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Coursera Downloader

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Coursera is arguably the leader in massive open online courses (MOOC) with a selection of more than 300 classes from 62 different institutions as of February 2013. Generous contributions by educators and institutions are making excellent education available to many who could not afford it otherwise. There are even non-profits with "feet on the ground" in remote areas of the world who are helping spread the wealth (see the feedback below from Tunapanda).

This script makes it easier to batch download lecture resources (e.g., videos, ppt, etc) for Coursera classes. Given one or more class names and account credentials, it obtains week and class names from the lectures page, and then downloads the related materials into appropriately named files and directories.

Why is this helpful? A utility like wget can work, but has the following limitations:

  1. Video names have numbers in them, but this does not correspond to the actual order. Manually renaming them is a pain that is best left for computers.
  2. Using names from the syllabus page provides more informative names.
  3. Using wget in a for loop picks up extra videos which are not posted/linked, and these are sometimes duplicates.

Browser extensions like DownloadThemAll is another possibility, but coursera-dl provides more features such as appropriately named files.

This work was originally inspired in part by youtube-dl by which I've downloaded many other good videos such as those from Khan Academy.


  • Support for all kinds of courses (i.e., "Old Platform"/time-based as well as "New Platform"/on-demand courses).
  • Intentionally detailed names, so that it will display and sort properly on most interfaces (e.g., VLC or MX Video on Android devices).
  • Regex-based section (week) and lecture name filters to download only certain resources.
  • File format extension filter to grab resource types you want.
  • Login credentials accepted on command-line or from .netrc file.
  • Default arguments loaded from coursera-dl.conf file.
  • Core functionality tested on Linux, Mac and Windows.


coursera-dl is meant to be used only for your material that Coursera gives you access to download.

We do not encourage any use that violates their Terms Of Use. A relevant excerpt:

"[...] Coursera grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use the Sites. You may download material from the Sites only for your own personal, non-commercial use. You may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material, nor may you modify or create derivatives works of the material."

Installation instructions

coursera-dl requires Python 2 or Python 3 and a free Coursera account enrolled in the class of interest. (As of February of 2020, we test automatically the execution of the program with Python versions 2.7, Pypy, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9).

Note: We strongly recommend that you use a Python 3 interpreter (3.9 or later).

On any operating system, ensure that the Python executable location is added to your PATH environment variable and, once you have the dependencies installed (see next section), for a basic usage, you will need to invoke the script from the main directory of the project and prepend it with the word python. You can also use more advanced features of the program by looking at the "Running the script" section of this document.

Note: You must already have (manually) agreed to the Honor of Code of the particular courses that you want to use with coursera-dl.

Recommended installation method for all Operating Systems

From a command line (preferably, from a virtual environment), simply issue the command:

pip install coursera-dl

This will download the latest released version of the program from the Python Package Index (PyPI) along with all the necessary dependencies. At this point, you should be ready to start using it.

If this does not work, because your Python 2 version is too old (e.g. 2.7.5 on Ubuntu 14.4), try:

apt-get install python3 python3-pip
pip3 install coursera-dl


Note 1: We strongly recommend that you don't install the package globally on your machine (i.e., with root/administrator privileges), as the installed modules may conflict with other Python applications that you have installed in your system (or they can interfere with coursera-dl). Prefer to use the option --user to pip install, if you need can.

Note 2: As already mentioned, we strongly recommend that you use a new Python 3 interpreter (e.g., 3.9 or later), since Python 3 has better support for SSL/TLS (for secure connections) than earlier versions.
If you must use Python 2, be sure that you have at least Python 2.7.9 (later versions are OK).
Otherwise, you can still use coursera-dl, but you will have to install the extra package ndg-httpsclient, which may involve compilation (at least on Linux systems).

Alternative ways of installing missing dependencies

We strongly recommend that you consider installing Python packages with pip, as in it is the current preferred method, unless directed otherwise by one of the project members (for instance, when testing or debugging a new feature or using the source code directly from our git repository). If you are using pip, you can directly install all the dependencies from the requirements file using pip install -r requirements.txt.

Alternative installation method for Unix systems

We strongly recommend that you install coursera-dl and all its dependencies in a way that does not interfere with the rest of your Python installation. This is accomplished by the creation of a virtual environment, or "virtualenv".

