Coursera Review: Should You Spend Your Time & Money?

If someone talks about online learning, this company is among the first ones that pop into the mind. This company is Coursera, the industry’s leader and thus, let’s find out more in this Coursera review.

So let’s move on and review Coursera courses, pricing, pros and cons as well other aspects. This review was checked and updated in 2024.

Is Coursera worth it? Yes, Coursera is undoubtedly a worthy e-learning provider with courses from top universities and institutions. Coursera is legit and safe to use, and the content is of high quality. It’s a strong industry leader with minor weaknesses. However, the price for some programs is high, so you need to choose them wisely.
  • High-quality content from top experts
  • Recognized certificates
  • Apps for iPhone and Android
  • Less technical hand-to-hand experience
  • Progression is too dependent on peer grading
  • It can be confusing to understand the difference between program types

What is Coursera?

It is a widely known massive open online course provider. Coursera was founded in 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng who are Stanford University computer science professors. It is a US company with headquarters in California, United States, while also having offices in New York, London, and Gurgaon.

Today, Coursera has over 90 million students (2021), 1700 employees, and partners with more than 200 leading universities. Its content is available in almost 40 languages.

In 2020, Coursera’s revenues increased from $184 million (2019) to $294 million. For the first quarter in 2021, Coursera reported revenue of $88.4 million.

Coursera Features

One of the main features of Coursera is that it offers courses by leading universities and well-known companies. For example, you can find programs there by Yale, Princeton, or Stanford Universities as well as by companies like Google, IBM, HubSpot, DeepLearning.AI, and many others.

On Coursera, you can find short courses and long programs which have their own learning path and assignments. You can see the curriculum, information on duration, and instructor on each course page. After completion, you can get a certificate.

The main subjects of Coursera paid programs are Business and Computer Science. Most free Coursera courses are focused on such subjects as Social Sciences, Health, and Business.

How Does Coursera Work?

You sign up, go to the subjects list and then, choose the type of program that you need – a short one just for understanding the topic or a deep one to become an expert in that field. To choose the best matching program or course, use filters.

When you enroll in a course or program, you have a number of video lectures to watch as well as articles to read. After finishing each step, you would need to complete an assessment like a quiz. In the end, you can earn a certificate of completion.

It’s worth mentioning that most courses on Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences are offered for free while technical courses more often are paid.

Coursera Courses: Content Types

There are more than 4000 courses and 6 types of programs on Coursera. Those are programs listed from the shortest to the longest ones:

  • Guided Projects. Short usually 2-hour interactive courses to learn narrow job-relevant skills. There are over 2200 guided projects and 1700 of them are in English. Top subjects are Business, Computer Science, and Data Science.
  • Courses. There are almost 1800 free courses (1200 in English) on various subjects. The certificate upon completion is available for a fee. The top subjects are Social Sciences, Health, and Business. There are also many courses on Arts and Humanities.
  • Specializations. A series of related courses to master a specific skill. There are 1500 specializations on Coursera and 1400 of them are in English. You can take one course or some of them from a series or all of the subject-focused courses. The main subjects are Business, Computer Science, and Data Science.
  • Professional Certificates. These are programs designed to prepare a student for a job or a particular industry. The duration varies, from a few hours to a few months. The main subjects are Business and Data Science.
  • MasterTrack™ Certificates. Certificates issued by universities as part of Master’s degree program. There are over 20 online programs to choose from.
  • Degrees. There are both bachelor’s or master’s online degrees from a list of universities. Additionally, there are postgraduate studies to complete graduate-level learning without committing to a full degree program.
Guided Project1-2 hoursFrom $9.992200+ projects
Course4-60 hoursFree or starting from $491700+ courses
Specialization1-3 months$39 /month1500 specializations
Professional Certificate1-6 months$39/month100 certificates
MasterTrack™ Certificate4-7 monthsFrom $2,00022 certificates
Degree2-4 yearsFrom $9,00026 degrees

From this list, only courses are free, the rest formats are available for a fee.

