Ivy League Universities Offering Online Courses

The pandemic has allowed people to join Ivy League status
Thursday 25 March 2021
Established in 1636, Harvard University has since grown into one of the most respected names in education and is the oldest university in the United States. 

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard, but on a brighter note, inaccessible Ivy League Universities around the world are now offering online classes. Online college is growing in popularity. Even more importantly though, online college is growing in credibility.

With University campuses closing their doors, and students forced into online classes. Ivy League Universities are under pressure to diversify.

While Ivy League schools have been slow to develop online bachelor’s degree programs, many have already embraced online graduate degree programs and a host of related certification and certificate programs. In most instances, these programs are driven by the goal of professional development and offer participants a chance to enhance existing credentials.


Online college is growing in popularity. Even more importantly though, online college is growing in credibility.


In September of 2018, the University of Pennsylvania announced that it would become the very first Ivy League university to offer a fully online bachelor’s degree program. But you must be a grad student to qualify.

If you’re interested in earning a degree entirely online, you do have a few Ivy League options that are, as long as you’re a grad student. As a grad student, you may be eligible to earn a full online degree from an Ivy League university. It’s still the Ivy Leagues, so you’ll have to be an excellent candidate. As for ambitious undergraduates who intend to earn a fully online bachelor’s degree, you must look beyond the Ivy League, at least for now.

Online education has crept slowly into the Ivy League, largely in the form of blended learning — offering students access to some online courses alongside traditional on-campus programs. Some of these universities have also created highly accessible pathways to Ivy League instruction without credits through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

MOOCs are free, online courses that offer access to instruction and education in a wide range of subjects. Though you won’t get any college credits or advance toward a degree, there are hundreds of MOOCs featuring Ivy League instructors and course content. In most cases, you can attend or access a MOOC for free. Some schools may charge you a modest fee for an optional certificate of completion.

MOOCs are a good option if you’re in it for the love of learning, or because there’s a specific subject that could advance your professional value, or simply because you’ll enjoy the bragging rights of telling people you studied Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies at Harvard.


What is Ivy League?

Online education has crept slowly into the Ivy League, largely in the form of blended learning — offering students access to some online courses alongside traditional on-campus programs.


The Ivy League is the U.S ‘s most exclusive club of universities. The eight schools comprising the Ivy League — Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale — are among the oldest and most well-regarded universities in the U.S.

As their athletic teams began to attract more funding and gained popularity, the standards for student performance and admission became increasingly more demanding and rigorous. As a result, since the 1960s, these Ivy League schools and colleges gained a widespread reputation for producing graduates with high academic performances, social prestige, and promising career futures.


“Ivy League” History



Most historians agree that Caswell Adams coined the term in a 1937 article. He was writing about the Columbia/UPenn football game, and, supposedly upset at not being allowed to cover his alma mater, complained about the old “Ivy-covered” universities, leading him to call them the “Ivy League.” The name stuck, and in 1945 the Ivy Group Agreement—concerning academic standards and football scheduling—was signed by the eight schools. Another agreement signed in 1954 included all the other sports.

The Ivy League is an athletic conference composed of sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group.

The term became official after the formation of the NCAA Division I athletic conference in 1954. The use of the phrase is no longer limited to athletics, and now represents an educational philosophy inherent to the nation’s oldest schools. Ivy League schools are viewed as some of the most prestigious and are ranked among the best universities worldwide.

Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)


Brown University
Brown University


Founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest university in the U.S. With just over 10,000 students, Brown is as well known for its history and English programs as it is for its Warren Alpert Medical School.

Through its School of Professional Studies, Brown offers a variety of blended executive programs that combine online and on-campus coursework, including:

Executive Master in Cybersecurity

Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership

Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership

IE Brown Executive MBA

Online learners can take courses from Brown through their partnership with edX as well as courses directly from the university, in areas such as cybersecurity, economics, finance, biology, and Greek mythology.



Columbia University (New York, New York)

Columbia University


Columbia University has two campuses in New York City, along with a state-of-the-art medical centre and observatory facility. Online learning at Columbia includes degrees, non-degree programs, and certificates.

The university offers online degree and hybrid degree programs across seven schools, such as:

Master of Arts in Statistics (hybrid)

Master of Science in Applied Mathematics

Master of Science in Computer Science

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering

Master of Social Work

Columbia University also offers a variety of online certificates and courses, including an array of online executive education courses in areas like leadership, management, and finance.



Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

Cornell University
Cornell University


Cornell University, founded in 1865, is the youngest of the Ivy League schools by about a century. While the other colleges in the Ivy League predate the American Revolution, Cornell came along at the tail end of the American Civil War.

Cornell serves online learners through a variety of online degrees, online college courses, MOOCs, and online certificates. The university’s two online degree programs are:

Executive Master of Human Resource Management

Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering

In addition to the above programs, Cornell offers numerous online and hybrid certificate programs geared toward working professionals, as well as individual courses and MOOCs. Its certificate offerings include:

Conflict Resolution

Engineering Leadership

Financial Success for Non-profits

Global Environmental Education

Nutrition Counselling


Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire)

Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College


Established in 1769, Dartmouth College is the ninth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is best known for its Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Geisel School of Medicine.

For online students, Dartmouth College offers several options, including two hybrid degree programs, and MOOCs through DartmouthX (in partnership with edX).

Dartmouth College offers the following hybrid degree programs:

Master of Healthcare Delivery Science

Master of Public Health


DartmouthX offerings include courses such as:

Bipedalism: The Science of Upright Walking

John Milton: Paradise Lost

Omnichannel Strategy and Management

The American Renaissance: Classic Literature of the 19th Century

The Engineering of Structures Around Us



Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Harvard University
Harvard University


Established in 1636, Harvard University has since grown into one of the most respected names in education and is the oldest university in the United States.

Through the Harvard Extension School, students may complete a variety of hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs, in fields such as:

Data Science




Software Engineering


Students can also take individual online courses (many free of tuition) through Harvard’s partnership with edX, or from the school directly, in a wide selection of general and niche subjects.


Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)


Princeton University
Princeton University


Founded in 1746, Princeton University, has a long list of notable names among its alumni. Princeton is best known for the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Princeton’s online selections come in the form of MOOCs, offered through Coursera, edX, and Kadenze. The MOOCs are free and not for credit, but are created by Princeton faculty. Princeton’s MOOCs include:

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

Computer Architecture

Global History of Capitalism

Making Government Work in Hard Places

The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.


The University of Pennsylvania, established in 1755 and founded by Benjamin Franklin. UPenn is best known for its graduate programs in the Wharton School, Law School, School of Medicine, School of Education, and School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Starting in the Fall 2019 semester, UPenn will be the first Ivy League school to offer a fully online bachelor’s degree, the bachelor of applied arts and sciences. Beyond that, online students may complete online college courses and certificate programs directly through the university, or MOOCs through edX and Coursera.

The University of Pennsylvania’s online certificates include:

Climate Change

Data Analytics

Leadership and Communication


Organizational Anthropology

The University of Pennsylvania’s MOOCs include:

Big Data and Education

Introduction to Online and Blended Teaching

Programming for the Web with JavaScript


Understanding Classroom Interaction


Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)


Yale University
Yale University


Yale University was established in 1701. Yale is best known for its Law School, School of Management, School of Medicine, School of Art, and School of Nursing.

Yale’s offerings are in the form of MOOCs through either Coursera of Open Yale Courses, such as:

America’s Written Constitution

Essentials of Global Health

Introduction to Psychology

Moral Foundations of Politics

The Global Financial Crisis