Udacity vs. Coursera

Taking courses online has become more of a necessity than luxury over the years. Thankfully, several platforms offer quality work online. Two of such are Udacity and Coursera.

Students are always seeking to know which platform gives the best quality for one’s money. This might not be easy to judge seeing that the courses hosted might not be for the same purposes. It is, however, quite possible to evaluate which platform is most appropriate for your course of interest.

In this write-up, we discuss what separates these two accessible e-Learning facilities-the strengths of the one against the other and their respective areas of focus.



Among many available online platforms, Udacity stands out for its broad reach and vast technology courses listed. The nanodegree program also makes it stand out from other hosts. This constitutes the basis for its features and usability.

All the tools available for students on the site are bespoke for learning computer-related courses. Starting from assignments, course modules, schedule, to practice guides, these all work together for better user experience as a tech student.


  • Nanodegrees offered are more comprehensive than regular courses
  • Course timing is mostly self-paced
  • Specialized instructors for tech courses
  • In-course assignment and projects to help workflow
  • Unrestricted access to all modules


  • The overall cost for nanodegrees are expensive
  • Certification is relatively new and not widely accepted
  • Limited course options

Udacity offers specialized courses in the few categories available. Field experts take most of these courses while experienced academics augment others.

With only a limited number of categories listed on the course dashboard, students are often engaged with the comprehensive nature of the nanodegree programs. Potential fields like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems have a lot of untapped resources, Udacity offers a way to explore these fields.

Some programs on Udacity are allowed for free. These can serve as an excellent appetizer to introduce you to the more exhaustive courses. The only hiccup here is such classes don’t come with certification.

To get the best of the coveted nanodegree programs, students are given the freedom to go through the module at their convenience. This self-paced pattern is excellent for students to catch up with the sophisticated techniques taught in the instructional guides. Also, time is allowed for assignments, projects, tests, and examinations.

On the journey to get a quality learning session from Udacity courses, real-time interaction is allowed with the instructors. This is about the best innovation and addition incorporated into this e-Learning scheme.

Another critical aspect that attracts students to Udacity nanodegree programs is networking. Having worked with the top minds in the tech industry, you are availed the chance to establish working relationships with other brilliant minds. This cuts across tutors and students as well.

From little connections, more large networks are built, which are vital for better productivity in industries such as programming and developing. And from these small beginnings, many Udacity students have gotten contracts and employment from there.

The cost of running these courses comes up in every instance. Though the figures appear high, the comprehensive nature of the nanodegree programs makes them an excellent worth for the money.

Although comparatively, Udacity courses are expensive, the overall pros outweigh the negatives. One way to circumvent the cost of running a class is to focus and finish the program in time, as charges are incurred every month.



If you are looking for a platform that gives you the educational value as it is in a university degree program? Then, Coursera is the answer for you. Reputable universities sponsor the courses hosted on this platform. And facilitated by experienced professors from their respective fields.

Coursera isn’t just after putting materials out there, but they also ensure quality work is being pushed. Users get well-accredited certificates from classes run on this platform. And even, more specialized programs that award degrees up to the Masters level are available.


  • Courses hosted on Coursera are quality assured
  • Wide range of course types and categories are hosted
  • Cost-effective programs with the same outline as full-time programs
  • Impressive user experience on-site
  • Numerous courses available for free
  • Multiple language options for courses


  • Price of certification is not conspicuously positioned
  • Course duration not flexible enough for student schedule

Coursera is a good option for people looking for low-budget educational alternatives. The majority of courses on Coursera are hosted for free. However, the certification comes at an additional cost. This is still an overall advantage of this platform.

While the e-Learning institute is affiliated with top reputable universities, Coursera prides themselves for quality assurance on every class hosted. This is traceable to a streamlined process of accepting courses unto the platform.

Instructors are assessed based on their credentials and portfolio before allowing their courses into different categories. This goes to say that the worth of these classes in themselves are high.

Apart from the quality content put forward, accreditation of the certificates awarded from Coursera pulls its weight. Affiliation with universities alongside the instructor reputation, makes the certification have a notable impact on resumes.

