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What is edX? Everything You Need to Know

By Kayla Korzekwinski

Kayla Korzekwinski is a Scholarships360 content writer. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Advertising/PR, Rhetorical Communication, and Anthropology. Kayla has worked on communications for non-profits and student organizations. She loves to write and come up with new ways to express ideas.

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Posted: March 22nd, 2022
What is edX? Everything You Need to Know

edX is a massive open online course (MOOC) website that partners with companies and universities to provide classes, degrees, and professional certificates. It was founded by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012. edX classes use a variety of teaching methods and materials. They include live lectures, pre-recorded modules, exams, hands-on projects, labs, discussion forums, and more. edX has a mission to make education more accessible to people around the world. 

Universities and companies use edX to bring their courses to students anywhere. Over 160 universities partner with edX including University of California Berkeley, Georgetown University, Princeton College, and Davidson College. International schools such as The University of Queensland and Hong Kong Polytechnic University also host classes on edX. Companies that provide classes on edX include IBM, Google, and Microsoft.

edX offers over 3,000 courses to over 35 million users. More than 1.4 million verified course certificates have been issued to students on edX. edX courses can be taken for free, but students must pay to access materials such as homework and exams and to earn certifications.

Related: Top alternatives to four-year universities

How are edX classes designed?

edX is an open-source website that allows its 160+ partners to host their classes. edX classes are designed by the universities and companies. Classes are self-paced and utilize live lectures, pre-recorded videos, and assignments.

Are certificates available?

Yes. Many edX programs offer professional certificates upon completion. edX professional certification programs include multiple classes designed by industry leaders. They can take 2-7 months to complete. Certification topics include Risk Management, Front-end Web Development, Nutrition and Disease, Computer Science, and Fashion Design and Creation. The cost of professional certificate programs varies. Some are as low as $80, others exceed $1,000. Students who wish to earn the certification at the end of the course must pay the fees.

Professional certificate programs from edX can help you sharpen your career skills and stand out in the job search.

How can I use edX to benefit my professional life?

edX can benefit your professional life by helping you earn a certificate or degree. In addition to professional certificates, edX offers Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. edX also has MicroMasters programs that can earn students credit hours toward a degree. These micro degree programs operate on a more accelerated schedule than other degrees. You can list a degree or certification on your resume to strengthen your portfolio and job applications. They can also benefit your professional life by teaching you more about specific skills and subjects such as Microsoft Excel and Python.

What kinds of classes are available?

edX has over 3,000 classes. One can access these classes through a variety of programs, including degrees, boot camps, certifications, and free individual classes.

Bachelor’s degrees

Students are able to earn a Bachelor’s degree through edX. These self-paced programs include live lectures, class projects, and discussion forums. Areas of study for edX Bachelor’s degrees include Business, Health and Social Services, and Computer and Data Sciences. Degrees are offered by University of London and Simmons University. These programs require applications for enrollment.

Individual universities set the cost of degree programs, so they will vary by program.


The MicroMasters program is a unique offering from edX. The programs are a combination of graduate-level classes that are designed to advance your career. MicroMasters classes are focused on specific job fields. Areas of study include Supply Chain Management, Cybersecurity, Business Leadership, and more. Some of the universities that offer MicoMasters are University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, and New York University. 

edX MicroMasters programs are recognized by employers as relevant job experience. Students also have the opportunity to apply and enroll at the university that provided their MicroMasters, and use it as course credit.

MicroMasters programs range in price from $100 to over $1,000.

Master’s degrees

edX also offers full Master’s degrees. These programs take 2-3 years to complete. Areas of study include MBAs, Counseling and Psychology, Nursing, Law, Analytics, and more. Universities that offer Master’s degrees through edX are Vanderbilt University, Baylor University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to name a few.

The cost of the Master’s programs vary based on the university. They are generally between $10,000 and $25,000.

