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Are edX Courses Free? 5 Best Courses with Free Certificates

If you’re browsing about edX and find yourself asking, “Are edX courses free?” then you’ve come to the right place.

This is the ultimate guide where we answer your queries about free courses by edX, its offerings, and the pros & cons of it. Moreover, we will also help you find the best courses that provide a certificate too! Yes, that sounds exciting, right?

Let’s explore the mysteries around the popular online learning platform, and we bet, this is going to be an exciting and enlightening ride.

Introduction to edX: A Brief Overview

edX website

Before we jump to the question whether are edX courses free or not would be a little quick without giving an overview of the platform first. So, let’s give you a brief overview of edX and help you understand how it works.

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is a platform for online learning and education. It’s a massive open online course provider, a not-for-profit organization that quickly gained popularity among the students and individuals.

With 4000+ courses covering subjects from computer science to business management, arts, artificial intelligence, humanities, and much more, edX has a vast catalog to fit everyone’s needs.

edX had a mission of bringing quality from top universities and making it available for everyone, and no wonder they have done it successfully. It has now become a pillar in the world of e-learning, impacting millions of lives and opening doorways to knowledge.

Are edX courses free?

Now that we have a clear idea of the company, let’s answer whether are edX courses free or come with a cost.

edX offers two types of courses:

  • Free courses: These courses are open to everyone and do not require any payment.
  • Paid courses: These courses require a fee to enroll.

So, the answer is Yes. edX offers free courses. But here’s the catch, the courses are indeed free to enroll and study, but you might have to pay to get a certificate for that.

The majority of edX courses are free and you can access all course materials, participate in interactive quizzes, and join peer discussion forums without spending a dime. This means you can gain knowledge from the best professors at prestigious institutions, all from the comfort of your home.

While access to the courses is free, when you need a certificate to prove your learning, you will have to pay for the certificate cost. These costs vary from course to course, but typically they range from from $50 to $300.

If you’re willing to pay for these verified certificates, they can be a great addition to your CV or LinkedIn profile and demonstrate your skill to potential employers.

Related: Are EdX Certificates Worth It?

Understanding edX’s course pricing: Free and Paid courses

When it comes to edX’s course pricing, things are pretty straightforward once you get an understanding of the model.

As we have already mentioned, many edX courses are free to audit and accessing the course material is free. This means that students can enroll in edX courses and access all of the course materials without paying a fee. However, students who audit courses will not receive a certificate of completion.

The ‘verified track’, which includes a certificate upon successful completion, is the paid part of the edX course experience. The cost of upgrading to the verified track varies depending on the course.

When it comes to paid courses, edX has a very wide selection. They are known as ‘Professional Education Courses’ and are more advanced than the free courses. These specialized courses target specific professional skills and knowledge areas. Most verified courses cost between $50 to a few hundred dollars.

If the cost still deters, don’t worry, edX has a solution for this as well. The platform wants to make sure to keep its top-notch content accessible to everyone, and hence they offer financial assistance programs. Eligible students can apply for a discount of up to 90% on course certification fees.

Edx courses with a free certificate

Digital art of phone and a certificate

While most edX courses require a fee for a certificate, it offers a few courses that include a free certificate of completion.

Here are some of the best edX courses where you can earn a certificate absolutely free of charge:

  1. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University: This is an entry-level course that introduces you to the world of computer science. No prior experience is needed, and the best part is that you can earn a certificate for free!
  2. Introduction to Project Management by the University of Adelaide: Learn the principles of project management and get a free certificate upon completion. It’s ideal for those who are new to project management or those looking to refine their skills.
  3. Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI by Microsoft: This course teaches you how to use Microsoft Power BI to analyze data and produce business insights. You can earn a free verified certificate at the end of this course.
  4. Introduction to Cloud Computing by IEEE: This course provides an overview of cloud computing and its key concepts. A free certificate is provided upon completion.
  5. Introduction to Linux by The Linux Foundation: Learn the basics of Linux, the world’s most popular open-source OS. You get a free certificate upon completing this course.

These are just a few examples of the free certificate courses available on edX. Make sure to double-check the information on the course page before enrolling for the course!

How to access free courses on edX?

Now that you have the answer to ‘Are edX courses free?’, the next query that pops up is, ‘How to access these free courses?’.

Don’t worry, we have got you covered with this too. It is a pretty straightforward process to get started and access these free courses. Just follow these steps:

  1. Create an edX Account: The first thing to do is, create an edX account. This is free and you can easily create it on the edX official website. Next, click on the ‘Register’ button on the top right of the homepage.
  2. Browse or Search for Courses: Once you have created your account, you can start exploring the vast array of courses available. Use the ‘Search’ function at the top of the page to find courses that suit your needs. You can also browse courses directly by subject area or university.
  3. Select a Course: Found a course that excites you? Now click on it to go to the course’s specific page. There, you’ll find more details about the course, such as its syllabus, length, difficulty level, and whether or not it offers a free certificate.
  4. Enroll in the Course: If you have decided to take the course, click on the ‘Enroll’ or ‘Enroll now’ button. You’ll then be given the option to either audit the course for free or pay for the verified certificate track. If you choose to audit the course, you will have access to all of the course materials for free.
  5. Start Learning: Once you’ve enrolled, you can start learning by clicking on the ‘View Course’ button. This is where you begin your edX learning experience!

Pros and Cons of free edX courses

Every platform has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so does edX too. Understanding these can help you make the right decision about whether or not these free courses are the right fit for your learning goals or not.


  • Free of cost: edX’s free courses are a great way to learn new skills and knowledge without paying a fee.
  • Flexible: edX’s free courses are self-paced, so students can learn at their own convenience.
  • Accessibility: The most significant advantage of free edX courses is that they’re accessible to anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection
  • High-quality: edX’s free courses are taught by top instructors from top universities and institutions around the world.


  • No certificate of completion: Students who audit edX courses will not receive a certificate of completion.
  • Limited features: Students who audit edX courses may not have access to all of the course features, such as graded assignments and discussion forums.
  • Less Interaction: Some learners may miss the interaction with instructors and peers that traditional classroom settings provide.

Are edX free courses worth it?

A kid showing victory sign

Yes, edX free courses are worth it, especially for students who are looking to learn new skills and knowledge without paying a fee.

edX’s free courses are high-quality and taught by top instructors from top universities and institutions around the world.

However, students should keep in mind that they will not receive a certificate of completion for auditing edX courses.

If students need a certificate of completion, they will need to upgrade to the verified track.


So, wrapping it up here, edX is a great platform for learning that provides free courses too. These courses are from top universities and give valuable skills to individuals, accessing quality education.

The free courses are a treasure for knowledge seekers. Although they might not be getting a certificate or need to pay a certain amount to avail it, the knowledge they can get is unparalleled either way.

The opportunity to learn from universities like Harvard,  MIT, and Berkeley is itself a privilege. These universities are among the most prestigious in the world, and their faculty are experts in their fields. To be able to learn from them is a gift that should be cherished.

The decision to take advantage of free edX courses ultimately depends on personal preferences. But whether you seek professional growth or personal development, edX is a platform to look for to satiate your intellectual curiosity.

So, go ahead and explore edX.