Upskillwise.com is fully supported by its readers. If you register or buy a course using our links, we may receive a commission. This does not affect our ratings, methodology or partners.
If you’ve checked Coursera out, you may be confused about its costs as Coursera doesn’t have a clear pricing policy. On top of that, a bunch of free courses can be found on its platform. So, you may be left asking yourself “When or why should I pay for a course?”
In this Coursera pricing guide, I’ll try to explain to you how much Coursera is, and what would be the most affordable way to pay for its courses.
What Is Coursera: An Overview
Coursera is one of the most popular online learning platforms on the market that collaborates with 300+ top Universities like Stanford and Duke and Organizations like Google and IBM to create its courses and programs. It offers 2,900+ courses for free, and a wide variety of learning programs from individualcourses, specializations, professional certificates and degree programs. When you successfully complete a paid course or learning program with Coursera you will receive a verified certificate, which can be useful for professional development or to showcase your skills to potential employers. As well as courses for individuals, Coursera offers plans for teams and businesses to upskill its employees and support the company’s needs. Overall, Coursera provides a convenient and accessible way for learners around the globe to access high-quality courses and programs from top Universities and Institutions. If you want to read in more detail about Coursera, you can check out our detailed Coursera review here.
Table of Content
Overview Of Coursera Costs
Coursera offers a broad range of courses and learning programs. You can get start learning on one of its thousands of free courses, with the option to upgrade to a paid version if you want to receive a certificate prices starting at $49 USD. If you’re looking for a quick, hands-on experience, then the Guided Projects take no more than 2 hours and start as little as just $9.99 USD. For those interested in specific job skills, Coursera’s Specializations and Professional Certificates could be a good fit. These start at $49 USD a month and can take up to 6 months to complete. If you’re looking for more extensive courses, MasterTrack Certificates start at $2,000 USD and take less than a year to finish. Coursera also offers online degrees in both Bachelor and Master’s programs, with costs ranging from $9K USDto $50+K USD, taking up to 4 years to complete. Lastly, for anyone interested in taking multiple courses, there’s Coursera Plus, a subscription plan with the option to pay monthly installments of $59 USD a month or with the annual fee of $399.
Coursera offers thousands of its courses for free(with some limitations). Its other learning programs like Guided Projects, Specializations, Professional Certificates, MasterTrack Certificates and Online Degrees don’t offer a free version, but some do come with a 7-day free trial for you to try. Let’s look in more detail about the pricing of each of Coursera’s learning programs.
Coursera Free Courses
Free Courses (Option to Purchase Course)
Coursera offers more than 2,800+ of its courses for free, but it’s important to point out here that they do come with some limitations that include:
No certificate: With the free version of the course you won’t have a completion certificate, something important if you are after an official recognition.
No access to assignments: Another typical limitation of Coursera freebies is that you won’t have access to all the assignments of the course.
No instructor feedback: Free students can’t submit assignments and get back grades and feedback, ‘you are on your own’.
Coursera Purchase Course
There is however the option to purchase the course starting at $29. The paid version of the course comes with the following:
A completion certificate issued by Coursera and its partnered University or Company (see image below) who is behind creating the course (e.g. Duke, Penn or Google). Obviously, assuming you passed the requirements of the course or program.
Ability to access and submit assignments in the course.
You will be able to get the instructor’s feedback and grades for the submitted assignments.
Guided Projects were launched in 2020 as a way for learners to work on a hands-on project and demonstrate to employers their ability to know and use that skill e.g. Google Sheets. Guided Projects are no more than 2 hours long, so learners don’t need to invest a huge chunk of time, which means it can easily fit into a busy schedule. Guided Projects currently covers the following subjects Arts and Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, IT, Personal Development, Social Science, Physical Science and Engineering. With 760+ hands-on Guided Projects available and starting at $9.99 it’s one of the cheapest ways to learn on Coursera.
