $92,620.  A bachelor’s degree is needed to work in the field, and sometimes graduate studies are also needed. While a PhD may not be necessary, PhD-level training may in the cards for you. This is true especially where specialized knowledge is required.

According to the BLS, Bioengineers engage in an interdisciplinary task. They integrate and apply engineering principles with science in order to create “equipment, devices, computer systems, and software.”

Purdue University

Reliability and Decision Making in Engineering Design

Time: 9 Months

Cost: $4,050

Outcomes:

  • Engineering view of reliability analysis and design
  • Formulating multi-objective design decisions in the presence of uncertainty
  • Application of model-driven and data-driven decision making
  • Identifying and reducing biases in decision making

Business Administration

Business is a key factor in virtually every area of human society. For business enterprises to achieve stability and success (even in the case of non-profits), good administration is a must. Administrators wear many hats. They establish goals, oversee organizational components, manage activities and personnel, deal with contracts, analyze finances. Leaders employs business administrative skills as CEOs, general and operations managers, political officials, and educational settings.

Often an MBA will be enough to move up the ladder and take on top management and administrative responsibilities. If it is the case that Doctorate is not needed, some doctoral-level training is, or is at least highly valuable. Here is a doctoral-level course that specialized knowledge beyond the MBA.

Technológico de Monterrey

Time: 3 Months

Cost: $297.00

Outcomes:

  • Developed capacity for quantitative analysis in problem-solving
  • Statistics for data analysis and forecasting
  • Interpretation of financial statements
  • Application of data science

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineers need to have mastery of a wide range of knowledge as well as real-life experience in safely and efficiently applying their knowledge. Chemical engineering uses biology, chemistry, physics, and math in their tasks of development and monitoring products in a large number of industrial and consumer products, including pharmaceuticals, fuel, food and many other items. Earning potential is excellent, even though the field itself is only growing at an average.

In addition to internships, advanced training and instruction can be very beneficial when seeking to advance or take on projects outside your resume or formal education.

Wageningen University & Research

Chemistry and Technology for Sustainability

Time: Months

Cost: $671.40

Outcomes:

  • Challenges of moving from fossil-fuel based economy to biobased economy
  • Identifying and creation of new products from raw materials
  • Refining biomass
  • Functional analysis of resource refining
  • Conversion of biobased feedstock into desired products
  • Evaluation of tech, ethics, social and economic consequences in the production of biobased products

Computer Science

Computer Science continues to be a booming field with no slow down, seemingly, in sight. Over the next decade the field will pick up 5,000 new jobs: a 15% rate of increase. The money is good in computer science with practitioners on average earning almost $130 thousand per year.

The field is highly technical with most entry-level position requiring a master’s degree. The BLS, providing a general description of the kind of work experts in the field do states that computer scientists are mainly occupied with designing innovative approaches to computing technology and coming up with new uses for existing technology.

Purdue University

Quantum Technology: Computing

Time: 10 Months

Cost: $4,725.00

Outcomes:

  • Mathematically describe basic quantum phenomena
  • Engineering challenges of quantum computation
  • Quantum computing and sensing technologies

arm Education

Professional Certificate in Teaching with Physical Computing

Outcomes:

  • Application and supporting educational theoretical principles of Project-Based Learning
  • Effective assessment of Project-Based Learning
  • Role of Project-Based Learning in supporting the development of soft skills

UC San Diego

Data Science

Time: 10 Months

Cost: $1,260.00

Outcomes:

  • Loading and cleaning of real-world data
  • Reliable inferences from noisy data
  • Machine learning models for data

Purdue University

Quantum Technology: Detectors and Networking

Outcomes:

  • Design and incorporate detectors in systems
  • Quantum networking and sensing technologies
  • Engineering challenges of quantum computation
  • Formulation and application of basic quantum algorithms

University System of Maryland

Professional Certificate in Agile Project Management

Outcomes:

  • Learn Scrum mechanics and other Agile frameworks
  • Gain deep understanding of Agile principles
  • Be able to adopt lean/agile controls
  • Increase speed of work management

Economics

Economics is a driving force in the world, integrated into almost every aspect of human interaction. Its scope and effects are rapidly changing because of the trends towards a globalized economy. If becoming an economist was always predicated upon advanced and specialized knowledge and application, this will become ever more so the case in coming decades.

Demand for highly skilled economists for advanced training will only increase. This high demand and advanced threshold of educational standards (normally a master’s degree is required for entry-level position) creates the need for continuous education. Sometimes the master’s degree that got you the job will not suffice for career advancement or new types of economic problems. Here are some cheap doctoral-level online courses that fill such gaps.

Wageningen University & Research

Time: 6 Months

Cost: $671.40

Outcomes:

  • Economics and Policies for Circular Bio-Economy
  • Systems-based approach to different actors, feedback cycles and various pressures in a rapidly evolving value structure
  • Bioeconomy at national and international levels
  • Cost-benefit analysis of bioeconomic technologies and policies

Education

Knowledge and its effective delivery are necessary for any society to flourish. Human communities have always recognized this, and have developed both knowledge and its effective bestowal to others. Educators are key players at every level of human society, and skilled practitioners of the art and science teaching form the pivot of transition from one generation to the next.

