The Ultimate Guide to MOOC Certificates

The Ultimate Guide to MOOC Certificates

This resource was updated on 8th March 2017

MOOC providers often award certificates on completion of a course on the condition that certain criteria have been met. T
here are usually different certificate options, some of which are free of charge and others which incur a relatively small fee, and may offer identity verification. This information can usually be found on the course description page. With most MOOC providers, obtaining a certificate is optional. Currently and in most cases, obtaining a MOOC certificate does not entitle you to college credit.

MoocLab’s guide to the certificates offered by the main MOOC providers.


A Course Certificate on Coursera is a digital document issued by the participating University and Coursera certifying that a student successfully completed a given online course and attesting to the student’s confirmed identity by linking the student’s achievements with their verified identity. The certificate does not grant credit toward a degree program, but provides more meaningful proof of credentials.

A Course Certificate includes:
  • The course name
  • The instructor's signature
  • The logo of the partner institution offering the course, if the partner institution includes it
  • A verification URL that allows others to check the Certificate's authenticity
  • A statement that Coursera has confirmed the identity of the learner who completed the course
A Course Certificate does not include:
  • Academic credit from the partner institution offering the course
  • The final grade you got in the course
  • A printed or mailed copy of the Course Certificate. Certificates are provided as downloadable PDF files, which you can print yourself. You can also share them electronically.
To earn a Verified Certificate, you must:
How much does a certificate cost?
To get a Course Certificate for a course, you will need to pay a fee. For some courses, paying the fee also gives you access to other course features, like graded assignments. You can also subscribe to a Specialization, which lets you pay monthly or yearly for access to courses in the Specialization until you complete the Specialization.

Course fees range from about $20 to more than $200, depending on the course.

You can pay the Course Certificate fee when you enroll in the course. If you are looking at course materials for free using the audit option, you can pay to upgrade to the Certificate option any time.

Verified Certificates on Coursera can be accessed via the
Accomplishments page where they can be easily shared.

You can also check your Accomplishments page to see courses you completed but did not earn Course Certificates for, and your final grades in all the courses you've completed.

Learn more...

A Specialization is a group of related courses designed to help you deepen your expertise in a subject. To earn a Specialization Certificate, you need to earn a Course Certificate for each course in the Specialization, and complete a final Capstone Project, in which you apply what you've learned in the Specialization courses.

Some Coursera Specializations offer subscriptions. Subscriptions let you pay a fee every month or every year for the Specialization until you complete it, instead of paying a one-time fee that gives you one year to complete the Specialization.

Learn more...

To see Coursera’s Specialization courses, click here

You cannot gain academic credit from Coursera courses.

Coursera currently offers two degree courses in partnership with the University of Illinois: the iMBA and the Master of Computer Science in Data Science.

To take a degree course, you need to enroll through the degree course enrollment process. You can also take a Coursera course for a Course Certificate if you can't or don't want to take it as part of a degree program.

Learn more...

Coursera Offers Online Courses from Top Universities. Start Learning Now.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Coursera, click here


A verified certificate of achievement shows that you have successfully completed your edX course and verifies your identity through your photo and ID. Verified certificates are available for a fee that varies by course (from $50 to $150). Check your individual course details for more information. View a sample verified certificate.

Note that not all courses offer certificates, and that archived courses do not award certificates.

The institution providing the course does not offer formal academic credit for edX coursework and does not certify that MOOC students have met the same requirements as matriculated students taking the original course on which the MOOC is based.

To gain a certificate for an edX course, you select to "Pursue a Verified Certificate" for that course, pay the certificate fee, verify your identity with a webcam and a government-issued ID, and earn a passing grade.

You can also audit any edX course. You do not receive a certificate if you audit a course, but you can print your Progress page for the course if you want evidence of your achievement.

Some providers offer an XSeries Certificate of Achievement when you complete and pass a series of courses in a specific subject. The requirements vary for each institution, but generally you must take and pass a series of courses as outlined by the institution and receive a verified certificate in each of those courses. Check the edX XSeries page to see current and planned offerings.

For more information on edX Certificates, click here

MicroMasters™ programs are series of graduate level courses that you take to earn credentials in a specific career field. MicroMasters™ credentials bridge the gap between education and the workplace. MicroMasters ™courses are created by esteemed edX university partners, valued by top companies including Walmart and GE, and linked to specific career outcomes.

MicroMasters™ credentials are also a valuable addition to academic portfolios as the credential offers a pathway to credit. MicroMasters™ programs have no admissions requirements, and are open to anyone.

Once you’ve successfully earned a MicroMasters™ credential, you can apply to an on-campus program that recognizes the MicroMasters™ credential. If you're accepted, the digital credential counts as credit toward a portion of the degree, resulting in an accelerated program.

For more information, see the edX MicroMasters page.

XSeries and MicroMasters program certificates include the following information:

  • Your name.
  • The name of the program.
  • The edX partner institution that created the program.
  • The names and signatures of one or more members of the program team.
  • The month and year when the certificate was issued.
  • A certificate ID that others can use to validate the certificate.
A Professional Certificate Program is a series of courses designed by industry leaders and top universities to enhance professional skills for today's top jobs. By completing a program you can earn a Professional Certificate to increase your marketability.

