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 & cons, and other aspects.
*Coursera cost information was updated on Nov 29th (there was an increase in the price).
Good choice but be aware of some drawbacks
- 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 headquarter in Mountain View, CA, while also having offices in New York, London, and Gurgaon.
Today, Coursera has over 70 million students and partners with more than 200 leading universities. Its content is available in almost 40 languages.
One of the main features of Coursera is that it offers courses by leading universities and well-known companies. For example, you can find there programs 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 Project||1-2 hours||From $9.99||2200+ projects|
|Course||4-60 hours||Free or starting from $49||1700+ courses|
|Specialization||1-3 months||$39 /month||1500 specializations|
|Professional Certificate||1-6 months||$39/month||100 certificates|
|MasterTrack™ Certificate||4-7 months||From $2,000||22 certificates|
|Degree||2-4 years||From $9,000||26 degrees|
From this list, only courses are free, the rest formats are available for a fee.
- Arts and Humanities
- Music and Art
- Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
- Computer Science
- Data Science
- Information Technology
- Math and Logic
- Personal Development
- Physical Science and Engineering
- Social Sciences
- Language Learning
Under each category, you have a filer where you can filter content 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 coures 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)
Coursera Free Courses Review
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 this platform; 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 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
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 Review
Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. This 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. The course takes approx 15 hours to complete and is available for free.
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 1877 reviews) and takes approx. 54 hours to complete. The course will be useful for programmers who mainly use Java. This course 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 42385 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.
Coursera Specializations Review
Each specialization 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
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.
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)
Each one is available at $49 per month.
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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
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 coursera.org 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.
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 coursera.org, 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.”
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 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
MasterTrack™ Certificate 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
Additionally, Coursera offers e-learning services for a business at $400 per user per year.
Coursera Pricing Table
|Course||Free or starting from $49|
|Specialization||Starting from $49|
|Professional certificate||From $49|
|MasterTrack certificate||$2,000 – 4,500|
|Coursera for Business||$400|
|Coursera Plus||$59/month or $399/year|
How to audit a course on Coursera?
As Coursera hosts so many courses and programs, it may be hard to find one that is worth your attention. So, here are aspects you should consider when picking one:
- University and instructor
- Reviews (especially, on Quara or Reddit)
Coursera Plus Review
This is a subscription that provides unlimited access to over 3000 courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates. 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 can be a cost-effective option.
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.
Is 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:
- It show dedication to self-paced continued learning and the ability to finish what was starterted. This means a person probably responsible and get things done.
- At some companies, it helps to filter out candidates on the prior step. Especially when all candidates have no professional experience while having similar background; so, this is a way to distinguish some of them.
Coursera Pros and Cons
Now, let’s wrap up plus sides and downsides of Coursera.
Why use 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 or Springboard programs.
- 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
Coursera courses are accredited by universities and it provides accredited certificates that are recognized by employers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The company still offers courses for free but without a certificate upon completion.
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.
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).
Coursera costs $49-79 per month per subscription.
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.
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.
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 vs Udemy
Both companies are MOOC platforms with a wide range of courses. Coursera has fewer courses than Udemy and fewer subjects to choose from. However, Coursera’s content is usually more quality and created by leading universities. Also, Coursera has more program formats that vary in length and price.
As for the pricing, Udemy is a cheaper provider, with a price of $12-20 for a single course.
Is Coursera worth it?
Yes, Coursera is undoubtedly a good e-learning provider from top universities. Coursera is legit and safe to use, and the content is of high quality. However, the price for some programs is high, so you need to choose them wisely.
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.