Course Subjects

  • Arts and Humanities
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Information Technology
  • Health
  • Math and Logic
  • Personal Development
  • Physical Science and Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Language Learning

Course Filters

Under each category, you have a filer where you can filter content by:

  • Skills
  • Level
  • Language
  • Duration
  • Program type
  • Creator

Coursera Cost

So, let’s recap the pricing policy by Coursera. There are both free courses with some limitations, monthly-paid courses, courses where you need to pay for a certificate, and programs with a fixed one-time price.

Coursera Free Courses

There are over 2000 courses offered for free but they have three major limitations:

  • No access to assignments of the course.
  • No instructor feedback and grades.
  • No certificate upon completion.

How can I use Coursera for free?

You need to create an account on, search for the course you need, and navigate on the course page. There, you click on the “Enroll for free” button and choose “Full Course, No Certificate.”

How can I get Coursera for free?

Regular Monthly Price for Coursera Courses

To get full access to Coursera’s free courses you need to pay $49-79 USD per month depending on the course. For this price, you will get all the content, access to assignments, instructor feedback, and a certificate.

  • Guided Projects Price. Guided projects, short 1-2-hour courses, cost $9.99.
  • Specializations Price. Specializations with an average time commitment of 1-3 months cost $49-$79 USD per month (depending on the course).
  • Professional Certificates Price. The cost is $49 USD per month and the program takes 1-6 months to complete.
  • MasterTrack™ Certificates Price. These programs is priced at $2,000 – 4,500 for a full program. The average time commitment is 4-7 months.
  • Online Degrees Price. Online degree is the most expensive type of program, where the fee starts from $9,000.
  • Coursera Plus Price. This is a subscription-based plan which costs $59/month or $399/year
  • Coursera for Business Price. Coursera offers e-learning services for a business at $400 per user per year.

Coursera Pricing Table

CourseFree or starting from $49
Guided project$9.99
SpecializationStarting from $49
Professional certificateFrom $49
MasterTrack certificate$2,000 – 4,500
Coursera for Business$400
Coursera Plus$59/month or $399/year

Coursera Plus

This is a subscription that provides unlimited access to over 7000 courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates. It allows you to take almost all courses on Coursera, except for some specializations, online degrees, MasterTrack and some professional certificates. This subscription by Coursera also allows getting unlimited certificates for all the courses you complete.

Coursera Plus costs $399 for a year or $59 per month. If you are planning on taking multiple courses or longer programs on Coursera throughout the year, it is a cost-effective option. With this subscription, you can move between multiple courses at any time or take them simultaneously.

Read more in this Coursera Plus review.

To understand whether a course is available within a Coursera Plus subscription, check for the badge “Included with Coursera Plus” below the “Enroll” button.

If you already have a regular Coursera subscription, make sure you cancel it before paying for Coursera Plus as the company doesn’t do this automatically. When transferring to Coursera Plus, your current course progress won’t get lost.

Coursera Content Detailed Review

Coursera Free Courses

Coursera offers almost 1800 free courses in total and 1200 of them are in English. Courses last 4-12 weeks on average. Each is made of 1-2 hours of video lectures per week as well as assessments like quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded and reviewed assignments, an optional Honors assignment, and sometimes a final project or exam to complete the course.

There are lots of free courses on Coursera; however, you need to pay to earn a certificate upon completion. Some are paid, especially more commercially or technology-focused ones.

The highest number of free courses on Coursera are offered in such categories as Social Sciences, Health, Business, Physical Science and Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Computer Science, and Personal Development.

