MasterClass Review

by Liz Hurley

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MasterClass was launched in 2015 with a simple idea: Everyone should have access to genius. Its 150+ MasterClasses are taught by globally acclaimed icons in their fields of expertise. 

With MasterClass you can step into Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen, go behind the scenes with James Cameron or take to the mat with Simone Biles.

But if you’re here, you might be wondering: Is MasterClass too good to be true? What is MasterClass anyway? How does MasterClass work? And above all, is MasterClass worth it?

Having fully completed and reviewed over 90 MasterClasses it’s fair to say we know the platform well. Both its pros and cons.

So, whatever your MasterClass question, this balanced MasterClass review should give you everything you need to decide whether the platform is right for you.

But first, here’s an overview of the key points:

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Quick summary

Features

  • 150+ MasterClasses
  • 11 Categories from Arts and Entertainment to Food and Filmmaking
  • Teachers who are celebrated and revered for their global success
  • Cinematic production values
  • Available on mobile, tablet and TV apps
  • 3 subscription options

Pros

  • Learn from the best with passionate and revered teachers
  • Wide range of choice from a large library of classes
  • Affordable and with multi user options
  • Access to sessions you join with a cohort of fellow students
  • Gives you freedom as a learner 
  • High production values and immersive content
  • Downloadable materials to cement and support learning

Cons

  • Some variation in quality between classes
  • No certification

Best for: Anyone who is open minded and intellectually curious or admires the teachers on the platform. 

Cost: Check latest price for MasterClass

Overall: MasterClass offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn from globally acclaimed masters of their trades. The platform does a great job of curating the wisdom and experiences of its teachers into well structured courses that provide actionable insights that you can apply directly to your professional and personal life.

In this MasterClass review I will be covering:

  • What is MasterClass and who are their instructors?
  • How does MasterClass work and how much does it cost?
  • Does MasterClass have a free trial?
  • What is a MasterClass lesson like?
  • Best MasterClass courses and offerings
  • How I reviewed MasterClass
  • What I liked and thought could be improved
  • Who MasterClass is for and whether you can buy it as a gift
  • How to find the best courses on MasterClass
  • Alternatives to MasterClass
  • What others have said about MasterClass
  • Is MasterClass worth it?
  • FAQs

So, let’s make a start.

What is MasterClass?

What is MasterClass

MasterClass is an online learning platform allowing people to learn from the world’s most influential practitioners of a range of skills and disciplines. 

What sets MasterClass apart from other learning platforms is the:

  • Calibre and track records of its instructors
  • Cinematic production values
  • The way it uses storytelling to create an intimate connection between the instructor and you, the audience
  • And the option to share membership costs with friends and family

And judging by the stats, it’s a formula that seems to work.

For example, MasterClass has received almost half a billion dollars worth of investor funding since its launch in 2015. And it’s predicted to go public in 2022.

Who are the MasterClass instructors?

MasterClass instructors

MasterClass instructors are a star studded list of Nobel Prize winners, Emmy and Academy Award holders, musical virtuosos, multiple Michelin star chefs, holders of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – and more.

So MasterClass really does provide an opportunity to learn from the world’s best.

As a taster, some of its teachers include:

  • Gordon Ramsay – holder of 16 Michelin stars
  • James Cameron – 6x Academy Award winner
  • Ringo Starr – Grammy, Academy and Bafta winner
  • St Vincent – Grammy Award winner and guitar icon
  • Tom Morello – 2x Grammy Award winner and “The greatest guitarist of all time” (Rolling Stone)
  • Chris Hadfield – former commander of the International Space Station, engineer, advocate for science and one time singer
  • Margaret Atwood – endowed with over 100 awards and honorary degrees
  • Paul Krugman – Nobel Prize winning economist
  • Disney’s Bog Iger – One of the world’s most successful CEOs
  • Yo-Yo Ma – Renowned cellist and holder of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

How does MasterClass work?

