The instructor for Computer Science I, one of Outlier's online courses
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Outlier Online Courses: Overview & Getting Started

07.22.2023 • 6 min read

Sara Kuehl

Subject Matter Expert

Learn about Outlier’s online courses and Degrees+, why they are one of the best options for college credit, and more about the company behind everything.

In This Article

  1. Outlier’s Accredited Online Courses

  2. Calculus I

  3. College Algebra

  4. College Writing I

  5. College Writing II

  6. Computer Science I

  7. Intro to Astronomy

  8. Intro to Business

  9. Intro to Financial Accounting

  10. Intro to Macroeconomics

  11. Intro to Microeconomics

  12. Intro to Philosophy

  13. Intro to Psychology

  14. Intro to Sociology

  15. Intro to Statistics

  16. Precalculus

  17. Principles of Economics

  18. Professional Communication

  19. Free Course: College Success

A quality college education should be affordable and accessible to everyone who wants it.

That’s the belief the online learning platform is built on.’s founder and CEO Aaron Rasmussen brings the online learning experience he pioneered as co-founder of MasterClass to reimagine higher education for today’s world.

“Imagine if everyone had the option to go to college with top instructors from Harvard, Yale, Google, and NASA via the highest-quality online classes.” – Aaron Rasmussen, founder and CEO of

Experts in education, technology, film, and gaming have come together to create cutting-edge courses designed for digital learning. Each course uses tools built on evidence-based educational theories proven to increase comprehension, retention, and student success.

Students get an immersive online experience on their schedule, with 24/7 access to:

  • Cinematic video lectures taught by celebrated educators from around the globe

  • Evidence-based learning tools, like guided notes and searchable transcripts

  • Engaging course materials that support active learning

  • Dedicated student support services

  • Free 1:1 tutoring for math, writing, and accounting courses

All this for a fraction of the average U.S. tuition.

Beyond the learning experience, Outlier’s partnerships give students a variety of educational benefits. Top-rated schools ensure students earn transferable college credits. And organizations like Americorps, Guild, and Amazon Career Choice help students save even more money or get ahead on their degree.

Ready to learn more? Let’s explore 2 ways you can learn with Outlier:

  1. Courses

  2. Degree programs

Outlier’s Accredited Online Courses

Outlier offers 17 introductory-level courses. Each course is worth 3 college credits from the University of Pittsburgh, a top 50 global university accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

From math and science to business and humanities, Outlier courses adapt online learning to the unique needs of both the subjects and the students. Let’s take a look at what Outlier online courses do differently.

1. Calculus I

With 3 world-class instructors to choose from, you can learn Calculus your way. Pick one instructor who best suits your learning style—or hop between all 3 in on-demand video lessons.

Whatever path you choose, you have access to free, 1-on-1 tutoring whenever you need it.

2. College Algebra

College Algebra is designed to change your relationship with math for the better.

Mathematician Kelsey Houston-Edwards, host of the PBS show Infinite Series, breaks down complicated concepts to help students build a strong foundation in math and logic. From cryptocurrency to dinner menus, this course explores algebra at work in everyday life.

3. College Writing I

College Writing I prepares you for success in college and beyond by developing your critical thinking and writing skills.

Professor John Kaag from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, brings his charismatic teaching style and contagious passion for writing. Along the way, students get inside tips from award-winning novelists, journalists, editors, and playwrights to add to their writing toolkits.

4. College Writing II

College Writing II teaches valuable research and creative writing skills to build on the essentials from College Writing I. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, a graphic novelist, and other accomplished writers across genres offer diverse perspectives on the art of writing.

Throughout the course, students can get helpful feedback on their essays with unlimited tutoring.

5. Computer Science I

Outlier’s Computer Science I course shows how accessible, approachable, and inclusive computer science can (and should) be.

Using Outlier’s custom interface, students code alongside their instructors to develop Java programming skills. Two code ambassadors also guide students through real-world examples to practice the concepts covered each week.

6. Intro to Astronomy

With Outlier’s immersive learning platform, you can take a jaw-dropping journey through the cosmos—right from your own home.

Guided by instructors from NASA, the American Museum of Natural History, and other leading institutions, Intro to Astronomy students discover how stars are born and why the sky is blue.

7. Intro to Business

Whether you want to level up your career or launch your own business, Intro to Business can help you get there.

Dr. Jim Alvarez Mourey, one of Poets and Quants’ Best Business Professors Under 40, teaches fundamental business skills in management, marketing, finance, operations, and more. At the end of the course, students are ready for their next step with a basic business plan in hand.

