Udacity vs Coursera: Let’s Battle It Out For A Winner
22 May, 2023
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When I started to research learning online I knew I wanted a prestigious and well recognized online learning platform. Two sites that stood out were Udacity and Coursera. However, I wasn’t sure what either of them offered and which one was actually better to learn with.
I realized quickly that both platforms offer a wide selection of courses that are partnered with top Companies or Universities, but I still had many questions like: Which one will help me grow professionally? What are their pricing models? Which Universities are they partnered with?
To answer all these questions and help you to choose the best platform and the right course, I’ve created this in-depth comparison of Udacity and Coursera.
So let’s get stuck in!
Table of Content
Udacity Vs Coursera Summary
Udacity offers learning programs called Nanodegrees which are designed to upskill you for a career path in digital technology. The monthly option costs $399 a month, and can take you between 2 and 6 months to complete. Whereas Coursera offers individual courses range from ($49 to $79) it also offers other learning programs like Online Degrees, Specializations and Mastertrack programs that can cost around $25,000. Udacity offers 78 Nanodegrees and close to 200 free courses. Whereas Coursera offers 7,000+ courses, 600+ Guided Projects, 1,600+ Specializations, Professional Certificates, MasterTrack Certificates and Degree programs. Coursera’s focus is on certified courses and learning programs whilst Udacity’s strength is mastering job ready tech skills. Some of the key differences between Udacity and Coursera is that Coursera offers a wider range of courses and different learning programs. Whereas Udacity Nanodegree programs focus on preparing you for a particular role in digital skills. Both platforms do require time commitment and some budget depending on the time of program you opt for.
Round 1: Which One Is More Popular?
Popularity is not really a category that should make us pick one product over another or in this case, an elearning platform. But it is a good indication to see where each platform stands in the marketplace and what users are searching for.
Google Trends Udacity vs Coursera
As you can see in the graph above, there is a clear winner of this popularity contest, Coursera is clearly more popular than Udacity.
Coursera was founded in 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng and offers online courses and degrees from 200+ leading Universities and Companies like Yale and Google. It offers a range of learning opportunities where you will receive validated certificates.
Udacity however, was founded in 2011 when two Stanford instructors decided to offer one of its subjects for free to the world. Since then, over a 100,000+ learners have graduated from one of its learning programs.
If you are anything like me, having an easy way to sign up and navigate around a site makes my life a lot easier. So let’s find out which platform is the most straightforward.
Registering with Udacity is pretty simple and free. All you need to do is add your email and click ‘Get Started for Free’ and then you are ready to go. You also have the option to register using Google orFacebook if you prefer.
Udacity Sign up
The sign-up process for Coursera is pretty similar, just by adding your name, email and password and clicking Join for Free. The option to sign up via Google, Facebook and Apple is also, available.
Backend & Design
Once you are registered with Udacity, you can begin to browse around the platform, you will notice that the interface is easy to navigate around, and in the top-right corner you can select My Classroom(see image below).
Udacity My Classroom
My Classroom is an area where you can see all the paid Nanodegrees and free courses you are enrolled on. It’s an area that keeps all your current and previous learning programs in one place and organized. Especially good for when you are in the middle of working on a learning program.
Coursera offers a more personalized approach where you can create a learning profile. My learning profile(see image below) will help Coursera give recommendations for courses based on your interests and goals. You can also create learning goals for changing careers or levelling up your skills.
Coursera My learning profile
This personalized approach is seen throughout the platform where your courses are moved into In Progress or Completed sections (see image below) this makes your learning experience organized and structured.
At the moment of writing this Udacity vs Coursera comparison, there aren’t any mobile apps available for Udacity which is a shame as working on the go is an attractive part of learning for many of us.
Udacity does have a clean and easy design to navigate around, but the fact it doesn’t have a mobile app is a little disappointing. Whereas Coursera’s platform is equally intuitive and the fact it offers such a personalized experience as well as a mobile app means it has an edge over Udacity.
It’s difficult to say who’s got the best courses, but let’s try to answer a couple of questions to help you choose whether Udacity or Coursera is right for you.
With so many courses and programs available, it’s not always straightforward to find what you are looking for. Luckily, Udacity and Coursera have a few tools in place to make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
Udacity’s program catalog isn’t as extensive as others, but its focus is on technology and business related learning programs that covers 9 different fields (subjects). Once you select the Program Catalog you can then use the filter system (see image below) where you can select from Topic, Field, Difficulty Level, Duration, Price and Sort By. The filter system works effectivity due to the fact it doesn’t have as many courses as platforms like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning
Udacity Filter By
Within each Program syllabus, you will find the Top Student Reviews(see image below) which will give you an insight on past student’s experience using the classic 5-star rating plus a short description to give you a taste of the learning program.