MasterClass is a subscription platform with three plans:

  • Standard/Individual (single user)
  • Duo/Plus (two users simultaneously access the platform on separate devices)
  • Premium/Family (six users can access the platform on separate devices at once)

The Table below shows you what you can expect for each kind of subscription:

IndividualDuoFamily
Users who can access MasterClass at the same time126
Access to every MasterClass
Access to MasterClass sessions
Watch on computer, TV, phone or tablet
Download for offline viewingNo

Once you’re signed up you have 30 days to explore everything MasterClass has to offer. If you change your mind within that period there’s a no quibble money back guarantee.

And there’s lots to explore.

There are 150+ MasterClasses available across 11 topics. Each comes with a downloadable instructor’s guide. These contain assignments, supporting and additional information, suggested readings, links to relevant resources, etc. 

The topics available are:

  • Food
  • Design and Style
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Music
  • Business
  • Sports and Gaming
  • Writing
  • Home and Lifestyle
  • Science and Technology
  • Community and Government
  • Wellness

MasterClasses are pre recorded and self paced. You can dip in and out whenever and wherever you like. They are usually broken into around 20 separate lessons lasting (on average) around 10 minutes each.

MasterClass Sessions

MasterClass Sessions

Your subscription also gives you full access to MasterClass Sessions. These are time bound classes that you take with a cohort of fellow students. The format is more hands-on and project based and you get to engage with your peers and receive feedback from teaching assistants.

The following MasterClass Sessions are available (with more in the pipeline):

  • Craft a Stunning Performance with Christina Aguilera
  • Perfect 12 Negotiation tactics with Chris Voss
  • Design 5 Epic Floral Arrangements with Maurice Harris
  • Create 8 Award Winning Bakes with Joanne Chang
  • Build Your Streaming Channel with Ninja
  • Create videos that go viral with Marques Brownlee

You can read our full MasterClass Sessions review here.

MasterClass cost, gifts and refunds

How much does MasterClass Cost?

Costs for each of the MasterClass subscription are (per month):

  • Individual $15
  • Duo $20
  • Family $23

All are billed annually, which at first glance may seem pricey. 

However, you can considerably reduce your costs by joining with friends or family. And of course by taking as many courses as possible.

With over 150 courses on the platform you’re likely to find quite a few to interest you. Even if you buy an individual membership and find only 10% of the courses of interest this still works out to only $12 a course:

$180 (annual individual membership fee) / 15 courses = $12.

And if you join with friends or family then the price of each course is drastically reduced. This table shows you how:

Number of courses per member per yearCost per course single user (Individual)Cost per course 2 users (Duo/Plus)Cost per course 6 users (Family/Premium)
5$36$24$9
10$18$12$4.5
15$12$8$3

Considering the quality of what’s on offer, you can get incredible value out of this platform.

And before 9th May 2022 you can take advantage of the MasterClass Mother's Day offer.

Can I buy MasterClass as a gift?

MasterClass gift

Yes, MasterClass does have a gift option. To use it, you will need an email address for the recipient.

Simply choose Gift from the MasterClass Menu, then click on ‘Add A Gift’. You can choose to gift either a standard (individual), Plus (Duo) or Premium (Family) membership. After your purchase, the person you buy the gift for will receive an email from MasterClass with a link which will enable them to set up and activate their account.

Can I buy an individual MasterClass?

You can no longer buy individual MasterClasses.

MasterClass is now a subscription only platform. But they do offer a 30 day money back guarantee which gives you plenty of time to find out whether there are enough classes to suit your tastes.

MasterClass free trial

MasterClass free trial

MasterClass does not offer a free trial. That said, it does offer a 30 day money back guarantee (more on this later).

And you can get a good feel for what MasterClass is like by:

Firstly, browsing the platform and sampling classes you are interested in (which is free)

Secondly, Watching the official MasterClass trailers on YouTube

And lastly, reading reviews like this one

MasterClass refund

MasterClass has a 30 day no quibble money back guarantee which we have tried and tested. 

Our refund request acknowledgement came through in two minutes. The actual refund amount was received by the bank two days later.

