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How to Get an Online Bachelor’s Degree Through Coursera

As online education continues to rise in popularity, more and more people are seeking online bachelor degrees. One of the best ways to do this is through Coursera; many renowned universities have partnered with the education platform to offer online degrees. 

In this article, we’ll go over what an online bachelor’s degree through Coursera entails. We’ll discuss the pros and cons and offer some alternatives for students who don’t find a good fit in the program. Let’s get into it!

Related: Guide to Coursera financial aid

What is Coursera?

Coursera is an online educational platform that offers a large variety of classes, programs, and entire degrees. Universities, individual educators, and professional programs utilize the Coursera platform to execute their educational programs. This means you can use the site to watch lectures, read passages, complete interactive activities, collaborate with groupmates, submit assignments, and more.

Users can use Coursera to take courses solely out of interest, many of which are free, or to pursue qualifications. These qualifications can include certificates, degrees, licenses, and more. So, whether you are hoping to further your career, earn a bachelor’s, or just pursue your interests, you can find a good fit in Coursera.

Also see: Top online scholarships

Degrees offered through Coursera

Coursera has partnered with a wide array of accredited universities to offer online bachelor’s programs. Just like with any college program, students must apply to these programs in order to gain admission. You can find a list of programs who are currently accepting applications at this page on the Coursera site.

Some of Coursera’s partners include the University of Michigan, O.P. Jindal Global University, University of London, and University of North Texas. However, it’s worth noting that not every bachelor’s degree at these universities is available through Coursera. Currently, they only offer bachelor’s degrees in one of the following fields:

  • Computer science and engineering
  • Data science
  • Public health
  • Management
  • Data analytics
  • Social sciences

So, a Coursera bachelor’s is not an exact equivalent of an in-person one. If you are hoping to earn a bachelor’s in, for instance, international studies or chemistry, you will not currently be able to find a program on Coursera.

Related: Guide to undergraduate degrees

Benefits of an online bachelor’s degree

There’s a reason why so many people are turning to online bachelor’s degrees at the moment. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from an online bachelor’s program:

Reduced cost

Online programs are generally considerably cheaper than in-person instruction. As you’ll be able to save money on room and board, and be able to maintain another career at the same time, you’ll end up paying much less for an online degree than you would for an in-person one.

For example, University of London’s Bachelor of Science in Marketing program costs between £12,000 – £16,000 per year, roughly $15,000 – $20,000 per year. Although this is not a drop in the bucket by any means, it is considerably less than many in-person universities in the United States.

Flexible hours and location

Taking courses online is much more flexible than in-person classes. You can take the courses from anywhere with a reliable internet connection, and oftentimes, the lectures are taped, meaning that you can choose when to put in your hours. So, if you have a full-time job, you can oftentimes schedule your classes to take place in the evenings.

This flexibility allows many people who would be otherwise unable to pursue a bachelor’s to pursue one. If you are living internationally, working a full-time job, caring for a family member, or dealing with your own medical problems, you may be able to find a fit in online courses.

Reputation of an established and accredited university

In the past, online colleges have come with a bit of a stigma. Many of the first online schools were not very academically rigorous. They prioritized profit over quality of education, and many students graduated from these programs without the proper skillset to succeed in their field.

However, many of these online programs are offered by accredited institutions that enjoy a positive reputation throughout the country. If you graduate from these programs, you will enjoy a much easier job search as your degree will carry with it a prestigious name.

Drawbacks of an online bachelor’s degree

Although online degrees are becoming increasingly popular, they are not without their drawbacks. Here are a couple of the cons you should consider before making the leap into online education.

Lack of classroom experience

Although great strides have been made in recent years to improve the effectiveness of online education, they are still not a perfect substitute for in-person instruction. Students in a classroom often feel more engaged and these courses can facilitate discussion more easily than can a Zoom call.

Students on a computer may have a harder time concentrating, or sitting through a long day of courses. Before making the leap into an online bachelor’s program, you may want to try taking a few recreational courses and see how you fare.

Lack of educational amenities

In-person courses come with a long list of advantages that are not immediately evident; among them are the amenities available on campus for students. Common areas, libraries, cafeterias, and other spaces are all made to leave important resources at the students’ disposal. They can help you to focus on your studies and put all other concerns out of your mind. So, be sure to consider this sacrifice before you decide to complete your bachelor’s online.

Not the same sense of community

A bachelor’s education does not only come with academic knowledge; there is a lot of community development that takes place in learning with a cohort of peers. Living on campus or nearby and attending the same courses, club meetings, and other activities can lead to valuable friendships that you maintain for the rest of your life.

While you may bond with your classmates online, it is hardly a perfect substitute for an online education. You should not go into online courses expecting the same social “college experience” that is often depicted on TV and in movies and books.

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Alternatives to Coursera

Although Coursera is one of the most common online bachelor’s degree providers, it is not the only one. Be sure to also check out edX, as well as degrees offered directly through various universities. For example, try checking out OSU’s list of online undergraduate degrees. University of Florida also has a wide array of undergraduate degrees available.

So, be sure to check out the programs at individual schools that interest you; a surprising number of universities now offer online degrees! Good luck in your search!

Frequently asked questions

Can I use federal financial aid to pay for a bachelor’s degree through Coursera?

As long as the university offering the degree is accredited and authorized to disperse federal funds, you can use federal financial aid to help pay for a Coursera bachelor’s degree. This includes the Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Perkins, & PLUS Loans.