Boot camps

edX Boot Camps are intensive, self-paced programs that last around 18-25 weeks. They involve live lectures, collaborative learning, and hands-on projects. edX estimates that part-time Boot Camp program participants should expect to spend 20+ hours outside of class on study and projects. These projects allow students to build their portfolio in their career field.Areas of study for edX Boot Camps include Coding, Digital Marketing, Product Management, UX/UI, Cybersecurity, and more. Some of the universities that provide the Boot Camps are University of Miami, Arizona State University, and George Washington University.

The cost of the Boot Camps varies based on the university and program.

Also see: Are coding bootcamps worth it?

Professional certificates

The edX Professional Certificate programs are each a series of courses designed to enhance professional skills. Certification courses are designed and recognized by industry leaders. Professional Certifications can help you stand out at work. The Professional Certificate programs last around 2-7 months. There is a huge range of certification class subjects including Risk Management, Front-end Web Development, Nutrition and Disease, Computer Science, Fashion Design and Creation, and more. The programs also have a range of prices. Some classes are $80, while others exceed $1,000.

Related: Top certificates to earn

Executive education

Executive Education classes are designed for business leaders to help them address organizational challenges. All of these classes on edX are presented by GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand, as well as industry leaders. The classes are made up of weekly modules and assignments that can be completed at students’ own pace. Materials include video lectures, quizzes, and homework.

Students who take Executive Education classes also have access to the Online Campus, the interface where course materials live. Areas of study include AI and Digital Transformation, Education, Healthcare and Wellbeing, Data Science and Analysis, Sustainability, and more. Executive Education classes cost around $2,000.


XSeries programs provide deeper understanding on specific topics and fields. Classes are high-level and designed and taught by professors at top universities. Participation in an XSeries class can earn students a certificate of achievement to demonstrate their expertise. Examples of XSeries topics include Music Business: Industry Essentials, Anatomy, Circuits and Electronics, Introduction to Game Design, Food Security and Sustainability, and more. XSeries programs range in price from $100 – $1,000.

Free courses

In addition to the above range of programs listed above, edX offers a library of free courses. 3,751 courses are free to view. However, unpaid courses do not offer official certifications. They are around 4-11 weeks in duration. Examples of topics include Storytelling in the Workplace, Digital Marketing Strategy, Microsoft Excel, Cybersecurity, Mental Health and Nutrition, and more. 

How much does edX cost?

The cost of edX courses varies based on the program and the institution. You can find the price ranges of each program under their respective headers.

Alternatives to edX


Unlike edX, MasterClass does not offer any professional certificates or degrees. Another difference between MasterClass and edX is that MasterClass courses average 10 minutes per lesson. This is quite a contrast to the long degree programs and certification that edX offers.

A similarity between MasterClass and edX is that the classes are designed with experts in the field, so classes are produced with institutional support. 


Udemy classes are made up of video lectures and assignments. The organization not partner with institutions to make their classes. Rather, users of the platform design all of the classes. Also unlike edX, Udemy does not issue certifications. Though, its library hosts 130,000 classes on a variety of topics including IT, Photography, Business, and Personal Development.


Similar to edX, Coursera partners with companies and universities to produce their classes. The two are also similar in that they both offer degrees and Professional Certifications. Students of Coursera and edX could cite either on their resume. 

Coursera classes are a bit less expensive than edX. Coursera classes are as low as $40. Though, they also offer a library of free classes.

Don’t miss: Top certificates to earn

edX summary

In summary, edX is a platform that partners with companies and universities to offer degrees and certifications for students’ educational and professional development. edX classes range in price from free to $25,000 for a Master’s degree. edX can help you sharpen your knowledge and skills to stand out in the workplace. If you think the content or structure of edX is right for your development, give it a try! 

Frequently asked questions about edX

Is an edX certificate useful?

Yes! edX classes are taught by companies that offer and recognize professional certificates. For a price, completion of an edX class can earn you a certificate or degree that could be useful in your job search or education. 

Can I put edX courses on my resume?

Yes, edX courses come with certificates or degrees that many employers recognize. Therefore, you should share your edX  education on your resume and LinkedIn.

Do edX courses help you find a job?

edX classes can help you become a stronger candidate for a job. They offer certifications and degrees that can be cited on a resume or in an interview. Additionally, some edX programs come with career advisors to help students in their job search.

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