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Guide: How to Sign up for Coursera Courses for Free

In this guide, you’ll learn how to enroll in Coursera online courses for free.

Coursera Screenshot - Choose a program - Step 2
In a Nutshell: Look for a link to audit the course. We have marked it in these screenshots.

Here at Class Central, we get asked all the time whether Coursera courses are really free. The Coursera user interface (UI) is designed to push learners towards Coursera’s paid offerings, and it may confuse new learners regarding what’s free on the platform and how to sign up for it. So we decided to write a guide to help you.

(Note that if you know where to look, Coursera still offers many free courses. We’ve compiled them all here: 1700 Coursera Courses Still Completely Free.)

How to Enroll in Coursera Courses for Free?

In brief:

  • Look for a link to Audit the course on individual course pages. The Audit option is not available on Specialization, MasterTrack, or Professional Certificate pages, so you need to navigate to the individual course page first.
  • Some courses include assessment items (but no certificate) for free. Simply sign up for Full Course, No Certificate.
  • Some courses are paid-only. Look for the green $ symbol on the Class Central page.
  • If you are unable to pay and want a certificate, you can apply to Coursera for Financial aid.

Read on for more details.

What is Coursera?

Coursera 2023 homepage

Coursera is an online education provider that offers online courses, popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, from top universities around the world. These partners include Stanford, Duke, Penn, Princeton, Michigan, Peking, and HEC Paris. Coursera also partners with companies like IBM, Google, and Amazon/Amazon Web Services (AWS) — these companies have also launched courses on Coursera. Currently it has 330 partners from 54 countries around the world.

As well as individual courses and online degrees, Coursera offers 400 groups of courses known as Specializations, Professional Certificates, and MasterTracks. Some groups of courses can be used as credit towards degrees available through Coursera, but these are not free when used as university credit.

Can you get a Coursera Certificate for Free?

Certificates were free in Coursera’s early days. Unfortunately, you can’t get a free certificate for completing Coursera courses now. You can, however, apply for financial aid for most courses if you can’t afford to pay for a certificate.

Some providers have stopped offering free certificates for completing their online courses although many free certificates are still available from a range of providers.

Free Certificates From Other Providers

Here are some popular collections of free certificates and badges from various providers:

For more free certificate courses, visit Class Central’s free certificates collection or articles.

Is Coursera Still Free?

Yes and no. A few courses on Coursera are paid only. These are indicated on Class Central by a small green $ symbol, as you can see below:

At the time of writing this article, a big majority of the courses have some element of “free” — mostly the videos are free to watch but you need to pay if you want access to graded assignments and certificates. However, Coursera still has many courses for which even the graded assignments are completely free.

You must sign up (Join for Free) with Coursera before you can see the price. Your Class Central account is not the same as an account with Coursera.

How to Audit Coursera Courses

Coursera calls having access to the free portions of a course “auditing the course.” I first came across this concept of auditing when I (Dhawal) went to Georgia Tech, where I got my Masters in Computer Science. I got my undergrad degree in India and we didn’t have the concept of auditing there.

Here is a quick definition from a university’s FAQ: Auditing a course allows a student to take a class without the benefit of a grade or credit for a course.

So when you are trying to enroll in Coursera courses for free, look for the word Audit after you select the Enroll For Free button. Audit does not include assessment items or a certificate, but lecture videos, course readings, and discussion forums are usually available for free. Coursera keeps tweaking their UI or testing different iterations so what’s on your screen on Coursera’s website may be different from our screenshots.

To avoid providing your payment details to Coursera, you need to select the Audit link.

Coursera Screenshot - Audit

What if the Audit link is not visible?

First, you need to find the course page. You cannot sign up for free via Specialization pages.

Most newly launched courses are part of a Specialization or Professional Certificate. Some older courses that were around twelve weeks long have been converted into Specialization format, with the original course split into multiple courses.

Professional Certificate and Specialization pages do not allow you to sign up for a single course. If you click on the “Enroll for Free” button, you will only be given an option to subscribe to the whole Professional Certificate or Specialization.

To audit for free, you need to find the individual course pages. If you scroll down a bit you will see a list of courses that are part of the Specialization. Click on a course name to go to the single course page.

Unfortunately, even though it lists the courses in the Specialization, the Specialization page may not necessarily link to the individual courses via the course name links. In this case, to visit the course’s page, copy the course name and paste it in the search bar on Coursera. Better yet, you could search for the course on Class Central — https://www.classcentral.com/search. We will also show you results of similar courses that are not on Coursera.

