Coursera is an eLearning platform with 7,000+ courses and 92 million learners in 190 countries. It has a range of learning paths on offer, making Coursera’s costs tricky to work out.
So in this article, we take an in depth look at Coursera's fees to help you understand them.
This is probably the most comprehensive breakdown of Coursera’s prices out there and if you’ve been asking yourself questions such as:
Can I get Coursera for free? If so, why should I pay? How much does Coursera Cost? How does Coursera’s pricing work? Which Coursera offering is best for me? Is Coursera worth it? And can I get a refund if I don’t like Coursera?
Then you’re in the right place. So let's get started!
I’ll be covering:
- How much is Coursera? – a one screen overview of all the different purchasing options
- Is Coursera free? – how to get Coursera content for free and the pros and cons of this route
- Coursera pricing explained – what’s available and how much it costs
- Are Coursera’s prices good value?
- How you can get the best value from Coursera
- Coursera financial aid and how to apply
- How to purchase a Coursera course or subscription
- Coursera prices in different countries
- Final thoughts
How much is Coursera?
Coursera Courses can be accessed for free, Guided Projects start at $9.99 and Specializations and Professional Certificates from $39.99 a month. A Coursera Plus subscription is $399 per year and Full degrees start at $9,000.
Here’s an overview of Coursera’s pricing:
|Coursera option||Goal||No. Courses||Length||Price||Billing||Free trial||Refund|
|Courses||Gain new knowledge||1,800+||4-12 hours||*Free or $49+||Per course||Yes||14 day|
|Guided Projects||Learn a new skill||2,300+||1-2 hours||$9.99+||Per course||No||14 day|
|Special-izations||Master a marketable Skill||1,500+||1-3 months||$39.99+ some *free content||Monthly|
or per unit
|Yes||Cancel subs or|
|Professional Certificates||Get job ready for new career||100+||4-7 months||$39.99+||Monthly||Yes||Cancel subs|
|Coursera Plus||Access 90%+of Coursera content||7,000+||various||$59 |
|Yes||Cancel subs or|
|MasterTrack Certificates||Take part of a Master's degree||20+||4-7 months||From $2000||Per course orMonthly||No||Set by the partner university|
|Degrees||Earn a Degree||33+||2-4 years||From $9000||Pay as you go||No||Set by the partner university.|
|Coursera for business||Continuing professional development||5,000 plus||various||From $399 per user||Monthly or annually||Yes||Cancel subs|
* Free content does not include certificates
Is Coursera free?
No, Coursera is a paid for service. But it does have a huge amount of content you can access for free.
There are two main ways to do this:
- Courses – can be accessed without certification for free
- Specializations– allow you to try out individual course units for free in audit mode. Again without certification
This is how you do it:
Coursera Courses – free with option to buy a certificate
The Coursera Courses Option provides 1,800+ free courses.
Courses help you gain new knowledge and give you completely free access to all the class materials.
However, if you want to earn a certificate, you’ll need to purchase the course. You can do this after enrolling (which is free and easy):
Full Course, No Certificate allows you to access all course materials but not gain a certificate.
Purchase Course allows you to earn a Certificate. Prices start at $49.
If you decide to go for the free option, you can change your mind and purchase the course later.
Specialization Option – paid for with option to audit course units for free
Coursera's 1,500+ Specializations consist of several individual course units. You can audit individual courses units for free but this isn’t easy to find!
Here’s how you do it.
Find a Specialization that interests you and click on the courses tab:
You'll then see a screen listing the individual course units in the Specialization:
Click on the course unit that interests you and then enroll. You’ll see the following screen with the option to audit the course for free at the bottom:
Auditing gives you free access to the content but not certification.
A final way to get free content is to use the 7 day free trial with:
- Specializations (when you subscribe to the full series of courses)
- Most Coursera Professional Certificates
- Coursera Plus subscription
Which are all described in more detail below.
You may well be asking ….
Why pay for a Coursera course if I can take it for free?
The choice is yours, but things to consider are:
- The financial investment increases your chances of finishing the course. Research by Harvard and MIT shows that the completion rate for paid for courses is ten times higher compared to when not paying for the certificate
- If the knowledge or skill you’re learning is marketable, having the certificate could increase your career prospects
- Being able to access and complete assignments will enable you to showcase your work
As well as free content, Coursera offers a range of paid-for options. Each is specifically designed to fulfill a different need.
We’ll look at these next.
Coursera Pricing Explained
Coursera’s different offerings are curated to meet different learning needs.