Best Business Free Courses

  • Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by University of Michigan
  • Financial Markets by Yale
  • Conflict Transformation by Emory University
  • English for Career Development by The University of Pennsylvania

Best Computer Science Free Courses

  • Introduction to Logic by Stanford University
  • Algorithms, Part I by Princeton University
  • Python Programming: A Concise Introduction by Wesleyan University

Best Information Technology Free Courses

  • Information Security: Context and Introduction by The University of London
  • Security & Safety Challenges in a Globalized World by Universiteit Leiden
  • Health Care IT: Challenges and Opportunities by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks

Best Data Science Free Courses

  • Machine Learning by Stanford University
  • Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis by University of California, Santa Cruz

Best Personal Development Free Courses

  • The Science of Well-Being by Yale University
  • Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by McMaster University
  • The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know by University of Michigan
  • Introduction to Psychology by University of Toronto
  • Introduction to Personal Branding by University of Virginia

Most Popular Coursera Courses

Here are some of the top-rated courses in detail.

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. This Coursera course is designed by Barbara Oakley, a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University and an author of a number of books like Learning How to Learn, Learn Like a Pro, and others. The course shows how our brain processes information and uncovers memory techniques, illusions of learning, and best learning techniques. The course is rated as 4.8 out of 5 (based on 21728 students’ reviews) and has over 3 million students enrolled. It takes approx 15 hours to complete and is available for free.

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills. This Coursera course, which is built by George Siedel from the University of Michigan, explains the four essential steps needed for a successful negotiation. It is rated as 4.8 (15,605 votes). The course is available for free or at $29/month.

Algorithms, Part I . This free course is created by Kevin Wayne, a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Princeton University. It is rated as 4.9 (based on almost 2K reviews) and takes approx. 54 hours to complete. The course will be useful for programmers who mainly use Java. It covers elementary data structures, sorting, and searching algorithms, and the next one, Part || is focused on graph- and string-processing algorithms.

Machine Learning. The course is designed by Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Coursera and an adjunct professor at Stanford University. It is rated as 4.9 (based on over 42K reviews) has over 4 million students enrolled. This course is a broad introduction to machine learning while covering data mining and statistical pattern recognition. It includes supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and best practices. You need approx. 61 hours to complete the course.

Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools & Cyber Attacks. The course provides an overview of what Cybersecurity is and gives information on the key terminology, basic concepts and tools. It includes the history of Cybersecurity, types of cyber attacks and other fundamental concepts. The course is offered by IBM and is rated 4.5 (almost 8,7K reviews).

Coursera Specializations Review

Each specialization on Coursera is a series of single courses, where a single course works in the same way as regular ones (video lectures, tests, and a certificate upon compilation). This type of program includes a hands-on project to practice skills. It takes on average 3-5 months with 3-7 hours spent per week to finish a specialization. You can take one course of specialization or go through all of them, one by one.

There are 1500 specializations on Coursera with 1400 in English. The biggest choice of specializations is available for such subjects as Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Physical Science and Engineering, and Health.

Here are the most popular specializations by Coursera:

  • Data Science
  • Deep Learning
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Python for Everybody
  • Data Science with Python
  • Software Testing and Automation
  • Business Foundations
  • Digital Marketing
  • Excel Skills for Business
  • Finance for Everyone
  • Wharton Business Analytics
  • Sales Training
  • Career Brand Management
  • AI for Medicine
  • Infectious Disease Modeling
  • Good with Words: Writing & Editing
  • Communication Skills for Engineers

Let’s find out more about some of the top specializations on Coursera.

Data Science by Johns Hopkins University is one of the most comprehensive programs to learn skills of working with data. The course uses R to solve data-related tasks and includes 10 courses, from basics of R Programming to Machine Learning. It takes about 11 months to complete (at a pace of 7 hours per week) for $49/month. The instructors, Jeff Leek, Brian Caffo, and Roger D. Peng have Ph.D. in Biostatistics. The program is rated 4.5 (based on almost 38K reviews).

Alternatively, there is another Data Science specialization by the University of Michigan that uses Python as a basic language. This is a shorter program that takes about 5 months to complete. After covering more basic courses, it ends with Applied Social Network Analysis in Python. It’s rated 4.5 based on over 23K reviews. It is available for $29 per month.

Digital Marketing is a Coursera specialization offered by the University of Illinois. It consists of 7 single courses, from the introduction to marketing to Marketing Analytics and Marketing Strategies. The program takes about 8 months to complete (at a pace of 5 hours/week) and is rated 4.6 based on over 15K reviews. It costs $79 USD per month.