When you are on the course page, select the Enroll button and look for an Audit link as shown above.

Because some courses are part of more than one Specialization or Professional Certificate, you may see a pop-up like this one. Click Next, or first select the drop-down arrow to change the program.

The next screen shows the Audit link.

If you are on an individual course page and there is no Audit link, it may be one of the few paid only courses. You can check this by going back to the Class Central information page and looking for a green $ symbol for the COST.

Full Course, No Certificate

This pop-up appears for courses with free access to graded assignments. Simply select the Full Course, No Certificate option.

Coursera Screenshot - No Certificate

What is Coursera Plus?

The pop-up may include Coursera Plus information, but you are still looking for an Audit link.

Coursera Plus is a single payment that gives you access to most courses in the catalogue for 12 months, including assessments and certificates. While not free, if you want certificates for several courses or Specializations, it may be a worthwhile investment.

I hope you found this guide useful. Please let me know if you find a Coursera course that doesn’t fit the patterns described above.

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.
Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

Comments 106

  1. DebC

    Thank you Dhawal! Great information. It pays to read the fine print. I hadn’t noticed the “Audit” link before.

  2. Krishnagopal Ashok

    Thank you so much, Dhawal! I didn’t realize that one could audit the courses being offered under a specialization. You are a true lifesaver.

  3. bassem weslati

    in the 7 days try for free can i complete alla the cours dont pay any fees and get the certeficate

    • David Murphy

      Very unlikely you can compress 20 or more weeks into one week, even if they allow you full access across the whole course.

    • Marie Brand

      Hi there,

      I have just managed to click on “Audit” which showed on the left hand side of
      Conversations That Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change.

      Now I’ll see what I can manage in the time available…

      Thanks for this very useful help.
      Kind regards,
      Marie B

      • Naomi. W

        where did you find the audit tab?

  4. Anshuman

    If I do the audit of course now, complete it and later subscribe for the monthly paid option, would I get the certificate for the course I completed through auditing?

    • Kiela Smith-Upton

      I was wondering the same.

      • Jeffy d

        I’m wondering the same… No answer?

        • Velan Chandrasekar

          You can.

          Coursera Ref: https://learner.coursera.help/hc/en-us/articles/209819053-Get-a-Course-Certificate.

          “Upgrade to a paid Course Certificate
          If you take a course in audit mode, you can upgrade to a paid Certificate at any time during or after your audit.

          If you pay for a Certificate in a course you’ve already taken, any grades you already earned will be saved, but you may need to complete more coursework that wasn’t available in the audit version.

          To upgrade to a Certificate in a course you’re already enrolled in:
          Open the home page for the course you want to pay for.
          At the top of the page, click Upgrade, or scroll down to the “Course Settings” section and click the Purchase button.
          Make sure you’ve completed your Name or ID Verification.
          Not all courses offer Certificates. If you can’t find the option to upgrade to a Certificate in a course, it may not be available.”

  5. Em

    I tried this and the pop-up does not contain the word ‘audit’ anywhere, so I guess it’s been removed, nor can I find ‘audit’ anywhere, or any wording that indicates you can take the course for free, all I see is that they want you to enroll in the free 7 days which I don’t want. Can anyone tell me how I can get the course for free now? I’ve taken another course for free in the past but can’t seem to do it this time around. Thx

    • Mike

      You can still audit the course – Coursera has just removed the ‘audit’ link from Specializations. Search for the particular class of interest, then you’ll see the audit link on the bottom left.

      • Em

        Thank you

  6. Robger

    Benefits to paying for course other than a certificate ? Need your insight. Thanks

    • HopeThisHelps

      You lose graded assignments and other helpful activities. This is only when you audit a course; if you have an option to have the full course with everything except certificate, take that. So really, only pay for courses when you need to show colleges/employers you have skills in an area. If you’re learning for pleasure or other reasons, there’s not much need to pay.

      • Luís Tiago Ferreira Fernandes

        I think it is only worth if it is really to “show off” that you know about a subject. If it is for personal development, gaining knowledge and know how I think what matters the most is what you actually learn from the courses

  7. Alpha

    If I audit a course, watched all the videos but just didnt have access to quizzes. Then before the course ends, I enrol for the 7 days trial, finish all the quizzes within 7 days, still before the course ends, will I get the cert for free? Please advise. Thanks!

  8. moxi95

    Thanks so much…. I may be here.

