Contributor, Benzinga
February 12, 2020
Overall Rating:
securely through Coursera's website

Coursera offers almost 4,000 courses and specializations that you can take at your own pace. According to a Coursera Learning Outcomes Survey, 87% of learners take a course to advance their careers, get a promotion or start a new career. Coursera doesn’t just offer classes — it offers professional certificates as well as degrees and MasterTrack certificates, which are university-issued certificates from partner universities. To access these elevated learning experiences, you typically do have to pay, but the courses are still all available online.

Best For
  • Professionals who want to advance their career
  • Learners who prefer an online learning experience
  • Thousands of courses available
  • Classes often offered for free
  • Flexible schedules and deadlines
  • Open to all learners
  • Experienced and reputable instructors
  • College-level education for free or at a fraction of the cost
  • Overwhelming number of options Official credit not guaranteed
  • Certificates require payment
  • Flexible deadlines may affect your accountability
  • Business, data science, computer science and management dominate offerings

Did you know you can earn a bachelor’s and even a master’s degree through Coursera? More than 40 million learners get degrees through Coursera. The company partners with Duke University, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and nearly 200 other rigorous institutions. Here’s how to get the best education you can through this innovative company. 

Who’s Coursera for?

  • Professionals who want to advance their career
  • Entry-level job seekers who want to stand out from the competition
  • Students who want to earn an actual bachelor’s or master’s degree online at a fraction of the cost
  • Freelancers who want to prove that they have the necessary skills to complete a project
  • Anyone who wants to learn something new online

Coursera Courses topics

Coursera’s nearly 4,000 topics include courses on:

Coursera allows you to try out a few courses, specializations or MasterTrack courses for free so you can see if a degree program is right for you. You’ll learn from the same professors as students attending these universities and receive the same high-value credentials but you won’t pay nearly as much. Financial aid is also available if you are qualified. 

After you are admitted into the full bachelor’s or master’s program, all the courses you have already completed will count toward your degree. 

Coursera’s professional certificates include Google IT Support, IDM Data Science, TESOL, SAS Programmer, IBM z/OS Mainframe Practitioner and IBM Customer Engagement Specialist. 

Top Discounted Coursera Courses

Thousands of offerings can make it difficult to sift through to find what’s best for you. We searched the platform for you — here are the best free Coursera classes.

English for Career Development by the University of Pennsylvania 

  • Who it's for: Non-native English speakers working in a professional setting
  • Price: Free

English for Career Development is a free course that helps non-native English speakers advance their careers. Throughout the 22-hour course, learners will hear about how to search, apply and interview for jobs in the United States. The instructor will compare and contrast this process to that in other countries so you can see the difference.

It also teaches you how to identify jobs that match your skills and interests. You’ll also learn to create a professional resume and cover letter to get you noticed by prospective employers. 

The course is developed by the University of Pennsylvania, which means you get an Ivy League education for free.

Excel Skills for Business Specialization by Macquarie University 

  • Who it's for: Beginners who need Excel skills
  • Price: Free

Excel Skills for Business Specialization is designed for beginners who want to develop one of the most fundamental business skills — navigating Excel. 

This specialization contains 4 courses. You’ll learn how to create spreadsheets, perform calculations, manage large datasets, extract information, present data and prevent errors in spreadsheets. To finish, you’ll complete a project to prove you have mastered these skills. 

While you can take as long as you want on this free course, the instructors at Macquarie University recommend that you commit 12 hours a week and finish the courses in about three months. 

AI For Everyone by

  • Who it's for: Beginners who want to master AI
  • Price: Free

AI For Everyone was created to teach novices the basics of artificial intelligence (AI). You’ll learn the different AI terminology, such as machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and data science. You’ll also understand AI’s limitations. 

The course also teaches you how to see opportunities to apply AI to solve problems within your company, as well as how to navigate any ethical issues. If your business or organization is interested in working with an AI team or incorporating AI into the company, this course can help you gain a better understanding of the problems that might occur. 

The course takes about 9 hours to complete and has no deadlines. Reviews of the course are extremely positive — the average student rates it a 4.8. 

Business Foundations Specialization by the Wharton School

  • Who it's for: Beginners who want to learn about business 
  • Price: Free

The Wharton School’s Business Foundations Specialization contains 6 courses: Introduction to Marketing, Introduction to Financial Accounting, Managing Social and Human Capital, Introduction to Corporate Finance, Introduction to Operations Management and Wharton Business Foundations Capstone. 

Some of the skills you’ll gain in this course include how to analyze and improve business processes, reading income statements and balance sheets, managing people and understanding branding and marketing. 

The last part of the specialization is the Capstone Project, where you develop a marketing strategy to solve a real-world business problem.

Digital Marketing Specialization by the University of Illinois

Who it's for: Beginners to marketing

Price: Free

This Digital Marketing Specialization is taught by instructors from the University of Illinois. You can tackle 7 crash courses on digital marketing: Marketing in a Digital World, Marketing Analytics in Theory, Marketing Analytics in Practice, Digital Media and Marketing Principles, Marketing Strategies, Marketing in an Analog World and Digital Marketing Capstone Project. 

You’ll have an understanding of SEO, digital marketing analytics, social media marketing and even 3D printing. You’ll have tools that help you better promote and price products and services. 

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by the University of Michigan

  • Who it's for: Anyone who wants to learn how to negotiate
  • Price: Free

Good negotiation skills can help put your career on the fast-track, but Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills teaches you skills that can be applied to many different aspects of your life. 

In 15 hours, the course covers 4 steps to a successful negotiation, as well as access to free negotiating planning tools to help you strategize more effectively.

You’ll take a final exam and must at least 80% of the questions right. However, you can take the exam as many times as you want. Once you have conquered the test, you can then opt to pay for the certificate, which will include the University of Michigan logo. 

Learning Through Coursera

Whether your motivation is personal or professional, flexible deadlines and free or low-cost classes, Coursera’s online platform provides access to a world-class education for free.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are Coursera certificates worth it?


Yes, Coursera certifications can be very worth it. Coursera certificates prove you’ve passed their course and are knowledgable in a certain field or proficient at a certain skill.

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