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Top 7 Free UX Research Courses with certificates [2024]
Home > Blog >
Top 7 Free UX Research Courses with certificates [2024]

Top 7 Free UX Research Courses with certificates [2024]

Satvik Soni
December 19, 2023
UX Research Courses & UX research bootcamp

Are you brave enough to steal a diamond necklace worth 150 million dollars from the Met Gala?

If not, a career in UX Research is a well paid in demand second option.

If you’re in the United States, for example, you’ll make about $100k per year (source)!

It’s nothing compared to MET gala diamond heist compensations but you’re also less likely to fight off the CIA.

So if you’re considering a career in UX Research but not sure where to start, this article will be your trusty guide to navigating the world of UX research education.

We'll dive into the nitty-gritty of UX research courses, UX research certifications, and UX research bootcamps to help you make an informed decision.

Want to know which programs are worth your time and money? We got you covered. Curious about the skills you'll gain and how they'll boost your job prospects? We'll break it down for you.

As the demand for UX researchers continues to rise, investing in your education is a smart move. A solid training program can equip you with the knowledge, hands-on experience, and industry connections to kick-start your UXR career.

So grab a notepad and get ready to explore the exciting landscape of UX research education. 

By the end of this article, you'll have a clearer picture of your learning options and be one step closer to landing your dream UX research job. In this article, we’ll cover:

Are UX researchers in demand?

First things first: Is UX Research still in high demand?

In 2022 UX researchers were the talk of the town. Companies couldn't hire them fast enough! In fact, UX research roles hit their peak demand in Feb 2022. 

But then, the tech world took a tumble. And where do UX researchers tend to hang out? That's right, tech companies. So when tech job postings on Indeed plummeted by over 70% in 2023 compared to 2022, UX research felt the heat too. For example, it fell by ~50% in the UK Job market!

Before you start rethinking your career choices, here's the good news: the overall trend for UX research demand is still going strong! In the last decade alone, UX research roles have grown to make up 4 times the proportion of total UX jobs in the States. Similarly, UXR roles have remained elevated compared to counterpart disciplines in the UX market of Canada as well. That's some serious growth! 

UX Research Courses and UX Research Bootcamp

So while the market might be a bit bumpy right now, the future looks bright for UX research careers. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

What to study to become a UX Researcher?

There are many paths to entering UX Research as a career.

The most comprehensive education option is a UX research masters program (aka HCI programs), which provide in-depth knowledge and practical experience. However, this route can cost $30,000 a year on an average and take a minimum of 11 months, making it the most expensive and time-consuming option.

For those seeking a more efficient alternative, a UX research bootcamp offers a condensed version of the masters' experience, culminating in a UX research certification. While this method is more cost-effective than a full degree program, it still requires a financial investment. 

So, is investing in UX research bootcamps worth it?

In order to calculate the ROI on these bootcamps, it’s important to know the cost of UX Research Bootcamps. They can vary in price, ranging from $3,000 to $16,000, with durations spanning 9 to 29 weeks. Despite the initial investment, UX bootcamp graduates can expect competitive salaries, with entry-level positions offering an average annual salary of nearly $65,000. As professionals gain experience and advance in their careers, senior and top-level UX researchers can command salaries well over $100,000 in the US.

Haifa Sekkouah, UX Lead at Zendesk, says, being 'worth it'  really depends on what outcome you're aiming for. 

Sekkouah emphasizes that bootcamps are most beneficial for individuals who want to:

  • Understand the day-to-day responsibilities of a UX-er
  • Get a comprehensive overview of the UX design process
  • Explore the breadth of skills required in the field
  • Determine if UX design is a suitable career path for them

Whether a bootcamp is worth it also depends on which one you go for. More on the best Bootcamps available below 👇

Also read: Redditors’ opinion on which is better: a certification course or a bootcamp? 

If you're unsure about committing to a UX research career, a free online UX research course can be a great way to explore the field and determine if it aligns with your interests and goals before investing substantial time and money.

Still with us?

Let’s dig into our favorite online UX research courses and UX research bootcamps!

What are the best UX research courses in 2024?

Let go of your Ocean’s 8 ambitions, unless you have Rihanna waiting in the wings.
As a close second option, let’s get you trained in UX Research!

Offered by: University of Michigan via Coursera

Reviews: 4.8 ⭐️ (1,810 ratings)

“Easy to understand explanation of UX principles and enjoyed the instructor's videos and commentary. Enjoyed and learned from doing the class assignments.”

Why take this course?

This user research course is a great way to broadly understand UX.

It's also a UX design course, and covers the basics of both research and design.

It contains 5 different user research courses that teach you how to research and design a product and ends with a capstone project. This project lets you use your learnings to create a product from scratch. The fourth course, ‘UX Design: From Concept to Prototype’, is heavily focused on UX Design and can be skipped if that’s not of interest.


