Are Coursera courses still free? At Class Central, I get that question so often that I wrote a guide to answer it.

Generally speaking, Coursera courses are free to audit but if you want to access graded assignments or earn a Course Certificate, you will need to pay. This change was first announced in October 2015, and went live in January 2016.

But I always knew that there were a few courses that were still completely free. When you signed up for these courses, you would see an option of “Full Course, No Certificate.” For courses that are part of the new model, you need to select the “audit” option.


It can be tricky to figure out which courses have this option. This is because Coursera is a single page app, and the information is only available once you are logged in.

So instead of going through each course one by one and then clicking on enroll, I decided to use Selenium to help me figure it out. Bob set me up with an AWS instance along with a Cloud 9 IDE where I could do this automation. Below is a screenshot of the setup. (Yes, I prefer PHP.)


I expected to find around 50 or so free courses out of an active catalog of 6,000 Coursera courses.

Imagine my surprise when I found more than 1,600 Coursera courses that are still completely free (including the graded assignments, minus the certificate).

Even Coursera’s own help pages claim that for “all courses” you can only access the non-graded materials and lectures for free.

(On a side note, my research also revealed a few dozen completely paid online courses).

A screenshot of Coursera’s explanation of its free courses.

All of the Coursera courses on the following list are completely free. This list contains a number of highly rated online courses, including a few from Class Central’s Best Online Courses of All Time.

In fact, Coursera’s two most popular courses by far — Barbara Oakley’s Learning How To Learn and Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course — are also part of this list.

Courses from 178 universities, including Stanford, Georgia Tech, Yale, Duke, and Michigan, are part of the list. Around 37% of the courses are not in English.

I have organized the courses into the following categories:

  • Computer Science
  • Business
  • Humanities
  • Data Science
  • Personal Development
  • Art and Design
  • Programming
  • Engineering
  • Health and Medicine
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Education & Teaching.

Below is my list of all the 1,600 completely free online courses on Coursera that I was able to find, along with their ratings by Class Central users.

Computer Science (93)

Programming (46)

Business (218)

Personal Development (72)

Health & Medicine (185)

Science (220)

Humanities (201)

Mathematics (57)

Engineering (91)

Social Sciences (261)

Art & Design (75)

Data Science (24)

Education & Teaching (85)