5. Enrolling in edX Courses or Programs

EdX offers both individual courses and groups of related courses, called programs.

To learn about a course or program, click the course or program in the edX course catalog, to view its About page. About pages provide information about the course or program, including the course or program duration, the hours of work that you should expect to spend each week, the institution that offers the course or program, and the cost, if applicable, for certificates or academic credit.

For information about the types of certificates that are available and accessing the certificates you earned, see Receiving and Sharing edX Certificates.

For information about how to enroll in a certificate track for a course and how to verify your identity for certificates, see Pursuing Certificates.

5.1. About edX Courses

When you consider enrolling in an edX course, you should understand these concepts.

5.1.1. When is a Course Available?

Every course on edx.org has a status that tells you when it is available. When you search for courses on edx.org, you can refine your search by availability.

Note

You can enroll in courses which have start dates in the future, but you cannot access course content or assignments before the start date.

The course availability options under "Refine Your Search" on edx.org.
  • Current - the course is in session now.
  • Starting Soon - the course will start within 60 days.
  • Upcoming - the course will start in more than 60 days.
  • Archived - the course has ended. You can only enroll in the audit track of an archived course. Once enrolled, you can access course materials, but you cannot receive a grade. Some features, such as course discussions and assignments, might not be available.

Some courses are offered at multiple times during the year. Most edX courses are repeated, but scheduling is up to the individual course team.

If a course that you want to take is offered at other times in the future, a More Dates option is available above the current course’s start date information and Enroll Now button. Select More Dates to see other times that the course is offered, and enroll in any of the available times.

The "more dates" option above a course's Enroll Now button.

For more information, see course start dates and course pacing.

5.1.2. What Enrollment Tracks Does a Course Offer?

Most edX courses offer a choice of enrollment tracks. You can choose to take a course for free, without the option of earning a certificate, or you can take a course for a fee, with the option of earning a verified certificate.

For more information about enrolling in a course, see Enrolling in a Course or Program.

5.1.2.1. About the Audit Track

Most courses offer an audit track. The audit track is free of charge, and does not include a certificate when you complete your course. The audit track gives you access to all course materials, including assignments and exams.

When you first enroll in a course, you are automatically enrolled in the audit track.

If the course offers a verified track and the deadline for enrolling in the verified track has not passed, you can choose to upgrade to the verified track. For more information, see Upgrading to the Verified Track.

5.1.2.2. About the Verified Track

Many courses offer a verified track in addition to the free audit track. The verified track has a fee, and offers a verified certificate when you pass the course.

If a course has a verified track, you see a “Verified” indication on the course image in the course catalog on edx.org.

Image of a course card with a verified indication.

When you enroll in or upgrade to the verified track in the course, you submit payment, and, some time before the verification deadline, you must verify your identity using a webcam and a photo ID.

Note

The fee for a verified certificate varies by course. The amount of the fee is listed on the About page for that course. The fee helps support edX’s mission. If you are unable to pay the certificate fee, you can apply for financial assistance using the financial assistance application.

For a list of all courses that currently offer verified certificates, see the edX course catalog. For more information about enrolling in the verified track for a course, see Enrolling in a Course or Program or Upgrading to the Verified Track. For information about certificates, see Receiving and Sharing edX Certificates and Verified Certificates on the edx.org website.

5.2. About edX Programs

In addition to taking individual edX courses, you can enroll in an entire series of courses. Several types of program are available on edx.org, including XSeries programs, MicroMasters programs, and Professional Certificate programs.

For a list of programs available on edx.org, see edx Programs.

For information about enrolling in a program, see Enroll in a Program.

5.2.1. About XSeries Programs

An XSeries program is a group of courses that together explore a specific subject in depth. An XSeries program offers an XSeries certificate after you earn a verified certificate for all of the courses in the program. All courses in an XSeries program offer verified certificates. To complete an XSeries program, you must earn a verified certificate in each of the courses in the program.

XSeries programs have an “XSeries program” indication in the course catalog on edx.org.

An image of a program card with an XSeries Program indicator.

For more information about XSeries programs, see XSeries Programs on edx.org.