View all Professional Certificates

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of edX, click here


A Nanodegree is a compact online curriculum designed to get you the skills that employers believe are key to get a job in technology. It focuses on learning by doing. It is typically comprised of 5 to 7 courses that will help you build corresponding projects, which will make you practice and demonstrate your proficiency.

You don't have to take the courses to earn a Nanodegree credentia. You earn it by submitting completed projects that pass required specifications. After successfully completing your projects, your identity will be verified and you may be asked to do an exit interview. Upon successful completion of this process, you will receive an official Udacity Nanodegree credential which you can access through your Udacity account.

How much does a Nanodegree cost?
The cost of a Nanodegree program varies program to program and pricing information can be found on a program's overview page.

Some Nanodegree programs are self-paced and are charged on a monthly basis (such as $199/month). This means the total cost will vary depending on how much time you spend learning. Most programs are expected to take between 6-12 months to complete, depending on your study schedule and prior background.

Other programs offer a one-time payment option. You pay upfront for the program and do not make any further payments. The exact cost will vary program to program so you'll need to look at the program's overview page to see the exact cost.

Udacity also offer programs that are released in terms. Payment is by term and you pay a flat fee for each term. For example, if a program is 3 terms and each term is $800, you will pay a total of $2400.

Read more about Nanodegree Credentials here

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Udacity, click here


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A Statement of Participation is a printed certificate available to purchase that shows you have taken part in a course on FutureLearn. On some courses, all learners who have completed the majority of the steps including all the tests within the course will be eligible to purchase a Statement of Participation. A Statement of Participation implies neither the award of credit points nor the conferment of a university qualification. The current cost is £19.00 (GBP) + shipping.
A Statement of Participation shows your name, the name of the course and the name of the university which delivered the course. It outlines the subject areas covered by the course, the number of hours of study required per week, and is signed by the Educator who delivered the course. It does not include individual levels of participation or aggregated test scores, but rather confirms that you completed at least 50% of the steps and all mandatory tests. Sample Statement of Participation

To be eligible to buy a Statement of Participation, you must Mark over 50% of the steps on a course as complete and attempt all test questions.

This is a more detailed record of what you’ve achieved on a course, with more rigorous eligibility criteria. As well as all of the detail previously displayed on Statements of Participation, Certificates of Achievement come with an accompanying transcript of learning.
This transcript details the learning outcomes and syllabus for your course,plus your average test score, making it ideal evidence of your continuing professional development (CPD), or your interest in and understanding of a subject. The Certificate will also contain the detail of any accrediting or recognising institutions associated with the course.
To buy a Certificate, you must complete over 90% of the course and achieve an overall average test score over 70%.

Find out more here.

To get a Certificate of Achievement you need to:

  • Upgrade your course – you can do this at any point, before, during or after the course.
  • Mark 90% of the steps in the course as complete
  • Attempt every test question and score over 70% across all course tests
ID verification is optional for learners who have upgraded a course.

If you don’t qualify for a Certificate of Achievement because you didn’t quite score highly enough on tests, you will be offered a Statement of Participation.

You can access the digital version of your Statements and Certificates from the Achievements section on your profile page, or using the direct link in your order confirmation email. You will also receive printed copies in the post later.


Students can gain FutureLearn Awards on successful completion of a FutureLearn "Program" - a series of courses designed to provide you with a deeper and more valuable learning experience than a single course.
To be eligible for an award, you must upgrade your courses and qualify for a Certificate of Achievement for each course on the program. If the program also requires assessment, you must also purchase and complete the assessment to receive the program Award. Some programs offer university-recognised credit in addition to a FutureLearn award.
The Award will be accessible via your FutureLearn profile page and can be shared to your LinkedIn profile or CV as a link.

Learn more ...

Some FutureLearn programs have been designed specifically by the partner universities to enable you to earn credits, which will count towards a specific degree at the partner university. Where programs are designed as pathways into degree programs, the program page will provide details of what the credit will be recognised for.

Learn more...

FutureLearn currently offer postgraduate degree qualifications – graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master and master of professional practice. They are internationally accredited by Deakin University.
Degrees vary in price depending on the subject. Pricing information can be found on the degree page.

See degree programs

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of FutureLearn, click here


A Certificate of Completion is awarded on some courses on completion of all sections of the course and a score of at least 80% in each assessment. Users can pay a nominal fee to automatically download certificates, or purchase paper parchments and framed certificates that are shipped via mail. (A limited selection of courses offer a free PDF certificate).

ALISON certificates are issued by Advance Learning (ALISON is an acronym for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online). After verification of the learning activity and scores achieved in assessments, certificates are signed by a Certification Officer of Advance Learning.

Certificate options vary depending on which course you choose; some are FREE (such as Microsoft Digital Literacy and a number of HSA courses), some do not have certificates, and others have a fee which will depend on the type of course and the format you wish to purchase.

If you purchase a PDF certificate, the certificate and the transcript will be made available to download, from the My Certificates page. The transcript will describe the course modules, your personal details, validation links, and data. If you ordered a parchment copy, you will receive a copy of the transcript on a separate paper.

If you purchase a parchment certificate, it will be shipped to your address. A transcript will also be included with your order. The transcript will describe the course modules, your personal details, validation links, and data.

Once you are certified, you can view the price of your certificate when you are logged in by going to the My Certificates section of your account.

If you are not certified, you can email to get pricing information.

Sample PDF Certificate
Sample Parchment Certificate
Sample Framed Parchment

Group Certificates are available to tutors/teachers/group managers who have purchased an ALISON group. It enables your organisation to include the organisation's name and logo. The custom certificate is provided at no extra cost once you have subscribed to the group certification feature. In effect, it is an ALISON certificate customised for your organisation. In addition to this feature, certificates for your group can be purchased for a once-off fee. This is a very cost-effective way of ordering certificates for your group as a significant discount on certificates can be achieved through this package. Certificates for each learner can be downloaded by the tutor/teacher/group manager.

Diploma level courses are more in-depth than certificate level, and they take longer to complete.

Diplomas are available as paper or framed parchment only.

If you purchase a framed diploma parchment, it will be shipped to your address. A transcript will also be included with your order. The transcript will describe the course modules, your personal details, validation links, and data.

Sample Diploma Parchment

ALISON qualifications can be validated online once you have purchased a certificate or diploma. Potential employers or teachers/trainers can use this system to verify that you have completed the course.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Alison, click here


Once you have completed 80% of the course material (video lectures and quizzes) you receive a free Statement of Participation. This confirms your active involvement throughout the course. The Statement of Participation will include your name, the instructors name, a description of the course and its duration.

You can find your Statement of Participation under the “Certificates” tab on your course page once the course has ended – but only if you have reached the necessary progress threshold!

The Certificate of Accomplishment is an official document issued by iversity on some courses, which states that you have successfully completed the course. It is graded, identity-verified and signed by your instructor. It also includes a short description of the course content. If you achieve a top 10% grade, this will be noted on your certificate.

Graduates can also obtain a Certificate Supplement which includes detailed information about the course content and structure, an overview of learning objectives and a brief explanation of the grading scheme.

CERTIFICATE TRACKS - with a graded course project (Paid)
Certificate Tracks area paid study path in which you are required to take a final online-proctored exam. You need to be enrolled in a course at iversity that offers certificates and pay for a certificate before taking the exam. If successful, you receive a Certificate of Accomplishment and a Certificate Supplement (detailed information about the course content and structure, an overview of your learning achievements and a brief explanation of the grading scheme).

A graded course project is an assessment with a fixed deadline but no duration that resembles a term paper, an assignment or a work project. You are required to submit a signed Statement of Authorship to show that your work is really yours.

An ECTS Track is a paid study path in which you are required to participate in a final on-site exam in one of iversity’s learning hubs. On-site exams take place in different German cities and therefore you must be able to travel to Germany in order to complete the exam. The exam locations are announced on your tracks page and iversity does not cover the travel costs.

After successfully passing the final on-site exam, you receive a Certificate of Accomplishment and a Certificate Supplement. If successful, you will also be qualified to receive ECTS credits. These credits are issued by the instructor’s teaching university, and not iversity. However, it is important that you first contact your home University to check whether they accept the credits or not.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of iversity, click here


A Statement of Accomplishment is awarded subject to satisfactory performance and course completion. The requirements for receiving a completion certificate will vary by course. To see the Instructor's policies, you can visit "Course Information" under the lectures tab. The Statement of Accomplishment is non-verified.

Statements are normally released a few weeks after the course ends. Once you receive an update that statements have been released, you can access yours at the top of the home page.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of NovoEd, click here


A Certificate of Achievement is awarded on successful completion of a course. Once the course finishes, you will be able to download the certificate, along with your final grades, via “My Study Centre”. The Certificate of Achievement is non-verified.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Open2Study, click here


Certification is dependent on the institution providing the course.

Individual instructors or sponsoring institutions may offer a certificate of participation or completion. The instructor or sponsoring institution is responsible for issuing certificates. Canvas Network does not issue certificates. Please read the course details to find out if a certificate is offered, or contact the instructor after the course begins to inquire about certificates.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Canvas Network, click here


A 70% or better on a final exam will earn you a downloadable (pdf) certificate of completion.

The Saylor Foundation does now offer a number of courses which can prepare a student to earn tangible, transferable, college credit. These courses are aligned to exams that have either been created by The Saylor Foundation, or recommended for college credit by The National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS); or credit bearing exams that have been developed and are administered by third-party institutions. While the courses themselves are free, certain fees may apply for a student to attempt one of the associated exams. Successful transfer of credit will depend on the institution and degree program that a student enrolls in.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Saylor Academy, click here


Students who successfully complete a class will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor.

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of Stanford Online, click here


A Badge or Certificate of Completion is awarded on successful completion of a course

The majority of OpenupEd MOOCs provide the possibility to obtain a formal certificate, i.e. official credits that can count towards obtaining a degree, using ECTS (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System).

To view MoocLab's full independent review and rating of OpenUpEd, click here

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