Are Coursera Degrees Worth It? Cost, Accreditation, Benefits, and More

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Coursera is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) learning platform that aggregates online courses from top universities around the world.

As well as regular courses, Coursera now offers fully online degree programs in partnership with many of those universities. Whether you’re interested in a Coursera bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate certificate, or a Coursera master’s degree, there are tons of options. 🎓

So, what do the Coursera degrees look like? How hard is it to get into Coursera degree programs? And, importantly are Coursera degrees accredited, respected, and legit options to pursue for your education?

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for Coursera. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you, at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks!

In this post, sponsored by Coursera itself, I’ll go over what a Coursera degree is, how hard it is to get accepted, the time commitment required and Coursera degree cost, benefits, and more.

Are Coursera degrees worth it for you? This post will help you decide! 🎉

What are Coursera Degrees?

Coursera degree programs provide a way to earn a real degree from top universities including the University of London, HEC Paris, and the University of Illinois. 🏛️

Through Coursera, these schools offer full online degree programs in some of the most in-demand fields like computer science, data science, business programs, and more. 

When you enroll in an online degree through Coursera, you’ll take courses led by the same top-ranked professors who lecture on campus. Attend online lectures from anywhere and interact directly with professors and classmates in your courses.

Coursera Degrees

Are Coursera degrees accredited?

How legit is a degree from Coursera? Basically, is a Coursera degree accredited in the same way as really attending the university?

Yes! Getting a degree through Coursera is just like attending a real university (because it is!). You’ll graduate with a fully accredited degree from the university offering the Coursera online degree. Some degrees even let you walk at graduation if you so choose! 📜

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What Degrees Does Coursera Offer?

Coursera doesn’t just have one type of degree—so let’s compare some of your options!

Which kinds of degrees / subjects are available?

1️⃣ Bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor’s degree options on Coursera include: Data Science, Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering, MBA, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Public Health, Finance, Public Policy, International Relations, and more.

2️⃣ Postgraduate studies: If you’re pursuing a postgraduate diploma or certificate, Coursera currently offers options for Management, Business, Public Health, and Data Science.

3️⃣ Master’s degrees: Get your online master’s degree (or MBA) in Data Science, Computer Science, Marketing, Business Administration, and more.

Coursera Degree Types

How are they different from other Coursera courses?

Coursera offers many different kinds of learning resources. You can learn all the details on Coursera’s website, but for now let’s hit the highlights of each category’s main objective, average time commitment, and cost.

Please note that pricing listed below may change in the future!

👩‍🏫 Guided projects: Quickly learn job skills and industry tools

  • Average time commitment: 1-2 hours
  • Cost starting at: $9.99

👨‍💻 Courses: Gain new knowledge

  • Average time commitment: 4-12 hours
  • Cost starting at: Free

🔍 Specializations: Master a specific skill

  • Average time commitment: 1-3 months
  • Cost starting at: $39 USD per month

Read more about Coursera Specializations here

📜 Professional certificates: Get job-ready for an in-demand career

  • Average time commitment: 1-6 months
  • Cost starting at: $39 USD per month

🏆 MasterTrack® certificates: Earn a university-issued certificate and credit towards a degree

  • Average time commitment: 4-7 months
  • Cost starting at: $2,000 USD

🎓 Degrees: Earn a genuine bachelor’s or master’s degree

  • Average time commitment: 2-4 years
  • Cost starting at: $9,000 USD

How are Coursera degree programs different from other degrees?

In many cases, the Coursera degree you earn won’t be any different to the degrees that on-campus, in-person students earn from the same university. (It won’t say “online” anywhere on your degree, for instance!) 

Your degree will be conferred and accredited by the universities themselves. All the content for courses in Coursera degree programs is created by university faculty members who are experts in their field.

College diploma

How Much Do Coursera Degrees Cost? Is There Financial Aid?

Please note that pricing listed below may change in the future!

💰 Coursera degrees range from around $9,000 to $30,000+.

Getting a degree through Coursera isn’t cheap compared to taking a few online courses, but after all, it is a real university degree. It’s more accurate to compare your Coursera degree cost to full-time university tuition.

Coursera Degree Pricing

The good news is that most degree programs offer pay-as-you-go plans. You won’t be billed up-front for the whole degree. Instead, you’ll pay as you go – each semester you’ll pay tuition only for the courses you are enrolled in.