Different levels of education require various academic qualifications, all the way to the doctoral level. Demand is growing for skilled teachers, and education is a highly meaningful and satisfying career. Here is an inexpensive online doctoral-level course that may just be what top-level educators are looking for to meet the new challenges education is facing.

University of Michigan

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement

Time: 10 Months

Cost: $940.50

Outcomes:

  • Envisioning new possibilities for students and teachers in classroom settings
  • Application of improvement science
  • Imaging large-scale educational reform
  • Forming teams for education management and improvement
  • Application of evidence-based methods of educational innovation

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is not a booming field (3%, or average, expansion of the field over the next decade). Yet, it is a perennial occupation because of the universal need for better use and expansion of electrical and electronic technologies and their components.

Electrical engineers typically create electrical equipment. With so many fields that use electronic equipment, specialization is almost as broad human activity as such. The highest-level engineers often hold a master’s or doctorate. For engineers looking for highly specialized doctoral-level training, the following online course, from a top university, may provide excellent educational and career opportunities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Materials for Electronic, Optical, and Magnetics Devices

Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of materials and equipment needed for modern displays technologies
  • Training for future research and innovation
  • Knowledge of photovoltaic technology
  • Fundamental operating principles of optical fibers and optoelectronic devices
  • Understanding of the magnetic behavior of certain materials and principles underneath magnetism.

History

History functions as a cultural glue, uniting our past with our present moment in anticipation of the next stages of human, social, economic, cultural, religious, among many others, development. History is a kind of memory of the past. Yet, that memory is always interpreted and applied in the present moment, according pressing questions, presuppositions, and needs. Moreover, historical memory is different for different groups of people and sets of interests.

Historians cultivate and preserve these heritages, helping us to both remember who we as well as suggest ways of reimaging our futures. There are dozens of topical areas of research and teaching in the field. Historians are commonly teachers and researches. Typical entry-level requirements include a master’s degree. However, in order to work in a post-secondary educational setting a PhD often needed. Sometimes new ideas and discoveries in history or historiographical methodology requires new approaches. These PhD level courses are just the ticket to take new trains of thought.

The University of Edinburgh

Predictive Analytics using Python

Time: 8 Months

Cost: $1,350.00

Outcomes:

  • Creating predictive, statistical and machine learning models with Python
  • Optimizing effectiveness of these models
  • Applying models to real-world scenarios

NYU

Integrated Digital Media

Time: 1 Year

Cost: $996.00

Outcomes:

  • Conceptual skills to generate ideas and content
  • Technical skills needed to realize ideas
  • Use of digital media and technologies
  • Integration of different technologies
  • Critical thinking skills for analysis of one’s own and one’s students positions and ideas in the broader historical context

Immunology

The world-wide impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of vaccines has brought the topic of Immunology to the fore of the world’s attention. Immunology is a field of biology. Immunologists study the immune system in all organisms in their healthy states as well as diseased states in order to understand the nature of immunity and how to address disease through various treatments more effectively.

Demand for qualified immunologists remains high and likely to increase. Pay is excellent.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Making a Cell Therapy: Principles and Practice of Manufacturing

Time: 7 Weeks

Cost: Free/ Verified Certificate $149.00

Outcomes:

  • Cell biology and immunology
  • Cell therapy manufacturing practices
  • Analytics for cell therapy
  • Industrialization of cell therapy

KU Leuven

Vaccines: From Smallpox to Technologies of the Future

Time: 6 Weeks

Cost: Free/Verified Certificate $49.00

Outcomes:

  • Burden of some infectious diseases
  • History of Vaccines

Information Assurance

In the modern age of digital information where information equates to influence and control, information security is a top priority for every government and private institution. Greater sophistication on the parts of foreign and criminal agencies requires constant vigilance and rapidly technological advances in order to thwart would-be bad actors.

With almost everything “going digital” and the rise of more information security risks, information security is growing rapidly (31% increase in the next 10 years). Pay in this information security is excellent ($103,600 per year).

RIT

Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Time: 8 Weeks

Cost: Free/Verified Certificate $249.00

Outcomes:

  • Network and system administration fundamentals
  • Basic cryptography concepts
  • Information assurance fundamentals

International Relations

International Relations is a field of political science that analyzes the relations between sovereign states. It is heavily interdisciplinary and, thus, requires a very broad education basis. Politics, law, economics, culture, religion, geography, history all bears upon the social science of international relations.

Practitioners in this field often work in think tanks, governmental agencies, and institutes of higher education. They help shape government policy, both domestic and foreign, by research, writing, teaching, consultation. Advanced academic qualifications are needed in this field. Many international relations specialists possess a PhD. Excellent salary and a rising need make this field a top career choice. This top online PhD level course will fill in potential gaps in one’s knowledge of international law.

