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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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How Do You Take Coursera Courses For Free?

How Do You Take Coursera Courses For Free?

Coursera is an online learning platform that aims to make a wide arrange of different courses available for everyone.

From simple online courses to degree programs from leading universities and important companies—this learning platform has taken the world by storm!

But we know in the current climate that investing in such courses can be a big ask! So you might be wondering if there is any way that how do you take Coursera courses for free.

Is there a way to do this? Can you still get onto a good quality course without spending much money?

If these are the kind of questions you’re wondering about, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to be taking you through some of the ways you can take advantage of the Coursera platform for free!

We’ve also made sure to include a short FAQ to help clear up any questions you may have at the end of the article.

An Overview Of Coursera 

Coursera is an online learning platform that provides a huge variety of different online courses that help you learn the skills you need to succeed in life.

These courses are called Massive Open Online Courses or ‘MOOCs’ for short, and allow you to get high-quality education from some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Coursera’s notable partners include Duke, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford, Peking, HEC Paris and Michigan. 

It’s also worth noting that Coursera has partnerships with important global companies including Google, PwC and IBM.

All of these companies—as well as many others—have courses on Coursera that you can take to learn more about the skills you’d need to work there. Coursera has a whopping 190 partners across the entire world.

To take the discussion back to universities, it’s worth noting that Coursera features 34 online degrees that you can take. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.


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Coursera also has a huge variety of Professional Certificates, MasterTracks, and grouped courses that they call ‘Specializations.’

Some of these courses are taken by users as a way to get credits toward one of Coursera’s more extensive degree courses. 

Can You Get Coursera Certificates For Free?

This is probably the most common question around Coursera. Some of the larger courses—degrees for example—are bound to cost money, but what about smaller courses? Are you able to get certificates for free?

The sad thing is that as Coursera has grown and flourished, so to has it started to branch out and monetize aspects of the platform that were once free.

Certificates used to be free, but now there’s no way to get them. Most courses have stopped allowing users to get free certificates because and now charge for you to complete a course and get one. 

So Is Anything On Coursera Free?

The first thing you should know is that it’s free to sign up to Coursera. There are a lot of courses that you can access only by paying.

On desktop or laptop, you’ll be able to see this on the class page below the ‘Go To Class’ blue option. There will be a dollar symbol ($) and then the amount right next to it. 

It’s important to note that a lot of the courses on Cousera have free elements. This usually includes videos and resources, which you can access to get a general idea of what the course will be before committing to a purchase.

In order to get the certificate for a course, or any other important steps (such as graded assignments) you’re going to need to to pay!

But with this in mind, you should know that there are some Coursera courses that you can take completely for free—it just takes a little bit of digging to find the right ones!

Three Free Coursera Courses You Can Take In A Day

Okay, so in this section we’re going to give you a few examples of some free courses you can take on Coursera. This will give you some idea of the kind of courses you’ll be able to enroll in without investing a penny. 

How Do You Take Coursera Courses For Free?

1. How Technology Is Shaping Democracy And The 2020 Election By Rob Reich

This is a course offered by Stanford that looks at how technolog (namely social media) has shaped recent elections, and will likely shape others in the future.

This is a 100% online course with flexible deadlines. It’s completely free to enroll and a good example of a free course that is fast, extensive and from an impressive educational institution.

It’s aimed at the beginner level and takes around 3 hours to complete—though this can differ depending on your level.

It’s also worth noting that it has support for a variety of different languages including Arabic, French, Portuguese (EU), Italian, German, English, Spanish and Russian. 

2. Stanford Introduction To Food And Health By Maya Adam, Md

If you’re looking for something that could help your life in a more general sense, this could be a great course for you!

The Stanford Introduction to Food and Health is a course that has been enrolled in by over 700,000 people. This  course takes you through the global epidemic of obesity and how we as a culture can tackle it! 

This one comes with a shareable certificate that you’ll be able to keep once you have completed the course, it’s 100% online and it touts a 24% new career path for students who enrolled.

3. Understanding Research Methods By Dr J. Simon Rofe

This is a great course to take before starting a more difficult course, as it helps you to learn about research methods and general rules around scientific method.

It’s offered by the University of London and is another great accredited course you can delve into.

It’s a little longer than the others, taking around 6 hours to complete on average, but it has a wide range of support for different languages and you’ll get a shareable certificate at the end! 

A Note On Auditing Coursera Courses

Now that we’ve showed you a little about some of the courses you’ll be able to enroll in for free, we want to explain a bit about how you can audit courses on Coursera.

Auditing is a great way to get an understanding of a course and experience some of its resources before committing to enrollment. 

The free section of a Coursera course is called ‘auditing’ and it’s a way for you to take the course without having to pay.

You will lose out on the accreditation, and you won’t be able to finish with a certification of your achievement, but you will still be able to engage in the course and soak up all the knowledge that’s available.

This is a great move for yourself if you want to expand your knowledge of a specific area, and can be a great idea if you’re looking to learn about something outside your normal field of study.

So then ‘audit’ is the word you’ll want to watch out for. After you’ve taken a look at different Coursera courses, try to find this option so that you can take the course without the final steps of certification and assignments. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Although Coursera has become more restrictive over the years when it comes to the full access of a course, you’ll still be able to audit courses and gain knowledge without paying a dime.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand a little more about what you can do with Coursera without paying, and that you’ll find a course that can massively benefit your life and career.

If you still have some questions, make sure to keep reading for our short Frequently Asked Question section, that has been written to help you understand some of the most important things around this issue.

We wish you the best of luck in your education, no matter what stage of life you’re in! 


Degrees, Certificates, & Free Online Courses

  • More than 5,000 courses
  • Professional Certificates
  • Degrees from the Top Universities
Try Coursera

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Coursera Not Free Anymore?

Coursera changed drastically and began to focus on more accredited courses.

The upside to this is that they will give you a lot more of a positive outcome, as you’ll be able to link them on your CV—the downside is that they are no longer free.

However, many courses are still free to audit, as we highlighted in our section above.

What Is Coursera Plus?

Coursera plus is a subscription service offered by the company that gives you automatic access to over 7000 courses. In many ways you can think of it as Netflix for courses!

This is a very cost-effective way to utilize