8. Intro to Financial Accounting

If you think accounting is boring, Outlier’s Intro to Financial Accounting might change your mind.

Did you know it was accountants, not informants, who helped the FBI take down gangster Al Capone? Using fascinating true crime stories like this, Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope helps students understand accounting practices from the inside out.

9. Intro to Macroeconomics

Intro to Macroeconomics explores topics not normally covered in an introductory course. Like gender inequality. How health insurance works. Even the financial viability of space colonies.

Economic experts from Harvard Business School, Columbia, and other top programs break down the complex global financial system and make economics more accessible.

10. Intro to Microeconomics

Studying economics may seem abstract, but Intro to Microeconomics lets you experience it for yourself. Through high-stakes decision-making games, students see firsthand how their choices affect others and shape complex economic systems.

Six instructors—all with different backgrounds and points of view—examine the role of microeconomics in housing inequality, pollution, and other real-world examples.

11. Intro to Philosophy

Intro to Philosophy equips you to examine life’s deepest mysteries, from morality to identity to free will.

Guided by an interdisciplinary team of instructors from Yale, Harvard, and beyond, students explore the significance of basic philosophical principles in modern life. Riveting discussions on topics like how to resist echo chambers and endure an existential crisis put those principles into action.

12. Intro to Psychology

In Intro to Psychology, 12 dynamic instructors from Columbia, NYU, and other top schools take students on a journey into the human psyche.

The course explores everything from humor to serial killers, happiness to social anxiety. With a better understanding of the mind, students even learn how to strengthen their personal relationships and improve their study habits.

13. Intro to Sociology

Family, religion, race, gender, education—many forces shape your individual experiences and the world around you. What better way to explore those complexities than with 7 passionate instructors from diverse backgrounds?

This dream team from Princeton, Bard, and other renowned sociology departments empowers students to examine modern life in Intro to Sociology. From social movements to the American dream, no topic is off-limits.

14. Intro to Statistics

Outlier’s Intro to Statistics is not a math class. It’s a critical thinking class. (But if you’d like a little extra help with the calculations, take advantage of the unlimited free tutoring.)

Throughout the course, four instructors from top schools like Duke and Loyola demonstrate how to use statistics to make inferences in real-world situations. Students develop their data analysis toolbox—and use those tools to make better decisions.

15. Precalculus

In this gateway to more advanced math and science courses, you learn math visually, not just intellectually.

Using interactive props and stunning graphics, instructors Kelsey Houston-Edwards and Po-Shen Loh teach students how to look at problems from different angles. Outlier’s Precalculus course takes you beyond memorizing formulas to hone your mathematical intuition.

16. Principles of Economics

Why choose between learning microeconomics and macroeconomics when you can explore the entire economy in one course?

Principles of Economics introduces non-economics majors to the most essential concepts, like inflation and supply and demand. A team of 7 instructors guide students through the economics of major social issues, including climate change and the effects of AI on the future of work.

17. Professional Communication

This isn’t your parents’ public speaking class. Professional Communication helps you become an authentic, persuasive communicator in everything from cover letters to virtual meetings.

A dynamic team of instructors—including a speech and debate coach and an improv comedian—empower students to tell their stories and build confidence in uncertain situations (hello, job interviews). Engaging workshops, job search coaching, and practice presentations equip students with essential communication skills for any career.

18. Free Course: College Success

Want a taste of the Outlier student experience? Check out the free College Success course, and get expert advice to help you succeed in college.

This 3-hour, non-credit course uncovers the hidden curriculum of college. Get the inside scoop on:

Getting a College Degree with Outlier

If you’re looking to get your degree online, Outlier has partnered with Golden Gate University (GGU) to create the Degrees+ program. You have 3 degrees to choose from:

In just 19 months full-time, you’ll earn an associate degree and 60 transferable credits from GGU. Plus, a job-ready professional certificate from companies like Google, IBM, and Salesforce is built in. All with the same great experience as Outlier online courses.

If you’re going back to college after dropping out or you’ve served in the military, your experience is valuable. You can graduate even faster when you transfer in up to 45 credits.

The best part? Degrees+ is so affordable that it can be fully funded if you qualify for the average Pell Grant or military/employer benefits.

Whether you want to knock out a few college courses or earn your degree, Outlier is an accessible and affordable option.

Degrees+: Discover Online College Unlike Anything You’ve Experienced

Outlier (winner of TIME Best Inventions 2020) and Golden Gate University (#1 school for working professionals) have redesigned the experience of earning a college degree to minimize cost and maximize outcomes. Explore a revolutionary way to earn your college degree: