Coursera Plus, in essence, is a subscription plan designed for the most dedicated of 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 $399 per year ($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 the 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:
What is Coursera Plus?
Coursera Plus is e-learning platform Coursera’s yearly subscription service that gives online students unlimited access to Coursera’s massive catalog of online courses, specializations, and professional certificate programs.
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:
- 3000+ 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.
- 1000+ Specializations. For developing 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.
- 11+ 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.
- 100+ 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. 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 $399 per year (equivalent to $33.25 per month). The subscriptions are billed annually rather than monthly, and every purchase of Coursera Plus comes with a 14-day full money-back guarantee. Refunds are processed instantly through Coursera’s My Purchases page.
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
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 Programmer certification program. On average, this program takes 5 months to complete, and costs roughly $80 per month, bringing the total cost of the program to around $400. 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 will be $1 less than enrolling into the course separately for the whole duration. And, you’ll have another 7 months of all-expenses-paid Coursera content to spare after finishing the Specialization.
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 as some of Coursera’s courses are free to audit, and the prices of premium courses vary on a case-by-case basis.
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.