10 Free Lectures by “The Great Courses” (in a Sea of Free Courses)

You have got to hand it to The Great Courses (sometimes also called The Teaching Company). Based in Chantilly, VA, the company has traveled across America, recording professors lecturing on great topics. They have roughly 350 courses in their catalog, market them aggressively with millions of print materials and emails, and generate $110 million in annual sales. It’s quite an accomplishment, especially given that consumers now have free alternatives — the ability to download 450 Free Courses recorded by world-class universities.

Free is good. But we readily admit that The Great Courses can be worth the cost, particularly if you buy their courses on sale. The lectures are generally engaging, well polished and certainly informative. And it just so happens that we’ve dug up 10 free lectures sponsored by the company. (Most are individual lectures taken from longer courses available for purchase online.) Give them a try and then decide whether free or paid is the way to go.

UPDATE: If you would like to sample a complete course for free, you now can. See the details on this page: Download a Free Course from “The Great Courses” Through Audible.com’s Free Trial Program

  • Will China and India Dominate the 21st Century Global Economy – LINK REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE GREAT COURSES - Lee Branstetter, Carnegie Mellon
  • Revealing the Dead Sea Scrolls to the WorldVideo - Gary A. Rendsburg, Rutgers
  • Ancient Origins of the Olympic Games - LINK REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE GREAT COURSES - Jeremy McInerney, University of Pennsylvania
  • The Search for What Killed the DinosaursAudio – Peter Ward, University of Washington
  • The Story Behind the D-Day InvasionAudio - Thomas Childers, University of Pennsylvania
  • Optimizing Brain FitnessVideo - Richard Restak, George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Memory and the Brain - Video - Jeanette Norden, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Voting: Determining the Will of the PeopleVideo – Scott Stevens, James Madison University
  • It’s All About the Calories! - Video - Roberta Anding, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique – LINK REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE GREAT COURSES - Robert Greenberg, San Francisco Performances
  • Bonus Lecture: Globalization of Capital FlowsVideo – Timothy Taylor, Macalester College

Related Content: Don’t forget to visit our collection: Back to School: Free Resources for Lifelong Learners Everywhere

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  1. Steve Van Beek says . . . | September 15, 2011 / 6:04 pm

    Here’s an innovative idea you might want to share on Open Culture, which is one of the first sites I open each day.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOl4vwhwkW8&feature=youtu.be

  2. Tom Zych says . . . | February 19, 2012 / 4:25 am

    Perhaps you are using a form of math I’ve not seen before, but it appears your 10 free lectures are actually 11.

  3. Matt says . . . | April 1, 2012 / 9:51 pm

    The eleventh is a bonus lecture.

  4. Jimmy Chacko says . . . | May 3, 2012 / 6:00 am

    Free is great, but when they run sales and they are always having a sale you can’t beat 90bucks for a lecture. I’ve purchased 3 so far and have been astounded.

  5. Isabelle says . . . | August 30, 2012 / 12:41 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel
    this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!

  6. Bernd says . . . | September 1, 2012 / 7:24 am

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at
    this website is in fact good.

  7. Marco says . . . | November 29, 2012 / 10:18 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I do believe that The Great Courses are totally worth paying for, the lectures are awesome! and like you said even better when they are on sale. They are offering a 70% discount now to almost all their courses. Check this out http://www.path2yoga.net/2012/11/70-discount-on-great-courses-great-gift.html

    I bought a few courses and I might buy a few more. Another cool thing is that now almost all their content is available in digital format for download and also available for online streaming so you can download them or stream them at any time.

    These are the ones that I bought with the discount, I think they are awesome:
    Origins of the human mind,
    Understanding the Brain
    Neuroscience of Everyday Life
    Stress and Your Body

  8. rico567 says . . . | February 17, 2014 / 8:47 am

    By and large, the courses we’ve purchased from Great Courses / The Learning Company / Whatever have been good value for the money. But my latest purchase, The Origins of English Words, is heavily larded with the political views of the lecturer. In my opinion, the Great Courses website should also feature links to reviews by purchasers, a la Trip Advisor, to allow prospective purchasers a more balanced view of the product before buying.

  9. Bill says . . . | February 25, 2014 / 5:25 am

    FYI – The Great Courses has a good deal right now until 3/31 … Free Shipping on any order with priority code 97675

  10. sunil kumar says . . . | July 11, 2014 / 11:55 pm

    very nice course

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