Check our article MasterClass Refund-How it works and what you need to know for more detail.

What is a MasterClass lesson like?

With over 150 classes across 11 subject areas there is variety between classes. That said, there are a number of things you can expect from every MasterClass Lesson:

  • Each class is broken down into roughly 20 video lessons that are around 10 minutes long
  • An introduction to the content of the lesson as a jumping off point
  • A mix of storytelling, theory and practical tasks
  • Supporting graphics, footage, case studies and examples
  • Summaries of key takeaways
  • An in depth downloadable workbook with recipes, projects, assignments, supporting information, additional resources, etc.

With some classes there are also workshops where you can experience over the shoulder tutorials. 

Best MasterClass classes

Five of the most popular MasterClasses are:

  1. Gordon Ramsay teaches Cooking
  2. Chris Hadfield teaches Space Exploration
  3. Salmun Rushdie teaches Storytelling and Writing
  4. James Cameron teaches Filmmaking
  5. Chris Voss teaches The Art of Negotiation

Of course, the best MasterClass for you is going to depend on what you’re interested in. 

So I’ve provided a best in category list below so you can get a flavor of what’s available in the subjects that you feel passionate about.

Food

Best MasterClass in Food: Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking

Teacher: Gordon Ramsay is possibly the most famous chef and restaurateur in the world. He runs 32+ establishments across 3 continents, holds 16 Michelin stars and a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from the Queen of England for his contribution to food!

You’ll learn to:

  • Master world class tips and techniques to elevate your cooking far beyond the end of the class
  • Get incredible flavor from modest ingredients
  • Train your palate and understand the flavor profiles of herbs and seasonings
  • Create phenomenal dishes including some iconic Gordon Ramsay recipes such as Beef Wellington and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

Best for: Anyone wanting to truly understand the principles behind good cooking to gain more confidence and elevate their current cooking (course 1). Those wanting to wow friends and family and pull off spectacular culinary masterpieces. (course 2).

Click here to read our full Gordon Ramsay MasterClass Review.

Other top MasterClasses in Food:

Design and Style

Best in Design and Style: Bobbi Brown teaches Makeup and Beauty

Teacher: Bobbi Brown has been a household name in the industry for over 40 years. She has her own makeup line, Jones Road; runs a luxury-boutique hotel and curates JustBOBBI.com. 

You will learn: 

  • Top secrets to looking great, whether in day to day life, on the runway or under studio lighting
  • Bobbi Brown’s tried and tested techniques gleaned from a 40 year career working as an MUA
  • Transferrable techniques that are easily customized to suit you
  • How to feel and look like the best version of you possible

Best for: anyone who wants to look and feel better about their appearance, anyone stuck in a makeup rut who needs to get back to basics, and of course… Bobbi Brown fans!

Click here to read our full Bobbi Brown MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Design and Style:

Arts and Entertainment

This is a large category so to do it justice I’ve split it into:

  • Filmmaking
  • Photography
  • Acting
  • Screenwriting
  • General Entertainment

Best Filmmaking MasterClass: James Cameron teaches Filmmaking

Teacher: Academy Award winner, James Cameron, has directed some of Hollywood’s most iconic movies – including the first two films ever to gross over $2bn. During his career, Cameron has pioneered innovations that have transformed the industry and garnered him a place among the movie greats.

You will learn: 

  • The hard-earned wisdom that Cameron’s accumulated over four decades
  • How to recognize ideas worth developing
  • To understand the writing process so your story is told your way
  • ‘The Rules’ of filmmaking – and how, when and why they should be broken
  • About the role of lighting, lens selection, the score and sound design
  • To be canny and creative within budget constraints
  • To craft and introduce compelling characters

Best for: Cameron’s detailed scene analyses will give anyone interested in cinema a new lens through which to view film. Film students may already be familiar with some of the content, but will benefit from gaining insight into Cameron’s approach to the art.