For the initial setup, in a Unix-like operating system, please use the following steps (create/adapt first the directory /directory/where/I/want/my/courses):

cd /directory/where/I/want/my/courses
virtualenv my-coursera
cd my-coursera
source bin/activate
git clone
cd coursera-dl
pip install -r requirements.txt
./coursera-dl ...

To further download new videos from your classes, simply perform:

cd /directory/where/I/want/my/courses/my-coursera
source bin/activate
cd coursera-dl
./coursera-dl ...

We are working on streamlining this whole process so that it is as simple as possible, but to support older versions of Python and to cope with Coursera disabling SSLv3, we have to take a few extra steps. In any case, it is highly recommended that you always install the latest version of the Python interpreter that you can.


AUR package: coursera-dl

Installing dependencies on your own

Warning: This method is not recommended unless you have experience working with multiple Python environments.

You can use the pip program to install the dependencies on your own. They are all listed in the requirements.txt file (and the extra dependencies needed for development are listed in the requirements-dev.txt file).

To use this method, you would proceed as:

pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

The second line above should only be needed if you intend to help with development (and help is always welcome) or if a maintainer of the project asks you to install extra packages for debugging purposes.

Once again, before filing bug reports, if you installed the dependencies on your own, please check that the versions of your modules are at least those listed in the requirements.txt file (and, requirements-dev.txt file, if applicable).


If you prefer you can run this software inside Docker:

docker run --rm -it -v \
    "$(pwd):/courses" \
    courseradl/courseradl -u <USER> -p <PASSWORD>

Or using netrc file:

docker run --rm -it \
    -v "$(pwd):/courses" -v "$HOME/.netrc:/netrc" \
    courseradl/courseradl -n /netrc

The actual working dir for coursera-dl is /courses, all courses will be downloaded there if you don't specify otherwise.


python -m pip install coursera-dl

Be sure that the Python install path is added to the PATH system environment variables. This can be found in Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Environment Variables.


Or if you have restricted installation permissions and you've installed Python under AppData, add this to your PATH.


Coursera-dl can now be run from commandline or powershell.

Create an account with Coursera

If you don't already have one, create a Coursera account and enroll in a class. See for the list of classes.

Running the script

Refer to coursera-dl --help for a complete, up-to-date reference on the runtime options supported by this utility.

Run the script to download the materials by providing your Coursera account credentials (e.g. email address and password or a ~/.netrc file), the class names, as well as any additional parameters:

    General:                     coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> modelthinking-004

    With CAUTH parameter:	 coursera-dl -ca 'some-ca-value-from-browser' modelthinking-004

If you don't want to type your password in command line as plain text, you can use the script without -p option. In this case you will be prompted for password once the script is run.

Here are some examples of how to invoke coursera-dl from the command line:

    Without -p field:            coursera-dl -u <user> modelthinking-004
    Multiple classes:            coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> saas historyofrock1-001 algo-2012-002
    Filter by section name:      coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -sf "Chapter_Four" crypto-004
    Filter by lecture name:      coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -lf "3.1_" ml-2012-002
    Download only ppt files:     coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -f "ppt" qcomp-2012-001
    Use a ~/.netrc file:         coursera-dl -n -- matrix-001
    Get the preview classes:     coursera-dl -n -b ni-001
	Download videos at 720p:     coursera-dl -n --video-resolution 720p ni-001
    Specify download path:       coursera-dl -n --path=C:\Coursera\Classes\ comnetworks-002
    Display help:                coursera-dl --help

    Maintain a list of classes in a dir:
      Initialize:              mkdir -p CURRENT/{class1,class2,..classN}
      Update:                  coursera-dl -n --path CURRENT `\ls CURRENT`

Note: If your ls command is aliased to display a colorized output, you may experience problems. Be sure to escape the ls command (use \ls) to assure that no special characters get sent to the script.

Note that we do support the New Platform ("on-demand") courses.

By default, videos are downloaded at 540p resolution. For on-demand courses, the --video-resolution flag accepts 360p, 540p, and 720p values.

To download just the .txt and/or .srt subtitle files instead of the videos, use -ignore-formats mp4 --subtitle-language en or whatever format the videos are encoded in and desired languages for subtitles.

On *nix platforms, the use of a ~/.netrc file is a good alternative to specifying both your username (i.e., your email address) and password every time on the command line. To use it, simply add a line like the one below to a file named .netrc in your home directory (or the equivalent, if you are using Windows) with contents like:

    machine coursera-dl login <user> password <pass>

Create the file if it doesn't exist yet. From then on, you can switch from using -u and -p to simply call coursera-dl with the option -n instead. This is especially convenient, as typing usernames (email addresses) and passwords directly on the command line can get tiresome (even more if you happened to choose a "strong" password).