Udacity Top student reviews
Coursera offers over 7,000+ courses along with specializations and degrees. It has 11 categories and dozens of subcategories. Once you have selected your subject you can then use its helpful filtering system to get really specific on what you are looking for.
Coursera Filter by
Coursera offers a slightly more extensive filtering system (see image above) due to the fact it has more courses. Its filters are broken up into Skills, Level, Language, Duration, Type and Creator. This helps learners find a specific course based on their requirements.
Once you have picked your course you will find yourself on the About course page where there is an FAQ section (see image below). This will hopefully answer any queries or doubts you have about taking the course or learning program.
At this moment, Udacity has about 40 programs and around 200 free courses, which can’t be compared with the 5000+ courses, specializations and online degree programs that Coursera offers. Keep in mind here that Udacity’s focus is on very subject specific technology and business courses giving you job – ready skills and Coursera offers a wider selection of courses that are partnered with top Universities and Institutions.
Interactive 3D Graphics – This is a course organized by Autodesk (a reference in the 3D design). It’s aimed at intermediate users, and it’ll take about 2 months to complete.
Product Manager Interview Preparation – This is a course taught by several product managers professionals that will prepare you for a product manager interview. It’s aimed at beginners and takes about 1 week to complete.
Machine Learning – A free course to learn the science of getting computers to act without being programmed. It has had more than 4,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.9 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Andrew Ng the Co-founder of Coursera. You have the option to upgrade and purchase the course, where you will earn the certificate for$49.
Getting Started with Power BI Desktop – A 2-hour long project-based course, where you will learn the basics of using Power BI Desktop software. It’s offered by Coursera project network for beginners, with over 30,000 already enrolled and a 4.7 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. It costs$9.99 to take this guided project.
Python for Everybody Specialization – A Specialization to learn to program and analyze data with Python. It has had more than 1,000,000 students enrolled in this specialization and a 4.8 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Charles Russell Severance and partnered with University of Michigan. It will take approximately 8 months to complete, and costs $49 a month, with a 7-day free trial available.
Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate – A Professional Certificate to launch your career in social media marketing to build job-ready skills and credentials. It has had more than 50,000 students enrolled in this professional certificate and a 4.9 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Anke Audenaert and partnered with Facebook. It will take approximately 7 months to complete, and costs $49 a month, with a 7-day free trial available.
Machine Learning for Analytics – In this 4-course program, you’ll develop skills in statistics and machine learning to advance your career as a data science professional. The certificate is partnered with The University of Chicago and will take you 5 months to complete. You can either do a 1 off payment for$3,900 or 4 payments for $1,000 monthly.
BSc Computer Science – Earn a Bachelors Degree with University of London to give you a strong foundation in Computer Science and specialized knowledge of topics such as Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Web Development. The Bachelors degree should take you 3-6 years and will cost you between £11,229 – £16,790 ($15,230 – $22,872). You will need to apply for the Bachelors Degree.
Round 4: Free Courses At Udacity & Coursera
Something I get asked often is: Where can I find top quality free online courses?
The honest answer is, What are you actually looking for? Once we know your specifications, it is easier to direct you. For example, If you are looking for a wide pool of courses that is very different from learning a specific skill without the need of a completion certificate.
Udacity Free Courses
Udacity Free Courses
Udacity offers a little under 200 free courses. The filtering system gives you a nice easy way to identify its free courses (see image below) and although it’s not as many free courses as other learning platforms like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning this is to be expected as overall, it has less learning programs.
Coursera Free Courses
Coursera offers a generous number of its courses for free, that are easy to find, which makes it even better. When you land on the Coursera homepage and click on ‘Explore’ then simply on ‘Take a free course’.
Coursera Take a free course
Then a big pool of free courses will show over 2,700+ on a big variety of subjects, skill, level duration etc. A handy filter is on the left-hand side, so you can use it to filter what exactly you are looking for.
As well as the free courses explained above, Coursera offers an Audit for free option (see image below), which means you will get access to the course content, but won’t receive a certificate on completion. If your main goal is to study a high-quality course without the need for an accreditation certificate, then Coursera’s Audit option is ideal.
Coursera Audit for free
Coursera offers a much wider selection of courses on 11 subjects in total where you can learn for free from top partnered Universities and Institutions, which really makes it stand out from Udacity. To add to that, it’s very generous as many platforms either don’t have a free option or it offers a very small amount.
Coursera seems to be unstoppable with the score at 0 – 4.
Round 5: Available Languages At Udacity & Coursera
I am going to keep this round, short and sweet.
Udacity does allow you to set up its learning programming with subtitles in other languages like Chinese and Portuguese, but this isn’t guaranteed across all its courses. It really is the best if learners are fluent or have a high level of English to get the best experience out of learning with Udacity.