Read our full James Cameron MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Filmmaking include: 

Best Photography MasterClass: Annie Leibovitz teaches Photography

Teacher: Annie Leibovitz is one of the most recognized portrait photographers in the world. Her photography career spans 50 years and she has been declared a Living Legend by the US Library of Congress. 

You will learn to: 

  • “See” like a professional photographer
  • Come up with interesting photo concepts
  • Develop your creativity with practical exercises
  • Blend natural light with artificial to make your photos pop
  • Understand Leibovitz’s core philosophies and influences

Best for: anyone who wants to open up their creative vision, take more interesting portrait photographs, and of course, Annie Leibovitz fans!

Read our full Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Review

Another top rated MasterClass in Photography is Jimmy Chin teaches Adventure Photography A detail-oriented MasterClass giving you insight into Chin’s unique philosophies about outdoor shooting with a mixture of 1-1 style teaching and expedition footage

Best Acting MasterClass: Helen Mirren teaches Acting

Teacher: Helen Mirren is a Royal Shakespeare Company trained actress. She’s renowned for her cinematic roles including Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II winning Golden Globes for each. These sit alongside one Oscar, four BAFTAs, four Primetime Emmys and a Tony.

Learn how to:

  • Break down a script into manageable chunks
  • Find and research your character for a film
  • Develop your film-acting techniques 
  • Understand and use “naturalism” in acting
  • Prepare and rehearse for a scene
  • Work effectively with writers and directors

Best for: Students new to acting and keen to learn the basics as well as fans of Helen Mirren

Read our full Helen Mirren MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Acting include: 
  • Natalie Portman teaches Acting An interesting and specific look at some key elements of acting which gives you insight into working with crew, acting through physicality, and even dialect-coaching
  • Nancy Cartwright teaches Voice Acting A comprehensive course teaching you voice acting from one of the best, well structured and full of practical tidbits that will help you master your voice

Best Screenwriting MasterClass: Shonda Rhimes teaches Writing for Television

Teacher: Shonda Rhimes is an American TV and film writer and producer. She has an array of awards (including two Publicists Guild of America awards) and is known for creating long-running and critically-acclaimed series such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

Learn how to:

  • Analyze TV to become a better writer
  • Find and grow compelling ideas
  • Effectively research for your story
  • Create memorable characters
  • Successfully pitch your show
  • Write an enticing and marketable script
  • Craft naturalistic dialogue

Best for: Writers who are looking to pitch their scripts or progress in their TV writing.

Read our full Shonda Rhimes MasterClass Review

Another top pick MasterClass for Screenwriting is Aaron Sorkin teaches Screenwriting A great opportunity to help you start writing motivating throughout and with helpful case studies and workshops

Best General Entertainment MasterClass: Penn and Teller teach Magic

Teachers: Penn and Teller have been spellbinding audiences for nearly half a century. They've performed on stages from Broadway to Las Vegas, been frequent guests on multiple TV shows, and hosted their own TV specials – including Fool Us and Bullshit.

Learn how to:

  • Perform a series of impressive card, coin, and rope magic tricks
  • Master the art of sleight of hand and misdirection
  • Understand the fundamentals of each trick and how you can customize them to make them your own 
  • Appreciate how Penn & Teller think about magic

Best for: Anyone interested in learning a series of quick and impressive tricks that can be performed anywhere using little or no specialist equipment. Plus anyone looking for inspiration to sharpen up their act as well as fans of Penn and Teller.

Read our full Penn and Teller MasterClass Review

Another top pick general entertainment MasterClass is Steve Martin teaches Comedy  A rare opportunity to learn from one of the world’s best-loved comedians and hear his insights into how comedy has evolved and how to build your own comedic persona.

Music

Best Music MasterClass: Tom Morello teaches Electric Guitar

Teacher: Tom Morello is famed for his unique and unconventional playing style and use of guitar effects. He’s played in bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage and with Bruce Springsteen. He holds two Grammy Awards.

