Learn something new while social distancing – our FutureLearn recommendations

by Amelia Gunnarsson

Work experience is not so much about what you did but what you learned, how it developed your interests, and how it gives you insight into that line of work. It’s not about what technical knowledge you gained as much as how you can apply your experiences and new skills toward your future career.

While your plans for work experience may have to change in the coming months, there are plenty of ways to gain experience and knowledge you would traditionally gain from an in-person work experience. My favourite of these is Futurelearn.com. Futurelearn offers thousands of free online courses and is an excellent way to explore new interests or consolidate knowledge from the comfort of your home. The courses run from 2-8 weeks with video and article content as well as discussion forums, and there are new courses being launched all the time. These courses can give you insight and understanding that may help you figure out what you are interested in and passionate about.

Prior to applying and interviewing for medical school I completed a number of these courses ranging from global health to patient care to science technology. Completing a course or two on a specific topic is also a great way to build and demonstrate your interest in a particular field. For example I did several courses specifically on Genetics and Foetal Medicine as that is what I am most interested in.

Below is a list of some free STEM-related courses on Futurelearn.

There are thousands more on other topics as well!

Healthcare and medicine

COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus
[The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine]
What is COVID-19 and how might the outbreak affect you? Find out more about coronavirus and explore its worldwide implications.



Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture
[University of Liverpool]
Learn how a psychological understanding of our emotions and behaviour gives us new ways to improve mental health and wellbeing.



Causes of Human Disease: Nutrition and Environment
[University of Leeds]
Explore how nutrition and environmental factors such as toxins influence your chance of developing human disease.



Care Home Nursing: Changing Perceptions
[University of Dundee]
Challenge your opinion of what it’s like to be a care home nurse and understand their importance and varied responsibilities.



Caring for Older People: a Partnership Model
[Deakin University]
As our lifespans increase, more and more of us are faced with the question: how can we care for older people more effectively?



Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare
[University of Cape Town]
Explore the field of medical humanities – the intersection of the arts, humanities and healthcare – with this free online course.



The Many Faces of Dementia
[University College London]
Gain a unique insight into dementia through the stories, symptoms and science behind four less common diagnoses.



Global Health and Disability
[The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine]
Leaving no one behind: disability, health and wellbeing in global development



Discover Dentistry
[University of Sheffield]
An entertaining and illuminating course for everyone to explore the impact dentistry has on our lives.


Anatomy and physiology

The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age
[Universities of Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool]
Demystify the ageing process and learn how our everyday behaviours are likely to affect our long-term musculoskeletal health.



It Starts with Your Heart: Understanding Heart and Circulatory Diseases
[British Heart Foundation]
Every three minutes, someone in the UK dies from heart and circulatory disease. Let’s beat heartbreak forever.



Science and technology

So You Want to Study Life Science?
[University of Strathclyde Glasgow]
Explore the exciting subjects within life sciences and the rewarding careers that studying life sciences at university lead to.



Introduction to Forensic Science
[University of Glasgow]
Learn forensic science online, from crime scene investigation to reporting evidential value within a case.



MedTech: AI and Medical Robots
[University of Leeds]
Explore human robot interaction and enter the fascinating world of robotics and artificial intelligence in healthcare.



Making Babies in the 21st Century
[University College London]
Explore new reproductive technologies and discover the opportunities they provide and the profound social challenges they pose.



Ecology and Wildlife Conservation
[University of Leeds]
Discover ecology and learn how we can protect wildlife to conserve our natural world.



Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts
[University of Wollongong Australia]
Discover the recent developments regarding how biomaterials and 3D printing are colliding to create bioprinted body parts.



Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
[University of Michigan]
Master the basics of Python programming, and learn how to use programming tools and variables with the University of Michigan.



Climate Change: Solutions
[University of Exeter]
Explore the potential solutions to climate change and how they relate to the UN’s sustainable development goals.