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The Great Courses Review for 2023

the great courses review

Last Updated: January 28, 2023

Your search for real online learning may end up with the Great Courses. The Great Courses is a reputable online learning community that helps lifelong learners learn new skills at their own pace. Due to its flexibility and an array of high-quality courses, this virtual learning forum is trendy among students and professionals. You can find 800+ courses in more than 13 categories on The Great Courses.

Before signing up for an e-learning platform, it is vital to read its users’ reviews. This approach will not only help you ensure the effectiveness of the forum but also aid you in finding a course that fits well to your interest and needs. If you’re new to online learning, you might ask, how good are The Great Courses? Can I access its courses for free? What type of courses does it have to offer? And can I get a refund if I don’t like the course content of The Great Courses?

After getting so many questions, we’ve decided to review The Great Courses in-depth. Our The Great Courses review will cover every aspect of this virtual learning community, including subscription plans, pros and cons, users’ reviews, and other features.

Before diving into the details of The Great Courses, here is a quick snapshot of its advantages and disadvantages.

What are The Great Courses: A Brief Overview?

The Great Courses is a legit online learning community founded in 1990 by Tom Rollins (author of the CEO Formula). The platform hosts courses on a wide range of topics that cover all the high-in-demand industry niches. The Great Courses is also a part of a larger organization, Wondrium. It is a leading global media forum for providing “edutainment” most simply and affordably.

The Great Courses has sold more than 14 million copies, and it is continuing to expand its offers and services to give learners a seamless educational experience. The platform aims to deliver an enjoyable and easy-to-follow learning experience.

Pros and Cons of The Great Courses


  • 800+ courses taught by industry experts
  • An easy-to-use offline and web version to suit your learning schedule
  • 13+ categories ranging from fine arts to finance
  • “My Digital Library” to save your purchased courses in a single place
  • Comprehensive accessibility controls
  • A simple documentary-style approach for convenient learning
  • Well-defined course suggestions
  • Ideal for all skill levels
  • Budget-friendly pricing plans
  • A 14-day free trial
  • Multiple subscription options


  • Some courses are less up-to-date compared to other online learning platforms.
  • Lack of diversity in the instructor pool
  • Lack of interaction between learners and instructors

The Great Courses Plus Vs. The Great Courses

The Great Courses has its modified version called The Great Courses Plus. The new form of the platform takes all The Great Courses lectures and makes them available for streaming in a subscription model. Whereas, The Great Courses is a catalog that sells taped lectures for the college level.

The DVDs of The Great Courses lectures are slightly pricier than the subscription model of The Great Courses Plus. With the subscription model, you can pay a monthly fee to get access to as many courses as you want.

The following table will help you better understand what you get with The Great Courses Plus and The Great Courses.

Option Duration Billing Option Features
The Great Courses Varies (6 hours per course, on average) Pay as you go ü  Opportunity to download DVD/Audio/Video or digital guidebooks for offline viewing

ü  Compatible with multiple apps

The Great Courses Plus Varies from course to course Monthly, quarterly, and annual subscription plans ü  Free shipping

ü  Free access to digital guidebooks and Wondrium magazine

ü  Access to all of The Great Courses


The Great Courses Classes

As mentioned earlier, The Great Courses offers over 800 courses in 13+ categories. You can find some great lessons in the following niches:

  • Economics and Finance
  • Hobby and Leisure
  • Music and Fine Arts
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Professional and Personal Growth
  • Travel
  • Science
  • Programs for Young Learners
  • Mathematics
  • Literature and Language
  • History
  • Health, Fitness, and Nutrition
  • Food and Wine

The Great Courses Instructors

Being a leading online educational community, The Great Courses only hire field experts and experienced instructors. The platform finds teachers from some of the world’s top colleges, including Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. Along with leading professors, you will find the following experts in the list of The Great Courses’ instructor pool:

  • CEOs of the globally renowned companies
  • International speakers
  • Industry experts
  • Authors

Structure of The Great Courses’ Classes

The Great Courses is more formal than other e-learning communities, like MasterClass and LinkedIn Learning. The style and structure of The Great Courses’ classes may vary depending on the professor and the nature of the subject.

The Great Courses focuses more on providing college-style lectures than webcam-style videos. The courses also have graphics to make learning fun and engaging. All classes have the following key features regarding style and structure:

  • The speed-up and slow-down options for both audio and video lectures
  • Additional downloadable resources and Q&A sections
  • Transcripts available for both video and audio classes
  • A course overview tailored to the course content

The Great Courses Free Trial

The subscription for The Great Courses is always free. It does not charge any fixed fee for membership, meaning you can pay for individual courses. It also offers 5+ free sample courses to help you explore the platform’s reliability. You can also explore unlimited free content on The Great Courses’ YouTube channel and blog.

With The Great Courses Plus, you can enjoy a 14-day free trial and experience all the benefits of a full membership without becoming a paying member. Make sure to cancel your free subscription before the free trial ends; otherwise, the platform will automatically charge you for the next month.

The Great Courses Cost

The non-subscriber members of The Great Courses can access 5 to 10 free courses. But if you want to buy a class individually, you may pay between $35 and $500. This may seem costlier at first glance, but remember that courses vary significantly in duration. A course covers 20 to 30 lectures, with most classes lasting about 30 minutes, which is a great deal.

If you want more value, you can find The Great Courses Plus on Wondrium and purchase its monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription plan. You may expect to pay the following for The Great Courses Plus:

  1. Monthly: $23.74 per month
  2. Quarterly:78 per month
  3. Annual: $14.84 per month

The subscription plans of The Great Courses Plus offer exclusive perks. For example:

  • You can access hundreds of college-level courses
  • You can get a detailed PDF textbook with each course

The Great Courses for Business

Unfortunately, The Great Courses does not offer any business subscription. But, Wondrium is thinking of expanding its offerings, so it is likelier for businesses to find something valuable on this platform in the future.

How to Get Started with The Great Courses?

The Great Courses offers two ways to start your journey with this leading virtual learning community.

  1. Start with a free account and then pay as you go.
  2. Purchase a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription to The Great Courses Plus

You can easily create your account for The Great Courses. You must provide your name, email address, and password to sign up. Once your account is created, you can browse The Great Courses’ selection of 800 classes. The platform also allows its new users to take 5+ free sample classes.

The Great Courses allows you to gift its courses to your friends and family. With the following steps, you can send a course as an e-gift:

  • Select the “course” you want to send
  • Click on “Instant Video”
  • Select “Send as e-Gift.”
  • Complete the recipient details
  • Complete the payment process and confirm

The Great Courses Refund Policy

The refund policy of The Great Courses may vary depending on your subscription option. If you purchase an individual course, you can get a full refund within the year of purchase. You can also exchange your course for an equal or lower value. If you go with the subscription options of The Great Courses, you will not be eligible to get a refund, but you can cancel your subscription anytime.

The Great Courses Reviews

The Great Courses features a mixture of both positive and negative user reviews. A consumer rating of 3.0 stars indicates that most users are generally dissatisfied with the offerings of The Great Courses. The positive user reviews are centered around tailored course suggestions and offline learning options. Most users rated The Great Courses negatively for its less up-to-date content and expensive DVDs.

Final Verdict

The Great Courses is a legit online learning space. It has partnered with some of the world’s top companies, including the Smithsonian, Mayo Clinic, and National Graphics, to deliver exceptional education to a broader audience. You can get more value for your money by signing up for a The Great Courses Plus subscription. This platform has excellent options to cater to the needs and preferences of individuals.

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