Coursera Languages available
Coursera, however, offers a wide range of languages including the following; English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Chinese, Chinese (Traditional) and many more. The majority of the video lessons have an interactive transcript (also available on the mobile app).
Coursera is leading all the way with the score at 0 – 5.
Round 6: Certificates & Career Advice At Udacity & Coursera
If a completion certificate is what you are looking for then Udacity and Coursera both offer these, there are some differences between the two. Let me explain in more detail below.
Udacity does offer completion certificates when you complete the full Nanodegree, however you won’t receive it after completing one of the individual courses that collectively make up a Nanodegree. Its certificates are not accredited by a top University or Institutions, but they are partnered and recognized by Industry companies like (e.g. Mercedes, Google or Nvidia).
Moreover, Udacity also offers career advice, interview preparation, coaching and help writing a CV, this can be highly beneficial to develop professionally.
Udacity’s Career Services
With Coursera you will receive a validated certificate that includes: The course name, The instructor’s signature, The logo of the partner institution as well as a verification URL that allows others to check the Certificate’s authenticity.
Coursera verified certificate example
You will be able to download, print and share your certificates(see image above). Coursera is partnered with top institutions like Duke and Imperial College which are recognized by future employees.
Udacity is making its mark with the score at 1 – 5.
Round 7: Teachers & Community At Udacity & Coursera
We all remember that one inspiring teacher at School or University who helped to inspire us to reach our full potential. Well, that is no different from learning online, if you have an instructor with experience and in-depth subject knowledge it is going to help you reach your maximum potential.
To become an instructor with Udacity you’ll need to be able to prove that you have a lot of professional experience in your field. Additionally, Udacity curates its content partnering with big organizations such as Amazon, Uber or Google – which gives you the reassurance that course content is of the highest quality.
At Udacity, you’ll be able to interact with other students and the course mentors, who are there to help you with any question you may have. I can’t of course vouch for every program mentor and student at Udacity, but I have the feeling that their community is more active.
Every course at Coursera is created, taught and partnered by Universities and Institutions like Stanford, Duke, Google and IBM which guarantees the course is top quality. Before the courses are open to the public they will use Beta testers (experts and enthusiasts) to review and give feedback to ensure it is of the highest quality.
Coursera has an interactive community where you can ask questions, interact with other members. My impression is that the community is engaged and responsive and can be particularly useful for new users.
Udacity’s support system is well organized and easy to navigate. It also provided help articles about any question I had about the elearning community. Contacting the support team is really straightforward. You only need to head over to its help section and click on the help chatbot button, after you type in your question, you’ll be able to reach out to a (human) support agent for help – it may take longer to get an answer if you are a free user.
Coursera offers a similar support system to Udacity with the typical help articles and popular topics like Account Setup, Payments, Enrollment etc.
Coursera also offers a live chat as long as you are logged in. I have to be honest it isn’t the easiest to find, and they may take some time to respond.
Although both have a similar help center, due to the fact Udacity chatbot is easier to navigate around this point goes to them.
Udacity is trying to back a comeback with the score at 2 – 6.
Round 9: Which One Is Better For Businesses
Many businesses and organizations are now looking at online learning to upskill their employees and develop their existing skills. Both Udacity and Coursera offer this.
Udacity for Enterprise is to help transform your workforce with the right tech skills for the future. They don’t give any indication of price as you need to request a consultation which I imagine will give you a personalized quote depending on of number of employees and Organization.
Udacity for Enterprise
Whereas Coursera offers a couple of business packages – Team and Enterprise. The Team package is for teams and small organizations and is $399 a year for each user in a team or small organization, giving them access to over 3,800 courses. The second option is the Custom Pricing that is larger organizations.
Coursera for Business
Both platforms offer customized plans. Due to the fact, Coursera has some transparency with pricing, the point goes to them.
Udacity final price, really boils down to how long it takes you to complete. To enrol on one of their programs, you’ll need to pay $399 a month (you can get the price down to $339 a month if you pre-pay for the entire program duration in advance). Since Udacity Nanodegrees can take between 2 and 6 months to complete, you’ll be looking to spend $700 to $2,000 to complete a program.
Coursera offers a few options – either paying for an individual course or subscribing to Coursera Plus where you pay an annual subscription to access the majority of the courses on Coursera. There is no limit to the courses you can enrol on, and you will earn a Course Certificate for every course you complete. It costs $339 for the annual subscription, but does not include degrees or Mastertrack certificates which can be around $25,000. Coursera doesn’t only offer high-quality courses and learning programs, but it offers a variety of approaches to pay for them.
