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Learn about contracts with online courses and programs

People enter into contracts every day, whether they’re agreeing to an app’s terms of service or buying a cup of coffee. Knowledge of contracts is helpful for anyone conducting business, entering personal negotiations, or pursuing a legal career.

What are contracts?

A contract is a voluntary and often legally binding agreement between two or more parties. They may be written or verbal, and the terms of a contract may be either expressed or implied. A contract will generally outline the agreement conditions, each party’s responsibilities, and the penalties for breaching the contract.

There are many reasons to use a contract, such as business transactions, employment agreements, real estate deals, and more. While not required, lawyers may be involved in the creation of written contracts, which are typically preferred as they are more enforceable in the event of a legal dispute.

Being able to understand contracts offers many benefits, including strengthening your abilities to negotiate, mitigate risks, and avoid litigation. With edX, you can learn about the creation and enforcement of contracts that can help you make informed decisions, protect your interests, and navigate complex agreements effectively.

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Contracts course curriculum

Contracts are an important element in many jobs and industries. Learning about different types of contracts, their purposes, and the various contexts in which they may be applied can prepare you for a variety of career paths and scenarios.

Course curricula can vary, but a general introduction to contracts may cover topics such as:

  • Defining a contract and analyzing its purpose and significance

  • Distinguishing between gifts and bargains

  • Remedying common pitfalls

  • Creating rights for third parties in contract agreements

Learners interested in understanding more specialized contract types may explore classes discussing comparative law, option pricing, discounting, or future valuing.

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics, including contract law. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore jobs that use contracts

Advancing your understanding of contracts can open up new career opportunities. Some of the roles that require varying levels of contract knowledge include:

  • Lawyer: Drafts, reviews, negotiates, and enforces contracts on behalf of their clients.Footnote 1

  • Real estate broker: Helps clients navigate the legal aspects of property transactions.Footnote 2

  • Consultant: Creates contracts with their clients to define the terms for their services.Footnote 3

  • Supply chain manager: Handles contracts to ensure a smooth flow of goods and services.Footnote 4

  • Healthcare administrator: Deals with contracts within healthcare organizations.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in a boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in law, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.