We’ve summarized each option below to help you find the Coursera plan that best suits you:
- Guided Projects
- Professional Certificates
- Coursera Plus
- Coursera for Business
For a more detailed explanation of Coursera's different learning paths, see our Coursera Review.
Coursera Guided Projects – Overview and what they cost
What are Coursera Guided Projects? Guided Projects are designed to teach job-relevant skills quickly and efficiently. They’re up to 2 hours long.
How much do Coursera Guided Projects Cost? The cost of taking a guided project starts at $9.99.
What’s included in a Coursera Guided Project? A hands on interactive learning experience in which you get expert video guidance to take you step by step through the completion of a project on a shared screen. A Certificate to showcase what you’ve learned.
How many Coursera Guided Projects are there and in what subjects? There are over 2,300 guided projects in 9 subjects but the main focus is data science, technology and business.
Coursera Specializations – Overview and what they cost
What are Coursera Specializations? Specializations teach career relevant skills, are in depth and designed to build mastery. They take up to three months (sometimes more) to complete.
How much do Coursera Specializations Cost? The cost of taking a Specialization starts at $39 per month. You can also opt to Audit some parts of a specialization for free which gives you access to all the content but not the opportunity to earn a certificate.
What’s included in a Coursera Specialization? Specializations consist of a rigorous series of course units taught by instructors from the world’s top universities and companies, hands-on projects, gradable assignments and a Specialization Certificate.
How many Coursera Specialization courses are there and in what subjects? There are over 1,500 Specialization courses in 11 subjects including data science, technology and business, health, engineering and personal development.
Professional certificates – Overview and what they cost
What are Coursera Professional certificates? Coursera Professional Certificates are career relevant. They are more rigorous than Specializations and designed to teach in-demand skills to get you job ready for a career in under a year.
How much do Coursera Professional Certificates Cost? Most Professional Certificate programs start with a seven day free trial that becomes a monthly subscription if you choose to continue. The monthly subscription starts at $39.
By clicking on the course that interests you then selecting to enroll you'll see a screen telling you all you need to know about the costs for that particular Professional Certificate. If it’s not for you, you can simply navigate away:
What’s included in a Coursera Professional Certificate? A series of related course units taught by experts from industry leading companies, hands on projects and assignments, a professional certificate that’s recognised by a range of hiring consortiums and access to job search resources. Some offer rewards for reaching certain goals such as free subscriptions to industry tools.
How many Coursera Professional certificates are there and in what subjects? There are over 100 Professional Certificates in these categories:
- Launch your career
- Advance your career
- Prepare for Certification
- Data Science
- Computer Science and IT
What is Coursera Plus? Coursera Plus is a subscription plan that gives you unlimited access to more than 90% of the Coursera catalogue.
How much does Coursera Plus Cost? The price of Coursera Plus is either $59 monthly, or $399 up front for the year (an annual saving of $309 over Coursera Plus’ monthly cost). The monthly subscription comes with a seven day free trial. The annual up front subscription with a 14 day money back guarantee.
What’s included in Coursera Plus? 90% of the Coursera catalogue including most Coursera Courses, Specializations and Guided Projects and some Professional Certificates. The ability to move between multiple courses and earn certificates for every one you complete. It does not include access to Degrees or Master Track programs.
Master Track – Overview and what it costs
What is Coursera MasterTrack? A Master Track is a comprehensive online module taken from a full Master’s program. They take between 4-7 months to complete.
How much does Coursera Master Track Cost? The cost of a Coursera MasterTrack starts at $2,000 with a 14 day money back guarantee. Once you are signed in (free) you can click on any MasterTrack course followed by the enroll button to reveal the cost of that MasterTrack. If it’s not for you, just navigate away. MasterTrack courses cannot be taken for free. Refund policies for Degrees are those of the content provider offering the program.
What’s included in Coursera MasterTrack? The program features live teaching and office hours, video content, feedback, interactive team-based learning and real world projects. If you achieve a Master Track certificate it counts towards the full degree should you choose to take things further.
How many MasterTrack courses are there and in what subjects? There are 20+ MasterTrack courses in four subject areas: Business and design, Computer science, Data science and Social sciences.
Degrees – Overview and what they cost
What are Coursera Degrees? They are full online bachelor’s degree and master's programs from leading universities that take between 2-4 years to complete.