5.2.2. About MicroMasters Programs

MicroMasters programs are a series of graduate level courses that you take for credit in a specific career field. After you earn a MicroMasters certificate, you can apply to a university that offers credit for those MicroMasters courses. If you are accepted, you can then apply your MicroMasters credit toward a master’s degree at that university.

MicroMasters programs have a “MicroMasters program” indication in the course catalog on edx.org.

An image of a course card with a MicroMasters Program indicator.

For more information about MicroMasters programs, see MicroMasters Programs on edx.org.

5.2.3. About Professional Certificate Programs

Professional Certificate programs are a series of career-oriented courses that teach critical skills in specific professional fields. Courses in a Professional Certificate program offer verified certificates. To earn a certificate for a Professional Certificate program, you must earn a verified certificate in each of the courses in the program.

Professional certificate programs have a “Professional Certificate program” indication in the course catalog on edx.org.

An image of a course card with a Professional Certificate Program indicator.

For more information about Professional Certificate programs, see Professional Certificate Programs on edx.org.

5.3. Enrolling in a Course or Program

To take a course, you enroll in the course. To join a program, you enroll in any course that is part of the program.

Courses or programs that you have enrolled in are added to the Courses and Programs pages of your dashboard.

Note

Course instructors occasionally enroll learners directly in a course. If this is the case, you receive an email message that contains a link to the course. Click the link provided in the email message to enroll in the course.

5.3.1. Enroll in the Audit Track for a Course

Audit track enrollment allows you to take a course free of charge. You do not receive a certificate when you complete the course.

To enroll in the audit track for a course, follow these steps.

  1. In the edX course catalog, select the course that you want to take.

  2. When the About page for the course opens, select Enroll Now.

    • If the course also offers a verified track, select Audit this Course.
    • In courses that offer only an audit track and in archived courses, you are enrolled immediately. In archived courses, you can access course content, but you cannot earn a grade.
  3. If you are using a web browser, your course dashboard opens with a list of all of the courses you are enrolled in. To open the course, select View Course.

    If you are using the edX mobile app, the new course opens immediately.

You have the option to upgrade to a verified certificate if the verification deadline for the course has not passed.

5.3.2. Enroll in the Verified Track for a Course

Verified track enrollment requires that you pay for the verified certificate and also verify your identity using a webcam and a photo ID.

To pursue a verified certificate in a course, follow these steps.

  1. In the edX course catalog, courses that offer a verified track are shown with a “Verified” banner. Select the course that you want to take.

  2. On the course About page, review information about the course including the price in US dollars for a verified certificate.

  3. Select Enroll Now.

  4. Select Pursue a Verified Certificate

  5. To pay with a credit card, select Checkout. To pay with PayPal, select Checkout with Paypal.

    • Payment is in US dollars.
    • You must pay the certificate fee before you can begin the course.
    • You do not have to verify your identity immediately, but you must verify your identity before the course ID verification deadline has passed. For more information, see Verifying Your Identity.
  6. If you are using a web browser, your course dashboard opens with a list of all of the courses you are enrolled in. To open the course, select View Course.

    If you are using the edX mobile app, the new course opens immediately.

5.3.3. Enroll in a Program

To enroll in a program, enroll in any course that is part of that program. You do not need to complete any additional steps.

After you enroll in any course that is part of a program, that program is listed on the Programs page on your learner dashboard. Select the card for the program to go to a page that has more information about the program. On this page, you can view your progress through the program, enroll in more of the program’s courses, and view any certificates that you have earned.

5.3.4. Unenroll from a Course

You can drop or unenroll from a course, but it is not necessary to do so. You can simply stop viewing and working in the course, which will remain in the list of courses on your dashboard.

Note

If you unenroll from a course, the course is deleted from your dashboard, and you can no longer access course content or information about the grade or certificate you might have earned in the course.

To unenroll from a course, follow these steps.

  1. On your dashboard, locate the course.

  2. Select the course settings icon, then select Unenroll. The course is removed from your dashboard.

    A learner's dashboard of courses with the course settings menu open for a course. An arrow indicates the Course Settings icon, and the Unenroll menu option is circled.

If you change your mind before the course ends, you can enroll in the course again. Your status in the course, including your scores for all completed assignments, is available as soon as you re-enroll.