You will learn: 

  • The secrets behind Morello’s signature sounds
  • How to develop your creativity
  • Practical tips for improving your guitar proficiency through practice, developing speed and unlocking the fretboard
  • Tips for becoming confident and free with improvisation
  • How to write a killer rock riff and build it into a rock song

Best for: Tom Morello and electric guitarists and instrumentalists who want to create innovative riffs and sounds in their music

Read our full Tom Morello MasterClass Review

Other specific top MasterClasses in Music include:

Best:

  • Songwriting: St. Vincent Teaches Creativity and Songwriting Impressively accessible to both novices and professionals and is well balanced between informative, entertaining and approachable
  • Violin: Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin A fantastic resource of tips and tricks to apply to your own playing and practice
  • Cello: YoYo Ma teaches Music and Connection Tackle collaborating with other musicians, developing your own creativity and how to practically express emotion through your instrument with one of the warmest, most enigmatic and talented musicians out there
  • Piano: Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz  A great way for both beginners and experts to expand your own musical ideas and to ‘find their voice’
  • EDM: Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music a fantastic opportunity to learn so much about EDM with a blend of explanation and visual demonstrations that illuminated and made accessible complicated ideas.

Business

Best MasterClass in Business: Chris Voss teaches the Art of Negotiation

Teacher: Chris Voss is a former lead FBI hostage negotiator, best selling author, business leader, and guest lecturer at Harvard Business School. He has years of experience of high-stakes negotiations including more than 150 international hostage cases.

You will learn how to:

  • Deploy the tactics Voss has used in over 150 life and death negotiations
  • Achieve your goals through collaboration, not opposition
  • Use a range of strategies that build rapport and create trust based influence
  • Read body language and speech patterns
  • Respond to different situations effectively
  • Frame questions that shape the other sides thinking
  • Be alert to crucial snippets of information that can be game changers

Best for: No prior negotiating experience is necessary. The techniques you will learn will enable you to get more of what you want with the respect, rather than the enmity, of others. Anyone who wants that can benefit.

Read our full Chris Voss MasterClass Review.

Other top MasterClasses in the Business include:

Sports and Gaming

Best MasterClass in Sports and Gaming: Stephen Curry teaches Shooting, Ball Handling and Scoring

Teacher: Steph Curry is point guard for the Golden State Warriors. He showcases his terrifying skill as a shooter whenever he appears on court. Curry is a  7x NBA all star and a 2x MVP who has quite simply revolutionized the sport. 

You will learn: 

  • Basketball fundamentals and some advanced tips for core techniques such as shooting, dribbling, rim shots and more
  • Effective drills for each of these techniques to help you develop a daily practice routine
  • How to apply these drills and techniques in a live game. You’ll also see how Steph himself applies them 
  • How to build your confidence as a basketball player and deal with performance pressure
  • The importance of film study and why you should do it

Best for: Beginner/intermediate basketball players who want to up their shooting skills and learn solid fundamental techniques. Particularly players who want to learn how to develop an effective training routine.

Click here to read our full Stephen Curry MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Sports and Gaming include:

Writing

Best MasterClass in Writing: Salman Rushdie teaches Storytelling and Writing

Teacher: Sir Salman Rushdie is a British-Indian novelist, best known for his writings on migrations and post-colonialism. He received international acclaim with his second novel, Midnight’s Children, which won the Booker Prize, and is now a household name.

You will learn how to: 

  • Tell your story in the best way
  • Create powerful story openings
  • Draw influences from storytelling traditions
  • Conceive and bring characters to life
  • Become a better observer and writer
  • Use surrealist and magic realist techniques

Best for: Anyone serious about writing who’s willing to put in the time and effort to get their work finished. If you’re keen to share something important with your readers and are looking to develop writing skills in order to share a story that is both personal and culturally relevant this is a great MasterClass.

Read our full Salman Rushdie MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in writing include:

Home and Lifestyle

Best MasterClass in Home and Lifestyle: Brandon McMillan teaches Dog Training

Teacher: After training a service dog for an Afghan veteran, Brandon McMillan realised his calling – to focus on training dogs to make lives better. Since then, the Emmy Award winning host of Lucky Dog has rescued hundreds of ‘untrainable’ dogs and transformed them into obedient companions.