The UX courses in this specialization are taught by five professors in the School of Information of the University of Michigan. The lead instructor in the UX Research course will be Dr. Cliff Lampe. He holds a PhD in Information and researches the design of sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Everything2, and Slashdot.


None. This specialization assumes you know nothing about UX and provides a user research certification.

UX research certification

This is a free UX Research course and at the end of the course, you get a shareable UX Research certificate to add to your Linkedin profile.

Offered by: HEC Montreal via EdX

Reviews: 4.3 ⭐️ (9 ratings)

Why take this course?

This UX Research course starts assuming you have no knowledge of the subject and takes you from collecting data to analyzing it and making actionable insights out of it.


This user research course is taught by Professor Sénécal and Professor Grégoire from the marketing department of HEC Montreal.


This course assumes you know nothing about UX Research.

While there are no prerequisites, this UX research bootcamp is unavailable for residents of Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine due to sanctions by the USA.

UX research certification

This is a free UX Research course but you need to choose the paid version, costing 369 USD to get a UX Research certification.

Offered by: University of California, San Diego via Coursera

Reviews: 4.5 ⭐️ (3,108 ratings)

“The course content was very crisp and easy to understand. The assignments and suggested reading helped me get a better understanding of the topic.”

Why take this course?

This specialization is great if you want a broader focus on interaction design. It's also great for those looking for a free UX design bootcamp. It contains 7 different courses covering everything you need to know. Courses 5 and 7 are entirely UX Research courses and should receive the most of your attention. This specialization also ends with a capstone project in which you use your learnings to create a product from scratch and earn a user research certification.


The user research courses in this specialization are taught by three professors from UC San Diego. The lead instructor on UX Research courses is Dr. Liz Gerber. She is the co-director and co-founder (!) of Northwestern University’s Center for Human Computer Interaction + Design. Alumni from this center are now working with giants like Google, Meta, and Slack.


Course 4, ‘Input and Interaction’ and Course 7, ‘Designing, Running, and Analyzing Experiments’, have the following prerequisites:

  1. A few concepts from advanced Algebra, like how to use logarithms and what a mean and median are. freeCodeCamp has an excellent crash course on College Albebra that you can use to refresh or learn these concepts.
  2. You won’t need to code from scratch but you’ll have to copy and paste code in the language R. freeCodeCamp has another crash course on R that can help you get more than ready for this course.

The other User Research courses are accessible without any background knowledge.

UX research certification

On completing this free UX research course, you get a UX Research certificate from University of California San Diego. It's a great addition to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV.

Offered by: Google via Coursera

Reviews: 4.8 ⭐️ (4,985 ratings)

“The course was great, with detailed explanation and a lot of examples. The assessments and quizzes were very helpful. My experience with this course was really awesome.”

Is Google UX certification worth it?

This course is part of Google's specialization on UX Design. It teaches all the basics of UXR over a month, but you can easily finish it earlier. This user research course has a slightly steep learning curve, but it manages to stay interesting and challenging.


This course was developed by Google as part of their user research certification initiative.


The course is beginner friendly and can be taken without prior knowledge.

UX research certification

Once you're done, you get an employer-recognized certificate from Google, which certifies you for UX design jobs.

Also, check: Bootcamps, breaking into to UX, and Quiet Quitting

Offered by: University of Minnesota via Coursera

Reviews: 4.6 ⭐️ (1,391 ratings)

“It took 3 times for me to pass the exams. Good content and learnt many things.”

Why take this course?

This specialization contains 4 courses that cover designing and testing User Interfaces. Courses 2 and 4 are specifically user research courses but the design specific courses are also worth a look to get a better idea of the UI process.

However, unlike other specializations mentioned above, this one does not come with a capstone project. That might detract from your experience since you won’t get a comprehensive project to test your skills on.


The courses in this specialization were created by five professors from the University of Minnesota. The lead instructor for UX research courses, Dr. Terveen, has published over 100 scientific papers, holds 9 patents, has advised several startup companies, consulted on intellectual property cases, and has held many leadership positions in his profession (Try saying this man's accomplishments in one breath!).


Take a wild guess.

No prerequisites.

UX research certification

You get a UX Research certificate from University of Minnesota if you complete this free UX Research course.

Offered by: University of London via Coursera

Reviews: 4.6 ⭐️ (7,232 ratings)

"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."

Why take this course?

This UX Research course is more academic in nature and will help develop a "research mindset" before you dive into UX Research. It is split into 4 "e-tivities". Each e-tivity starts with instructions for the activity to follow. This is followed by videos of experts giving their views and tips on the topic. Once this is done, you're expected to work on the activity and provide feedback to others who have done the same.


The lead instructor for this UX research course is Dr. Rofe, a widely experienced university lecturer who has taught Diplomacy, International Relations, and History to undergraduates and postgraduates for over fifteen years. We get that this isn’t a UX resume, but his academic research credits are impeccable.

