The 50 Most Popular MOOCs of All Time

OOCs – or Massive Open Online Courses – are picking up momentum in popularity – at least in terms of initial enrollment.

Unlike regular college/ university courses, MOOCs can attract many thousands of enrollees around the world. They can come in the form of active course sessions with participant interaction, or as archived content for self-paced study. MOOCs can be free, or there can be a charge – either on a subscription basis or a one-time charge. Free MOOCs sometimes have a paid “verified certificate” option.

There are now thousands of MOOCs available worldwide from several hundred colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of 50 of the most popular MOOCs, based on enrollment figures for all sessions of a course. The ranking is based on filtering enrollment data for 185 free MOOCs on various elearning platforms.


  • All-time MOOC enrollment numbers are obviously a moving target. Consider any figures here as merely a snapshot at time of writing, not as exact enrollment data.

  • Primarily English-language MOOCs – or those with English subtitles – have been considered.

  • The majority of top courses come from two platforms: Coursera and edX. The latter, in this case, amounts to MIT and Harvard courses, whereas top Coursera courses in this list come from several schools.

  • Of the 185 courses considered (unique, not including versions of the same course), 66 were on Coursera and 55 on edX.

  • There may be other MOOCs with higher enrollment figures than those presented here. Courses that require payment for full access were not considered.

  • Due to differing schedules for course offerings, enrollment data for some courses may be changed over time as reported (causing some MOOCs to change position in rankings). If you have information on updated enrollment data, feel free to report through OnlineCourseReport’s contact page.

Some of the courses listed here have had no recent active sessions, and some do not have archived content. If you cannot find what you are looking for on a learning provider’s platform, check out our list of5400 free online courses.

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