Alternatively, if you want to store your preferred parameters (which might also include your username and password), create a file named coursera-dl.conf where the script is supposed to be executed, with the following format:

    --username <user>
    --password <pass>
    --subtitle-language en,zh-CN|zh-TW
    # more other parameters

Parameters which are specified in the file will be overriden if they are provided again on the commandline.

Note: In coursera-dl.conf, all the parameters should not be wrapped with quotes.

Resuming downloads

In default mode when you interrupt the download process by pressing CTRL+C, partially downloaded files will be deleted from your disk and you have to start the download process from the beginning. If your download was interrupted by something other than KeyboardInterrupt (CTRL+C) like sudden system crash, partially downloaded files will remain on your disk and the next time you start the process again, these files will be discarded from download list!, therefore it's your job to delete them manually before next start. For this reason we added an option called --resume which continues your downloads from where they stopped:

coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> --resume sdn1-001

This option can also be used with external downloaders:

coursera-dl --wget -u <user> -p <pass> --resume sdn1-001

Note 1: Some external downloaders use their own built-in resume feature which may not be compatible with others, so use them at your own risk.

Note 2: Remember that in resume mode, interrupted files WON'T be deleted from your disk.

NOTE: If your password contains punctuation, quotes or other "funny characters" (e.g., <, >, #, &, | and so on), then you may have to escape them from your shell. With bash or other Bourne-shell clones (and probably with many other shells) one of the better ways to do so is to enclose your password in single quotes, so that you don't run into problems. See issue #213 for more information.


If you have problems when downloading class materials, please try to see if one of the following actions solve your problem:

  • Make sure the class name you are using corresponds to the resource name used in the URL for that class:<CLASS_NAME>/home/welcome

  • Have you tried to clean the cached cookies/credentials with the --clear-cache option?

  • Note that many courses (most, perhaps?) may remove the materials after a little while after the course is completed, while other courses may retain the materials up to a next session/offering of the same course (to avoid problems with academic dishonesty, apparently).

    In short, it is not guaranteed that you will be able to download after the course is finished and this is, unfortunately, nothing that we can help you with.

  • Make sure you have installed and/or updated all of your dependencies according to the requirements.txt file as described above.

  • One can export a Netscape-style cookies file with a browser extension (1, 2) and use it with the -c option. This comes in handy when the authentication via password is not working (the authentication process changes now and then).

  • If results show 0 sections, you most likely have provided invalid credentials (username and/or password in the command line or in your .netrc file or in your coursera-dl.conf file).

  • For courses that have not started yet, but have had a previous iteration sometimes a preview is available, containing all the classes from the last course. These files can be downloaded by passing the --preview parameter.

  • If you get an error like Could not find class: <CLASS_NAME>, then:

    • Verify that the name of the course is correct. Current class names in coursera are composed by a short course name e.g. class and the current version of the course (a number). For example, for a class named class, you would have to use class-001, class-002 etc.
    • Second, verify that you are enrolled in the course. You won't be able to access the course materials if you are not officially enrolled and agreed to the honor course via the website.
  • If:

    • You get an error when using -n to specify that you want to use a .netrc file and,

    • You want the script to use your default netrc file and,

    • You get a message saying coursera-dl: error: too few arguments

      Then you should specify -- as an argument after -n, that is, -n -- or change the order in which you pass the arguments to the script, so that the argument after -n begins with an hyphen (-). Otherwise, Python's argparse module will think that what you are passing is the name of the netrc file that you want to use. See issue #162.

  • If your password has spaces, don't forget to write it using quotes.

  • Have you installed the right project ?

    Warning: If you installed the script using PyPi (pip) please verify that you installed the correct project. We had to use a different name in pip because our original name was already taken. Remember to install it using:

        pip install coursera-dl

China issues

If you are from China and you're having problems downloading videos, adding "" in the hosts file (/etc/hosts) and freshing DNS with "ipconfig/flushdns" may work (see for more info).

Found 0 sections and 0 lectures on this page

First of all, make sure you are enrolled to the course you want to download.

Many old courses have already closed enrollment so often it's not an option. In this case, try downloading with --preview option. Some courses allow to download lecture materials without enrolling, but it's not common and is not guaranteed to work for every course.

