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Last update: Mar 19, 2024

Coursera Pricing: How Much It Costs?

Free Courses, Subscription Plans, Refunds and More

Coursera Costs
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Written by

Catherine Cooke

Catherine Cooke

Upskillwise Advisor

I'm Catherine, originally from London, now living in Spain. My professional journey led me from being a certified teacher to a yoga instructor and then a freelancer designer. These changes were made possible by online learning platforms like Skillshare and Coursera. It wasn't always easy, but so worth it and inspired me to start Upskillwise.

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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?”

Catherine Cooke author of the post and education and freelance expert

To make sure this article on Coursera’s pricing article is both informative and useful, I’ve extensively researched Coursera’s pricing structure, refund policy, financial aid options, and compared its costs with other online platforms. Additionally, my Master’s degree in Teaching and Education, coupled with years of experience in using online learning platforms, has enabled me to create this comprehensive pricing article.

Catherine CookeUpskillwise Advisor

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.

Coursera Pricing Summary

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 USD to $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.

Visit Coursera

Table Summary Of Coursera Pricing

To sum up Coursera costs, you can access courses for free, Guided Projects start at just $9.99 USD, Specializations and Professional Certificates are from just $39.99 USD a month. MasterTrack are from $2,000 USD and Degree Programs start at $9,000 USD. Finally, if a subscription plan is what you are after, Coursera Plus is priced at $59 USD monthly or $399 USD annually.

Coursera Option No. of Courses Price Free Trial Time Commitment Refund & Cancel Policy
Individual Courses 7,500+  FREE OR Paid Version $49 – $79 USD

Yes

4–12 hours

14 day refund policy

Guided Projects 760+ Starting at $9.99 USD

No

1–2 hours

14 day refund policy

Specializations 2,400+ Starting at $49 USD per month

Yes

1–3 months

14 day refund policy or cancel subscription

Professional Certificates 600+ Starting at $49 USD per month

Yes

1–6 months

Cancel Subscription

MasterTrack Certificates 25+ Starting at $2,000 USD

No

4–7 months

Decided by partnered University

Degrees 400+ Starting at $9,000 USD

No

2–4 years

Decided by partnered University

Coursera Plus 7,000+ $59 USD monthly OR $399 USD annually Yes 1 month–1 year 14 day refund policy or cancel subscription

Take Our Quiz: Find Out Which Coursera Course is Best?

Is Coursera Free?

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
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
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.
Coursera leading universities and companies partners
Coursera Partners

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 Guided Projects
Coursera Guided Projects

Specializations

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:

  1. Introduction to Data Science in Python
  2. Applied Plotting, Charting & Data Representation in Python
  3. Applied Machine Learning in Python
  4. Applied Text Mining in Python
Coursera Specialization Pricing
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.

Professional Certificates

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.

MasterTrack Certificates

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 Degrees

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
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.

Coursera Plus

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 Subscription
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.

Coursera Plus Pricing
Coursera Plus Pricing

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 be cancelled 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.

Check out Coursera Plus

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.

Business Plans

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
Coursera Business Plans

Team Plan

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).

Enterprise plan

The Enterprise plan is designed for larger organizations of 125+ 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
  • Integration Features

Be aware that you’ll be able to pay for this service via ACH or invoice – no PayPal or credit card payments.

Coursera Business

Accepted Payment Methods & Currencies

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
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.

Mobile Payments

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.

Financial Resources

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
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.

Financial Aid

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
Coursera financial aid

The process is fairly simple and looks something like this:

  1. Apply by clicking the link on the course homepage (see image above)
  2. Fill out an application that includes information about your educational background, career goals and financial circumstances (needs to be over 150 words)
  3. Wait for the application to be reviewed. The review process can take up to 15 days.
  4. 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.

Coursera Refunds

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.

Coursera Cost Comparison

I found it interesting to conduct a comparison between the Coursera Plus subscription plan and the subscription plans offered by other online learning platforms. This approach provides us with a valuable overview of how Coursera’s pricing model stands in comparison with its competitors.

Costs Coursera MasterClass Mindvalley Udacity Skillshare
Annual Price $399 USD Starting at $120 USD $499 USD N/A $99 USD
Monthly Price $59 USD N/A $99 USD $249 USD $30 USD
Free Trial 7-days N/A N/A N/A 1 month
Refund Policy 14-days 30-days 15-days N/A 14-days
Number of Courses 7,000+ 180+ 60+ Quests 97 Programs 35,000+

As illustrated in the table above, Coursera’s annual and monthly plans sit around in the middle compared to the cost of other platforms. It offers both a free trial and a refund policy, which is more generous than most other platforms. Plus, it offers a decent number of courses, with plenty of choice and variety.

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Coursera Alternatives

edX

Best for Verified Certificates

4.2

Udacity

Best For Career Services

4.6

MasterClass

Learn From VIP Instructors

4.7

edX

Much like Coursera, edX offers a wide array of courses developed by prestigious universities like MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard. As an accredited platform, edX gives you the opportunity to earn official degrees through its various programs.

edX can be a good alternative to Coursera
edX can be a good alternative to Coursera

Boasting a catalog of over 4,000+ courses, edX provides the flexibility of auditing many courses for free. Whether you prefer learning at your own pace or following a structured timetable led by an instructor, edX caters to different learning preferences. Upon successful completion of a course or program, you can obtain an edX certificate, though this comes with a fee ranging from $50 to $300 USD.

Visit edX.org Read edX review

Udacity

Udacity distinguishes itself from Coursera by focusing exclusively on tech-related subjects, aimed at equipping learners with the skills to secure employment in the tech sector. It partners with top tech giants like Google and Microsoft to ensure the relevance and quality of its content.

Udacity Alternative To Datacamp Vs Codecademy
Udacity is a technology focused platform alternative to Coursera

Offering two subscription options—a monthly plan and a four-month plan—Udacity grants complete access to its platform, including over 80 Nanodegree programs. Typically, students take between 2 and 6 months to finish a Nanodegree, depending on their pace and the program’s complexity.

Visit Udacity.com Read Udacity Review

MasterClass

MasterClass emerges as a compelling alternative to Coursera, boasting over 200+ classes across a variety of categories such as Food, Design & Style, Business, Home & Lifestyle, and more. What sets it apart are the celebrity instructors like Neil Gaiman, James Patterson, and Anna Wintour who bring their expertise to the table. Once signing up for MasterClass, you’re presented with three different subscription tiers, with the Individual plan starting at a modest $10 a month (billed annually).

MasterClass is an alternative to Coursera
MasterClass is an alternative to Coursera

What’s more, every subscription to MasterClass comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means if MasterClass doesn’t reach your expectations within the first 30 days of your purchase, you’re entitled to a full refund, no questions asked.

Visit MasterClass.com Read MasterClass review

Coursera Costs: Last Thoughts

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.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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Coursera Costs: FAQs

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.

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.

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 individual courses, 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.