Every year, Class Central publishes rankings of the world’s highest rated and most popular online courses.

These rankings are based on user ratings and total enrollments. You can see the full annual course ratings here.

But in this article, I'm going to adopt a different approach. Instead of just showing the top courses, I'll show you which universities seem to have the best courses overall, then show you all the free online courses those universities offer for studying computer science.


I started with the three leading global university rankings and looked at the latest editions of their computer science rankings:

My approach was simple. First, I combined the three rankings into one by averaging each university’s position across the three rankings.

Second, I limited the list to the top-fifty institutions that offer computer science courses online.

Third, I leveraged Class Central’s database to build a list of those courses.

Screenshot of Python script returning the final university ranking
Combining rankings in Jupyter Notebook

As you can see above, the three institutions that topped the combined ranking were #1 MIT, #2 Stanford, and #3 Carnegie Mellon. If you’d like to see the data and the process I followed to get to that result, check out my GitHub repo.

After compiling each university’s offering, the end result is a list of 500 online courses offered by the 2020 world 50 best universities for studying computer science.

Notable Courses

Unsurprisingly, some of the courses in the list are also part of Class Central’s best online courses of all time. You can find these below. They’re all great options, especially for novice e-learners, since they exemplify the best that online education has to offer.

Full Course List

The full list is split into subjects. Click on one to jump to the relevant courses. Courses that are also in Class Central's all-time top-100 ranking are denoted with a star (⭐).

With 500 courses to choose from, I hope you find something you like. But if those aren’t enough, check out Class Central’s catalog of over 15,000 online courses.

AI & Machine Learning — 65 Courses

Algorithms & Data Structures — 60 Courses

Bioinformatics & Healthcare — 30 Courses

Computer Science — 90 Courses

Cybersecurity — 22 Courses

Data Science — 109 Courses

Programming Languages — 60 Courses

Software Development — 57 Courses

Quantum Computing — 7 Courses