Coursera Certificates

Coursera has also two types of programs (Professional Certificates and MasterTrack® Certificates) that are designed to provide a certificate that is useful for getting a job or promotion.

Professional Certificates

There are over 40 Professional Certificates that usually have no prerequisites and provide the student with the certificate upon completion that is useful for career goals.

Best Professional Certificates

  • Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate (8 months at 5 hours/week)
  • Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)
  • DeepLearning.AI TensorFlow Developer Professional Certificate (4 months at 5 hours/week)
  • IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate (6 months at 3 hours/week)
  • SAS Programmer Professional Certificate (5 months at 4 hours/week)
  • Google Project Management: Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)
  • Google UX Design Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)

Here are the top 3 Professional Certificates designed by Google in detail.

Google IT Automation with Python. This beginner-friendly program developed by Google includes 6 single courses and is estimated to take 8 months to complete (at a pace of 5 hours/week). This program shows how to use Python to automate common system administration tasks while also using Git and GitHub. It’s rated as 4.8 (over 21K votes). The price is $29 per month.

Google Data Analytics. This is a program that includes 8 courses. The program shows how to work with data effectively – where to start, how to clean data and then, how to analyze and visualize it. It is offered by Google and you get Google Career Certificate upon completion. The duration is estimated as 6 months (at a pace of 10 hours/week). It’s rated as 4.8 (almost 37K votes). The price is $29/month.

Google UX Design. The program is designed for beginners to learn the basics of UX in about 6 months and is consist of 7 courses. It shows how to build wireframes and prototypes as well as conduct UX research. The program also includes developing a portfolio. It also explains how to utilize tools like Figma or Adobe XD. It’s rated as 4.8 (over 20K votes).

MasterTrack Certificates

MasterTrack® Certificates is a short-term equivalent to an online Master’s degree. Those programs usually do have prerequisites like an undergraduate education or professional experience related to the selected field and a recognized university-issued certificate.

Best MasterTrack® Certificates

  • Machine Learning for Analytics by University of Chicago (5 months / $4,000)
  • Software Engineering by Arizona State University (6 months / $4,500)
  • Big Data by Arizona State University (4-6 months / $4,000)
  • Cybersecurity by Arizona State University (4-6 months / $4,500)
  • Finance, Analysis and Modeling by Macquarie University (5 months / $4,000)
  • UX Design by University of Minnesota (6 months / $3,000)

In a nutshell, both types take about 4-6 months to complete; however, MasterTrack Certificate is much more expensive with the price starting from $2,000 USD, while Professional Certificate is $49USD per month. Also, MasterTrack Certificate is built for people who already have some knowledge and experience in the field

Coursera Online Degrees Review

Coursera has 24 Master’s degrees and 2 Bachelor’s.

Online Master’s Degrees by Coursera


  • Master of Business Administration (iMBA) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
  • (2 – 3 years)
  • Master of Science in Management (iMSM) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
  • (1 year)
  • Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA) by Macquarie University (14 – 32 months)
  • Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • (1.5 – 3 years)
  • MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship by HEC Paris (18 Months)
  • Master of Finance by HSE University (24 months)
  • Master of Business Analytics by HSE University (24 months)
  • [In Spanish] Maestría en Dirección de Empresas (MBA) by Universidad de Palermo (24 months)

Computer Science

  • Master of Computer Science by Arizona State University (18 – 36 months)
  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering by University of Colorado Boulder (2 years)
  • Master of Computer and Information Technology by Penn Engineering (16 – 40 months)
  • Master of Computer Science by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 – 3 years)
  • Master of Computer Vision by HSE University (Up to 2 years)
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science by University of London (3 – 6 years)
  • [In Spanish] Maestría en Ingeniería de Software by Universidad de los Andes (26 months)

