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Coursera Experiments With A Single Subscription Price for the Entire Catalog

For $49/month learners can get full access to Coursera’s entire catalog.

Late last year Cousera made a switch to a subscription model for some Specializations, which was eventually rolled out to all Specializations. Under this model, users paid a monthly fee ranging between $39–89 — depending on the Specialization — to have access to graded assignments and earn certificates.


For the past few months, Coursera has been testing a newer pricing model. Under this model, learners get access to the whole catalog (instead of just one Specialization) for a price of $49/month.

So for a single price, learners get access to the whole Coursera catalog.

What does that actually mean?

For the most part, Coursera courses are “free to audit,” which means you can watch the videos but won’t be able to access graded assignments or earn certificates. But if you pay the $49/month price, you will get access to the graded assignments and be able to earn a certificate for all these courses.

Effectively speaking, Coursera is drastically slashing their prices with this newest model. Previously, if you were to subscribe to every Specialization in Coursera, it would cost you a few thousand dollars per month. Now you can get that access for $49/month. Of course, nobody would subscribe to all Specializations; but from a student perspective, having access to the entire catalog is better than having access to just a few courses that are part of a single Specialization. This also increases learners’ flexibility to earn certificates from individual courses belonging to different Specializations.

In the old model, if you wanted to access a particular course, you needed to sign up for a subscription to the whole Specialization. Then you had to remember to cancel it as soon as you earned a certificate. For lifelong learners, this new system will remove the headache of managing multiple subscriptions. Overall I think this is more learner-friendly than the current model (graded assignments not being behind a paywall is the most learner-friendly model, though).

From Coursera’s perspective, the hope is this change lowers the entry barrier (i.e. increases conversions) for learners to upgrade to a paid subscription, and to then continue the subscription for a longer period. This would offset the revenue lost in this “price reduction.” A single subscription model also makes it simpler for Coursera to get corporations to buy these subscriptions for their employees. Previously, Coursera was selling access to specific Specializations to its corporate partners. Now they are offering the entire catalog for $400/employee/year.

But one challenging aspect of this model is how to attribute revenue to a university, or even an instructor. Universities and Coursera share revenue, and then universities might share their chunk of the revenue with MOOC instructors. Attribution wasn’t a problem in the previous model, because students paid for a specific Specialization. But under the single subscription model, it might be a challenge to figure this out.

Spotify, for instance, shares revenue with its artists. The revenue share is based on the number of times a song is played. But there might not be such a simple answer for Coursera. Students can do some or all of the following in a MOOC: watch videos, access graded assignments, or earn a certificate. The distribution of these student activities might vary wildly across different courses, making it difficult to come up with a single model for revenue attribution. Under a single model, some universities and instructors might see their revenue drop while others might see their revenue go up.

Coursera is still testing out the single subscription model, and has been for the last few months. It hasn’t been rolled out to all learners. More details on how Coursera’s subscription works can be found in their FAQ.

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.

Comments 12

  1. George Patsoulis

    This seems to be available only for enterprises

  2. Pedram Kh

    how can i join as an audit only?

    • Mahmoud Saeed Radwan

      Search for the Course name in coursera and choose the Course as Audit only, its a Little hidden button when you click enroll now

  3. zane e

    Do you still have the link or cart ID for this 2000+ unlimited courses access?

  4. neil armstrong

    Somebody please let them know it’s a good model ( $49/ month)… I will enroll, soon!

  5. Christine Lopez

    I’m really confused. So can I earn a certificate for $49 a month? That’s what it sounds like. Then there was this thing about $100 per course at the bottom. Can someone help me here?

  6. Rajkiran Gaddati

  7. smithington

    I was mild interested in this site, but my god do they go out of their way to hide pricing information. Immediate turn off. If I can’t see the price right now, then I’m not interested.

  8. Wilbur

    They hide their prices which is sneaky.
    They dont allow you to take separate courses you have to pay for an entire specialisation then ask for a refund for the courses you dont want?

    Education should be fairly accessible to all. Not necessarily free but at fair price and no scams.

    There are cheaper alternatives to Coursera who have become a rip off.

  9. Natarajan K

    Hi, I had completed Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination ( FAFE ) from courser.org. West Virginia Univ. If I have to obtain a certificate from the Univ I have to pay Rs. 2135/- I had registered for free courses.

    There are reviews in websites that indicate auto debits in our ban account / card, if we use them to make payments towards subscriptions. I have not subscribed for any course. Rather I am only paying for a certificate.

    Request to let me know if my bank account / card will still be debited for unnecessary charges from Coursera. I need a certificate without which employers don`t recognize even if knowledge is present.

    Thanks & Regards,

  10. Hub

    Levin, now 71, had said at the outset that he would stay only three years. When he turned the company over to Maggioncalda, it was on an upswing. Its enterprise business was taking off, tripling revenue in the year since Maggioncalda took over. Customers include Adobe, which paid Coursera an estimated $150,000 this year to provide a suite of five machine-learning courses, one taught by Ng and the rest by two University of Washington professors, to 1,500 of Adobe’s top developers and engineers. (Coursera splits its fee for the University of Washington courses with the school.) A plus for Adobe is the detailed reports Coursera provides on employees’ performance in the courses. “It allows us to know exactly who has what technical expertise in what technological domain,” says Justin Mass, Adobe’s global head of technical talent development.

  11. Vera

    Am I correct that EACH course costs around 38GBP per month, and it is not that I can have access to ALL courses (in Specialisation too) simply paying only 38GBP every month? So if I enroll to 2 courses, that will be 38+38=76?


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