Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

We offer several MOOCs: Massive Online Open Courses. These allow you to explore scientific subjects from the comfort of your own home. As the name implies, these courses are free and open to everyone.

MOOC: Clinical epidemiology

This online course focuses on the principles and practice of clinical epidemiology, and elaborates on examples from relevant literature. The aim is to provide you with the knowledge to evaluate and assess applied clinical research and data analyses, and give you sufficient scientific and methodological background information to actively participate in clinical studies.

During the course, you will focus on questions of diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and etiology. Several research options are available to help you address these questions, including intervention trials and case-control studies using data obtained in a clinical setting.

This MOOC includes moderated peer interaction and review assignments.

Level: intermediate
Study load: 6 weeks of approximately 4 hours per week.
Language: English

Enroll on Coursera


During this course you will gain the fundamental knowledge any health professional should have with expected or confirmed cases or a general interest in the Ebola disease. You will discuss the epidemiology of the disease, its pathophysiology and transmission, the clinical presentation including differential diagnosis and confirmation of disease. You will also discuss the general therapeutic approach to the care of Ebola suspected or confirmed patients and discuss the novel vaccine and drug developments.

This course has been developed in cooperation with our colleagues at the University of Amsterdam, the University Medical Center Utrecht (Julius Center/Julius Global Health), Elevate Health, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Lion Heart Foundation.

Level: professional/graduate
Study load: 9 weeks of approximately 6-8 hours per week
Language: English

Enroll on Coursera

MOOC: Human Rights for Open Societies

This online course will offer the participants an introduction to one of the world’s most intricate human rights systems: the European Convention on Human Rights. This human rights treaty is one of the most successful tools for protecting human dignity, and it is a crucial tool to achieving an open society.

During the online course, participants will learn when and how people can turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about human rights violations. How the Court tries to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas of today. We will look, among other things, at the freedom of expression and demonstration, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. And we will address the rights of migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups. And, of course, we will see whether it is possible to restrict rights and if so under what conditions.

This MOOC includes moderated peer interaction and review assignments.

Level: beginner
Study load: 6 weeks of study of approximately 2-3 hours per week.
Language: English

Watch the introductory video
Enroll on Coursera

MOOC: Professionalism in an era of change

The work of professionals such as doctors, veterinarians, judges, teachers, social workers and accountants is changing. Sometimes faster than they want to accept. Changing needs of clients, customers or patients, new techniques, but also fiscal and budgetary constraints, the demand for more transparency, political pressure, a changing social position and reduced confidence - all of this challenges professionals to respond.

Addressing these challenges requires a deeper understanding of and insight into backgrounds and significance of this changing context and its impact on the professional, not only for the professionals themselves, but also for students in training for these professions and those who work with professionals in professional organisations.

By considering the challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective, the participant of this course is in a position to see the bigger picture. The scope of the course changes from a macro to a micro perspective, from a sociological  and historical view on societal developments to the perspective on change of the individual professional.

  • Week 1: Professions in transition
  • Week 2: Control and empowerment of professionals
  • Week 3: Quality control and competence
  • Week 4: Organisation and leadership of professional work
  • Week 5: Professional motivation and well-being
  • Week 6: Lifelong learning

This course is open to everyone interested in societal change, in professional work, working with professionals, policymaking, and how professionals think, act and thrive.

Level: Intermediate
Study load: 6 weeks of study, 3-4 hours/week
Language: English

Enroll on Coursera now

MOOC: Understanding Child Development – from Synapse to Society

This online course aims to point out the importance of an interdisciplinary approach as a necessary means to learn about child development on many different levels. It offers participants insights about the many aspects of child development. With this MOOC you will learn to think more holistically about this subject. And it offers you new and surprising angles to approach developmental issues. The interdisciplinary strategic theme Dynamics of Youth organises this course.

Every weekly program consists of two web-lectures of, of interviews, of quizzes and reading material.

  • Week 1: Introduction: explanation of the developmental systems approach to understand child development, and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Week 2: Brain- and motor development
  • Week 3: Cognitive development
  • Week 4: Speech and language development
  • Week 5: Social/emotional development
  • Week 6: Wrap up: integration of all the previously presented and explained material

This course is open to everyone interested in child development. Everyone with an internet connection and academic thinking skills can join.

Level: beginner
Study load: 6 weeks of study of approximately 4 hours per week.
Language: English

Watch a short preview of the MOOC
Enroll on Coursera

MOOC: Unravelling solutions for Future Food problems

This course offers participants an introduction in the complexity of the world food problem: how can we feed the growing world population is a sustainable way? The course focuses on two themes: food shortage and healthy choices, each taking up two weeks of the course. The first theme is dealing with factors affecting food production, the division of food and sustainable solutions for disease control in plants and animals. The second theme, healthy choices, discusses items such as the role of nutrition on our health, food related diseases and human behavior in choosing foods.  The last week is reserved for an interdisciplinary assignment where students can integrate all their acquired knowledge and insights with their own opinion on an actual topic. Researchers from different disciplines at Utrecht University contributed to this course. This offers an excellent opportunity to look at current world food problems from an interdisciplinary point of view. 

This MOOC includes moderated peer interaction and review assignments.

This course is open to everyone interested in solutions for the world food problems.

Level: beginner
Study load: 5 weeks of study of approximately 4 hours per week
Language: English

Watch a short preview of the MOOC
Enroll on Coursera

Frequently asked questions about our MOOCs

How can I enroll in a MOOC?

You can enroll by clicking one of the MOOCs listed on this page. You will find more information about the MOOC and a link to the Coursera website where you can enroll. 

How do I access my MOOC course?

When you have chosen a MOOC and completed the enrollment process, you will receive access to the online environment from which you can take the online course. From here you will receive all the information you need to complete the course.

Do I receive a certificate when I have successfully completed a MOOC?

You  can choose whether you want to receive a certificate or not. A certificate is proof that you completed and passed the course. In order to get a Course Certificate, you must complete an online verification, pass all assignments in the course and pay the course certificate fee.

What kind of topics can I study through MOOCs?

You can take an online course in almost any research topic. MOOCs can teach you about a new language, mathematics, economics, arts, you name it.

The MOOCs of Utrecht University can be found at Coursera; an international platform for MOOCs. The available MOOCs are listed at the top of this page.