Considering the average course outline and estimated duration of completion, certification can be achieved in 4 weeks or more depending on the course outline and student commitment. Though, specialization programs that award degrees require more dedication in time, usually in months.

On average, Coursera programs are cheap and usually only require payment for the certification. However, to access certain essential parts of some applications, a tax is levied. All these are generally under $100. The exceptions to these are the specialization programs. These can cost up to $20,000 in all.

Coursera allows for peer-review for their courses. This means other students get to analyze your projects. This collaborative effort is often a good morale boost for a class held online. Also, facilitators assess student works and these form part of the grading standard necessary for an award of the certificate.

One major advantage Coursera again poses is the vast library of courses being hosted on the platform. These cut across diverse fields from health to business, computing, programming and developing, social sciences, arts and humanities, and many others.

This attracts a diverse collection of students, most of whom come out satisfied with the quality content they get—coupled with the ease of use of the platform site. A tailored dashboard is provided for each user from the choices of courses you visit.

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Udacity vs. Coursera: The Differences


Udacity and Coursera are two of the largest Massive Open Online Course platforms. They both have an extensive student database and course listing. However, there are telling differences between the two online course sites.

In this section, we look at the general points that students look out for in online learning institutions.

Target Audience

The purpose of creating an online learning platform is made known in its target audience. And most sites hosting online classes have their student targets.

Necessary information like this informs the course choice for any site. And in turn, this dictates the student populace that visits such courses.

Coursera Target Audience

This basic level is where the separation comes between Udacity and Coursera. Different groups of educationists developed the two sites with distinct visions.

On the one hand, Udacity is optimized and made for computer scientists, programmers, developers, and tech enthusiasts. This is a somewhat streamlined subset of students, but at the same time, it narrows down their coverage and allows courses to be more exhaustive.

And then, on the other hand, Coursera seeks to bring quality academic work closer to students all around the world. And as such, in a bid to reach their broad target student audience, they host a more diverse course listing.

Target Audience: Coursera vs Udacity, Coursera has the upper hand.


The amount of money a course cost is directly proportional to the number of students registering for the course. The more affordable classes have more students enrolled than costlier ones.

To rate courses based on cost might not be a valid comparison. However, this can be used as a yardstick for comparing sequences treating the same topic.

Udacity Cost

A good number of Coursera courses are listed for free. Students enrol and can go through the module without any fees applicable. Certification is what comes with pay most of these times.

However, to get more content and a better-fashioned dashboard, Coursera requires you opt-in for any suitable plan. This could be monthly or annually. This gives you exclusive access to special features and specialization courses.

The amount paid for certificates is what varies per course. This can go for up to $100. And more importantly, Coursera certificates are well-rated, hence, it would be a plus for students to get them. The only issue with this is that you might not be able to figure out how much the certification cost until you sign up for the course.

Apart from the usual online course with certification, Coursera also offers university-level degree programs. These cost way more than the quick learning programs and are also doubled in content and award type.

For Udacity, the story is different for the cost. This is because the course structure of Udacity differs from the nominal online class. They gather a group of courses and tag them nanodegrees.

Nanodegrees have a broader approach to the subject matter. And as such, the pay for such delivery of knowledge is more organized and cohesive.

A typical nanodegree goes for about $400 or more. If compared as a whole, this seems more costly. However, on second consideration, the content and award for the pay give its money’s worth.

Another noteworthy feature on Udacity is the duration for which the payment is valid. The amount charged is often rated monthly. This means any program you wish to run would have to be fitted into this time frame, or it might incur additional costs. This is a significant factor to consider before subscribing for Udacity courses.

Overall, both e-Learning facilities offer great value for whichever amount being charged. But comparatively, Coursera tables more cost-friendly offers than Udacity.

Cost: Coursera vs Udacity, Coursera is more cost-friendly.

Area of Focus

Without much discussion, Udacity and Coursera are targeted to reach different audiences, which means that their choice of course content also differs significantly.

Udacity is made for computer study students and experts. Hence, the subjects available are also made to fit. This leaves the course category here pegged at six.

