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Medill's Open Online Courses

Northwestern has partnered with the online learning platform Coursera to provide universal access to short courses in areas our faculty teach and research. Medill offers online courses in three areas of specialization – and all are open to any interested learner. The topics include Social Media Marketing, Content Strategy, Sports Marketing and Organizational Leadership, in cooperation with Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the School of Communication and the McCormick School of Engineering. These free massive open online courses, also known as MOOCs, are taught by our faculty and allow professionals to learn valuable skills to gain a leg up in their current careers or to decide to continue their education in Medill’s many degree-oriented programs.

Individual courses

Free courses
The free online courses can all be accessed at no cost. Simply select the individual course and register for the upcoming enrollment period that fits your schedule.

Course + Certificate
Each of the specializations listed above comprised three and five online courses. For an additional fee, participants may receive graded feedback and earn a Course Certificate upon successful completion of course requirements. Certificates provide official recognition of successful completion of the course.


Specializations on Coursera are a premium-paid learning option designed to give participants deep mastery of a particular topic. Each specialization consists of a rigorous sequence of online courses, graded feedback and a hands-on capstone project to demonstrate participants' knowledge by tackling a real problem faced by professionals in the field. Participants who complete the courses and capstone will have produced professional-quality examples of their work to add to a resume or portfolio and will be even better prepared to apply their knowledge.

Specializations vary in length, with shorter specializations including as few as three courses and take two to three months to complete. Longer offerings include five or more courses and take up to six months. A Course Certificate will be awarded for each individual course and a Specialization Certificate will provide official recognition of completion of the entire sequence from Northwestern and Coursera.

Who should participate in a Medill MOOC?

    From obtaining a new skill to developing a mastery of existing ones, we welcome those of any background and level of experience to participate in our MOOCs. Participants will gain exposure to topics both in-demand and relevant to a variety of professions.

    Students in any field along their educational path are invited to augment their current coursework from our most popular specializations and courses. The flexibility inherent to MOOCs allow current learners to manage their own pace while expanding their knowledge and job competitiveness.

    Whether you need to sharpen an existing skill or are interested in discovering something new, staying current in a quickly changing world is important. We invite you to join a global network of individuals dedicated to continued learning.

    Those interested in honing a new skill or furthering their career advancement can work at their own pace. An optional Course or Specialization Certificate is a great way to strengthen a resume so you can achieve your individual goals.

Areas of specialization

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

In these courses, you’ll learn to match markets to social strategies to profitably grow your business. You’ll use social media tools and platforms to design, manage and optimize social campaigns to promote growth and position your brand in the global digital marketplace.

Content Strategy

Content Strategy for Professionals

In these courses, you'll learn how to use credible, trustworthy, transparent media to communicate stories and information to enhance an organization’s strategic goals. The topics covered are applicable to professionals in all industries who want to leverage content to be successful.

Sports Marketing

Sports Marketing

If you're interested in starting a career in sports marketing or are looking to upgrade your marketing toolkit or your job, this course has you covered. This MOOC focuses on the business side of sports while highlighting vital marketing concepts through the lens of sports and entertainment.

Organizational Leadership

Organizational Leadership

These courses teach you how to successfully lead organizations through clarity of purpose and effective collaboration—by building teams, delivering powerful stories, developing strategies to influence, understanding customer analytics and applying innovative approaches to deliver impact.