Coursera offers close to 2,000+ Specializations, which are a series of courses (normally around 3 to 10 courses) to master a skill. For example, the ‘Applied Data Science with Python’ bundle organized by the University of Michigan breaks down into 4 courses:
Introduction to Data Science in Python
Applied Plotting, Charting & Data Representation in Python
Applied Machine Learning in Python
Applied Text Mining in Python
Coursera Specialization Pricing
The subscription for the specialization will continue on a monthly basis until you’ve completed all the bundled courses. A 7-day free trial is included with all Specializations, and you will have the option to cancel at anytime or even before the trial ends.
You will get a Verified Certificate when you successfully pass all the courses in the Specialization.
Tip: Not all the courses that are part of a Coursera Specialization are offered as individual courses, that you can pay for individually.
Coursera’s Professional Certificates are for you to get job-ready in an in-demand career. It is a similar commitment to its Specializations, where you will need to commit for up to 6 months. Its starting price is $39 a month, and you are entitled to a 7-day free trial. The quicker that you work during your Professional Certificate means that you will pay less, as you only pay for the time you are learning.
The MasterTrack Certificates are designed, so you can earn a University issued certificate, which is credit that goes towards your degree. The average time commitment is between 4 and 7 months and its starting price is$2,000 and many give you the option to do a 1 time payment or the payment is broken up into monthly payments. You will need to enroll for your chosen MasterTrack Certificate, as spaces are limited.
Coursera’s Online Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs can take anywhere from 2–7 years. All Bachelor and Master’s degree programs, partner with leading Universities from around the world. The 200+ list of leading Universities include University of London, Arizona State University, University of Michigan and HEC Paris to name a few.
Available Coursera degrees
However, be advised that these aren’t cheap, as they are fully verified certificates by reputable Universities. A full program can cost you from $15,000 and go up to $40,000+. Even though this is a financial commitment, it’s a fraction of the cost of an on-campus degree.
Tip: There are several courses and specializations that are part of a degree, so you could try a couple of courses before you commit thousands of dollars to see if you like the topic. The completed courses will count towards your degree.
The Coursera subscription that is, better known as Coursera Plus, will grant you access to 7,000+ courses. It gives you unlimited access to hands-on Guided Projects, Specializations and Professional Certificates. To complete them all would be near to impossible, but it’s not a bad thing to have a decent selection to pick from.
Coursera Plus Membership
You can choose to either pay $59 a month or opt for the $399 annual fee. If you compare it to the cost of a single learning program $49-$79 (see image below), and plan to enroll in 5 courses or more in one year, Coursera Plus defiantly would make more sense.
In case you are wondering, you will receive a verified certificate for each course that you successfully complete. You can potentially earn dozens of certificates if you chain yourself to your desk. The only learning programs that aren’t included in the Coursera Plus subscription are the Degree and MasterTrack programs.
The monthly Coursera Plus subscription can becancelled at anytime and the annual plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Coursera has claimed that, based on their data and research, that typically they see a higher completion rate among Coursera Plus learners, so that might be a motivating facotr to give it a try.
Tip: Keep in mind that if you have paid and working on a single learning program and then subscribe to Coursera Plus the former won’t be cancelled, so make sure you cancel the paid learning program to avoid paying for Coursera twice.
Similarly to other online learning platforms, Coursera offers plans for teams and businesses. Business owners can buy a Coursera membership account for it’s employees, so they can master new skills and feel empowered. There are two plans available, the Team and the Enterprise plan.
Coursera Business Plans
At $399 per user (for each year), Coursera Team plan is designed for teams and smaller organizations between 5 – 125 users. It gives you access to a catalog of 5,000+ courses, verified certificates upon course completion and the catalog of 2,500+ hands-on Guided Projects and much more. You can pay for Coursera Business Team plan using PayPal or a credit card (e.g. Visa, MasterCard or AMEX).
