edX Review 2024: Are Online Courses Worth It? 

The word "eLearning" was coined 20 years ago, and since then the industry grew by 900%. Flexibility and convenience make online learning a perfect choice for both students and people who work full-time. Did you know that 50% of students have taken at least one online course in the past year? Or that 80% of companies use online learning platforms to train their employees?

There are hundreds of online learning platforms, and choosing the best one can be challenging. In this review, I will talk about one of the largest massive open online course providers -  edX. You will learn about its pros and cons, key features, pricing, and whether edX is worth it. 

EdX Review

edX Review: What Is edX?

edX is a nonprofit online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard. It offers 3,000 courses and programs from 140 different institutions. edX is the leading online learning platform that has 25 million learners worldwide. 

edX Pros and Cons


- A wide selection of university-level courses from best universities and institutions in the world - MIT, Harvard, Microsoft, etc.  

- Most courses can be audited for free

- Offers verified certificates

- Courses for all levels, from beginners to advanced

- Self-paced courses make it easy to learn anytime, anywhere, at your own pace

- Diverse and niche courses are available ( "Women Making History", "Cyber Security and Privacy", etc)

- You can earn a degree while working full-time

- Financial aid is available

- Excellent MicroBachelors and MicroMasters programs


- To earn a certificate, you will have to be enrolled in the verified paid track and complete a course with a passing grade

- If you lack self-discipline, you might find it challenging to study online. In this case, I suggest enrolling in instructor-paced courses that have a fixed schedule 

- Master’s programs are quite expensive

what is edX

How Does edX Work?  

With edX, you can take thousands of online courses from top universities and organizations. The courses are taught by the world's leading experts and professors from UC Berkeley, Microsoft, The Smithsonian, Harvard, MIT, and more. All the course materials are available for free to everyone. If you want to earn a certificate to showcase your skills on your resume, you have to pay extra. You can take courses at your own pace. If you want to connect with other students, check out discussion forums. Most edX courses consist of video lectures, reading materials, assignments, quizzes, and exams. 

Besides courses, edX offers micro-credentials: MicroMasters, MicroBachelots, Xseries, Professional Certificate, and Executive Education. You can also get an online Master's Degree on edX.

edX Courses and Programs Worth It? 


edX offers over 2,500 courses covering a variety of subjects: Architecture, Biology & Life Sciences, Business & Management, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design, Economics & Finance, Energy & Earth Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Food & Nutrition, History, Language, Law, Literature, Medicine, Music, Science, and more.

edX courses have no specific prerequisites, but some are more advanced than others. Make sure you read a course description that includes information about the knowledge necessary to follow a course on the registration page.

edx pros and cons

Most courses on edX last 4-12 weeks and require 4-8 hours of study per week. Every course has an end date. If you are enrolled in the verified track and want to earn a certificate, you need to have a passing score by that date.

There are instructor-paced and self-paced courses. Instructor-paced courses have a fixed schedule and specific due dates for all assignments, quizzes, and tests. You receive all course materials at specific times, and you need to complete the course within a certain time. Self-paced courses do not have a fixed schedule. You get all course materials when the course begins, and have to complete everything by the end date of the course. You study at your own pace and submit all the assignments, quizzes, and tests at any time before the course ends. Some self-paced courses have suggested deadlines to help you plan accordingly.

The structure and schedule vary by course. Some courses may have a single exam, while others have several assignments and tests to pass throughout the course. The minimum passing score is different for each course. You can see the minimum score on the course's progress page.

Most edX courses are in English, but some are taught in other languages, such as Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French, and Italian. English subtitles are available for the videos.  

You can participate in course discussions, connect with other students, and ask members of the course team questions. I like this feature as it gives me a sense of community. 

You can download edX courses for offline viewing and watch them on your computer or mobile device. The edX app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

If you enroll in the verified track, you will get access to all course materials even after the course ends. However, if you enroll in the audit track, you will get access only for the number of weeks listed on the course enrollment page.

edX Courses, Programs, universities


edX offers more than 60 MicroMasters programs. These programs offer graduate-level courses designed to help you achieve your career goals through in-depth learning experiences. The average price for a MicroMasters program is 700-$1,400. Most programs take approximately 1-1,5 years to complete. Anyone can enroll in MicroMasters programs as there are no requirements for eligibility and admission. Some programs have suggested prerequisites that are can be found on the enrollment page.

If you earn a MicroMasters certificate, you will be able to apply it to a full Master's program. If you get accepted into either the online or on-campus program, then you will be able to apply your MicroMasters credit toward the degree. In most cases, the credit is only granted by the university that offers the MicroMasters program.