  9. George Martin

    Wonderful information

  10. Sabihee Anwaar

    Term of ‘Audit course’ is new for me

  11. John Bartman

    If l choose to pay for the course, will it keep charging me until l succeed? Is it usually 12 weeks? (Graphic design)

    • Erika Fielding

      It would be on a monthly basis. I did that last year (2019) for a few months. You’ll have to cancel the autopay if you’re done or no longer want to pay.

  12. Ivan Liang

    Thank you so much. I can start my first course for free now.

    • Winfridah mandandi

      Is Hotel, Travelling and tourism hospitality?
      I want to study online this one. Is it possible for me to do it?

  13. Ajay Hazra

    Great job. Thanks for sharing the tricks

  14. Reza SA

    Thanks. you save asses.

  15. 『Λהםא‎』✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ‎

    Nope, There Isn’t Any Audit For The https://www.coursera.org/specializations/jhu-data-science Course.

    • classcentral

      You can’t audit a specialization, but you can audit the individual courses. Just search the names of the courses either on Coursera or on Class Central (https://www.classcentral.com/search) and visit the course page. Check “Find the Course Page” section in the above article for more details.

  16. Carolina Loaiza Erazo

    Is there any possibility to study the course first and at the end pay to get the certificated?

    • Pat Bowden

      Hi Carolina, most courses give learners multiple opportunities to purchase the certificate later. Sometimes there is a deadline date that you have to purchase it by, other times you can purchase the certificate even after finishing the course. Remember to complete any assessment items after paying for your certificate.

  17. Olka M

    Can you help me? If I take course only for “audit”, listening and then want to take a certificate. What should I do then? Thanks

    • Pat Bowden

      Most courses give learners multiple opportunities to purchase the certificate later. Sometimes there is a deadline date that you have to purchase it by, other times you can purchase the certificate even after finishing the course. Remember to complete any assessment items after paying for your certificate.

  18. Paul

    thank you so much! this is extremely helpful.

  19. Rashmi Sharma

    I want to do Ecology course. Dr Rashmi

  20. Marcia Yudkin

    I actually don’t mind paying for a course, but I am unable to find how much each course costs!!!

    • Kelly

      So do I

    • Eduardo Roma Burgos

      Please inform how much and how do I pay for the course Learn How to Learn.

      • Pat Bowden

        Coursera does not provide the price until you have signed up with them. Different courses can cost different amounts.

  21. Peng Wang

    Thank you, you let me know coursera more than before.

  22. Soren

    This seems outdated. The only option is a 7 dais trail, even when looking for “free courses”. You have to provide payment info and need to cancel before the period ends.

  23. Cindy Berry

    Can you use the certificate for to renew certification in Massachusetts. How do you.know how many hours it is worth .I don’t need college credit just a professional development certificate .

  24. Trees Whitbeck

    This is very very helpful. I had to go to IE instead of chrome to get the option to sign up for free. Once signed up for free for the course I could the use chrome to go to the course.

  25. Firman Rizal

    Thanks! It’s amazingly helpful.

  26. Shaimaa Molouk

    thank you very much for your support but please I need more help as after I clicked on audit button another window opened which is splited into two parts the right one is for unlimited and the one I choose is the free limited part
    then nothing happened there is no next or continue button and i’m still viewing this page

    • Jane Igbibo Alamina

      I am unable to sign in to a free course I enrolled in after cancelling the one I wrongly subscribed for. In the course of registration for the first course, I was asked for an ID verification to enable me get a certificate at the end of the course and I provided a snapshot of the front and back of my Permanent Residency Visa including an uploaded photograph from my gallery. Please is this procedure a requirement to register for Coursera courses? I hope my personal information is secure. I also want to indicate that immediately after I supplied my ID card information, that page closed and I could not generate a password which was the next step on that page. I have not been able to sign in or login for the courses. i need your help. Thank you.

  27. Guilherme Petito

    Amazing tutorial, thanks a lot!

  28. salah moha

    Hi everyone
    I’m new
    Happy to be a part

  29. Jacqueline

    Hello mayb I ask where did you find a free program? I am also looking

  30. Smangele

    hi everyone am new here and am still trying to understand this and am trying to register online for free since I can’t afford payment since am not working

  31. Kassem

    Wonderful you doing great task guys

  32. Liaqat

    in the 7 days try for free can i complete alla the cours dont pay any fees and get the certeficate

  33. Karen Lyons

    Am does the course cover postgraduate level 9 to teach Art. Or is it for teaching and learning in any subject including Art, does the postgraduate be recognised in all countries in Europe or just some. Which countries are recognised please. Do ye do a postgraduate level 9 just for Art also. Can I start off doing course free but pay for it in the end please, as I do not have a job. I would want the recognition please. Thank you

  34. Awal

    I think the best place to get a free course is ALISON. You only pay 4 certificate when you want to. No deadlines. All self paced

  35. Janmejoy

    Can I get a certificate after choosing all the audit options of the course and after completing the course?