The Enterprise plan is designed for larger organizations of125+users or more. The prices aren’t published on Coursera’s website, and you’ll need to Contact Sales to get a custom quote.
The Enterprise plan includes everything in Teams plus:
Solutions Consulting Services Features
Customer Success Features
Be aware that you’ll be able to pay for this service via ACH or invoice – no PayPal or credit card payments.
You can purchase your Coursera courses or subscriptions using a credit card or PayPal. The available credit cards are Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB and AMEX (only for courses priced in $USD). Companies that opt-in for the Enterprise plan will have to pay for it via invoice or ACH.
Coursera credit card payment
Please be aware that PayPal payments aren’t available for all the regions, only students located in Europe, Canada, Hong Kong and the US will be allowed to pay using this popular online payment method.
And for payments in India, you can make payments on Coursera through Razorpay using, local credit/debit cards. As well as Netbanking, eWallet or PayTM, but these do exclude subscriptions, Specializations and MasterTrack products.
Most of Courseras courses are displayed in $USD, while some course prices are shown in the local currency (of where the partnered University is located). If you operate with another currency, you can still pay for it with your credit card – most likely you’ll be charged a little commission by your bank. An alternative could be to use Wise or Revolut to save banking fees when paying in other currencies – I do it all the time.
Strangely, Coursera doesn’t offer gift cards as similar competitors do (e.g. Udemy). So, you won’t be able to buy a course or a subscription for a friend or loved one.
Please be aware that if you are using Coursera with your iPhone or iPad and make a payment, this will be processed by Apple. Do keep in mind, though that any refunds that you need when paying via the Apple ecosystem, need to also be handled by Apple.
Coursera offers different financial resources for you to choose that will help support your learning journey with Coursera. These tools and information will help you take ownership of your finances.
Coursera Financial Resources
Employer Tuition Reimbursement
If you are looking to study for an advanced degree but the costs maybe out of your budget, you can inquire with an employer if they would be able to help with the education expenses. It is definitely worth speaking to the HR department in your company to know whether they would be willing to fund for a professional certificate and make sure you do some research about courses or degrees you think would be beneficial in developing your skills.
Most Coursera courses can be tried for free, but if you need a certificate, and you can’t afford the course, you may be eligible for Financial Aid or a Scholarship. Learners with Financial Aid or Scholarships in a course will be able to access all of the course content and complete all work required to earn a course certificate. Most courses offer Financial Aid or Scholarships, but be mindful there maybe some courses that don’t.
Coursera financial aid
The process is fairly simple and looks something like this:
Apply by clicking the link on the course homepage (see image above)
Fill out an application that includes information about your educational background, career goals and financial circumstances (needs to be over 150 words)
Wait for the application to be reviewed. The review process can take up to 15 days.
You will get an email letting you know whether it’s been it’s been approved or denied.
If your application is denied, you’ll get an email to let you know and explain why. You will then have another opportunity to review your application, make changes and apply again.
Scholarships & Grants
Applying for a Scholarship and grant is another way to finance your education. There is a wide range of scholarships and grants available based on different factors like academic achievement, demographic background or financial need. You can check out the Federal Student Aid website to help with the range of Scholarships or Grant available.
Refunds with Coursera are possible within 2 weeks of your payment, if this time has already passed, your refund will be denied. Note that if you have earned a certificate for a course, you won’t be able to refund it either.
The same principle applies to the Specializations, you’ll be able to refund them if you request it 2 weeks after the last payment. However, if you’ve pre-paid for a whole Specialization, you won’t be able to get a refund, paying course by course may be wiser if you are unsure.
Since all Coursera Specializations and Coursera Subscriptions (i.e. Coursera Plus) have a 2-week trial period, you won’t be able to refund them after you’ve paid. You can cancel your subscriptions at any time, though.
After reviewing the article on Coursera costs, you may have concluded that Coursera isn’t the right fit for you, for some of the following reasons.