How much does a Coursera Degree Cost? The tuition fees for a Coursera degree start at $9000 for the full program. They can be as much as $40,000, but are always a fraction of what it would cost to complete that degree in-person. You pay as you go for the courses you are enrolled in each term. Once you are signed in (free) you can click on any Degree course and the opening screen will tell you the cost for that program:
Refund policies for Degrees are those of the content provider offering the program.
What’s included in a Coursera Degree? Teaching from the same professors and lecturers that teach on campus in the world’s top universities. Participation in online lectures, direct live interaction with peers and tutors, access to a dedicated online student support team and full certification.
How many Coursera Degrees are there and in what subjects? There are 33+ degrees in a wide range of subjects including marketing, business administration, data analytics and software management.
What is Coursera Business? Coursera offers a membership account for businesses who want to offer their employees easy access to world class continuing professional development.
What does Coursera Business Cost? There are two types of Coursera Business Account available. Coursera for Teams is suitable for small/medium companies and teams at $399 per user per annum and Enterprise for larger companies which has custom pricing.
What’s included in Coursera Business? Access to 5,000+ courses, 100+ SkillSets, and 1,900+ Guided Projects from top universities and companies. With Enterprise you also receive access to other benefits including job-based learning programs, private authoring tools to create your own courses, an account manager, skill metrics and user analytics.
Are Coursera’s prices good value?
For the price you pay, Coursera plans are good value.
I say this because:
- Only the best and most globally renowned institutions have content on Coursera These include Princeton, Yale, Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, Meta, Google and Microsoft
- Tutors are recognized experts in their fields – in most cases they are the same tutors who deliver in person university or industry courses
- Coursera’s average course rating is 4.7/5 and 81% of learners rate their course as 5-star. 93% of learners would recommend Coursera to a friend
- It is one of the few online learning platforms to offer meaningful certification which can open new doors for you, and make a difference to your career – and pay packet. The stats bear this out:
- 87% of learners report career benefits
- 88% of learners without degrees report career benefits
- 91% of learners in emerging markets report career benefits
- 84% of unemployed learners report career benefits
- It gives you access to prestigious, career relevant degrees and master’s courses for a fraction of the cost
- It provides a comprehensive opportunity for you to invest in the best possible thing you can invest in. Yourself..
And this is a great segue into the next section. Because you are a key factor in getting the best value from Coursera.
How to get the most value out of Coursera
Ultimately, the Coursera plan with the best value is the one that's used. And used effectively..
To get the most value out of Coursera you need to:
Take time to find the right fit:
- Sign in to Coursera from the home screen so you can explore and get full details of costs and what’s free. All you need is an email address and password. Or you can use your existing Facebook or Google details
- After signing in, explore! You can hover over Explore, scroll down looking at various options or go to the very bottom of the page and click on What We Offer or any of the options beneath it. In fact, there are lots of ways to navigate around
- You can also use the search function and filter your searches. Don’t forget to read what students who’ve taken courses or programs you're interested in say, and take note of the course rating.
- When you something you like, click Enroll to find out the cost. If it’s not for you, just navigate away with the back button.
- Make learning a habit. Spread out your learning sessions for better outcomes.
- Start the way you mean to go on. Keeping up to date with deadlines and routines at the start of a course, makes it twice as likely you’ll stay engaged and get finished.
- If you’re paying for a course on a monthly basis, the more you stick to a learning routine, the quicker you'll get through it and save money.
- If you go for Coursera Plus, plan to take as many courses as possible to get maximum value.
- Participate with other learners through discussion forums to keep you engaged and on task.
Coursera financial aid
Financial Aid or Scholarships are available for learners who wish to participate fully in a course and earn a certificate, but can’t afford the fees.
To apply for Financial Aid you must do so on a PC or laptop, not a mobile device.
- On the homepage for the course you’re interested in click on Financial aid available
- Complete and submit your application carefully. Coursera doesn't list its eligibility criteria but here's some tips on how to answer the key questions:
- Why are you applying for Financial Aid?
- Describe your background and income (or your parents’ income) compared with the national average, your current circumstances and what plans you have for the future
- How will taking this course help you achieve your career goals?
- Explain how the course you're interested in will help you achieve your goals. Emphasize how motivated you are to complete the course and to engage with the learning community
- Make sure your response meets the minimum word requirement (which at the time of writing was 150 words)
- It may take up to 15 days for Coursera to reply.
- You'll get an email letting you know whether your application has been approved, and if not why. You can resubmit your application if there was a problem with it that you can put right.
Financial Aid is available for most, but no all, Coursera courses and options.
How do I purchase Coursera?