In terms of refunds, Udacity allows you to cancel and unenroll within the first 7 days, which will make you eligible for a full refund. To cancel your Udacity subscription, you will find it in Subscription & Billing in your Account Settings, then simply click on Cancel. At Coursera, in most cases, you can request a refund within 14 days after your payment has been processed. It doesn’t offer refunds on Guided Projects and for Degree programs, each partnered University or Organization will have a different refund policy.
You may have come to the end of this comparison and realized that neither Udacity nor Coursera are for you. If that is the case I thought I would highlight some alternative platforms for you to consider.
If you are looking for a pool of engaging classes on a variety of categories taught by celebrities and VIPs, MasterClass may be the right option for you. Fancy learning basketball from Stephen Curry, songwriting from Alicia Keys or middle eastern cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi?
MasterClass is a good alternative to Udacity and Coursera
You can sign up for one of MasterClasses memberships which will give you access to its catalog of 150+ classes across 11 categories. All its memberships are billed annually starting with the Individual plan costing $180 a year(working out at $15 a month) If you do decide within the first 30 days that MasterClass isn’t for you, you can request a refund.
If learning data skills online piques your interest, then Datacamp may be the platform that is right for you. It focuses on helping individuals and teams develop the data skills you need for a future of work. It offers a wide range of categories from non-coding essentials to data science and machine learning.
Datacamp is a good alternative to Udacity and Coursera
It offers individuals a Basic (free) plan which gives you access to a very limited number of courses or the Premium paid plan for $39 a month or $149 when billed annually. It also offers a couple of plans for teams and businesses to help support your team.
If you want a cheaper alternative to both Udacity and Coursera that works under a subscription model, you can check Skillshare. This elearning platform for creatives and entrepreneurs has over 35,000+ courses with its paid plan.
Skillshare a cheaper alternative to Udacity and Coursera
Be aware that Skillshare doesn’t issue completion certificates, but some of its courses are created by top industry professionals and big companies like MailChimp, Google or Moz.
Like Coursera, edX offers courses organized by world-class universities like MIT, Berkeley or Harvard. And since it’s an accredited organization, you’ll be able to earn official degrees from edX.
edX can be a good alternative to Udacity and Coursera
You’ll find many free courses on its platform, plus the option to audit the course or learning program. However, if you want to earn an edX completion certificate you’ll need to pay for the course (between $50 to $300).
Hopefully, this extensive Udacity vs Coursera comparison has answered most of the questions you may have had and highlighted which elearning platform is for you. I have put together their pros and cons to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms. This can then help your decision-making on which platform is right for you, remember that both platforms offer courses for free, which could be a great place to start before financially committing.
Top Quality: Its Nanodegree programs are built in collaborations with industry leaders like Google and Mercedes.
Job Ready: Its programs are designed, so you leave with the tech skills ready for a specific career path or job role.
Free Courses: You have access to close to 200 free courses, which are mainly designed for beginners, to give you a taste of the platform.
Career Services: Its career services include resume review, interview preparation and job search support.
Expensive: It isn’t the cheapest option for online learning, and can get expensive depending on how long it takes you to complete one of its programs.
No Job guarantee: Although it offers career services, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will land your dream job.
Topic Specific: It only offers Nanodegree programs related to tech and digital skills, if you are looking for a wider pool of categories it’s best to check out platforms like MasterClass or Udemy.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.
22/05/23 – Free Courses at Coursera Updated
02/05/23 – Udacity vs Coursera Summary Updated
04/04/23 – Udacity and Coursera Refunds
17/03/23 – Datacamp Alternative
27/02/23 – Udacity vs Coursera Updated
04/02/23 – Udacity and Coursera Pros & Cons
05/09/22 – General Update
18/08/22 – General Update
21/03/22 – Popular Udacity courses & MasterClass Alternative
14/12/21 – Udacity or Coursera Quiz
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.
Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.
Thanks for the indepth breakdown, been debating what would help me get to the next step and I think I’ve got my answer. Thanks!
Thanks Kwan. So happy it was helpful and helped you make that next decision. Good luck and happy learning 🙂
Udacity’s content is outdated. I attended the Android basic nanodegree. However, I needed to drop out as I found out that their content is 5 years old. Currently, I am taking the free Java course. Later, I might register their Java programming nanodegree just for the fun of learning.
Thanks Carlos for sharing your experience. I hope the free Java and potential Nanodegree end up being more what you are looking for 🙂
Good extensive research. Quite helpful. Now the only difference is Industry with Udacity or Universities with Coursera for a large number of courses.
Thanks Anand. Happy the article was helpful 🙂
Thank you. Great explanation and comparison
You are welcome Anas 🙂
Thank you for this amazing piece of information. Appreciated and helped me very much💐
Thanks so much, Mohamud. So happy it helped you and happy learning 🙂
This is by far the best in-depth comparison on that topic I could find. Love your work, thanks a lot!
Thanks a lot Liam. So happy you found it so helpful 🙂