Top 50 Health & Medical Open Courseware Classes

Are you serious about learning as much as possible about current health and medical topics? Take advantage of some of the top colleges in the nation as they present Open Courseware seminars and courses that are free for anyone to use. Although these courses do not provide credits, they can become valuable resources in your goal to become more aware of national and international health and medical issues.

The following courses have been categorized by schools and by individual courses, and they represent the top classes offered by any given college source. Both the categories and the links to the courses are alphabetized to demonstrate that we do not favor one school or course over another.

Harvard Medical School

This Open Courseware initiative offers a large number of courses with a variety of options including free lecture materials, pay-by-the-hour textbooks and more. The courses listed below contain the most popular and populated courses within Harvard’s offerings:

  1. Advanced Clerkship in Diagnostic Radiology: Over fifteen documents that discuss radiological basics, including “Name that Valve” and radiology of chest infections.
  2. Cellular Metabolism and Human Disease: Over fifty documents for reading and writing guidelines, schedules and lectures on cellular metabolism and human disease.
  3. Health Management For Older Adults: Developing An Interdisciplinary Approach: Learn how from topics as varied as working in a “flawed mental health care system” to complexities of health care reform to information about health panels within Harvard and more. Some documents are forward-looking 2010 lectures and information.
  4. Human Pathophysiology: Resources here date from 2006 to 2008 and include movies and lectures that focus on Type II diabetes.
  5. Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Disease: Learn from lecture notes, illustrations and photographs and case studies on subjects such as HIV and AIDS.
  6. Introduction to Health Care Policy: The major focus on these materials is on introductions to health care policy from almost eighty perspectives.
  7. Radiology Teaching Files: Case studies and resident discussions can provide source materials for various radiology topics.
  8. Structural Acupuncture for Physicians: This category contains ninety PDF source materials, many as recent as 2008, that focus on various acupuncture techniques and learning processes for the medical profession.
  9. SuperCourse: Emergency Medicine: Learn how to apply for emergency courses, about pediatric emergency care, about trauma department management and more through over two hundred documents.
  10. The Human Body: Learn about the human body through approximately thirty tools such as Powerpoint presentations, flashcards, images, notes and more.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Open Courseware project focuses on this school’s most popular courses. The list below contains just a handful of categories available with lists of health and medical courses and information:

  1. Aging: As the Baby Boomer population ages, the need for more information about geriatrics grows. Use these courses to learn more about aging and its implications for individuals, families and societies.
  2. Chronic Diseases: Learn from an in-depth course on cancer diagnosis and treatment, public health faculty interviews, biological sciences and psychological research in these available courses on chronic diseases.
  3. Environmental Health: Study urban and rural food, air and water environments and how they affect population health in these courses.
  4. General Public Health: Learn about and challenge current public health issues, including the newest course, Fundamentals of Epidemiology II, which follows up Johns Hopkins’ Open Courseware course, Fundamentals of Epidemiology I.
  5. Health Policy: Expect courses on policy development, economic theory and policy, case studies of personal experience in encountering health policies and more.
  6. Infectious Disease: Terrorism, influenza, malaria and public health issues are tackled in the courses offered in this category.
  7. Injury Prevention: A focus on preventative medicine, with guides to injury control, examination of health issues, occupational health program considerations and principles of industrial hygiene are included in these courses.
  8. Maternal and Child Health: Family planning, individual health, infant mortality and perinatal health from an international perspective are included in these courses.
  9. Population Science: Learn more about the development, organization and management of family and community health planning on a global basis.
  10. Public Health Preparedness: Learn about the avian influenza, case studies that reinforce basic concepts and principles of terrorism preparedness and response and more from this category.


MIT carries both undergraduate and graduate courses in their Health Sciences and Technology Open Courseware project. The following courses are some of the most recent health and medical subjects and biology science courses added to their curriculum:

