CS50 on edX | What Is CS50?

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edX is one of the famous and reliable online learning platforms today. Students around the globe find e-learning very beneficial and engaging. Among all the courses edX offers, edX cs50 is one of the most popular courses. This foundation course is for students of all backgrounds.

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(Last Updated On: November 4, 2021)

What is CS50?

CS50 is a computer science and programming course at Harvard University. This course introduces basic computer science to the majors and non-majors combined. The students do not require any prior programming expertise to take this course. CS50 is an introductory computer science course that teaches students how to think algorithmically and quickly solve problems. 

It covers a large part of computer science. It starts with the very fundamentals of computer science, like explaining binary and visual blocks. After that, the course moves towards abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, and resource management to maintain cybersecurity. 

Software engineering and web development are also a branch of this course. C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript, and CSS, and HTML are among the languages available to the students in this course. One of the most significant courses at Harvard is cs50.

Is This Course for You? 

This course teaches you many fundamental ideas in computer science. In addition, it boosts your confidence to step up your computer science knowledge and programming skills. It may seem challenging and fast-paced as it covers almost every branch of computer science, but if you are steady and can keep up, it will help you in many ways. For example, suppose you are having difficulties in deciding your major, and you want to explore. In that case, this course will help you get insights into many career opportunities in computer engineering and coding. Almost everyone is made eligible to take this course. Therefore, the topics you learn from this course will always be advantageous for you, regardless of your major.

What Can a Beginner Expect?

The purpose of this course is to help beginners build strong basics in computer science. The course is designed to pave the way for the students to have a lenient journey. The topics are well-explained in the lectures. Plus, there are excellent notes and additional video lectures that go over specific complicated topics to explain in greater depth. Due to the popularity of this course, there are several alternative resources accessible, including a subreddit and a dedicated StackOverflow site. So, even if the course seems complicated at any point, it will turn out nicely if you are prepared to put in the best effort.

Find CS50 on edX

The CS50 course of Harvard University is available on edX. Millions of students enroll every month for quality online education at edX. CS50 Harvard edX is one of the most popular courses on the platform. This elementary course is open to people from all sorts of backgrounds. edX CS50 is designed as the same CS50 course that Harvard undergraduates take. All of the lectures, assignments, tutorial videos and accompanying notes are videotaped at Harvard and available online. In addition, the standard of assessing the assignments and tests are the same as Harvard students. All of this is available for free on edX CS50.

Topics Covered

CS50 Harvard edX starts from scratch and will take you to the point where you can make a critical decision whether or not you want to pursue a major in computer science or not. 

  • Broad and strong understanding of computer science and programming.
  • Thinking algorithmically and solving programming problems efficiently.
  • Concepts of abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development.
  • Programming Language: C, pset0 to pset5, Python, pset6, SQL, and JavaScript plus CSS and HTML.
  • Developing and presenting final programming projects to peers.

Programming Languages

ges C – Pset0 to Pset5

The first programming language you learn in edX CS50 is Pset0. This language is written in Scratch. It is a visual programming language for learning how to program. As a beginner, this is a great place to start. The following five Psets are written in C, which is the polar opposite of Scratch. It is a programming language with a minimal degree of abstraction. Manual memory management is required in C. In case you have to make a new array, it includes an extra element unless you had previously allocated additional memory for that original array. The concepts get pretty tricky, especially on the 4th and 5th C Psets. Pointers are slightly more complicated. Trees and Tries are somewhat new at this stage. One of the most challenging and most rewarding Pset is the 5th C Pset, where you make a spell checker.

Python – Pset6

The next language you learn in CS50 Harvard edX is Python. And to show you how much easier it is to learn and use, they have you redo your first 3 Psets in Python. When you first begin to learn Python, it may seem a difficult thing to accomplish, but eventually, you will be able to catch up with the pace. Even though the C program is very engaging, Python is very time efficient.  


The next language in edX CS50 you will learn is Pset7. This language formulates a stock trading app. Users can register, log in, log out, buy stock, sell a stock, look up stock using this application.  Before CS50, a stock trading website seemed like magic. Once you learn the language, the program will not seem that difficult. You will easily be able to understand the variables.


You will also get to learn about JavaScript on edX CS50. There is a lot of JavaScript, which is tough to work with since it is asynchronous. Asynchronous programming implies that a single line of code may request and then wait for a response while other code runs in the background. This is going to be your first experience with functional programming during this course. Many JavaScript functions take functions as inputs or return functions as outputs, which might be confusing. This task challenges you to think differently, forcing you to overcome your habit of thinking sequentially. After completing JavaScript, you will feel very satisfied since you have created a functional, complicated web program similar to pset7.