General sections being taught on Udacity include Programming and Development, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Business, and Autonomous Systems.

These categories comprise specific topics, but these are still related to the tech focus of the bearer site. Although the restriction means Udacity serves a lesser student base, it could also say they are more focused and exhaustive on the topics being treated.

On Coursera, the course listing is more diverse, and there are much more options to be explored. These are then distributed based on a subcategory. Coursera is designed to pattern the established academic system; hence, the topic and subject system.

Popular categories on Coursera include Art and Humanities, Computer Science, Information Technology, Language Learning, and so on. And under each of these subjects are numerous topics and courses that have been treated.

Again, Coursera beats Udacity in terms of diversity of focus. And at the same time, specialization can also be considered a strength for Udacity.

Area of Focus: Coursera vs Udacity, Coursera has the upper hand.

Instructor Localization

The niche from which instructors and teachers hosting courses on a platform is localized not only informs the subject and topic choices. This also affects the delivery method alongside the teaching style of the platform in general.

On Udacity, the more substantial chunk of course facilitators is specific field experts. Accomplished professionals with significant impact in their fields of experience are deployed to provide firsthand grooming for students.

Many well-versed programmers and instructors from the big tech guys like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the likes, are facilitators on Udacity. This is in a bid to provide students with working methodologies and a more practical approach to learning.

For Coursera, top lecturers and teachers already established in the academic scene are sourced as instructors for the courses hosted. It, therefore, goes to say Coursera offers a more academic approach to learning.

In both cases, the course tutors are well qualified, and they have the required portfolio to teach the subjects. What again divides the individual sites is the style of teaching of these instructors. Academics are more focused on imparting knowledge, whereas practitioners are more concerned with passing working skills along.

Instructor Localization: Udacity vs Coursera, Coursera is more academic.

Time Commitment

The duration for which a course can be explored is mostly traceable to the student. However, the technicality and presentation of the topic also influence the time expended on the course.

Courses with more academic undertone tend to be more technical. Usually, a level of familiarity is required to help understand the topic of discussion. Even so, educational courses are patterned to introduce students to new knowledge.

Such applies to the bulk of Coursera courses. They need quality time allowed for proper assimilation of the topic being discussed. So, what counts again is how well the instructor presents his discussion.

For Udacity courses, these are skill-based, and the instructors expect students to have a certain level of understanding prior. More so, the topics here are specialized under specific fields and issues, it would take more time for individuals not experienced in the area to catch up.

Another issue with Udacity programs is they are run in nanodegrees. These are generally bulkier and treat more areas than regular online courses. It also refers to a more lengthy duration of learning.

Therefore, students ought to take note of these factors before opting for a course. You need to get prepared for the time factor. This would help students avoid frustration in abid to rush through the modules.

Time Commitment: Coursera vs Udacity, there are no major difference between the two.

Certificate and Accreditation

The aim of going through an online module is to broaden one’s horizon. Be that as it may, the certificate presented to attest to participation does more of a better job at accreditation than the knowledge learnt.

An online course gives you a form of an edge when it is added to your resume or CV. This is because when courses are accredited by notable universities or by individual professional bodies, they carry the same weight as courses earned in physical settings.

Coursera Cerificates

Based on the affiliations Coursera has with major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Georgia, it is easy for such certifications to be recognized. And again, programs such as degrees run on Coursera are only online versions of full-time programs.

And for Udacity, their connection with the big tech companies gives the certification a good rep in the tech world. So far as most nanodegrees are not being applied in fields other than technology, they pull their weight on carriers’ CVs.

So far, we can say that Coursera courses and their certifications are more widely accepted than those from Udacity. This does not, however, mean that Udacity certificates are entirely bogus. It only means they have a more streamlined application and a less-than-optimal acceptance.

Certificate and Accreditation: Coursera vs Udacity, Coursera certifications are more accepted than Udacity.

Our Side-by-Side Comparison


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Target Audience


Area of Focus

Instructor Localization

Time Commitment

Certificate and Accreditation


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