UX research certification

On completing the UX research course, you get a UX Research certificate. It's a great addition to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV.

Offered by: Skills Gap Trainer via Udemy

Reviews: 4.2 ⭐️ (486 ratings)

"I feel that the samples that were used were very thorough and I will be using it as a guide when creating user research!”

Why take this course?

This 57 minute UX research course takes you through the basics of UX Design and Research. The focus is predominantly on research, with five projects to help you understand the concepts practically. This user research course is heavily text-based.

Although it doesn’t work as an independent resource for new UXRs, it will serve as a great guide to have a quick glance at when working on a problem.


This user research course was developed by Skills Gap Trainer, a startup dedicated to creating MOOCs for newcomers to the tech industry.

Also, read: The Newcomer’s Guide to UX Research Careers

UX research certification

This course does not offer a certificate upon completion.

Top Certification for UX Researchers in 2024

NN/g's UX Certification

Offered by: Nielsen Norman Group


"Having the UX Certification adds credibility to my decisions within this industry." - Corey Nunez, UX Designer at Barrick Gold Corporation

"The NN/g UX Certification has been instrumental in my career growth. It has provided me with a solid understanding of UX principles and practices, and I now feel confident in my ability to lead UX projects and teams." - Jaime Wolf, Sr. User Experience Designer at Amazon


The instructors of the course are experts in the field of UX and are affiliated with the Nielsen Norman Group.

Why take this course?

This certification starts at $5,900. It will give you the credibility and knowledge to ensure that your products are useful and don't fail because they are difficult to use and you will learn how to create more successful interfaces is cheap compared with the amount of time and money organizations waste on uninformed design debates, poor decisions and fixing underperforming interfaces.

Additionally, it can boost your credibility by being UX Certified by internationally-recognized experts.

Is NN/g’s certification worth it?

When considering investing in a UX Research certification, Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) often comes to mind as a reputable and well-known provider. However, reviews on whether it’s “worth it” are mixed. 

While some UX-ers felt it was invaluable for the skills it added to their toolkit and the relationships they built along the way, others felt that hiring managers give more weight to on the job experience over certifications.

So will the NN/g certificate help you land a job? Probably not.
Will it enable you to hone your UX Research skills and network? Probably.


There are no specific prerequisites for the course, but it is recommended that students have a basic understanding of UX principles and practices.

UX research certification

Folks who complete the course and pass the exams will receive a UX certification. The certification is not accredited, but it is recognized within the industry as a mark of achievement and expertise in UX.

FINAL BONUS: What if you actually have what it takes to steal a diamond necklace worth 150 million dollars from the Met Gala?

Do it. Look how happy those Oceans 8 ladies were.

That’s all folks! Thanks for reading. We hope this list serves as a great resource for you.

If we were a greedy company looking to improve our page ranking, we would ask you to send this to a friend who might find this interesting. But we aren’t a greedy company looking to improve our page ranking, so you can send this to a friend who might find this interesting but we won’t really ask.

Enjoy your career as a UX Researcher!

Don't Miss: Top Upcoming UX Research Conferences to attend in 2024


How Long Does It Take to Learn UX Research Skills?

The short answer: it depends. While you can pick up the core skills of moderating interviews and creating effective surveys relatively quickly through UX research courses or a UX research bootcamp, becoming a seasoned UX researcher takes time and practice.

As you gain more experience conducting interviews, you'll naturally improve at managing bias, asking the right questions, and creating a comfortable environment for participants to share their thoughts and experiences. You'll also learn to read between the lines, pick up on nonverbal cues, and dig deeper to uncover valuable insights.

Beyond the technical skills, a significant part of being a successful UX researcher involves managing stakeholders and communicating your findings effectively. Since you're often not the one acting on the insights you uncover (that's usually the role of a product manager or designer), your ability to convince others of the validity and importance of your findings is crucial. 

Is UX research well paid?

When it comes to compensation, UX researchers can expect to be well-rewarded for their skills and expertise. According to data from Indeed, the average base salary for a UX researcher in the United States is $78,782 per year. However, it's important to note that salaries can vary significantly depending on factors such as experience, job title, education, industry, and location.

For example, researchers who have completed a formal degree in human-computer interaction (HCI) or a specialized UX research certification program may command a higher starting salary than those who have graduated from a shorter UX research bootcamp. 

To get a comprehensive understanding of the salary potential for your specific situation, consider factors such as your level of education (e.g., UX research courses, bootcamps, or certifications), years of experience, and job market in your area. For a more detailed breakdown of UX researcher salaries based on these factors, check out our in-depth article on the subject.

How to learn UX research?

There are many ways to learn UX Research skills: courses, certifications, bootcamps, and even on the job! Apart from this, you want to stay up-to-date with the latest in the field by following UX blogs, podcasts and books to get started with UX Research. You can also attend these conferences to learn from the industry experts!


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