  36. Simphiwe Mnisi

    I’ve been trying to get through with no luck, none of these courses seem to be free and what’s sad is one doesn’t even get the certificate after completing it, and how does one audit as that button seems to be disabled?

  37. geta

    hi, can any help me with Business Analytics course. I dint find it for freee.

  38. Abhijeet

    How to enroll the free courses

  39. Vianney

    1. How does a graduate get his/her certificate hard copy after completing ?

    2. How much money does the certificate itself cost ?

    3. Does it go with academic transcripts ?

  40. Suresh

    I have accidentally clicked Audit. How do I undo and pay for the course. I need the certificate.

  41. Keith

    Have just completed Harari book “Sapiens a brief history of mankind”. It promotes an online course (through your company). Am disappointed not to find it on your site.
    Where is it? Please.

  42. Mingming

    Thanks Dhawal!! However, I could not find any Audit option for this course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/gcp-creating-bigquery-datasets-visualizing-insights. Could you please help me figure it out? I really appreciate it!! Thanks!

    • Dhawal Shah

      Unfortunately, it seems like the course is paid 🙁

      • Mingming

        Thank you so much Dhawal!

  43. Meshack Lae

    is it after completing this course, we can pay for the certificate?

  44. Judy mae sunit

    I been reading how many times on how to sign up coursera courses for free. But i didnt know how because i cant find the form that i might signing up i been looking for….please help me, i want to continue my study even if it is online..

  45. Fahad

    There is no easy way to sign up this program, please if there is guidance to sign up, send me!
    NB: My request is specilay free aid finance program!

  46. Shirley Augline

    I tried to unscribed to it before I got billed and now its saying its saying its having a problem billing my debit card and I was taking the free on couse c;ass.

  47. Milind Mohapatra

    If I audit a course and finish it and later I take the subscription for coursera, will I be able to get the certificate for the course that I completed previously?

  48. Gassimu Sam

    Thank you very much for your great effort ,am sour this is a great opportunity for some of us who want to study when we are poor .so I need your support to make me better in life.my question is this,I want to pike one couse but I still have problem on it so I please want you to sent my couse area which is Environment management diploma .

  49. Birabwa Proscovia

    I really want to be enrolled,but I have failed. How can I do this?

  50. Ozkan

    If I first complete the audits for free, but afterwards when I want to be certified, do I need to redo/rewatch all the content?

  51. Zenebe Gezehagn

    To start the subject of marketing Management it is failed to registration. How I can register. Pleace support me.

  52. Taofic

    J’ai fais une demande d’aide financière pour obtenir gratuitement le certificat. 15 jour après j’ai reçu un message de cousera où on me dis que la demande d’aide à été approuvé et on m’invite à aller en classe.
    Est ce qu’il y a d’autres formalités à remplir ou bien il suffit de commencer simplement à suivre les cours

  53. Juris L

    I am looking ant 4-5 courses and specializations. None of them have ‘audit’ or ‘certificate free’ option anymore. I don’t think you can actually do a course properly, if it is a paid course as you need to make sure your assignments are correct. So it seems there is no other way, but pay.

  54. Lech Napierała

    Thank you so much for this article!

  55. Kebapetse

    ”Never have I ever. ”
    Whoa! Thank you so much. I have tried countless times to register for courses here but ending giving up. This was a great piece and has helped totally. I have enrolled. Thank you.

  56. Ankit Agarwal

    I am using Audit mode for free coursera courses but i am unable to launch qwiklabs. Good part is have sufficient qwiklab credits. Anyway to find out “which Qwiklab is related to which section lab on coursera ?”

  57. Meg

    Thank you. This was incredibly helpful! I almost missed out on these free course offerings because I, too, overlooked the “audit” option.

  58. ANYANG Arlenette Ngum

    Thank you DHAWAL for this article, it is incredibly helpful.

  59. George Musick

    I’m looking to pay the monthly fee and take a few courses leading to certificates. Once I earn the certificates, if I stop paying the monthly fee, do I still have lifetime access to the courses that I completed and paid for?