Data Science  

  • Master of Computer Science in Data Science by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 – 3 years)
  • Master of Applied Data Science by University of Michigan (1 – 3 years)
  • Master of Science in Data Science by University of Colorado Boulder (2 years)
  • Master of Data Science by HSE University (Up to 2 years)
  • MSc in Machine Learning by Imperial College London( 24 months)
  • Master of Data and Network Analysis by HSE University (18 months)
  • [In Spanish] Maestría en Inteligencia Analítica de Datos by Universidad de los Andes (24 months)

Public Health

  • Global Master of Public Health by Imperial College London (2 or 3 years)
  • Master of Public Health by University of Michigan (22 months)
  • Master of Science in Population and Health Sciences by University of Michigan (20 months)

Online Bachelor’s Degrees by Coursera

  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences by University of North Texas (3 – 6 years)
  • BSc Computer Science by University of London (3 – 6 years)

Are Coursera degrees worth it?

All online degrees offered by Coursera are developed by top universities; they are fully accredited and internationally recognized. This means a Coursera’s degree gives the same level of knowledge as a traditional college.

Moreover, Coursera’s degrees are priced fairly, compared to similar offers by other e-learning companies.

Coursera Reviews

When analyzing reviews of Coursera across the Internet, you can find both, positive and negative ones. Many students give kudos of how great this company is and how useful its courses are; and this is what the majority of the online reviews say. Meanwhile, there are still negative ones where customers complain about the poor assessment system where students can’t move on because of slow peer-reviewing. Moreover, there are students dissatisfied with the high price and some instructors which are irresponsible.

Let’s see some samples of Coursera’s reviews.

Coursera Positive Reviews

“I’ve done several courses on Coursera and the experience has been really good. I’m about 75% through a course called “Learning How to Learn” by Barbara Oakley. This is a game-changer, I would highly recommend this course to anyone studying.

“I found to be an awesome resource when getting started with python. Especially the courses by the University of Michigan.”

Coursera Negative Reviews

“Course progression is too dependent on peer grading of assignments. I submit all of my assignments early but I’m currently waiting for peer reviews on two of them before I can move on to my next course. I’m taking a four course certificate and I’m ready to move on to the third course but those two assignments are holding me up. Since I pay monthly the faster I complete the course the less I will pay so this will end up costing me an additional month’s fee.”

Coursera is a good MOOC platform with a Professional cert, Diploma and micro masters . Comparable easy to pass every exam here. But there is less technical hand-to-hand experience here. Coursera is good for the descriptive based course. Some technical content is old.”

There have been dozens of reports of plagiarism in Coursera’s coursework. Many students complain of other students copying their assignments. Sometimes a student will begin peer grading and find their own work staring back at them. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.

Coursera for Career

Some people take Coursera courses to improve a particular skill but some aim to build a new career. So, what careers are Coursera good for? Here are the main industries you can get into with Coursera long programs (Professional Certificates)

  • Data Analytics

There are tons of jobs related to data analysis and they have different titles (from data analytics to business operations management). Briefly, a data analyst’s aim is to transform data to make informed business decisions. Moreover, data analysis is needed for a lot of other fields like marketing. So, by gaining skills like cleaning, analyzing, and visualizing data, you won’t lose. You can gain learn such skills with this Google Data Analytics. program (rated as 4.8/5) on Coursera which takes about 6 months to complete.

  • Data Science

Demand for data scientists is growing each year and the salaries are high here even for entry-level positions. However, to be successful in this field, you need to have a solid technical background and be good at working with numbers. You can start a career in this field with no prior knowledge of computer science or programming languages with IBM Data Science course (4.6/10, 52,058 votes). The course covers Python and SQL and teaches basic skills like data visualization, data analysis, statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and machine learning algorithms. The estimated time to complete is 11 months at the pace of 3 hours/week.

  • Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity analyst is a very trending and decently paid job. Such a specialist develops strategies to protect organizations from cyber-attacks and disruptions. IBM Cybersecurity Analyst program on Coursera is an option to get into the cybersecurity field. In about 8 months, you can learn data protection, endpoint protection, SIEM, systems, and network fundamentals with case studies included. In this course, you will use Python and a number of tools for cybersecurity analysis.