Finally, you can download the videos if you have, at least, the index file that lists all the course materials. Maybe your friend who is enrolled could save that course page for you. In that case use the --process_local_page option.

Alternatively you may want to try this various browser extensions designed for this problem.

If none of the above works for you, there is nothing we can do.

Download timeouts

Coursera-dl supports external downloaders but note that they are only used to download materials after the syllabus has been parsed, e.g. videos, PDFs, some handouts and additional files (syllabus is always downloaded using the internal downloader). If you experience problems with downloading such materials, you may want to start using external downloader and configure its timeout values. For example, you can use aria2c downloader by passing --aria option:

coursera-dl -n --path . --aria2  <course-name>

And put this into aria2c's configuration file ~/.aria2/aria2.conf to reduce timeouts:


Timeout configuration for internal downloader is not supported.

Windows: proxy support

If you're on Windows behind a proxy, set up the environment variables before running the script as follows:

set HTTP_PROXY=http://host:port
set HTTPS_PROXY=http://host:port

Related discussion: #205

Windows: Failed to create process

In C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Programs\Python\Python39-32\Scripts or wherever Python installed (above is default for Windows) edit below file in idle: (right click on script name and select 'edit with idle in menu)






(add quotes). This is a known pip bug.

Source: issue #500 StackOverflow

SSLError: [Errno 1] _ssl.c:504: error:14094410:SSL routines:SSL3_READ_BYTES:sslv3 alert handshake failure

This is a known error, please do not report about this error message! The problem is in YOUR environment. To fix it, do the following:

sudo apt-get install build-essential python-dev libssl-dev libffi-dev
pip install --user urllib3 pyasn1 ndg-httpsclient pyOpenSSL

If the error remains, try installing coursera-dl from github following this instruction:

If you still have the problem, please read the following issues for more ideas on how to fix it: #330 #377 #329

This is also worth reading:

Alternative CDN for MathJax.js

When saving a course page, we enabled MathJax rendering for math equations, by injecting MathJax.js in the header. The script is using a cdn service provided by However, that url is not accessible in some countries/regions, you can provide a --mathjax-cdn <MATHJAX_CDN> parameter to specify the MathJax.js file that is accessible in your region.

Reporting issues

Before reporting any issue please follow the steps below:

  1. Verify that you are running the latest version of the script, and the recommended versions of its dependencies, see them in the file requirements.txt. Use the following command if in doubt:

     pip install --upgrade coursera-dl
  2. If the problem persists, feel free to open an issue in our bugtracker, please fill the issue template with as much information as possible.

Filing an issue/Reporting a bug

When reporting bugs against coursera-dl, please don't forget to include enough information so that you can help us help you:

  • Is the problem happening with the latest version of the script?
  • What operating system are you using?
  • Do you have all the recommended versions of the modules? See them in the file requirements.txt.
  • What is the course that you are trying to access?
  • What is the precise command line that you are using (feel free to hide your username and password with asterisks, but leave all other information untouched).
  • What are the precise messages that you get? Please, use the --debug option before posting the messages as a bug report. Please, copy and paste them. Don't reword/paraphrase the messages.


I enjoy getting feedback. Here are a few of the comments I've received:

  • "Thanks for the good job! Knowledge will flood the World a little more thanks to your script!"
    Guillaume V. 11/8/2012

  • "Just wanted to send you props for your Python script to download Coursera courses. I've been using it in Kenya for my non-profit to get online courses to places where internet is really expensive and unreliable. Mostly kids here can't afford high school, and downloading one of these classes by the usual means would cost more than the average family earns in one week. Thanks!"
    Jay L., Tunapanda 3/20/2013

  • "I am a big fan of Coursera and attend lots of different courses. Time constraints don't allow me to attend all the courses I want at the same time. I came across your script, and I am very happily using it! Great stuff and thanks for making this available on Github - well done!"
    William G. 2/18/2013

  • "This script is awesome! I was painstakingly downloading each and every video and ppt by hand -- looked into wget but ran into wildcard issues with HTML, and then.. I came across your script. Can't tell you how many hours you've just saved me :) If you're ever in Paris / Stockholm, it is absolutely mandatory that I buy you a beer :)"
    Razvan T. 11/26/2012

  • "Thanks a lot! :)"
    Viktor V. 24/04/2013


Please, post bugs and issues on github. Please, DON'T send support requests privately to the maintainers! We are quite swamped with day-to-day activities. If you have problems, PLEASE, file them on the issue tracker.