We have two free online courses available. Both will support you to learn more about humanism. While one focuses on the nature of humanism and its response to life’s big questions, the other centres around the people who describe themselves as humanists and the way they live their lives. The courses can be taken in any order.
Our courses have been taken by thousands of people from around the world. They are a great way to engage in social learning.
Introducing humanism: non-religious approaches to life
Join Sandi Toksvig for an exploration of humanism and life’s big questions.
The course covers a wide range of topics relevant to the study of any worldview: identity, knowledge, meaning, and morality. Featuring contributions from philosophers, representatives of humanist organisations, and members of the public, it encourages discussion and debate around life’s big questions:
How can I know what is true?
What is the best way to live?
What kind of world do I want?
You’ll explore the tensions and dilemmas contained within a humanist view, as well as the arguments against it, and the responses humanists give to those arguments. Whether you are a humanist, religious, or none of the above, it should allow you the opportunity to reflect on life’s bigger questions for yourself.
Launched in 2018, over 10,000 people have already taken the course. Over 9 out of 10 would recommend it to others.
Join us for a conversation about the best way to live!
- Week 1: Humanism and the human being
- Week 2: Understanding reality
- Week 3: Making life meaningful
- Week 4: Being good
- Week 5: Humanism in practice: a better world?
- Week 6: What is humanism?
Join Alice Roberts and hear stories from humanists around the world.
Our second course is much more focused on the people rather than the philosophy – it’s less about humanism and more about humanists. From their stories, you’ll learn about their motivations, the diverse ways in which humanism can be expressed, and the beliefs and values that unite them. You’ll learn about the questions, choices, challenges, and joys found in a humanist approach to life and you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate it for yourself.
Featuring interviews with scientists, artists, politicians, journalists, campaigners, and celebrants – including Polly Toynbee, Jim al-Khalili, Frank Turner, Natalie Haynes, and Steven Pinker – it will give you the opportunity to learn about what it means to be a humanist today.
- Week 1: Life stories
- Week 2: Freedom
- Week 3: Global goals
- Week 4: Hard times
- Week 5: More to life
- Week 6: Making things better
The courses are hosted on the FutureLearn platform. Each course run several times a year and last for six weeks. However, learners are free to take the course at their own pace. Access to the material remains open for a few additional weeks after the end of the course.
If you are unable to finish the course while the content is available, then a new run of the course is never far away, meaning you can re-access the course content. FutureLearn can be contacted for support with any issues relating to accessibility.
‘This course has confirmed for me that I am indeed a humanist and an atheist. I have been pleasantly surprised that humanism is not purely “humans” first, and that there is a great scope to include the environment and other species in this as well. I will probably seek out opportunities to utilise my humanism more in my career and social life. I may even join the campaigns and greater movement to further improve society. I will also spend more time pondering the greater existential questions, to hopefully find a personal answer that leads me to greater sense of purpose, meaning and fulfilment in my life.’
Like many others on this course, I was a humanist but didn’t have a label for it in the past. Previously I would have described myself as an Atheist, but it seems such a negative term. Atheism describes what you don’t believe in rather than what you do believe in. For me, humanism is a very positive ‘label’ and I am happy to apply it to myself. I think that when and where I face challenges in the future, I will be better placed to handle situations as I now have a better understanding of a humanist approach to life that I can draw upon.
It has been a very instructive experience and has encouraged me to reflect on my own priorities. How I would love to see humanism becoming a dominant influence in the ways in which we all behave towards each other as I think it would result in a far more peaceful and rational world.
I took this course because it sounded interesting, but what I got out of it was so much more profound. I found a philosophy that aligns with my values, a new way to look at the meaning of my life, and a wonderful community of like minded people to engage with. Sincerely, thank you.