  • Project Management

This job means planning and managing the execution of projects at different stages. The job is a good fit for you if you like active and constant communication, you are good at decomposing big tasks into smaller pieces, and aren’t afraid of taking responsibility. Coursera has a 6-month Project Management program led by Google employees. The course covers the basics of project management and focuses on Agile Project Management with an emphasis on Scrum. It also shows the process improvement techniques, budgeting, how to use project management software and create risk management plans.

  • UX Design

This occupation is aimed at designing digital products in such a way that provides the best possible experience for users. This job requires being creative as well as being good at communicating and understanding people. Moreover, you need to perform research a lot. Coursera offers the UX Design program by Google (4.8/5) to learn in 6 months how to conduct UX research, build prototypes, and get other needed UX skills.

  • Online marketing

Marketing is an evergreen field where specialists are always in demand. There are many fields of online marketing like SEO, email marketing, social media management, PPC, etc. Coursera offers programs that are focused on social media management. So, you can get into marketing with two 7-month programs offered by Coursera (pick one of them). One program is centered around social media marketing and Facebook and the second one shows how to do research and gather data to build effective marketing campaigns on Facebook.

Facebook Social Media Marketing (4.9/5, 7,312 votes) covers managing your social media accounts, creating posts, and running Facebook paid ads.

Facebook Marketing Analytics (4.8/5, 7,312 votes) begins with the basic marketing principles and goes to data analysis in marketing while using analytics tools like Python and SQL as well as Tableau. The main focus of the course is Facebook Ads data.

Check here for more programs designed for getting a job in a new field.

Is Coursera good for getting a job?

The answer mainly depends on you, your goals and your motivation. Coursera gives a solid theoretical basis but it ususally does not give a strong hands-on experience. So, to get the decent skills needed for a job, you need to work hard yourself and being self-motivated (but this is true for all online courses).

What Coursera does, it gives you the opportunity to “test a new career” and the understanding of whether you like the chosen field (so, you don’t lose much if stop the course). Moreover, having a Coursera certificate shows a potential employee that you are a highly motivated self-taught person who doesn’t need constant pushing from a manager.

Let’s discuss below how helpful is Coursera’s certificate for getting a job.

Is the Coursera certificate useful to get a job?

Here are two opinions from Reddit about whether Coursera certificates are useful for getting hired.

Yes: “I have 3 Coursera certificates (not paid) over the last year. I got these certificates purely out of my own interests in the topics but I did mention them in my most recent interview and the interviewer did seem interested. He even noted that it was rare to see candidates that continue to pursue learning on their own. I did get that job, and while I don’t think certificates alone are enough to get a job I do think they can help distinguish you from the crowd.”

No: “I have some technical Coursera courses listed on my resume, but I don’t think those have ever “gotten me a job.” Likewise, I would never hire someone purely based on those. That said, they have sparked great conversations that got me further in the process, and show a clear indicator that I’m self-driven, a capable learner, and that I can handle the messy technical parts of marketing and collaboration with engineers (which oddly enough is a fairly rare and valuable combination of skills).

And here is the opinion of a hiring manager on having a Coursera certificate:

As someone who has interviewed a number of candidates for software engineering roles, i’ve never once looked at certificates or educational background on a person’s resume. i dropped out of college; so, i’m probably a bit biased. Maybe our hiring team looks at that stuff to filter out resumes prior to them getting to the phone screen phase of our process, but i’m not sure. I definitely look at portfolios if they are provided, listed skills and job history.”

We agree that the most important skills you have and for some positions, a portfolio plays a vital role. However, Coursera certificate is helpful in those ways:

  1. It shows dedication to self-paced continued learning and the ability to finish what was started. This means a person is probably responsible and gets things done.
  2. In some companies, it helps to filter out candidates on the prior step. Especially when all candidates have no professional experience while having similar backgrounds; so, this is a way to distinguish some of them.