Learn how to:

  • Successfully master 7 common commands
  • Overcome common behavioral issues – including housebreaking
  • Build trust with your dog to maximize and accelerate progress
  • Effectively deploy the control, train, treat process
  • Embed training for long lasting results
  • Understand when, and for how long, training sessions should take place to optimize results

Best for: Those thinking of getting a puppy or who already have a young puppy. Plus anyone with an older dog who’s missed some training steps, or has history that’s resulted in trust or behavior issues. 

Click here to read our full Brandon McMillan MasterClass Review

Another top MasterClass in Home and Lifestyle is Ron Finley teaches Gardening. A punchy, motivating MasterClass that gives you everything you need to get started on your gardening project

Science and Technology

Best MasterClass in Science and Technology: Chris Hadfield teaches Space Exploration

Teacher: Chris Hadfield is a passionate advocate for science, retired astronaut, engineer and one time fighter pilot. He’s flown three space missions, was the first Canadian to walk in space and spent six months in orbit commanding the International Space Station (ISS) 

You will learn:

  • All about space and exploration 
  • How astronauts approach problem solving
  • How rockets and orbital mechanics work
  • What it takes for humans to survive in space
  • What’s involved in commanding the ISS
  • Chris Hadfield’s perspective on space exploration
  • Spaceship design and the future of space travel

Best for: Anyone wanting a comprehensive overview of space exploration from one of the world’s most gifted scientific communicators. Also, anyone who’s intellectually curious or looking for life lessons on problem solving, leadership and being your best self. 

Click here to read our full Chris Hadfield MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Science and Technology include: 

Community and Government

Best in Community and Government: Paul Krugman teaches Economics and Society

Teacher: Krugman has held professorships at America’s most prestigious universities, written 27 books, won a Nobel Prize and has come to be acknowledged as possibly the most influential economist in the world. 

Learn how to:

  • Use economic principles to analyze events and issues
  • Appreciate how economic thought has evolved
  • Understand why the 2008 crisis happened
  • Think critically about trade, globalization, taxation and private health care
  • Understand the massive expansion of China and its impact on the US economy
  • Adopt sound strategies to check for accuracy of data and information
  • Challenge your own assumptions and biases

Best for: Anyone who is open minded and intellectually curious and does not have a professional economics background.

Click here to read our full Paul Krugman MasterClass Review

Other top MasterClasses in Community and Government MasterClasses include: 

Wellness

Best MasterClass in Wellness: Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches Mindfulness and Meditation

Teacher: Jon Kabat-Zinn is a former professor of medicine, internationally recognized author and teacher, and is generally regarded to be the godfather of modern mindfulness. 

Learn how to:

  • Increase self awareness, focus on the present, and reduce negative emotions
  • Build skills to better respond to stress and manage pain
  • Become more mindful in your actions
  • Meditate in a variety of ways and poses
  • Understand the science behind how and why mediation works

Best for: Anyone who wants a greater level of health and wellbeing and is open minded and curious. Also great for anyone who has struggled with mindfulness and mediation in the past and would appreciate a fuller and more scientific understanding of its benefits.

Click here to read our full Jon Kabat-Zinn MasterClass Review

Another top MasterClass in Wellness is Donna Farhi teaches Yoga Fundamentals. Lots of practical lessons that are carefully curated to build understanding and awareness and guide you on your Yogic journey

MasterClass for business

MasterClass for Business

MasterClass provides two options for business:

  • Gift – MasterClass supplies CSV files containing unique gift codes which can be used to redeem a one year membership. These are great as one time rewards.
  • Licence – Provides an admin panel which enables an administrator to add or remove users at any time, monitor engagement and support a more consistent perks/benefits strategy

To find out more, you need to contact MasterClass Sales as deals are arranged individually depending on the size of your team.

