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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
Do colleges care about Coursera

Do Colleges Acknowledge Coursera Certifications?

Founded in 2012 by two professors at Stanford University with the goal of making high-quality education accessible to everyone, regardless of their location or background, Coursera is an online education platform that offers courses, certification programs, and degrees from top universities and educational institutions around the world. 

By using Coursera, you can take online courses in a wide variety of subjects, including computer science, business, art, and humanities. (Check out ‘How To Get A Career With Coursera?‘)

Many of the courses are self-paced, which means you can complete them at your own pace, and some courses offer the option to receive a certificate upon completion. 

Coursera also offers degree programs in areas such as computer science, business, and data science, which are delivered entirely online and are taught by faculty from leading universities.

One of the most popular questions about Coursera is whether or not colleges acknowledge the certifications given for completing the courses, with many people seeking to study in college after completing their respective courses on Coursera. (Read also ‘Are Coursera Certificates Worth It in 2023?’)

So, if you want to find out do colleges care about Coursera certifications, then keep reading on, and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need to know! 

Who Is Coursera For?

So, with such a broad spectrum of topics and various different courses available in each field, who exactly is Coursera designed for? 

Well, Coursera can be used by a variety of different people from various different fields and backgrounds, with the intention being to make education more accessible to people all over the world.

As Coursera states on its Coursera website, it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to develop skills that are going to help you begin your dream career, advance your current one further, or even switch your career entirely, without you having to quit your current job. 

Another potential use for Coursera includes using it to help upskill a company team or department, which means that it truly is an incredibly versatile platform, so it should come as no surprise that it’s so popular amongst those who are looking to develop and advance their skillset. 

There are numerous free courses available on Coursera, however in order to access the full range of courses available on the platform, users will first need to pay the relevant fees in order to truly unlock the full potential for learning that Coursera offers. 

So, it’s clear from the huge range of content available on the platform that Coursera is a platform that is truly designed with everybody in mind, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to start a new career or switch careers completely, they’ll be able to provide you with resources you need to be able to do so successfully. 

Do Colleges Care About Coursera?

Whether or not a Coursera course is recognized by a particular college or university will depend on the specific institution and its policies.

Some colleges and universities may accept Coursera courses as transfer credits toward a degree program, while others may not.

It is always best to check with the institution you are interested in attending to see if they accept credits from Coursera or other online education platforms.

In general, Coursera courses are designed to provide learners with a high-quality education, and many of the courses are taught by faculty from leading universities.

However, it is important to note that Coursera courses are not necessarily equivalent to traditional college courses, and the level of recognition they receive may vary from one institution to another.

If you are considering taking a Coursera course and hope to transfer the credits toward a degree program, it is a good idea to contact the college or university you are interested in to find out their policies on accepting credits from online education platforms.

What Colleges Do Accept Coursera Certifications?

Whilst Coursera partners with a wide range of colleges and universities across America, and even some worldwide, for the most part, most of these institutions won’t accept or recognize the certifications from Coursera courses, even if it was taught by that specific institution in the first place.

In fact, there are a number of different reasons why many colleges or institutions won’t accept Coursera certifications, including: 

  • Lack of accreditation: Some colleges and universities may not recognize Coursera certifications because Coursera is not an accredited institution of higher education. Accreditation is a process by which educational institutions and programs are evaluated by a third-party organization to ensure that they meet certain standards of quality. While Coursera courses may be of high quality, they are not accredited in the same way that colleges and universities are.
  • Difficulty in evaluating course content: Coursera courses cover a wide range of topics and are taught by a variety of instructors. This can make it difficult for colleges and universities to evaluate the content of Coursera courses and determine how they compare to traditional college courses.
  • Different learning format: Coursera courses are often self-paced and do not follow a traditional semester schedule. This can make it difficult for colleges and universities to determine how to transfer credit for Coursera courses into their own programs.
  • Different grading standards: Coursera courses may have different grading standards than those used by colleges and universities, which can make it difficult to compare the quality of the coursework.

If you’re planning on studying using a number of different Coursera courses, and are hoping that you will then be able to go on to study in college using these certifications, you should consider checking with each institution first in order to check that they actually accept these certifications, otherwise you might end up being left disappointed. 

However, even if colleges or other academic institutions don’t recognize Coursera certificates, this doesn’t mean that Coursera courses are completely worthless, in fact, they’re quite the opposite! 

Does Coursera Count As College Credit?

