• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    5–10 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
  • Language:
  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time


Introductory science or engineering at the undergraduate level; some familiarity with ordinary differential equations (required only for learners interested in completing all assessments)

About this course

Skip About this course

Since the beginning of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), there has been significant public confusion and scientific controversy over the modes of transmission and the most effective methods to protect against them, as reflected in changes in public health guidance. Official safety guidelines have emphasized surface disinfection and strict social distancing, despite growing scientific evidence for respiratory aerosol transmission, extending well beyond these arbitrary distances.

In this course, we will teach you the scientific principles to quantitatively assess the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 in an indoor space based on various factors such as the occupancy, the time spent in the space, the dimensions of the room, the use of face masks, ventilation, air filtration, humidity, the respiratory activities involved, and so forth. You will learn how each factor will quantitatively affect the rate of transmission, but most importantly, how these factors interact, which is not yet reflected in current public health guidance. The technical contents and all assessments are accessible to anyone with some general undergraduate-level knowledge in STEM, but there are also optional derivations intended for graduate students and professionals. There are also interview videos intended for learners at all levels which assume no particular quantitative scientific knowledge.

© MIT, 2020. All rights reserved

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Respiratory pathogens
  • Airborne disease transmission in a well-mixed room
  • Epidemiological models
  • Safety guideline for COVID-19
  • Beyond the well-mixed room

Meet your instructors

Martin Bazant
E. G. Roos (1944) Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Mathematics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Joey Gu
Digital Learning Fellow in Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain
$49 USD

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    edX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.