Coursera vs Coursera Plus: What’s the Difference?

Probably everyone interested in online learning knows about Coursera, one of the biggest e-learning companies. However, a lot of people haven’t heard about Coursera Plus. And even if you know what Coursera Plus is, you still might have questions about the difference between regular Coursera courses and Coursera Plus.

Let’s start with the main difference and then get into more details.

Main Difference
The main difference between Coursera and Coursera Plus is that they have different pricing approaches. As for a regular Coursera fee, you choose a course and pay for it individually–so it’s a course-based payment model. Meanwhile, there are free courses where you need to pay for a certificate only (which is optional).

With Coursera Plus, you are billed monthly or yearly, $59/mo or $399/year accordingly, and can take as many courses as you want. Moreover, you’ll be able to get unlimited certificates at no additional cost. However, some of the Coursera’s courses aren’t available with this subscription.

Key differences between Coursera and Coursera Plus

  • Subscription model. One of the key differences lies in the subscription models offered by Coursera and Coursera Plus. While Coursera allows learners to enroll in individual courses on a pay-per-course basis, Coursera Plus offers a subscription-based model where learners have unlimited access to a vast library of courses for a flat monthly or annual fee. This could be advantageous for those who prefer flexibility in selecting courses without a long-term commitment.
  • Course availability. Coursera Plus grants access to over 4000 shorter courses and longer programs, making it ideal for those seeking a broad range of learning opportunities, all included within one subscription
  • Price. Coursera Plus costs $59/mo ($399/year), while regular Coursera courses can be taken for free or started from $39 and going up to $10000.

What is Coursera

Coursera stands as a well-recognized online learning platform that offers an extensive choice of courses from top universities and institutions across various subjects. Its course catalog spans disciplines including computer science, business management, humanities, and more.

Coursera boasts partnerships with over 200 leading universities and organizations globally, guaranteeing high-quality content and recognized certificates. With a user base that spans over 50 million learners, the platform caters to a broad demographic, allowing one to access the content in different languages. The platform’s flexibility, with options for self-paced learning and guided sessions, makes Coursera accessible to individuals with diverse schedules and commitments.

What is Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus is Coursera’s subscription option that is aimed at removing limits for online learning. It provides access to the majority of Coursera’s courses (over 7000 ones) and also get unlimited certificates for all the courses you complete. So, you don’t pay for each course individually–instead, you pay for the subscription. Within the subscription period, a month or year, you can take as many courses as you want.

However, Coursera Plus doesn’t include online degrees or MasterTrack programs, so you need to pay for them separately. Also, you won’t be able to access some Specializations like Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate or programs offered by IBM.

Read more about the Coursera Plus subscription.

Coursera vs Coursera Plus price

Coursera Plus costs $59/mo or $399/year, whereas the regular Coursera fee varies. Regular Coursera’s courses are often free but you’ll need to pay for certificates. Then, there are paid programs starting from $39 (like Specialization) and going up to $2000 for a MasterTrack™ Certificate and beyond for online degrees.

What to choose, Coursera Plus or regular Coursera courses?

  • If you’re an active learner and tend to take new courses often, Coursera Plus is a good option for you. You’ll be able to take as many courses and as often as you’d like to.
  • If you like to collect certificates, Coursera Plus is also a solution for you as you’ll be able to get unlimited certificates.
  • However, if you’re interested in a particular course and don’t plan to switch to other ones, go for a regular Coursera fee.
  • If you want to take a longer program like online degrees or MasterTrack programs and if you plan to choose programs like Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate or other from Stanford University, IBM, University of Virginia and some others, Coursera Plus is not an option for you.
  • Coursera Plus will save you a lot of money if you’d like to learn a lot. But if your motivation is not stable and you’re not sure whether you have the commitment for active learning, you should probably start with a regular course.


Does Coursera Plus include all courses?

While Coursera Plus offers an extensive selection of courses, it’s important to note that the platform provides access to thousands of courses but not the entirety of Coursera’s catalog. Subscribers of Coursera Plus can enjoy access to over 7000 courses as well as specializations or professional certificates across various disciplines. This inclusive range encompasses popular subjects like technology, business, data science, arts, and many more. However, there are several programs that are not included in the subscription (like Stanford University or IBM programs).

Can you get Coursera Plus for free?

The quest for free access to Coursera Plus opens up avenues for individuals to leverage various strategies and initiatives. One such route could involve exploring financial aid options provided by Coursera, where eligible learners may have the chance to access the subscription service without additional cost.

Certain educational institutions or employers might have partnerships or arrangements with Coursera that grant their students or employees complimentary or discounted access to premium features like Coursera Plus.

Does Coursera Plus include Certificates?

Within Coursera Plus, subscribers have access to a wide array of certification options. While Coursera itself offers certificates for individual courses, Coursera Plus takes it a step further by providing access to Specializations and Professional Certificates. Plus these, Coursera Plus also includes Guided Projects and Specializations, which offer hands-on practical experiences and demonstrate mastery of skills in specific domains.

This variety of certification pathways within Coursera Plus ensures that subscribers can choose the best option to enhance their credentials and further their careers.

Final thoughts: Coursera vs. Coursera Plus

In the ongoing debate between Coursera and Coursera Plus, you should weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine which aligns best with your learning goals, skills, and knowledge acquisition.

When choosing between regular Coursera learning and Coursera Plus, you should consider the added benefits that come with a Coursera Plus subscription–such as unlimited access to over 4000 courses, specializations, and professional certificates.

On the other hand, sticking with the traditional Coursera allows for a more targeted approach, enabling users to pay only for the courses they need without committing to a full yearly subscription.

Stacey M.
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