edX vs Coursera: Prices, topics, and details

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise. I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my article where I compare edx vs Coursera.

Similarities and differences between edX and Coursera

edX and Coursera both offer online courses in software engineering, web development, digital marketing, business management, product management, data science, UX design, machine learning, data engineering, data analytics, and dozens of other topics.


  • Both programs are remote and self-paced.
  • edX & Coursera both offer degree programs that give grads accredited diplomas.
  • Both host courses from top universities and tech companies.
  • The courses on edX and Coursera are usually open to anyone except their degree programs.


  • While both offer a huge variety of courses in both tech and humanities topics, edX offers a slightly wider variety.
  • Coursera courses can last 3-10+ months, but usually require less than 5 hours of work per week. Many of their courses have less than 20 hours of content. edX courses usually last 3-12+ weeks and require 4-6 hours of work every week.
  • edX is a non-profit, while Coursera is a for-profit business. 
  • Coursera courses are almost always available, while edX courses can fill up or be discontinued. 

Topics offered by edX and Coursera

Both edX and Coursera offer courses that cover the following topics and much more:

  • UX design
  • Web development
  • Data science
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Software engineering 
  • Digital marketing
  • Sales
  • Product management
  • Business analytics
  • Data analytics

Prices for edX and Coursera

edX offers 3000+ courses with both free and paid options. Their certificate courses range from free to $400+. However, students almost always have to pay if they want to actually get a certificate upon completion. These certificate programs last 1-7 months with 2-5 hours of work every week.

Their XSeries programs offer a deeper dive into a specific topic. These XSeries programs usually contain multiple courses, which last 1-8 months and require 5-10 hours per week per course. They range in price from free to $130-500 each.

edX’s online master’s programs are much pricier, ranging from $10k to $25k+. These generally take 1-4 years to complete, comparable in pricing and workload to an on-campus learning experience. They also offer MicroMasters programs, which take less time and are less expensive than a full master’s but still come from accredited schools. These micro programs typically last 3 months to 1 year and cost $1k – $2k.

Classes on Coursera cost about $29 – $99+, depending on the topic. Like edX, their program is open to anyone with no formal admissions. Although their advanced “specialization” courses recommend that students have some experience, anyone can still enroll. Specialization courses cost about $39 – $79 per month and last 3-6+ months. Students can also apply for need-based financial aid as well.

However, Coursera’s online degrees are much more expensive, ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. These accredited university programs require a formal application and last 24-36+ months. Beyond classwork and lectures, students participate in virtual office hours with professors and dozens of hands-on projects. Students graduate with an official degree from an accredited university.

Ratings and reviews of edX and Coursera

Online reviews for edX are generally positive. Many students were impressed by the platform’s strong relationship with their partner universities and companies, which they felt gave their certificates credibility and brand-name recognition. One grad also appreciated that courses allowed students to “post, view, and comment on classmates’ work”, with lots of students valuing their flexible but still engaging style.

However, some students ran into administrative issues with assignments not being graded, which complicated the timeline and could even cost students their certificates. Some reviewers were also disappointed by how long it took edX to address these issues, with one user warning about “terrible support.” Overall though, grads seemed very satisfied with edX’s flexible university courses.

Coursera holds mostly positive reviews too. Most grads praise their flexible, affordable, but still engaging courses. Students on G2 appreciated that courses were “interactive” with “labs and tests that test practical skills.” Grads also valued Coursera’s strong partnerships with “tech giants including Google, IBM” as well as top universities. Plenty of students participated in more than one Coursera courses as they felt the pricing was fair and the courses didn’t move too fast.

However, some Coursera users were frustrated with the support and administrative team. Some students were unable to cancel their free trials in time and they were charged full price. Some users also felt the pricing for specialization courses was unclear and even confusing. Many would have liked support throughout the course, too. On the whole, however, users were impressed with Coursera’s self-paced and flexible, but still engaging courses.