You aren’t looking for an accredited certificate
There isn’t the category you are looking for
Looking to engage and interact with the community
If that is the case, then I put together some alternative online learning platforms for you to consider.
If you are looking for a big pool of engaging classes in a variety of categories taught by celebrities and VIP instructors, MasterClass may be the platform for you. Looking to learn creativity and leadership from Anna Wintour, photography from Annie Leibovitz or dog training from Brandon McMillan?
MasterClass is a good alternative to Coursera
By signing up for one of MasterClass’s memberships, you can gain access to 150+ classes across 11 categories. The memberships are billed annually, with the Individual plan costing $180 a year(equivalent to $15 per month). Should you do decide that MasterClass isn’t right for you within the first 30 days of your membership, you can request a refund.
Hopefully, you have a clear idea of what to expect from Coursera’s pricing and subscription plans. As we bring this article to a close, it’s important that you consider your needs and budget before choosing the right course or Coursera subscription, let me briefly summarize.
Coursera is best for:
Affordable: If you are only interested in an individual course, it can cost anywhere from $29 – $99, most offer a free version too, but do keep in mind that means limited features, e.g. no certificates, assignments or feedback. If you are on a tight budget, this is your best option.
Cheaper Degree: If you want to earn a Degree or Masters program, learning with Coursera is significantly cheaper than an on-campus learning. Coursera degree programs start around $15,000 and many are from top Universities like Harvard and Stanford.
Unlimited Access: The Coursera subscription, Coursera Plus will give you access to 7,000 courses, hands-on projects and job-ready certificate programs.
Job-Ready: Many of Coursera’s professional programs are designed to prepare learners for a particular career path or promotion.
Collaboration: Coursera collaborates with leading Universities and Companies to bring you the highest quality courses and learning programs.
Refund Policy: Many coursers and specializations have a 14-day refund policy and Coursera plus has a 2-week free trial, which is a nice guarantee if you do change your mind.
If a more comprehensive review on Coursera is what you are looking for, then please check it out here. I hope you have a clearer understanding of what the different Coursera costs are and which course, learning program or subscription is right for you.
Coursera Costs: FAQ
Is there a monthly fee for Coursera?
Coursera offers a subscription plan service called Coursera Plus where you can choose to pay monthly or annually. The monthly plan costs $59 a month, and you cancel at anytime, which includes a 7-day free trial. If you decide you want to commit further, you can opt for the annual plan for $399 which comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Coursera Plus gives you access to 7,000+ courses, hands-on projects and job ready certificate programs.
Is it worth paying for Coursera?
Coursera is a well established online learning platform, that partners with world-class Universities and Organizations to produce its courses and programs. It does offer a big pool of courses for free, but if you are looking to earn a certificate, get access to the full features of the course, including assessments and teacher feedback, it is worth paying the price tag as in amny cases it’s an investment towards your future.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.
09/17/23 – Overview of Coursera Costs
09/04/23 – Coursera Costs: FAQ – Updated
08/18/23 – Coursera Courses Time Commitment
08/07/23 – Coursera Costs Overview – Updated
06/28/23 – Coursera Financial Aid – Updated
05/31/23 – Coursera Costs: FAQ
04/28/23 – Coursera Alternatives Added
03/27/23 – Overview of Coursera Costs Table Added
03/09/23 – What is Coursera? An Overview Updated
02/28/23 – Coursera Plus Updated
02/04/23 – Coursera collaborates with leading Universities and Companies
01/26/23 – Coursera Costs: Last Thoughts (Coursera is best for)
09/01/22 – Guided Projects
08/12/22 – Updated What is Coursera
07/28/22 – General Update
07/12/22 – Coursera Business Plans
05/13/22 – Scholarships & Grants
05/12/22 – Financial Resources
05/09/22 – Coursera Plus
08/23/21 General Update
08/22/21 Overview of Coursera Costs
Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.