Where Can I Find Free Online Nutrition Courses?

For some people the word nutrition relates to diet, which immediately casts images of flavorless salads, bland food and vegetable juices. In actuality, nutrition is not just healthy eating but eating so that the body functions properly. Read on about the many colleges and universities offering free nutrition classes online to educate the public about this science. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Free, non-credit nutrition courses found online teach you about various topics, such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, probiotics and breastfeeding. You'll learn both theoretical and clinical aspects of nutrition through video lectures and slides, as well as learn how to interpret nutrition research. Your course may include readings and assignments to help you learn the material. To open materials, you'll need a PDF reader on your computer.


1. The Health Impact of Active Cultures: Probiotics at Harvard University

The free group of webcasts on probiotics is offered through Harvard Medical School's Division of Nutrition. It was captured from an educational symposium sponsored by the division. Since these courses are available to the public for free, you will not have any contact with faculty or staff members of the school, nor receive credit.

What Will I Learn?

The six webcasts in this group are from a 2006 event with a variety of distinguished panelists discussing probiotics. Probiotics refers to healthy bacteria that naturally balance our intestines. After viewing the videos, you will have a better understanding of how probiotics can be useful in nutrition to aid in therapy, prevention and overall bodily function.

How Do I Access the Course?

Harvard University's Division of Nutrition has a dedicated webcast page for you to access all of the video content. The footage opens in a new window and requires Flash software. The presentations include slides with text and images as well as a video of the speaker.

2. Nutrition and Medicine at Tufts University

Tufts University's Nutrition and Medicine course, from a fall 2006 lecture, is available via Tufts' participation in the OpenCourseware Consortium. If you're just starting to explore the relationship between medicine and nutrition, this course is for you. The online course offers lecture notes and a list of assigned readings. Not all of the materials from the original on-campus class are included in the online resource.

What Will I Learn?

In this beginner-level class, you will read about omega-3 fatty acids, fiber-rich foods, vitamins and chronic diseases. The free course also covers nutrition for pregnant women and children, exercise methods and techniques for encouraging patients to make lifestyle changes in eating habits or exercise.

What Materials Are Provided?

Most of the 17 lectures provided in this free online nutrition course have a class outline that lists learning objectives. Some courses have slides of images and text attached, which mimic the class content and are a fun way of visualizing the topic. Supplementary resources, such as fact sheets on fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, are available to you as portable document format (PDF) documents. The free class also has a list of websites that provide information about nutrition, including those from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration.

3. Principles of Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins University

This non-credit nutrition class from Johns Hopkins University is available through the school's Bloomberg School of Public Health. You will not interact with any faculty from the school, and reading the materials cannot count toward a certificate or degree. This course has select lectures available for viewing as presentation slides in PDF form.

What Will I Learn?

The original on-campus class was divided into three learning modules. As an online OpenCourseWare user, you will have access to eight lectures taken from two of the modules. Overall, the class focuses on the physiological role of nutrition and the importance of basic vitamins, proteins and minerals in human function. There is also emphasis on the role that diet, exercise and obesity play in illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

What Materials Will I Need?

In addition to a computer and an Internet connection, you will need the software program Adobe Acrobat Reader to open PDF files. The learning modules have lists of required and recommended readings from the original class. For OpenCourseWare users, these books and articles are optional to purchase.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

 More Schools