Alternatives to edX and Coursera

If you decide not to enroll in edX or Coursera, you might consider one of the alternative learning platforms and tech resources below:

  • Another online learning platform, Udacity hosts both free and paid courses on a wide variety of tech topics. Many courses even come from top tech companies like IBM or Google. Students in their nanodegree programs also get 1-on-1 mentoring with both a career coach and a technical mentor, with lots of opportunities to build a project portfolio. Learn more about Udacity in our review.
  • The massive online learning platform Udemy also hosts 100k+ courses on both tech and humanities subjects. Their courses are also self-paced and lecture-based.
  • Skillshare also hosts 19,000+ free and paid courses that cover web dev, UX/UI design, business analytics, and many other tech topics. Their courses are remote and flexible like both edX and Coursera.
  • Students seeking flexible online learning with mentoring can look into Springboard. Their tech career tracks give students a chance to build 14 portfolio projects with weekly mentorship meetings. If grads don’t land a great job within 6 months of completing the program, they get a full refund. Learn more about Springboard in our review.
  • The self-paced coding bootcamp CodeX Academy helps people launch new careers in software engineering and web dev, with 1-on-1 mentoring opportunities. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • People seeking courses on digital marketing, UX design, sales, or business development can check out GrowthX Academy. Their SaaS program includes 1-on-1 mentoring with hands-on assignments.
  • Aspiring software engineers and UX designers can look into Kenzie Academy, a full-time tech bootcamp that offers both online and in-person courses. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review. 
More alternatives
  • One of the most well known bootcamps is General Assembly. They offer full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics like UX/UI design, data science, software engineering, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Some other popular software engineering bootcamps include Rithm School, Codesmith, and The Software Guild. While these programs may be more intensive than Coursera’s courses and even edX’s XSeries programs, students in these bootcamps learn software skills very quickly.
  • The popular bootcamps Thinkful, Ironhack, allWomen Academy, and Flatiron School both offer programs in software engineering, data science, and other tech fields.
  • For aspiring data scientists seeking a self-paced program, Data Science Dream Job could be worth looking into. They offer remote, flexible courses with opportunities to build a portfolio.
  • The online data resource DataCamp hosts 300+ short courses on data science subjects, similar to Coursera’s shorter course offerings.
  • An alternative to edX’s XSeries programs and Coursera’s specialization courses, Metis offers courses to aspiring data scientists with some experience. Learn more about Metis in our review.
  • Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs online. They offer free courses on web dev and data science, teaching dozens of programming languages. They have membership options ranging from $20 to $40 per month for greater course options and support. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
  • The online bootcamp Designlab also teaches the necessary skills to land entry-level UX designer jobs. Read our review of Designlab to see if it fits your goals.
  • Another product design bootcamp with both instructor-led and self-guided options is DesignerUp. Their program includes portfolio building opportunities and a certificate for grads like both edX and Coursera. You can read more about DesignerUp in our review.

How do edX and Coursera compare to Pathrise?

edX and Coursera host online courses from top universities and tech companies to help people launch a new career in tech. While both programs offer part-time and self-paced courses in UX design, software engineering, web dev, machine learning, digital marketing, product management, and data science, and humanities, edX offers a slightly wider variety of courses.

Neither edX or Coursera require formal admission. Although they offer advanced courses and specialization tracks, most students start with no experience. Pathrise fellows should have some background in their chosen field so that they can fully benefit from our industry workshops and 1-on-1 sessions, which can cover challenging technical interview questions. We have tracks in software engineering, product design, data science, digital marketing, sales, product management, strategy, and ops.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps students and professionals land their dream job. Our experienced mentors have already helped 1,000+ people land great jobs by helping with all phases of the job search. Fellows in our program work with mentors on resume writing, LinkedIn, and portfolio optimization, reverse recruiting and cold emailing, behavioral and technical interview prep, salary negotiation, and much more. 

While both Coursera and edX offer financial aid, students pay monthly, upfront, or through loans. The Pathrise income share agreement (ISA) means that fellows don’t pay anything until they land a job they love and start working. We never require upfront payments or deposits. 

Pathrise optimizes the job search through 1-on-1 mentoring. With our tips and guidance, fellows have seen their interview scores double and their application responses triple. If you are interested in working with any of our mentors to land your dream job, join Pathrise. 

Apply today.

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