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Is Coursera Plus Really Worth It in 2023?

What is Coursera Plus, and should you join it? Let's look at the latest changes in 2023 to this subscription model offered by Coursera to find out.

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Coursera Plus, in essence, is a Coursera subscription plan designed for the most dedicated online students. I like to think of it as the Netflix of online courses. You pay for a subscription, and you get instant access to unlimited amounts of digital content. But unlike Netflix, Coursera Plus will not shower you with endless TV shows and romantic comedies. Instead, Coursera Plus will give you access to a wealth of knowledge curated by the world’s top universities and corporations, such as Caltech, Johns Hopkins University, and Google. With hundreds of partnerships such as these, active Coursera Plus users can bolster their CVs and skillsets in ways never possible before.

Priced at $59 per month or $399 per year (effectively $33.25 per month), however, Coursera Plus is a considerable investment for most online students. But it’s an investment that has the potential to pay for itself many times over in the long run. And Coursera Plus comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee, giving students a chance to test the service before committing to a subscription.

To save fellow online students time and energy, though, we decided to take a data-based approach to assess whether Coursera Plus is worth it for the average student.

These are the questions you’ll find the answers to in this article.

Table of Contents

What is Coursera Plus?

Coursera Plus on the Coursera website in 2023
Coursera Plus on the Coursera website in 2023

In an interview with Class Central, Shravan Goli (CPO at Coursera) and Anubhav Chopra (Consumer Product Lead at Coursera) described the four key objectives of Coursera Plus as follows:

  • Flexible learning. Subscribing to Coursera Plus enables users to learn at their own pace and to switch between different courses effortlessly.
  • Unmatched value. Students who find themselves enrolling in multiple Coursera courses per year can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by subscribing to Coursera Plus.
  • Diverse learning. Subscribing to Coursera Plus allows learners to take a wide range of courses from different walks of life without having to worry about additional fees.
  • Unlimited certificates. At no additional cost, Coursera Plus subscribers can earn official certificates for every online program they complete.

What does Coursera Plus include?

Here’s a quick rundown of what a subscription to Coursera Plus includes as of 2023:

  • 7,000+ online courses. For mastering a specific topic, university-led online courses on Coursera are where you should start. Some of our favorite Coursera courses include The Science of Well-Being by Yale University, Introduction to Marketing by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Programming for Everybody by the University of Michigan.
  • 790+ Specializations. For developing a deep knowledge of a subject through a series of online courses, Coursera’s specializations are the way to go. Some of our favorites include Python for Everybody by the University of Michigan, Data Science by Johns Hopkins University, and Excel Skills for Business by Macquarie University.
  • 70+ Professional Certificates. For landing a lucrative job offer and/or improving your CV, you’ll want to take a look at professional certificate programs such as Google’s IT Support, Arizona State University’s TESOL, and Cloud Architecture with Google Cloud. Note that IBM Professional Certificates are not included in Coursera Plus.
  • 750+ Guided Projects. Guided projects are Coursera’s newest learning tools, and they enable learners to develop job-relevant skills through short hands-on projects. Some of the most popular Guided Project programs include Introduction to Project Management, Spreadsheets for Beginners using Google Sheets, and Create Your First Python Program.

A subscription to Coursera Plus does not, however, include Coursera’s online degrees or MasterTrack programs. A few Professional Certificate courses are also excluded, primarily the ones from IBM. For a full list of all the institutions whose programs are included in a Coursera Plus subscription, refer to this page from the Coursera Help Center.

How much does Coursera Plus cost?

The price of Coursera Plus is $59 per month or $399 per year $399 per year (equivalent to $33.25 per month). For learners located outside of the United States, the pricing can differ slightly. These are the prices of Coursera Plus for students from various parts of the globe:

  • United States: $399 per year
  • Europe: €337 per year
  • United Kingdom: £305 per year
  • Canada: CA$530 per year
  • Australia: AU$592
  • India: ₹28450 per year

Every purchase of Coursera Plus comes with a 14-day full money-back guarantee. Refunds are processed instantly through Coursera’s My Purchases page without any questions asked, making it very low-risk to test out the subscription.

Is Coursera Plus worth it or not?

Yes. Coursera Plus is worth it for learners who take multiple Coursera programs per year. But, to make subscribing to Coursera Plus worthwhile, learners should make use of the vast amounts of content that is available to them through the subscription.

Thus, we arrive at a boring answer – it depends.

While “it depends” or “it’s complicated” are the most accurate answers to the question of whether Coursera Plus is worth it, they are likely not the answers you were looking for.

So, let’s analyze this question a bit deeper.

Let’s start with Specializations. These programs typically take between 4 and 8 months to complete, and without Coursera Plus, enrollment usually costs around $50 per month. Therefore, a 6-month specialization such as the Excel Skills for Business Specialization will cost you roughly $300. Multiplied by two, we arrive at a cost of $600 to finish two specializations in a single year. The subscription price of $399 per year becomes a good deal in this scenario.

Now, let’s take a look at Professional Certificates, one of the most well-reviewed of which is the SAS Visual Business Analytics Professional Certificate program. On average, this program takes five months to complete and costs $79 per month, bringing the total cost of the program to $395. Once again, we can see that the price of Coursera Plus justifies itself. Even if you only take this program and nothing else, the cost of one year of Coursera Plus is pretty much the same as enrolling in the course separately for the whole duration. And you’ll have another seven months of all-expenses-paid Coursera content to spare after finishing the Specialization. And many of these professional certificates are excellent programs – we’ve reviewed several of them, including the IT Automation, IT Support, and Project Management certificates from Google. Note, however,  that there are certain Professional Certificates that are not included in Coursera Plus, such as those from IBM (on data engineering, data science, full stack and back end development, AI engineering, and more) and Meta (on iOS and Android development, among others).

When it comes to individual online courses, however, the question of whether Coursera Plus is worth it starts to become more complicated to answer. The break-even point seems to be about one course every two months. If you take an online class every two months on average, then a Coursera Plus subscription will be cost-effective for you. But, that will not always be the case; course prices vary, and most of Coursera’s courses are free to audit, and if you don’t need the full course content or the certificates for all of your courses.

Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of Coursera Plus from a personal standpoint. Consider which programs you plan on taking. For learners who take specializations and professional certificate programs, subscribing to Coursera Plus appears to be very cost-effective. But, if you’re only planning on taking a course or two per year, the cost of Coursera Plus could end up being higher than simply enrolling in individual courses one by one.

Personally, I think Coursera Plus is a fantastic opportunity for avid online students such as myself. The wealth of learning content available to subscribers is unparalleled, and the ever-expanding catalog of Coursera courses will give it even more value as time goes by.

Time-limited offer
$100 USD off your first year of Coursera Plus Annual (expires 1 April 2024)