Follow-up Courses

CS50 now offers five more courses. These pick up where CS50 left off and delved further into a specific topic. They’re an excellent method to broaden your computer science knowledge by focusing on a particular area. 

  • CS50AI uses the Python programming language to teach the students to investigate current artificial intelligence. It starts with fundamental AI ideas like search algorithms and knowledge models. Then, it progresses to more complex topics like optimisation and machine learning.
  • CS50W explores the language, tools, and procedures that enable modern web app development. It covers Python, JavaScript, and frameworks like Flask and Django, and services like GitHub and Heroku.
  • CS50G teaches you the language, tools, and procedures that support modern game creation. It uses C++ and frameworks like Unity to build 2D and 3D experiences. It takes inspiration from games like Pong, Mario, and Portal.
  • CS50M covers The React Native framework which is used to create mobile apps. It covers topics like state and components and testing and deployment procedures and technologies like Redux and JSX.
  • CS50W is the predecessor of CS50 Beyond. It looks at the same topic- web development, but in a shorter amount of time. The majority of the themes remain the same. However, many of the projects have changed.

Content of the Course

The contents of edX CS50 are divided into weeks, just like Harvard classrooms. However, you have an added benefit when you take the course online. That is, you may take as much time as you need to finish each week’s lessons. The contents are divided into the following outline: 

  • 1st Week: Introduction to Binary, Scratch, Algorithm,  Pset0
  • 2nd Week: Introduction to C Language, Compelling – if statements, for and while loops, functions, data types, and libraries,  pset1
  • 3rd Week: Creating Algorithms for searching problems and sorting them, Pset2
  • 4th Week: Hexadecimal, pointers, and memory allocation pset3, notes
  • 5th Week: Forming C Structure, linking lists, coding attempts, recursion, hash tables, and Pset4 
  • 6th Week: HTML, CSS, Javascript, and TCP/IP in   pset5 pset5 pset5 pset5 pset5
  • 7th Week: Python  P set6, notes. 
  • 8th Week: Setting up web servers, using Flask, and creating Jinja templates pset7.
  • 9th Week: Website sessions and cookies, SQL, pset8’s notes
  • 10th Week: There will be no lectures. 
  • 11th Week: A Recap of introductory lectures. On several technologies, “seminar” talks are provided to provide the final project’s idea.

edX Certificate 

Though the course is free, you can purchase the certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you have acquired through the course. Having a certificate to verify your accomplishments has numerous advantages. The first, and maybe the most essential benefit is that it is simpler to get work in the field. A lot of high school graduates claim to know the basics of computer science and programming. But the truth is, it is most likely that they have just attended an introductory course years ago in school. The reliability of someone’s skill is always more assured with a certificate. Another perk of getting a certificate is that it provides a sense of accomplishment. You may be unaware of its significance. Finally, having a clear end goal in mind might help you stay motivated. edX offers two types of certificates to the students: 

Course Certificates

Course certificates are available for a price that varies per course. In the paid track, you get a certificate by passing the course with the requisite grade. You must also have validated your identification on edX before the course’s verification deadline.

Program Certificate

You can avail of program certificates only when you have received a validated certificate for each course in the program. MicroMastersTM, Professional Certificate, and XSeries programs all have program certificates available through edX. 

What Does an edX Certificate Include? 

You would earn an edX certificate if you passed the course with a passing grade. However, your final grade is not shown on your edX certificate. Instead, your final course grade shows on your dashboard and other course information once the course has been completed. The course progress page has a comprehensive record of your scores on all course assignments and examinations. You can use your web browser to print one of these pages if you require a record of your course performance. Though you will see a slight difference in a few Spanish language courses, in the certificates of those courses, the “Hours of Effort” are included. This feature, however, depends on the course team.

How Do You Receive the Certificate? 

The edX certificates do not come in hard copies. After you have applied for the certificate, you will have to clear the payment. Once the procedure is done, edX will email you the pdf copy of your certificate of the respective course or program. You will have the certificate out if you need a hard copy. 

Final Verdict 

With over 800 students every term, CS50 has evolved to become the most extensive on-campus course at Harvard University. This course has been offered at Harvard University since 2007 and on edX since 2012. It is also one of the most highly regarded and popular MOOCs ever, with over 2 million students enrolled. CS50 has grown from a code for a single course to a brand of collection of courses that cover various topics, target different audiences, and stack into distinct learning paths. 

edX CS50  is a fantastic place to start if you already have some programming experience and want to learn more about coding operations. In addition, this course will master you in understanding the functions of the codes you write. To sum it all up, edX cs50 is deserving of the acclaim it has received.

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