Is Coursera Accredited?

Let’s start with what accreditation means. A program is accredited if a college or university that offers this program is approved by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Department of Education. If a corporation whats to provide a course, it needs to partner with accredited institutions. But this works only for the US. In this way, when a student gets a certificate of completion from accredited institutions, such a certificate is officially recognized.

Now comes the main question, is Coursera accredited? No, the company is not accredited by CHEA or the Department of Education but some of its programs, which were created in partnership with accredited institutions like universities, are.

So, individual courses, guided projects, specializations, and professional certificates are not accredited and such certificates are not officially recognized (but they have their value for sure).

And there are two types of programs on Coursera that are accredited, those are MasterTrack Certificates and Degree Programs. After completing a MasterTrack Certificate program, you receive a certificate from the university which is a recognized document from an accredited institution. A degree on Coursera is similar to taking a course in university and the degree gets accreditation from an institution that has built this program.

How to Choose a Coursera course

As Coursera hosts so many courses and programs, it may be hard to find one that is worth your attention. You can start in two ways. The first one is by clicking on “Explore” on the left side of the menu on top. The second way is by typing the keyword in the search field on the top of the page (type a “seed” word like “management”, “Python”, “Spanish”, etc.)

In both scenarios, it’s a good idea to use a filter to choose the right Coursera course. You can filter by:

  • Skills (Research and Design, Strategy and Operations, Business Analytics, Leadership, etc)
  • Level (Mixed, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • Language (the majority are in English, but there are also a lot of courses in Spanish, Russian, French, etc)
  • Duration (>2 hours, 1-4 weeks, 1-3 months, 3+ Months)
  • Type (Guided Projects, Courses, Specializations, Professional Certificates)
  • Creator (universities, companies, or individuals)

After you pick a few options using the filter, here are aspects you should consider to choose the right course:

  • Syllabus. When you’re on a course page, check out which topic this course will cover. Compare the course structure with the structure of similar courses on Coursera, Udemy, or narrow platforms (like DataCamp).
  • Instructor. Go to the instructor’s page on Coursera and read about his/her expertice and current role. You can proceed further and check out their personal website, social media accountss, and published works/books.
  • Price. If you’re looking for a regular course, you can always enroll for free. However, if you need a longer type of program, check whether the price is affordable and where it stands in the competitor landscape.
  • Duration. There are courses on Coursera that last a month and are programs for 6 months or longer. Check out the course’s duration and compare this to how much time you are willing to invest.
  • Reviews. Scroll down to the bottom of the course page and find the “Reviews” section. Read at least 10 reviews and find both positive and negative ones to get a broader picture of how good is this course you’re auditing.

How to audit a course on Coursera?

Additionally, you can audit a course of interest. On Coursera, this is an additional option to check the course which means you can check all the content of a course from the inside (you see the course’s interface as a student). You can do this by clicking on the button “Enroll for free”, then you’ll see the pop-up with the phrase “Audit the course” at the bottom. Click on “Audit.”

Here, you can check the course structure by week. You can check all the planned activities for each week (videos, reading, quizzes, etc) along with the deadlines. Here, you can access some additional resources like transcripts, glossary, or links to useful articles.

audit coursera course

However, this option to audit a course is available for courses only; it doesn’t available for specializations or degrees. However, within each Coursera specialization, you can check separate courses and audit them.

Coursera for Business

This is a service of online corporate training. The content is the same as in the regular subscription where employees get access to projects, graded assessments, and quizzes. The main feature is that managers can track the learning progress of employees and provide them with feedback.

The price of Coursera for Business is $400 for one user per year.

Coursera Pros and Cons

Now, let’s wrap up plus sides and downsides of Coursera.