  1. Biomedical Information Technology: Biological and medicinal examples are used to to illustrate complete life cycle information systems, beginning with data acquisition, following to data storage and finally to retrieval and analysis. [Fall 2008]
  2. Biomedical Signal and Image Processing: Learn the principles and algorithms for processing both deterministic and random signals and the problems presented in biomedical research and clinical medicine. [Spring 2007]
  3. Designing and Sustaining Technology Innovation for Global Health Practice: Learn how to think like a health practice entrepreneur in a global setting through lectures, skills-based tutorial sessions and research. [Spring 2008]
  4. Developmental and Molecular Biology of Regeneration: This course is one of MIT’s many advanced undergraduate seminars, tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. [Spring 2008]
  5. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Data Acquisition and Analysis: Obtain information relevant to the conduct and interpretation of human brain mapping studies through this course. [Fall 2008]
  6. Information Technology in the Health Care System of the Future: This course illustrate how information technologies (IT) continue to shape and redefine the health care marketplace. [Spring 2007]
  7. Molecular Biology and Genetics in Modern Medicine: This course provides a foundation for understanding relationships among molecular biology, developmental biology, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and medicine. [Fall 2007]
  8. Narrative Ethics: Literary Texts and Moral Issues in Medicine: This is an eight-session course designed for undergraduate medical students and that uses literary narratives and poetry to study medicine’s ethical issues. [January 2007]
  9. Projects in Microscale Engineering for the Life Sciences: Enjoy a project-based introduction to manipulating and characterizing cells and biological molecules using microfabricated tools for first-year undergraduate students. [Spring 2007]
  10. The DNA Damage Response as a Target for Anti-Cancer Therapy: Cellular responses to DNA damage has become one of the most important fields in cancer biology. Learn more here. [Fall 2008]


Tufts’ Open Courseware programs highlight this university’s proclivity for life sciences in addition to its multidisciplinary approach and international perspective. The following courses include popular courses from Tufts School of Medicine, based upon their most popular documents within these courses:

  1. Cardiovascular Pathophysiology: This course requires basic cardiac physiology knowledge and it expands on the discussion of the hemodynamic perturbations of cardiac function. [Spring 2008]
  2. Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Learn about the basic skills required to critique medical literature within epidemiology and biostatistical boundaries. [Fall 2004/2005]
  3. Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology: Explore the pathophysiology of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders from gastroesophageal reflux disease to cirrhosis. [Spring 2007]
  4. Human Growth and Development: One of the more popular courses at this site, because it is geared toward understand the human body through all stages of life development. [Spring 2006]
  5. Introduction to Clinical Pain Problems: This program, founded in 1999, provides health care professionals with a plan for optimal pain management for patients. [Spring 2007]
  6. Microbiology: Learn about infectious agents with an emphasis on pathobiology. [Fall 2004/2005]
  7. Nutrition and Medicine: This is one of the few open courses (or paid courses) on theoretical to clinical aspects of nutrition for students who study medicine. [Fall 2006]
  8. Pathophysiology of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism: The lectures in this course cover a wide range of subjects, from Pituitary Neoplasia to Goiter and Thyroid Nodular Disease. [Spring 2005]
  9. Population Medicine: How does individual health affect public health? Learn the answers to this question and more with this course. [Fall 2006]
  10. Renal Pathophysiology: Learn more about the kidneys, the most important endocrine organ, and how they adapt to extra-renal disturbances. [Spring 2006]

Other Courses

The following courses were collected from a variety of Open Courseware Projects that have proven popular for health and medical reasons. The source of the Open Courseware is listed after the description.

  1. Changing the Face of American Healthcare: This seminar invites users to learn about the American health care system’s strengths and weaknesses and to explore the future of this country’s health care. [University of Notre Dame]
  2. Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering: Professor W. Mark Saltzman covers the basic concepts of biomedical engineering and their connection with the spectrum of human activity. [Open Yale Courses]
  3. Fundamentals of Clinical Trials: This overview explores how the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) conducts clinical trials and touches on regulations and guidelines. [UCIrvine]
  4. Health Assessment and Promotion: Learn about the complete health assessment, the nursing process and its relationship to the prevention and early detection of disease in clients across the life span. [UMass Boston]
  5. Images of Memorable Cases: Case 123: This is just one of over one hundred images that focus on various body conditions, diagnosis and treatments. This 42-year-old cocaine addict complained of
    longstanding nasal stuffiness and recurrent epistaxis happens to be the most popular within this series. [Rice Connexions]
  6. Issues in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Why are more people turning to complementary and/or alternative medicine? Learn more about these choices with this course. [Open University]
  7. Medicine and Public Health in American History: History offers a way to view the past concepts of disease, health and healing in this country. Learn, too, about the changing role and image of medicine and the medical professions with this course. [University of Notre Dame]
  8. Professional Issues in Nursing: This is the first nursing course in this RN-BS online program. Learn critical reading, thinking and writing skills needed to complete this course’s requirements. [UMass Boston]
  9. Regulatory Requirements for Pharmaceutical Products: Individuals who are involved in manufacturing, quality control, research and development, and clinical studies will learn the latest information about regulatory requirements for pharmaceutical products. [UCIrvine]
  10. The Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Illness: This is one of the most popular medicinal topics at this site, with “aims to define the biopsychosocial model, explicate its implications in health care, characterize the nature of past and present perceptions of health and what factors influenced change” and more. [Rice Connexions]
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