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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Cryptography I by Stanford University

4,239 ratings

About the Course

Cryptography is an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems. In this course you will learn the inner workings of cryptographic systems and how to correctly use them in real-world applications. The course begins with a detailed discussion of how two parties who have a shared secret key can communicate securely when a powerful adversary eavesdrops and tampers with traffic. We will examine many deployed protocols and analyze mistakes in existing systems. The second half of the course discusses public-key techniques that let two parties generate a shared secret key. Throughout the course participants will be exposed to many exciting open problems in the field and work on fun (optional) programming projects. In a second course (Crypto II) we will cover more advanced cryptographic tasks such as zero-knowledge, privacy mechanisms, and other forms of encryption....

Top reviews


Jan 13, 2020

Provides a comprehensive introduction to cryptographic history, current technology, best practices and known attacker techniques. A great deal of material is covered in a relatively compact program.


Mar 10, 2017

Cutting edge cryptography topics. Good explanations and slides, but pause button is highly recommended. Can be a bit too mathematical for the general public, and not very formal for mathematicians.

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26 - 50 of 875 Reviews for Cryptography I

By Phoneix I

Aug 6, 2017

It is very nice to have some basic idea. But if supplemented with some practical based screen recording then may be that would be more interesting. If supplemented with reference to further reading materials for deeper understanding then that ware better.

By Dmitry T

Jul 27, 2017

A really interesting and in-depth course. It is pretty challenging and requires good math/proof skills, but still quite fun. The course could use more study materials, for example lecture notes.

By Michael W

Jun 21, 2020

Expected Cryptography I to be a beginner's course since it is Cryptography "One". However, this is anything but a beginner's course. From the first week the lectures assume the student already has basic knowledge of cryptography and just continues from there. The biggest issue with this course is that there are no examples of how to work through problems. Way back in the beginning, the professor lectured about breaking many-time pads, but never actually provided concrete examples on how to go about doing this. If you're looking for an intro course as someone who has no knowledge on cryptography, this is not that course.

By Kartik J

Aug 9, 2020

Very Boring.

By Baltrus S

Feb 16, 2020

The best course I have taken so far! Not only it introduces you to the world of cryptography, but gives a mathematical overview of how everything works and many practical experiences. The second part is coming soon, expectations are over the roof! The book covering materials in these courses, that Boneh is still working on, will be the best resource for all cryptography related topics(for me at least), I guess it's set out to be the ultimate cryptography textbook.

As a person with mathematical background I admired every piece of the course and how well everything was put together. It really shows how Maths as a science is not just a theory, it's very much practical as well. Having said that, one doesn't have to have mathematical background to comprehend course materials.

The exercises at each end of week are very well crafted - they make you reuse most important information from the week and stick that deep into your brain. I finished the course 1.5 years ago and still remember what most exercises were about.

I remember some colleagues complained about week 5 being too much theoretical and therefore dropped the course. For me it was one of the most interesting weeks. Anyway, I would say first 4 weeks are a must for any developer who is responsible for any software/hardware that has something to do with encryption/authentication.

TLDR: If you are considering the course, just take it. The information you will get is universal and timeless.

By Mani K N

Sep 20, 2020

The best course for the cryptography. As a beginner it took some time for me to understand, I had to revisit few sections again to get clear understanding. But the content was the highlight of the course and it was delivered in an excellent way. Looking forward to the next course


Sep 12, 2020

This is the best course on the cryptography which help me to learn relative basic topics. Thank professor for his presentation. Let me say again, it is very very very helpful for people who are interested in cryptography. It is necessary to review this course again and again.

By Flavio P

Jul 15, 2017

Really interesting, provides the basic grounds for understanding a lot of discussions out there. Wikipedia can be useful as a reference, but here I was able to learn about semantic security etc.

By Yash R K

Jul 31, 2016

I am very happy and satisfied pursuing this course. I love it. Cryptography is one of the very important concepts in Computer Science and just loved to have the course from Stanford University.

By Abhimanyu R

Aug 5, 2018

Very Deep math and at time becomes very confusing!

By Alexander t H

May 16, 2023

Very interesting course. This course helped me to understand the ideas and math behind crypto algorithms. Dan explains the topics very clear (and, of course , with the course being online the ability to go back and re-watch parts of the video did help me a lot) .

The assignments are not always easy, but I think that is definitely what makes it worth while to finish through: Thinking about the specific (complex) assignments actually provided me with many insights into the topic.

I did take my time (i.e. way more than the 7 weeks to complete, also since I didn't find enough time every week) , but that also helped me let the concepts sink in a bit. It did make me have to look back at topics from earlier weeks every now and then.