There are also options to help you pay or make it easier if you need Coursera degree financial aid: 

  • Employer tuition reimbursement: Your current employer might cover some or all of the costs, all you have to do is ask!
  • U.S. Federal financial aid: U.S. students may qualify for financial aid from the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA).
  • Scholarships and grants: Scholly is one of many resources you can use to discover scholarships and grants. Each Coursera degree will have its own scholarships and financial aid available. Example: for Arizona State University’s Online Master of Computer Science you could find scholarship opportunities here, or other types of financial aid here.
  • Private loans: Coursera has partnered with Credible to support applicants considering private student loans.
  • Tax credits and deductions: U.S. students pursuing credit-bearing courses and degree programs may be able to receive tax credits and student loan interest.
  • Resources for non-U.S. students

Since you’ll be walking away with a real diploma, it’s up to you to decide if the Coursera degree value is worth the cost. What is a Coursera degree worth to you? ⚖️

6 Benefits of Using Coursera for Degrees

Are Coursera degrees worth it compared to just applying directly through a university? Great question!

Here are six benefits that can definitely make Coursera degrees worth it. 

📆 1. You can get started immediately instead of waiting months

The scheduling works a little differently with Coursera degrees.

Instead of having to wait for the next academic year to come around and go through a long application and enrollment process, you can enroll pretty last-minute for some degrees. (However, this isn’t the case for all degrees, as many run on normal timetables like fall and spring semester start dates.)

Furthermore, if you miss your start date, you can still start knocking out courses. Coursera offers MasterTrack certificates, which split portions of some master’s degree programs into online modules, so you can start learning right away.

If and when you are admitted to the full program later, your completed courses will count towards your degree learning. 💪


Karim Makisig “Maki” Villano was interested in the Master of Science in Data Science from the University of Colorado Boulder. “In other programs, I would have waited months to hear back about my admission,” he said. “With CU Boulder, I could jump right in and not waste any time.”

🏆 2. You don’t necessarily need relevant qualifications to get accepted

For several Coursera degrees, there’s performance-based admissions, which means there is no application process––simply demonstrate you can do the work to gain admission to the degree.

Person typing

Other degrees do have specific requirements for admission like a bachelor’s degree and a certain GPA. But if you don’t meet the GPA or prerequisite knowledge admission criteria, there are alternate options for you to demonstrate your capability. This makes it more accessible for people from different backgrounds.


Mattison Hineline was also interested in the Master of Science in Data Science program from the University of Colorado Boulder. The performance-based admissions structure meant she didn’t have to worry about things like transcripts, GPA, or GRE scores–she’d just need to demonstrate she could do the work, and she’d be accepted.

🌎 3. You can study from anywhere

You can get a degree from a top university without having to move to live near it! This is immensely useful if you’re living abroad/traveling/have children, etc. You can pursue your goals without uprooting your whole life.


Xunjing Wu wanted to pursue a career in software engineering or product management, so she started researching her options. She methodically researched bootcamps, on-campus degrees and online degrees that were open to students without a computer science undergraduate degree.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Online Master of Computer and Information Technology degree became her first choice. So many alumni of the MCIT on-campus program had gone on to become software engineers at top companies such as Facebook, Google and Bloomberg after graduation. She was able to enroll in her dream degree through Coursera!

👨‍👧‍👧 4. Study alongside your existing commitments, e.g. job

There’s no need to put your life on hold to take years off to study. While it does take a lot of time and work to earn a degree from Coursera, it is possible to balance the load alongside your job, family life, etc.


Patricia Ribiero Peña was a new mother with a full-time job when she enrolled in a Coursera MBA program. “The concept of doing an MBA was a little scary,” says Peña. “I always imagined a block of two-to-three years I had to fulfill of nonstop studying, and then someone sent me a link with this new innovative program.”

💰 5. It’s cheaper than traditional tuition

The average cost of college in the United States is $35,331 per student per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses. For a four-year degree, that’s $141,324.

The average cost of a Master’s degree is $66,340.

Meanwhile, there are seven accredited Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programs with tuition under $20K total on Coursera. Degrees can be as cheap as $9,000 total! Some are a bit more expensive, but not much more than that.

🏫 6. It’s (surprisingly) similar to a real university experience!

While you’re not going to be rooming in any dorms or attending college parties, you can absolutely make friends and valuable connections during your Coursera online degree. There are live virtual study sessions, office hours with professors, a vibrant Slack community for students, and more.

Video call


One of Xunjing Wu’s biggest concerns with an online program was that she would need to study alone and that she wouldn’t have help if she got stuck.

“When someone posts a question on Slack, you can expect help or an answer very quickly from other students. You still have that sense of community even when you’re doing it online,” 

“I am grateful for the MCIT online community. The diversity in professional and cultural backgrounds—and the willingness and openness of the students to connect and support one another—is truly amazing. Thanks to this wonderful community, I have expanded my career network, and most importantly, made good friends.”

Top 5 Coursera Tech Degrees to Check Out

Here are some of the best Coursera tech degrees for those pursuing careers in computer science, data science, and other areas of tech. ⭐

How hard is it to get into Coursera degree programs like these? Don’t worry—we’ll cover the entry requirements and prerequisites for each program.

