Alumni Services

MOOCs: upcoming free courses

Fancy delving into contemporary philosophy? Or perhaps you'd like to find out how to promote wellbeing in your organisation? These upcoming courses are the place to start.

Social Wellbeing

Two paper chain dolls

This course will help you find out how measuring and promoting wellbeing can make people, organisations and society more focused, considerate and effective.

Since the financial crisis, there has been an increased interest in moving away from GDP and wealth as measures of national and individual performance. Instead, more explicit attention is being paid to wellbeing, and how we can promote it at individual, local, national and international levels.

This free online course will help you engage constructively in the wellbeing movement, and use wellbeing considerations to make important transformations to your work and your ways of planning, learning and justifying your decisions.

The course aims to create a global community of wellbeing practitioners, who can inspire and learn from each other, including:

  • human resources (HR) professionals who are keen to embrace wellbeing and purpose, to improve staff satisfaction and productivity;  
  • social planners from the public and third sector who want to address the social and economic factors that affect wellbeing at a community level;  
  • and policy makers and civil servants who wish to measure wellbeing or understand the life outcomes that matter most to people when developing policy.

Starting date: 1 May 2017

Enrol on Social Wellbeing

Introduction to Philosophy

This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. For each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy.

Topics you’ll learn about will include:

  • Epistemology, where we’ll consider what our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it;
  • Philosophy of science, where we’ll investigate foundational conceptual issues in scientific research and practice;
  • Philosophy of Mind, where we’ll ask questions about what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and explained;
  • Political Philosophy, where we'll investigate whether we have an obligation to obey the law;
  • Moral Philosophy, where we’ll attempt to understand the nature of our moral judgements and reactions – whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences;
  • Metaphysics, where we’ll think through some fundamental conceptual questions about free will and the nature of reality.

Starting date: 1 May 2017

Enrol on An Introduction to Philosophy


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are freely accessible and open-licensed short courses, delivered to large cohorts of learners fully online. To date, more than 2 million people have signed up to Edinburgh courses across a broad range of subject areas, and they form part of the University's commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach.

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MOOCs at the University