    • Pat Bowden

      I am able to continue accessing courses I have paid for and completed.

  60. Erika LeTourneau

    How much on average (or a range) do you have to pay for certificates when you take free courses? Are you required to go back and do additional assessments within the course to get the certificate if you were only auditing the course?

  61. alexssandro do carmo

    Hy Dhawal Shah
    Thanks for tips
    If I choose Full course, No Certificate, I can, eventually change this choice by the end of the course and ask for a certificate, paying it.?

  62. Maryam Gaste

    I’m trying to sign up for the introduction to classical music from Yale university but can not find the enroll button. I followed the instructions on “how to sign up for a coursera course” but nothing happens when I click on go to class button.

    Many thanks in advance for your help!

  63. Kalpesh Shah

    Are there any courses still on Coursera which offer free Course with Certificate ?

  64. Damla

    Hi, I wrote down my credit card info since I read there will be a discount at the checkout for the class ‘Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society’ by University of Pennsylvania. A message came from my bank saying the daily limit is 500 TL for internet transactions made for abroad shopping. So doesn’t this mean it was actually going to take my money if there were no limit. How am I going to enroll for a certificate program in this situation?

  65. Mayondi

    Thank you andthis is a great platform for learning for the individuals. Audit course option is great and can access all the materials easily. Thank you team and really appreciate.

    Good Luck!

  66. Marija

    Hi, I’m not sure if I enrolled correctly to the course because instead of choosing “Audit the course” I chose “Start free trial”. Can you please help me to corrected it to “Audit the course”? Thank you

  67. Terra Bruns

    Thank you so much for the information! I need three courses to finish a degree, and thanks to this info, I know I can do it quickly and not wait a whole year due to one being a pre-req, etc. My question is, do I have to have the certificate to get the college credit or do I just have to take the final after completing all coursework satisfactorily?

  68. cacarr

    So it would be possible to audit a course, get a good grasp on the subject matter, then go back and pay for the course and finish it within a month to keep costs down?

  69. Mohammed Naseer

    If I choose the ‘audit’ option, will I be able to download the videos for free?

  70. Abdul Aziz Kehar

    Hello Everyone,
    Can anyone tell me how to get this course free on coursera please.

    • Dhawal Shah

      Unfortunately, this course is not free.

  71. Shashank Gupta

    Hello! I enrolled in a course for free without a certificate. The course duration is 11 weeks but I can only see week 1 in the sidebar. Would I be able to access week 2 after completing week 1 assignments or I have access to only week 1 of course?

    Link to the course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning

    Thank You

  72. Mobina

    My financial Aid Application is Approved and I have audited the course, but still I am not able to submit the quizzes. What should I do to be able to submit the quizzes?

  73. Azarbaijan

    I have several questions
    1 ) with audit can i see graded assignment and definition of projects(just definition , without possibility of assignment) for example ?
    2 ) where can i find “full course , no certificate ” (after clicking enroll for free i can not find this option , is there another link to access this option ?
    3 ) dox example does these course have “full course without certificate ?

    Thanks a lot .



    I currently enrolled for free in Google Data Analytics in Coursera, and it just came to my attention that I wont be offered a certificate after the course. Can I still purchase the certificate after finishing the course?

    • Dennis

      Yes of course. All your progress is saved by default.

  75. Wing

    Thanks for the info. Very useful. I don’t figure out whether it needs a membership/subscription fee to the platform (ie coursera) before can access the course, even the free one.

    I got a registration via a ‘free to join’ link. When i click on the free course, it keeps asking me to do the 7-day free trial. I tried to ask qtn on the site, but no where close i can find any contact email etc. any info that a subscription fee at frontend?

    Thanks a lot for help.

  76. Harby

    Is there any particular place where one will find the option of either to pay for the course or access the full course free with the assessments but no certificate?

    • Kyla M Tupas


      I currently enrolled for free in Google Data Analytics in Coursera, and it just came to my attention that I wont be offered a certificate after the course. Can I still purchase the certificate after finishing the course?

      • Manoel Cortes Mendez

        Yes, assuming you’re talking about this program (https://www.classcentral.com/course/google-data-analytics-36441), both the professional certificate and each of its courses offer a paid certificate, which you can purchase at any time – during or after completing the course or program.

        Note that buying the certificate also gives access to the quizzes within each course. You’ll need to complete those to unlock the certificate.


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