By José d J G R

Aug 4, 2016

This is just a great course. The subject was new to me, and while it was difficult, I learned a lot and actually got a good grade.

Prof. Boneh is engaging and very clear in his explanations.

By Santosh M

Feb 19, 2019

One of the finest online courses I have attended. Very detailed explanation with examples. Very good and highly recommended for beginners.

Thank you Prof. Dan Boneh

By Deleted A

Sep 18, 2020

I think it interesting the course teaches you how Xor gates are used in cryptography

By Jimmy C

Jan 28, 2024

This is an excellent course to learn the basics of cryptography.

By Sebastião B

Jan 15, 2019

Very good course. Expectant for level II

By Michael S

Sep 18, 2020

Very informative and well taught.

By Ben

Sep 15, 2019

This is an excellent and challenging course that covers the basics of symmetric key cryptography, authenticated encryption, and public key cryptography. These topics are covered from both mathematical (notions and proofs of security) and computational (algorithmic running times, attacks) perspectives. The material is well-selected and progresses in a logical manner. Many of the key ideas are reinforced through their recurrence throughout the course in different contexts. The individual lectures also have a very natural flow: I would find myself wondering something about the topic under discussion, only to have my precise question answered moments later. Mathematical proofs are often given in a somewhat high-level, intuitive way but without truly sacrificing rigour. The in-lecture questions are well-chosen to force you to really think about the material under discussion and the quizzes, although sometimes challenging, are interesting and help teach material left out or only brushed over in the lectures.

There are also optional programming problems, which were quite instructive. A couple of these involve implementing attacks on insecure cryptographic protocols; a successful implementation would lead to the decryption of an encrypted message, which I found to be not only extremely rewarding, but also especially instructive (much more so than simply implementing a cryptographic protocol, which was the goal of at least one assignment). I found it a bit strange that these highly relevant assignments were optional, however. I suppose this is perhaps so that a programming language is not a prerequisite for the course. However, I think several ideas in lectures would be rather difficult to understand without programming knowledge and in any case the level of mathematical maturity demanded for this course is much more of a requirement than some basic programming ability.

My main complaint really regards the speed at which most lectures are given. It seems to me quite unfortunate that so many hours of excellent lectures were recorded at such a speed that you're basically forced to slow the lectures down (which sounds strange) or pause every few seconds in order to digest the material properly. In a university classroom, you have a fixed amount of time to deliver material, but there's simply no reason to go so fast in an online course.

By Oleg L

Jul 23, 2017

Course was very fun to learn, and the instructor was very clear and concise with the lecture. I was slightly unprepared for the difficulty level and math involved, but reviewing the videos and discussion group cleared things up. Do not attempt this course without prior knowledge of some discrete math, otherwise it was a very in-depth course which covered many topics, and I would recommend it to peers.

By Andrea G

Mar 13, 2018

Not a trival course, you should definitively pause the lessons several times in order to take notes.Some of the exams are far to be trivial. A little bit too theoretical, but gave me a good insight of topics I need to understand in my professional life. I would definitively recommend it

By learn a

Feb 18, 2019

good instructer

By Aleksandr L

Jan 3, 2021

To much of theoretical knowledge, it lacks practical assignments. Also most of the stuff promised in preface is not in this course, but included in Cryptography II, which is a different course.

Course provides some sort of overview of basic primitives, but without mandatory and relevant practical assignments this knowledge is unfortunately nearly worthless.

By Vaibhav D

Dec 8, 2019

Unnecessary questions are asked

By Innocent O

Aug 14, 2022

I am a Computer Science major and even though I understood a lot of what the teacher was saying, I found the mathematical analysis, theorems and proofs quite boring for a subject like Cryptography. I took this course because I work in financial payments and do a lot of crypto programming. But this course is totally unfit for purpose and so will be dropping it. If you dont have a mathematical background, this course isnt for you.

The teacher had quite an indepth understanding of the subject matter and I didnt find him too fast as a lot of reviews said.

By Daniel K

Jan 7, 2023

This course was not accurately described. It is no introductory course. The instructors goes over fairly cryptic notes in the video lectures. He goes fast and does not explain things well—he understands the topics but cannot seem to help others who are not as knowledgeable understand. The graded quizzes are very difficult because they go way beyond any topic or example discussed in the lecture. Very complex questions.

I am dropping this course. It is not worth the time and effort expended. There are more effective ways to understand more about cryptology.

This will be the last Coursera course I ever take. They did a terrible job describing what this course was about and the level of difficulty. Of course, they will not refund my money so they suck you in and then if you fail…too bad, so sad.