Many Coursera courses are offered through partnerships with universities and colleges, and these courses may be eligible for college credit.

However, the credit you receive and the process for transferring it to your college or university can vary.

It’s important to carefully review the credit information for the specific Coursera course or program you are interested in to determine whether it is eligible for college credit and how to apply for it.

In addition, Coursera offers degree programs, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in partnership with prestigious universities. These degree programs are typically eligible for college credit.

It’s important to note that college credit for Coursera courses and programs may not be accepted by all colleges and universities.

For the most part, however, Coursera accreditation won’t count as college credit though, so it’s a good idea to check with your school to see if they accept college credit from Coursera before a college admissions process or enrolling in a course or program.

Can You Include Coursera Courses On Your College Applications?

Can You Include Coursera Courses On Your College Application?

Whilst the college or university you plan on studying at might not accept your Coursera course accreditation, they are still worth adding to your application, as they demonstrate that you have the knowledge, patience, and rigor required in order to excel in academic settings. 

The same goes when applying for jobs too, many employers will be familiar with Coursera and the high standard of learning that it can provide, so when a job or college applicant includes their Coursera course accreditation on their application, it can certainly be a massive help in determining whether they get awarded a spot/role. 

If you want an example of how to add a Coursera course certification to your resume or application, take a look at this simple example below: 

[Name of Course]

[Institution offering the course] (e.g. Coursera)

[Date completed]

For example:

Introduction to Data Science


January 2020

If you have received a certificate of completion for the course, you can also include that information.

You can mention the course certificate under the name of the course, or create a separate section for certificates on your resume. Here is an example of how you can include Coursera certificates:

Introduction to Data Science


Certificate of Completion: January 2020

You can also include a link to the course page on Coursera in your application so that the employer can learn more about the course and the institution offering it.

This can be particularly helpful if the course is not well known or if the employer is not familiar with Coursera.

It’s important to note that while listing a Coursera course on your application can demonstrate your commitment to learning and your ability to complete an online course, it may not carry the same weight as a degree or certification from a traditional institution.

It’s always a good idea to consider the context and expectations of the employer when deciding what information to include on your application.

Are Coursera Courses Worth It?

Whether or not a Coursera course is worth it depends on your individual goals and circumstances.

Coursera offers a wide range of online courses and programs from top universities and companies, so the quality of the courses can vary.

Some people may find that taking a Coursera course helps them gain new skills or knowledge that they can apply in their personal or professional lives, while others may not find the same value.

Here are a few things to consider when wondering “are Coursera certificates worth it” for you:

  • Course quality: Look for reviews or ratings from past students to get an idea of the course’s quality and whether it has met the expectations of others.
  • Instructor: Consider the instructor’s credentials and expertise in the subject matter.
  • Time commitment: Make sure you have the time to commit to the course. Coursera courses can range from a few weeks to several months in length, so be sure to factor in the time it will take to complete the course.
  • Cost: Coursera courses can range in price, so be sure to consider the cost of the course and whether it fits within your budget.

Ultimately, the value of a Coursera course will depend on your own goals and needs.

It’s important to do your research and carefully consider these factors before enrolling in a course to ensure that you get the most value for your time and money.

What Are The Downsides Of Coursera?

Like most other online learning platforms, whilst Coursea seems excellent, there are of course some downsides. A few potential downsides to consider include:

  • Cost: While Coursera offers some free courses, many of its courses and programs come with a fee. Some people may find the cost of Coursera courses to be prohibitive, especially if they are taking multiple courses or enrolling in a degree program.
  • Time commitment: Coursera courses can vary in length, but many of them require a significant time commitment. This can be a challenge for people with busy schedules or other time constraints.
  • Self-paced vs. structured: Coursera offers both self-paced and structured courses and programs. Some people may prefer the structure and accountability of a structured program, while others may prefer the flexibility of a self-paced course.
  • Lack of in-person interaction: Because Coursera courses are online, there is no in-person interaction with instructors or other students. Some people may find this lack of interaction to be a drawback.

Overall, Coursera is a popular and reputable online learning platform that offers a wide range of courses and programs.

However, it’s important to carefully consider the potential downsides and whether they align with your learning style and goals before enrolling in a Coursera course, especially if you feel like you might benefit better from a different online learning platform instead. 


So, to summarize, whether or not a college will acknowledge Coursera certifications entirely depends on the policies of that specific institution, so it’s important that you check with your desired college to see whether or not they do accept it before you decide to apply!