Making a purchase on Coursera is straightforward but I’ll go through the process step-by-step in case you need any help.
In overview you:
- Join Coursera by signing in
- Explore, and decide which course or subscription you wish to purchase
- Enroll and pay
Signing in to Coursera
You sign in from Coursera’s homescreen. You just provide an email address and password, or create an account using your existing Facebook or Google details.
Exploring and Enrolling
Once you have decided on the purchase you wish to make, what happens next, depends on what you are purchasing:
|Courses & Guided Projects||Supply payment details and pay for the course in full.|
|Specializations & Professional Certificates||Supply payment details and start a 7 day trial. Payment will be taken after the end of the trial if you choose to continue|
|Coursera Plus||Choose monthly payments: Supply payment details and start a 7 day trial. Payment will be taken after the end of the trial if you choose to continue. Pay for a year up front: Supply payment details and pay for a full year|
|MasterTrack Certificates||Make either one up front payment, or choose to pay monthly. Supply payment details|
|Degrees||Supply payment details, and pay as you go for the courses you take|
Coursera pricing in different countries and currencies
|Courses – per course from:||49||37||45||69||3600||1000|
|Guided Projects – per project from:||9.99||7||9||14||750||205|
|Specializations & Professional Certificates – per month from:||39.99||37||36||56||2980||820|
|Coursera Plus monthly|
Coursera Plus annually
|MasterTrack Certificates per program from:||2,000||1,500||1,765||2,800||148,000||41,000|
|Degrees per program from:||9,000||12,000||10,600||17,000||890,000||245,000|
Prices in italics are estimated based on exchange rates
Coursera purchasing options
Coursera accepts the following payment options:
- Credit cards:
- American Express (only for courses priced in $USD)
- Prepaid cards from the above brands (for one time purchases only, not subscriptions)
- For US based companies Coursera for Business can be purchased by ACH Credit Transfer
Refund and money back policies differ between one-time payments and subscriptions.
|Month to Month subscriptions||Cancel before the 7 day free trial ends and you won't be charged. If you complete a course within the 7 day free trial, Coursera may charge a one month fee to issue a certificate. Cancellation of an active subscription takes effect just before the next renewal date|
|Coursera Plus||For a refund of the full annual payment of Coursera Plus you must apply within 14 days of purchase. Refunds are not available after this period|
|One time course||You can claim a refund for up to 14 days after payment, if you pre-enroll you can claim a refund up to 14 days after the course launches or until you have earned your course certificate. Whichever is earlier|
|Guided Projects||No refund available|
|Degree, MasterTrack and University certified programs||Refunds are set up and run by the content provider offering the program and communicated to students by them.|
If you make a purchase through a third party, their own refund policies apply.
For more detail on this you can read our Coursera Refund guide.
Requesting a refund
You need a laptop or PC (not a mobile device) to request a refund.
- Go to your MyPurchases page.
- Find the course or subscription you want a refund for.
- Under the Refund Deadline column, click Get Refund. If you don't see this option, the refund deadline has passed.
- You will receive a confirmation email and be removed from the course.
Conclusion: Are Coursera costs worth it?
If you’re serious about investing in yourself and your future, Coursera is definitely worth it.
It offers over 7,000 courses in in-demand subjects. Instructors hail from the most prestigious universities and companies in the world and its average course rating is 4.7/5 with 93% of learners stating they would recommend Coursera to a friend.
You do have to be willing to put in the effort to explore the site to find the course, program or subscription that best suits you because Coursera’s offering is so wide and varied.
And there’s so much content you can access for free. As well as 7 day free trials or 14 day money back guarantees for nearly everything apart from the short, Guided Projects. This removes the risk of losing out if you don’t enjoy Coursera.
So, what have you got to lose?
No, Coursera is a paid for service – but there’s lots of content you can access for free (but without certification)
You can gain new knowledge for free with Courses, learn a skill for under $10 with a Guided Project, take a Specialization or Professional Certificate from $39.99 a month, or do all of these things with Coursera Plus for $399 a year.
Depending on what you choose you pay per course, per month or per year.
Most options on Coursera come with either a free 7 day trial or 14 day money back guarantee
Subscription to Specializations or Professional Certificates starts at $39. For Coursera Plus it’s $59 per month or $399 up front for the year
Yes, if you can’t afford to pay for a course or program you can apply for financial aid for most of its content
Liz Hurley has 30+ years of high school teaching experience and is one of our senior writers here at Learnopoly.