What is good about Coursera

  • High-quality content from top experts. This is the main selling point of Coursera as its courses are worth the time and money spent. Most courses are of good quality and designed by recognized experts in their field. Moreover, with over 4000 courses, you have a huge list to choose from.
  • Recognized certificates. After the course completion, you get a certificate which is widely recognized by employees. This certificate you can then easily add to your Linkedin profile to make your account more appealing to employees.
  • Apps for iPhone and Android. Last but not least, the company has an easy-to-use app for both iPhone and Android. This makes the learning process more flexible as you can download course videos and watch them at any time without Internet access.

What is not good about Coursera

  • Less technical hand-to-hand experience. For some technical courses like software development, data science, or cybersecurity there might be not enough practice. While the theoretical basis is strong, students feel they need more assignments and feedback from instructors. If you need good alternatives with more hand-to-hand experience, check Datacamp courses.
  • It can be confusing to understand the difference between program types. As Coursera has 6 types of programs with specializations that include short courses and so on, it might be confusing to choose the needed one. To be sure you pick a format that suits you, read the course description page carefully.
  • Progression is too dependent on peer grading. Peer review is Coursera’s advantage but at the same time, it might be frustrating. Some students feel that they cannot move forward as they don’t get their peer grading after they submit their assignments and thus, they cannot proceed to another course or get a certificate; this means they need to pay for another month while they wait.

Frequently Asked Question about Coursera

Is Coursera accredited?

Coursera courses are accredited by universities and it provides accredited certificates that are recognized by employers.

How quickly can you finish a Coursera course?

All Coursera courses have a suggested time commitment. Usually, it is 4 to 10 weeks to complete but all the courses are designed as self-paced.

Does Coursera help get a job?

In a Coursera survey last year, 72% of people said they had career benefits. 43% of them reported that they were more likely to be hired for a new job and 26% actually found a new job.

How much does the Coursera Google IT Support Professional course cost?

Google IT Support Professional program costs $49 per month after a seven-day free trial. If you finish all five courses in six months, it costs about $294.

What happens if I miss a Coursera deadline?

Missed deadlines do not affect your grades, you can still earn a certificate as long as you complete the course. If you submit a peer-reviewed assignment after the deadline, you may not receive enough peer reviews.

Can you start Coursera courses at any time?

If it is a self-paced course, you can join it at any time after the start date. If it is an instructor-led course, you will not be able to take any work that is overdue.

Does Coursera have a time limit?

If you do not earn complete your course within 180 days, your registration will expire and you will need to pay to re-enroll for the course.

Why is Coursera no longer free?

The company still offers courses for free but without a certificate upon completion.

What does audit mean in Coursera?

This means being able to see most of the course materials at no cost, but you won’t be able get your assignments graded and get a certificate.

Are Coursera courses self-paced?

Coursera offers two different formats: self-paced (no start or end date) and flexible session-based (regular sessions that begin and end on specific days).

How much does Coursera cost?

Coursera costs $49-79 per month per subscription. 

How do I use the Coursera Certificate on my resume?

Once you have earned the Certificate upon completion of your course, you will have the option to upload the Certification to your LinkedIn account. Alternatively, you can mention it in your CV or resume.

How do I apply for financial aid or a scholarship?

Since some of Coursera content is really expensive, they offer scholarship programs and financial aid.  If you want to apply for Coursera financial aid or scholarship, you need to fill out a form available on their website with your educational background, your future plans, and your financial circumstances.

Are Coursera certificates worth it?

It might not be the reason why you get a job, but it can help to stand out among other candidates and show that you are a motivated learner.

Coursera Alternatives

There are many e-learning companies but edX and Udemy are probably the closest Coursera competitors. Among other alternatives are FutureLearn, Codecademy, Udacity, and DataCamp. Check our detailed article on Coursera alternatives to find out more. Additionally, read these in-depth comparisons of Coursera vs Udemy, Coursera vs DataCamp, or Coursera vs Udacity.

Disclosure: Self-Starters team has not received any compensation from Coursera or anyone else associated with the company for this review. However, this review contains affiliate links, which means that, if you click & purchase from these links then, we will receive a small commission. This commission helps us to maintain this website. But you don’t pay anything extra.

Stacey M.
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