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Coursera’s 2019: Year in Review

In 2019, Coursera achieved the coveted unicorn status and as usual, Coursera launched more degrees, courses, and microcredentials.

In 2019, Coursera achieved the coveted unicorn status: after a Series E funding round of $103M, the company reached a valuation of over $1B. But this didn’t happen overnight; you can learn about Coursera’s monetization journey here.

The total number of registered learners on the platform grew from 37 million to 45 million, allowing Coursera to remain the world’s largest MOOC provider by a significant margin.

As usual, Coursera launched more degrees, courses, and microcredentials. They also tweaked their scheduling policy and acquired their first company.

For Class Central‘s complete analysis of Coursera’s 2019, keep reading. For our previous years’ analyses, follow the links:

By The Numbers

2016 2017 2018 2019
Employees NA NA 330+ 450+
Revenue $60M $100M $140M NA
Courses 1,700 2,700 3,100 3,800
Specializations 160 240 310 400
Degrees 2 4 11 16
Learners 23m 30m 37m 45m
Coursera for Business customers 30 500 1,500 2,000


The number of active courses on Coursera increased to 3,800 (up from 3,100 last year). According to Coursera, these were the most popular courses in 2019:

  1. Machine Learning (Stanford)
  2. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects (McMaster University and UC San Diego)
  3. The Science of Well-Being (Yale)
  4. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) (University of Michigan)
  5. AI for Everyone (deeplearning.ai)
  6. Neural Networks and Deep Learning (deeplearning.ai)
  7. English for Career Development (University of Pennsylvania)
  8. Algorithms, Part I (Princeton)
  9. Introduction to TensorFlow for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning (deeplearning.ai)
  10. What Is Data Science? (IBM)

Half of the courses in the above list also appeared in last year’s list. Four (including three newcomers) are taught by Coursera’s co-founder, Andrew Ng.

Specializations, MasterTracks, and Professional Certificates

Specializations are Coursera’s flagship micro-credential. In 2019, the platform offers 400 Specializations, up from 310 in 2018.

Coursera currently also lists six MasterTrack Certificates on its platform. MasterTracks allow learners to earn credit towards a master’s degree. Students still need to apply and get accepted into the master’s program to redeem the credits. MasterTrack courses tend to be paid.

Coursera renewed its emphasis on Professional Certificates. This type of microcredential promises to help learners gain in-demand skills and prepare them for specific industry roles. Coursera currently offers 13 Professional Certificates.

According to Coursera, these are the most popular Specializations and Professional Certificates in 2019:

  1. Python for Everybody (University of Michigan)
  2. Deep Learning (deeplearning.ai)
  3. IBM Data Science (IBM)
  4. Google IT Support (Google)
  5. Architecting with Google Compute Engine (Google Cloud)
  6. Applied Data Science with Python (University of Michigan)
  7. Data Science (John Hopkins University)
  8. Excel Skills for Business (Macquarie University)
  9. Data Engineering, Big Data, and Machine Learning on GCP (Google Cloud)
  10. Improve Your English Communication Skills (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Online Degrees

In 2019, Coursera announced five new online master’s degrees (first five in the list below) from 4 different countries. This is less than the 8 degrees that they announced in 2019.

Degree Name University Cost
Machine Learning Imperial NA
Ingeniería de Software Universidad de los Andes NA
Data Science Natural Research University Higher School of Economics 577,500 – 1,155,000 RUB
Electrical Engineering University of Colorado Boulder $20,000
Master of Science in Data Science University of Colorado Boulder NA
Computer and Information Technology University of Pennsylvania $26,300
Global MBA Macquarie University AUD $33,000
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science University of London £10,088 – £15,132
Computer Science Arizona University $15,000
Computer Science University of Illinois $21,440
Public Health Imperial College London £12,000 or £20,100
Public Health University of Michigan $40320 or $44,520
Applied Data Science University of Michigan $31,688-$42,262
iMBA University of Illinois ~$22,000
Accounting University of Illinois 30,000
Innovation and Entrepreneurship HEC Paris 20,000 EUR

One of those four is the Electrical Engineering Masters from University of Colorado Boulder, which Class Central wrote about back in April 2018. We found out early this year that it would be offered through Coursera.

Early this year Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign announced that it will be ending its on-campus and part time MBA programs in favor of its MOOC-based iMBA. The iMBA program was the first ever MOOC-based online degree announced on Coursera in mid-2015.

You can find Class Central’s complete compilation of MOOC-based Master’s degrees here.

Coursera for Business

Coursera’s corporate training product is called Coursera for Business. According to Coursera, it now has 2,000 enterprise customers, up from 1,500 at the end of last year.

Coursera for Business costs $400 per year per employee and includes full access to around 3,300 courses. This is a subset of the entire Coursera catalog. Here is a list of courses that are not part of Coursera for Business.

Other 2019 Highlights/Milestones


Early this year, Coursera announced their Series E round of $103M, led by Australia’s SEEK group (who also invested in FutureLearn). SEEK group is Australia’s number one job matching site and also owns a number of different job related properties around the world.

With this new round of funding, Coursera is now worth more than $1 billion, achieving so-called “unicorn” status. The total amount raised by Coursera now is $313.1 million. The last time the company raised funds was back in June 2017, with a $64 million Series D.


Coursera acquired Rhyme, an edtech startup based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The startup is dedicated to creating software to support cloud-based, interactive projects.

More specifically, the company’s software allows learners to use their browser to access virtual environments. The acquisition aims to augment the capabilities of Coursera Labs, the platform’s broader initiative to put hands-on projects at the heart of the learning experience.

For instance, the University of London leverages Coursera Labs in their Introduction to Computer Programming course. The course includes a game called Sleuth that invites learners to complete coding challenges in the context of a film noir, mystery game.

A couple of years ago, Udacity made a similar first acquisition when it bought CloudLabs, a startup dedicated to building self-contained programming environments.

Course Scheduling

In an investigation by Class Central, we found that most Coursera courses show a start date that corresponds to the day you visit the course page. Out of the 3,800+ courses currently listed on Coursera, over 90% follow this pattern.

Note Taking

Coursera now lets you highlight parts of the transcript, type your own notes, and save screenshots of videos. You can access all your notes for a course or select individual modules. Some features are not yet available on mobile devices.

Coursera For Campus

Coursera announced Coursera for Campus, a paid program that gives universities access to a large subset of Coursera’s catalog.

The program, akin to Coursera for Business, comprises 3,600 courses, roughly 94% of Coursera’s catalog. Universities may pick and choose from this pool of courses and integrate them into their on-campus offering in different ways.


In 2019, Coursera added two new people to the leadership team: Dil Sidhu and Rich Jacquet replaced Deanna Raineri (Chief Academic Strategist) and Shravanti Chakraborty (Head of People) respectively.

Here is how the current leadership team looks (excluding advisors):

  • Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO
  • Shravan Goli, Chief Product Officer and Head of Consumer Revenue
  • Kim Caldbeck, Chief Marketing Officer
  • Dil Sidhu, Chief Content Officer
  • Rich Jacquet, Chief People Officer
  • Richard Wong, Vice President of Engineering
  • Leah Belsky, Senior Vice President of Enterprise
  • Tom Kovats, Vice President of Finance
  • Xueyan Wang, Vice President of Services
  • Anne Tuttle Cappel, General Counsel

This article is just one of our 2019 MOOC Roundup Series. Find the whole series here. You’ll discover everything about MOOCs in 2019 — from the most popular classes, to overviews of MOOC platforms developments, to looking at the future of MOOCs.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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