UCLouvain

International Law

Time: 1 Year

Cost: $540.00

Outcomes:

  • Understanding of legal rules in specific professional fields of international relations
  • Be able to make sound legal arguments based on international law
  • Decrypt international news from a legal perspective

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineers work in one of the broadest of the engineering fields. Breadth makes it one of the largest fields in terms of the number of mechanical engineers. Pay is excellent with an average salary of $90,000, and the field is continuing to expand.

Typically, mechanical engineers “design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.” Entry-level education is usually a bachelor’s degree. However, specialized training and certification is often required beyond the basics provided in an undergraduate degree program. These top online, some at the doctoral-level, provide outstanding and inexpensive avenues to take when looking for additional, specialized qualifications.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Principles of Manufacturing

Time: 1 Year

Cost: $1,260

Outcomes:

  • Manufacturing Process Control
  • Management in Engineering
  • Supply Chains for Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing Systems

TU Delft

Professional Certificate: Engineering Project Management: Project Financing

Time: 4 Months

Cost: $268.20

Outcomes:

  • Project Management of Engineering Projects: Preparing for Success
  • Project Finance: Funding Projects.

TU Delft

Professional Certificate: Engineering Project Management: Mastering Project Complexity

Time: 4 Months

Cost: $268.20

Outcomes:

  • Project Management of Engineering Projects: Preparing for Success
  • Project Management: Mastering Complexity

TU Delft

Solar Energy Engineering

Time: 1 Year, 1 Month

Cost: $1,125.00

Outcomes:

  • Photovoltaic Energy Conservation
  • Photovoltaic Technologies
  • Photovoltaic Systems
  • Integration of Photovoltaic Systems in Microgrids

Israel Institute of Technology

Model-Based Systems Engineering

Time: 3 Months

Cost: $268.20

Outcomes:

  • Model-based Systems Engineering: Foundations
  • Model-based Systems Engineering: Advanced Approaches to OPM
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry

Physical Chemistry

The field of Physical Chemistry rewards its professionals with a solid average annual salary ($80,000). The field is growing at a faster-than-average rate at present, as well. This is important because this field has a very broad and deep impact upon ordinary daily life as we currently know it. It deals primary with the interactions between substances. This means that its field of interest and experimentation is in the realm of the macroscopic.

Arguably, the majority of discoveries of new chemical compounds and reactions have been made by physical chemists. Chemists most often work in industrial or academic laboratory environments. Here is a top online course that deals with the interaction between chemistry and materials with special properties.

Purdue University

Solid State Devices

Time: 16 Weeks

Cost: Free/$2,250.00 with certificate

Outcomes:

Graduate-level introduction to understand, analyze, design semiconductor devices

Physics

Skill in higher mathematics and the ability to visualize and complex structures and concepts are key characteristics of physicists. Physicists spend their time exploring the interactions between matter and energy and developing models that will predict these interactions, which are then used to advance the discipline itself and our understanding of the cosmos or are applied to life-improving innovations.

There are almost 100 doctoral and/or graduate levels courses from top universityies that are currently available which cover almost every aspect of physics in general as well as highly specialized topics that might be required for specific research.

Political Science

Political Science is almost as old as politics itself. As soon as organized policies (i.e., polity) were drawn up in primitive communities that extended beyond family and tribal units, people began analyzing the nature and purpose of societies and their principles of organizations.

Political scientists today continue that effort with the benefit of millennia of experience of human social development and interaction as well as with the benefit of highly sophisticated analytical tools and methods. Pay in this field is very impressive ($125,000 per year) and growth in the field is faster than average.

The University of Queensland

Critical Development Perspectives

Time: 11 Weeks

Cost: Free/Verified Certificate $375.00

Outcomes:

  • Identifying different methodological and conceptual approaches to research
  • Comparing and contrasting different perspectives in development
  • Evaluate the merits of different arguments

Princeton University

Making Government Work in Hard Places

Time: 8 Weeks

Cost: Free

Outcomes:

  • Conceptual vocabulary to help identify and analyze obstacles to building better government
  • Solutions tool-kit for solving common yet difficult problems
  • Familiarity with some important reform leaders

Public Administration

Public Administration straddles the academic and the practical. It concerns the putting-into-practice of governmental policy. A degree in public administration prepares one for a career that has the potential for interaction with virtually every level and kind of government agencies and civil servants.

A bachelor’s degree is the common prerequisite for securing an entry-level position, but advanced academic qualifications up the doctorate will give specialized knowledge to allow for advancement as well as teaching.

TU Delft

Open and Smart Government

Time: 4 Weeks

Cost: Free/Verified Certificate $50.00

Outcomes:

  • Basic concepts to Open Government and Open Government Data
  • How to apply the open government principles in various situations
  • How to analyze public values and best practices related to open government