Coursera Business Model- How Does Coursera Makes Money


Getting access to the course material and course methodology of premium institutes has never been an option until recent times. E-learning and online education platforms transformed the learning ways of students worldwide. From basics to advanced topics and subjects, the content is now just a click away. The digitalization of course structures has been helping students across the world to learn at their own pace.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is one such course plan where learners from different parts of the world can sign up for the most-happening and relevant courses offered by top-ranked institutions.

Although MOOCs are self-learning modules, learners- ranging from college students to experienced professionals, can stay updated with the advancements in their respective fields. The courses are affordable and flexible. Even working professionals can complete the course modules based on their availability and schedule.

About Coursera

Coursera is an online education platform that offers an exhaustive catalog of course modules or MOOCs, specialized education, degrees, graded certificate courses, etc. Unlike the other tutoring platforms, Coursera doesn’t produce or create educational content for users. Instead, they tie-up with universities and organizations to launch the courses and educational content. 

Founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera has been the trusted and popular choice for learners to upgrade their knowledge. Their commitment to transforming the learning experience made this platform a leading global online learning platform.

Currently, Coursera has a partnership with more than 200 top-ranked Universities and organizations. The flexibility, affordability, relevancy, and graded assessments make this platform a reliable source of online education.

How Coursera Works?

Coursera offers diverse educational content in the fields like Data science, finance, management, etc., in partnership with several universities and organizations. The course structure comprises hands-on projects and job-ready certificates that give learners an edge in the job market.

Around 76 million learners, 100+ Fortune 500 companies, and more than 6,400 institutions (both educational and government) use Coursera as a platform to access quality education. 

Coursera offers access to guided projects and courses for free. However, if one wishes to get a certificate for the same, a nominal amount has to be paid after completing the course.

Paid courses:

The course videos are pre-recorded modules that learners can access during the course running. In case the course module is a weekly recurring module, the learners can watch the videos only during the proposed schedule. Mostly the course modules are broadly categorized in the branches mentioned below:

  • specialization courses
  • MasterTracks
  • Professional certificates
  • University degrees (limited)

Most of the courses on this platform are specialized courses with graded assessments and quizzes. These are micro-credentials with insightful videos and text recommendations. Specialization courses help beginners and mid-level professionals to learn a new skill or advance their skillset.

While Master tracks and Professional certificates are in-depth specialization courses, they have specific prerequisites that a learner should abide by. Whereas for specialization courses, in many cases, there are no prerequisites or pre-course work.

For working professionals or lateral learners, Coursera offers accredited University degrees in selected courses at both Masters and Bachelors level. As mentioned above, Coursera has partner Universities like HEC Paris, Harvard University, The University of Colorado, etc. Interested stakeholders can register for a specific course and get the certificate after completing the discussed assignments.

Coursera hosts more than 3,000 quality educational content in collaboration with respective institutions. Learners can get access to varied instructor-led courses and hands-on projects at a go.

How Coursera makes money

Although the platform, on the whole, aims at giving quality education at affordable prices, Coursera monetized some courses based on credibility and rigor.

Coursera works in collaboration with global partners across 140 countries. Since its inception, this platform has been growing by partnering with diverse organizations, launching innovative programs, and adapting to the employability needs. Learners can master in-demand skills and build their profile at a very affordable price.

Now that we discussed why Coursera is the trusted education partner for leading global Universities- let’s understand the revenue streams through which Coursera makes money.

Specialization courses

Specialization courses are pay-and-learn courses that are curated for enhancing an individual’s knowledge in their relevant field. From Data Analytics to Marketing, Coursera offers certificates for beginners and professionals alike.

The course duration spans from two or three months depending on the curriculum rigor. Although this is a specialized course, users can access the modules for free until the program actively runs.

However, in such cases, users cannot obtain a professional certificate. For getting a verified certificate and lifetime access to course modules, Coursera introduced a subscription-based model.

Through this subscription, learners can pay a monthly fee starting from USD 39 (price varies based on the course) for getting lifetime access to the course module and get a certificate after completing the graded assessments.

Professional certificates

Professional certificate courses are advanced-level courses that help professionals to scale up their career in their respective field. Even Professional certificate courses run on a subscription-based model where users can access the course content.

The subscription cost starts from USD 39 to 89. These courses demand a commitment of 3 months to 6 months.

Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus is a Premium subscription where learners can access over 3,000 courses at a go. The subscription costs USD 399 annually. With this subscription, one can open doors to unlimited learning at their own pace. Although learners can access course content and modules of all the courses, this subscription is limited to Professional and Specialization certificates.

University Degrees

Coursera in collaboration with top global Universities offers world-class fully-accredited Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Generally, earning a degree from the leading Universities is costlier and time-consuming. The degree courses from Coursera are comparatively affordable and affordable.

The curriculum is designed in such a way that even beginners can understand the topics effortlessly. Also, people who wish to restart their careers can go for these courses as they are self-paced. On average, these courses require 12 to 36 months of time commitment to complete.

MasterTrack certificates

MasterTrack certificates a Masters-level certification, which includes real-world case studies and hands-on projects. In contrast to the traditional Masters’s degree, the course content is more comprehensive, experimentative, and short. The duration of the program is generally 5-7 months based on the course. The course subscription starts from USD 2000.

Coursera for Business, Government, and Campus

Coursera offers a transformative skill development course methodology in collaboration with leading Universities worldwide. Coursera for Business is a specialized subscription for organizations, where employees can get access to over 3,800 classes listed on Coursera.

Along with access to course modules organization gets additional benefits like enterprise plans, API integrations, and skill transformation plans. The subscription varies based on the size of the teams, organization, and requirements.

For smaller organizations, Coursera offers a Team subscription that starts from USD 400 per year.

Coursera for Government and Coursera for Campus aims at providing on-demand skills and world-class training at affordable prices. To know more about Coursera for Government, refer to this link. 


The success of Coursera lies in its affordability and flexibility. Once a learner understands what it offers, there’s no looking back. If you wish to read the business models of various leading organizations, refer to this link

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