Earlier this year, edX launched MicroBachelors programs - a series of college courses created in a partnership with universities, colleges, and corporations. There are currently five MicroBachelors programs available: Marketing Essentials, Computer Science Fundamentals, Information Technology Career Framework, Elements of Data Science, and Professional Writing. The average length of each program is 3-6 months, and the cost is between $500 and $1500. When you complete a MicroBachelors program, you will receive transferable college credit. The cost of each credit is around  $166 USD, which is much lower than the undergraduate national average of $594. 

Much like MicroMasters, MicroBachelors programs do not have applications and available to anyone. So even if you don't have any college experience, you can still enroll in the MicroBalchelors program. The programs are self-paced but you get personal coaching to help you stay on track.

Professional Certificate

Professional Certificate programs are a series of courses designed for professionals who want to enhance skills and grow their careers. There are 140 different programs on a variety of in-demand subjects.  You learn at your own pace and once you complete all the courses, you will be awarded a certificate. 

The prices range from $100 to $2,340. Most programs last 3-6 months. For instance, a Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence program created by Harvard University takes 5 months to complete and requires 7 - 22 hours of study per week. In consists of two courses: CS50's Introduction to Computer Science and CS50's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python taught by HarvardX experts. The cost of this program is $260.


XSeries programs are a series of courses created by top universities that explore a specific topic in depth. These programs are also self-paced and take several months to complete. Each one consists of several courses. You can earn a certificate by enrolling in the verified track and passing each course. The prices for the Xseries programs vary, but the average is between $100 and $450. The courses are taught by professors from MIT, Columbia, Harvard, etc.

Master's Degree

edX offers 12 accredited Master's degree programs from some of the world's best universities, including The University of Texas at Austin, Purdue University, The University of Queensland, etc. All courses are online, which is great for people who have a full-time job and don't have time to take classes on campus. You can earn your Master's degree within 1,5-3 years.

Each program has its own application requirements which can be seen on the individual Master's program page. The cost of Master's degrees on edX is much lower than the cost of similar on-campus programs. The prices range from $10,000 to $25,000 per program. The Master's degree that you will earn on edX is the same as the on-campus degree.

edX Free Trial

edX doesn't offer a free trial. However, you can audit most courses for free. Also, if you are interested in joining edX, you can start by enrolling in the Demo course https://www.edx.org/course/demox to see how the platform works.

edX Pricing

You can take any edX course, with the exception of professional education courses, for free. To enroll in the course without paying you would need to select the audit option on the course information page. You will get access to all course materials (lectures, videos, readings, and ungraded assignments) but you won't be offered a certificate of completion and graded assignments.

To earn a certificate you would need to enroll in the verified track. The fees vary, with each course costing between $50 and $300. You can share certificates on CV, resume, college or job applications, LinkedIn profile, etc.

edX Financial Aid 

If you want to enroll in the verified track but cannot afford to pay the full price, you can apply for financial aid. Most courses and programs are eligible for financial assistance of up to 90 percent of the total cost. You can be approved for financial aid up to 5 times each year.

Applying for financial assistance on edX is a simple, straightforward process. All you have to do it enroll in the audit track of the course and complete the financial aid application. Your application will be reviewed within 2-4 days. If you get approved, you will receive an e-mail with a financial aid code that you will need to apply to the payment form.

Professional Programs, XSeries, MicroBachelors, and some MicroMasters are also eligible for financial assistance. However, you need to complete a financial aid application for each course individually, and not for a full program.

Is edX Accredited?

Most courses do not award academic credit. However, there are some credit-eligible courses that allow you to purchase academic credit and apply it toward a university degree. If you want to get credit, you need to enroll in the verified track and meet all the course requirements. After that, you will have one year to purchase credit on edX.

edX Master's programs are fully accredited.

Is edX Certificate Worth The Money?

According to edX, some organizations and educational institutions may offer credit based on the verified certificate, so in this case, it is totally worth it. You can also add an edX certificate to your resume to show your expertise and attract potential employers.

To earn a verified certificate, you need to get a passing grade and verify your identity using your photo ID and a webcam. edX certificate doesn't show your grades, it merely indicates that you completed the course with a passing grade. Some certificates may also show the "Hours of Effort".

Is edX Legit?

edX was founded by scientists from MIT and Harvard and has connections with universities across the globe, so there is no doubt that it is a legitimate company. It has a 4.5-star rating on TrustPilot, and 75% of students left 5-star reviews. The majority of the reviews state that the quality of content and the variety of subjects is excellent. There are a few negative reviews, mostly from students who claim that the edX platform is not very user-friendly.

Is edX Worth It In 2024?

Yes, edX is worth it. Most courses can be taken for free, and even if you decide to earn a certificate and enroll in the verified track, the prices are very reasonable. Many courses are self-paced, which is very convenient as you can study anytime and anywhere. 

The courses are created by the world's acclaimed universities, and the quality is exceptional. The MicroMasters and MicroBachelors programs are superb as well. Overall, edX is a great platform for people who want to learn new skills or enhance the existing ones and take their careers to the next level.