Please note that pricing listed below may change in the future!

1. Master of Computer and Information Technology

Coursera Master of Computer and Information Technology
  • Level: Coursera master’s degree
  • Time commitment: 16 – 40 months
  • University: University of Pennsylvania
  • Coursera master degree cost: ~$32144 total. It costs $3,200 USD per course unit (total of 10 units) + a $144 fee

Tailored for non-computer-science majors; students come from diverse academic backgrounds ranging from business and history (just like me!) to chemistry and medicine.

You’ll learn the fundamental concepts of programming and computer science with Python, important math concepts for CS, data structures & software design, algorithms, computer systems programming, and more.

Accepts applications for fall and spring semesters.

Entry requirements:

  • 3 or 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited school or university
  • No specific undergraduate GPA requirement, but successful applicants typically have a GPA above 3.0.
  • Personal statement (1000-1500 word essay)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts 
  • Your resume

2. Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Coursera BSc Computer Science
  • Level: Coursera bachelor’s degree
  • Time commitment: 36 – 72 months
  • University: University of London
  • Coursera degree cost: £11,229 – £16,790 total cost

Choose to specialize in one of seven cutting-edge topics: Machine Learning and AI, Data Science, Web and Mobile Development, Physical Computing and the Internet of Things, Games Development, Virtual Reality, or User Experience.

The program is offered twice per year in April and October.

Entry requirements:

  • Age 17 or older
  • GCSE Mathematics (Grade A*-B / 9-5) or AS Level Mathematics (A-E), or equivalent. (Accepts qualifications from all over the world)
  • Satisfy general entrance requirements

3. Master of Science in Data Science

Coursera Master of Science in Data Science
  • Level: Coursera master’s degree
  • Time commitment: 24 months
  • University: University of Colorado Boulder
  • Coursera master degree cost: $20,010 USD total

This program offers you the opportunity to receive a world-class education while crafting a personalized learning journey tailored to your individual goals and needs.

An ideal choice for anyone interested in the field of data science, no matter your academic background. Areas of study include statistics, computer science, Natural Language Processing, data mining, data structures and algorithms, etc.

Entry requirements: With performance-based admissions, there is no application. You just have to demonstrate you can do the work. No transcripts, tests, minimum GPAs, or application fees are needed to enroll in the program. Simply complete a pathway series—by passing 3 courses in either statistics or computer science—to gain admission.

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4. Master of Science in Cyber Security

Coursera Master of Science in Cyber Security
  • Level: Coursera master’s degree
  • Time commitment: 24-60 months 
  • University: University of London
  • Coursera master degree cost: £9,000 – £12,000 total cost

Designed for aspiring professionals who are looking to gain valuable insight into the methods, approaches and concepts in cyber security.

Topics include: security management and governance, cybercrime, applied cryptography, network and infrastructure security, information privacy, and more.

The program is offered twice per year in April and October.

Entry requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree which is considered at least comparable to a UK second-class honours degree from an institution acceptable to the University.


  • Performance Based Admissions (PBA) route: third class bachelor’s degree or Aegrotat. Students on the PBA route may transfer to the MSc on successful completion of two modules (30 credits).

5.  Master of Computer Science

Coursera Master Of Computer Science
  • Level: Coursera master’s degree
  • Time commitment: 18-36 months
  • University: Arizona State University
  • Coursera master degree cost: $15,000 USD total

High-quality instruction combined with real-world experience through applied projects. Complete a rigorous set of assignments, projects, and exams guided by the same professors that teach on campus.

You’ll gain a deep understanding of cutting-edge topics like AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, and big data.

Entry requirements:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (3.25 recommended) in the last 60 credit hours (last two (2) years) of a four (4) year undergraduate degree
  • Two (2) semesters of advanced math in Calculus I and Calculus II, and a background course in Discrete Math.
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Up to 3 letters of recommendation
  • Demonstrated knowledge on official transcripts of these topics: Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms, Operating Systems, Principles of Programming Languages OR Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science

Are Coursera Degrees Worth It?

Whether or not a Coursera degree is worth it for you depends on your goals, current skill level, and how much time/money you’re willing and able to dedicate to your educational goals.

❌ A Coursera online degree may not be best for people who learn best in-person. It also would be less ideal for those who don’t have much of a budget for training and prefer to go the cheaper self-taught route.

💯 Coursera degrees can be an incredible option for people who want a higher-level education without spending as much as a traditional on-campus degree. Getting a degree through Coursera also offers the freedom/flexibility to study how and when it best suits you.

💯 Getting a degree through Coursera would also be great for career changers and those who want to level up their skills without completely changing their life (work, location, etc.) to study. It’s a great way to get an official qualification for a better price than four years of traditional university tuition. 

Ready to earn a degree from Coursera? Pick a program and start making your plan!