Edx vs Coursera | How Do These Top-Tier Online Learning Platforms Compare?

Comparing EdX vs. Coursera is an interesting topic, but you'll soon realize that these famous sites offering massive open online courses (MOOCs) are very diverse and offer specific online courses directed to different markets.

These two platforms are definitely top-tier, so make sure to read this comprehensive review between EdX and Coursera in order to choose the most appropriate learning platform for your needs:

What's the Difference Between EdX and Coursera?

Coursera was founded by two Stanford professors. It launched in 2012 and now has over 37 million users from around the world.

The for-profit company, which is financed by private venture capital funds, has partnered with over 150+ universities like Yale, Princeton, and Stanford, renowned professors and companies to offer a wide range of online courses ranging from personal development to business management courses.


Also founded in 2012, EdX is a non-profit organization launched by elite universities Harvard and MIT. Like Coursera, EdX has partnered with over 100 partner educational institutions, even top universities from London, Oxford, and Zurich.

Most EdX courses are free of charge, which is why the 14 million EdX-learners continue to grow by the day. Some courses EdX offers are paid, while others count towards bachelor's degrees or master's degrees.

Courses Offered

There are some similarities between the courses available in EdX and Coursera, but many differences.

  • Coursera focuses on professional training. The company offers free courses (that come without grading, quizzes, or certificates), paid courses that are graded and come with instructor feedback, and sometimes verified certificates. Many Coursera courses allow students to work towards their online degrees (bachelor's and master's degree programs hosted by top universities).
  • EdX has professional training but also includes courses in natural sciences and humanities. It is similar to Coursera in that there are hundreds of short courses you can take from varied topics like machine learning to literature, math, medicine, music, and so on.
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Both platforms offer self-paced learning, except for EdX's MicroMasters; these hybrid degree programs exclusive only to EdX and provide advanced.

Is EdX Better Than Coursera?

One way to tell if the learning platform is for you is to check the partners/host and instructors on every course.

Except for EdX-exclusive and Coursera-exclusive courses, the majority of the certificate programs available on these online learning platforms are hosted by specific organizations. These hosts can be as general as Microsoft or Google or as specific as the University of Michigan, Journalism Department.


EdX instructors are also lecturers, professors, and industry experts from around the world. On every individual course page, you'll be able to see a short blurb via the "Meet your instructors" section. The 'teacher' often indicates his/her specialization on this profile."

Like EdX, Courser's instructors also come from top universities and industry experts. I love that some Coursera courses come with quizzes that instructors provide on the go. For example, if you check out the screenwriting course, you'll be given weekly writing assignments, peer-to-peer reviews, and so on.


Both EdX and Coursera have free courses, but no instructor would be auditing the course for you.

  • Individual course fees range from $50 to $300 per course on EdX and $29 to $99 a course on Coursera.
  • Special programs, such as a master's degree, cost about $10,000 to $25,000 through both EdX and Coursera.

Coursera Plus is an annual subscription model ($399/year), where students can access almost ALL of the courses on the library (except for degree programs and Mastertrack certificates). There's no limit to your learning, and you will receive a verified certificate on each course you completed.

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Both Coursera and EdX courses can lead to certification.

Are EdX Certificates Respected?

EdX certification goes through a verification process before releasing a verified certificate that includes the course name (data science, computer science, law, literature, math, medicine, etc.), the exact course title, a valid certificate ID, the instructor's signature, as well as the logo of the partner institution hosting that particular course.

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What Kind of Certificates Does Coursera Offer?

There are several programs that lead to certificates:

  • Training programs that prepare you for a particular job. Some Coursera courses can be accredited by a university or organization.
  • MasterTrack Certificate is a result of completing the semester-long courses that you must finish as a whole program.

Which is More Recognized, EdX or Coursera?

The EdX-Coursera comparison is tight because students, industry leaders, top universities, and businesses respect both platforms and consider them the leading provider in the e-learning space.

Coursera offers two different plans for Businesses: the TEAM plan (consisting of 5 to 125 learners) is priced at $400/user/year, while the Enterprise plan (with 126 learners and above) has custom and negotiable pricing.

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EdX for Business does not show prices (fees are customized based on how big your team of learners is). This service is on-demand and accepts companies or institutions of all sizes.

Pros and Cons of Edx vs. Coursera

Both EdX and Coursera platforms offer too many courses and services, and this review is too short to actually cover all of them. However, here's a quick look at the strengths and weaknesses of each course provider:

Pros and Cons of Edx

Edx courses and pricing may look complicated due to the different programs it offers, but this platform actually provides a transparent approach. You can easily see course prices, except for Business plans.


  • 3,000+ interactive online courses and 300+ programs
  • Partners with Harvard, Berkeley, Microsoft, and other top companies and universities
  • A significant number of courses FREE OF CHARGE
  • It comes with an app
  • User-friendly forums
  • 14-day refund


  • EdX courses are "archived" for periods at a time. When a course you like is in archives, you cannot receive certificates even if you can watch the course.

Pros and Cons of Coursera

There's a reason why more than 60 million students use this program today. Thanks to the quality of short courses and degree-based programs, Coursera has everything for everyone at a cost that's affordable enough as an investment in one's career.


  • It comes with over 4,000 courses from 200 partners, including Google
  • Accredited university degrees
  • Coursera courses repeat the courses without any waiting time, so they seem like they are always available from the library.
  • Ability to enroll in either self-paced (on-demand) or timed classes
  • Peer-to-peer interactions incorporated into courses
  • Awesome app for mobile learning
  • 14-day refund


  • Limited degree courses
  • Some interface issues

Picking Between Coursera and EdX

Online learning, in general, helps students earn much-needed real-life and soft skills. But if you're down to choosing between Coursera and EdX, which is more suitable for you?

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Who is Coursera for?

If you're interested in physics, science,  math and logic, business, language learning, computer science, information technology, health, arts & humanities, social sciences, engineering, and physical science, then Coursera have many programs for you.

  • Video lectures have an interactive transcript
  • The Courses Coursera offers come in a wide range of languages, from German to Korean, Japanese to Chinese, Spanish, and so on
  • Students, enrolled with a university or not, can benefit from this platform
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Who is EdX for?

EdX is mostly non-profit, so it offers courses free of charge or at a very minimal cost. However, it does provide A LOT MORE self-paced learning in categories like computer and data science.

Here are some things you should know about EdX:

  • EdX courses are offered in English. Only a few courses are available in French, Spanish and Chinese
  • EdX offers free courses to students at the high school level, college, and employee level.
  • Choose EdX if you're looking for every program to lead to college credit.
  • EdX courses can be learned at your own pace.

Whether you go with EdX or Coursera, isn't it awesome that the number of available online learning platforms today makes it quite challenging to pick just one platform? It's a good problem to have since competition is always good for the consumers (that's us). It means there are more course offerings, better prices, and companies with a continuous need to improve to keep our business.

The good news is both EdX and Coursera offer free courses for you to try out. You can register as a member and explore both interfaces before making a bigger commitment. And because you are in control of when you begin a course (and when you end it), you have all the time in the world to decide which platform to choose. And, in addition to this review we shared a comparison between Udacity and Treehouse, as well, to get insight into more online learning options.

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Go sign up to both sites today! Or maybe see Udemy and Lynda platforms, too? Remeber, there are no rules that state you can't join all sites simultaneously. Take advantage of free courses and once you're ready to commit to a paid course, degree, or certificate program, enjoy expanding your knowledge with these high-quality, top-tier resources.

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