What I liked about MasterClass

I've been a member of MasterClass for over a year and have completed 25 courses in every category. Except sport (not a fan!).

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my MasterClass experience. But not all the courses I’ve taken were equally good and there was definitely room for improvement in one or two areas.

So I’ve set out below, in overview, what I liked and where I think MasterClass could do better.

Passionate, revered and accomplished instructors

The instructors on MasterClass are champions in their fields of expertise. The star studded cast includes Nobel Prize winners, Emmy and Academy Award holders, musical virtuosos, multiple Michelin starred chefs, championship formula 1 drivers and even Knights and Dames! 

But that’s not the best part. They are passionate enough about what they do to devote months of their time into creating classes and pass on their secrets and hard earned wisdom to you, the audience.

Huge range of choice from a large library of classes

MasterClass has over 150 courses in eleven different categories and the platform adds new content every month.

Therefore there's really not just something, but lots, for everyone. Whatever your interests.

For instance, MasterClass gives you a unique opportunity to step into Yottam Ottolenghi’s kitchen, go behind the scenes with James Cameron, prepare to win with Lewis Hamilton, channel your inner negotiator with Chris Voss, write thrillers with Dan Brown and perform magic with Penn and Teller.

The keyword here is choice. 

Affordable with multi-user options

For the quality of the classes, and variety of classes on offer, the cost of a subscription to the platform is excellent value.

However, what makes MasterClass extra special is the option for you to join with others. Among the platforms I’ve reviewed, this is quite unique and makes MasterClass much more affordable.

With a dual membership you can share the cost of MasterClass with one other person, and with family membership up to five other people. Both options allow you to download different classes and learn offline whenever, wherever and as often as you like.

Access to cohort based sessions

Cohort based learning is a major new development in eLearning and MasterClass has jumped right on board with it.

MasterClass sessions follow a time-bound, structured 30 day curriculum which you take with a cohort of fellow learners. They teach practical skills with step by step guidance from world-class instructors and support from an active community of peers.

Gives you freedom as a learner

An individual membership enables you to learn at your own pace and in a way that suits you. 

You can binge out, or take bite-size nibbles, on desktop, tablet, mobile Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku players and devices.

And with dual and family membership you can download multiple different classes and have even more control over when and where you, and your friends and family, learn.

High production values and immersive content 

A key part of all the MasterClasses I have taken is a storytelling style.

Combined with the lighting and the cinematic quality of MasterClass you really do feel drawn into the backstory of your teacher and how it informed the person they have become. And they're more than just stories. Because they have been carefully chosen to illuminate the content being taught. 

It’s a format that makes taking a MasterClass an immersive experience.

High quality downloadable materials that cement and support learning

As well as giving you high quality visual and immersive content, MasterClass provides downloadable workbooks that cement and aid learning. 

Depending on the type of course the workbook is supporting, these include recipes, additional readings, links to supporting videos and podcasts, assignments and projects.

What could be improved

Courses vary in quality

With over 150 courses on the platform, there is bound to be variation in teaching styles and course quality. 

And being the best at what you do does not always make you a great teacher. 

There are some classes that could benefit from being broken up with more footage, animations, graphics etc. This is particularly the case where the instructor is not very animated or has a rather monotone voice.

That said, these are far and few between. And if you’re a fan of that person you’re probably used to their approach. Plus the cinematic style and way in which the classes are broken down into manageable chunks do help to keep you engaged.

So this is just something to bear in mind, rather than an overall con. 

No Certification

MasterClass tracks progress

Unlike platforms like Coursera and edX, MasterClass does not provide certification once you’ve completed its courses.

However, it does allow you to track your progress and reflect on your learning by reviewing online notes you’ve made during classes.

Who MasterClass is for

MasterClass has so much on offer it really does suit a broad audience. But in general I would say MasterClass is for anyone who is:

  • Intellectually curious and loves learning new things
  • A busy person looking to fit in some high quality learning whenever and wherever they can 
  • Committed to lifelong learning
  • Looking to up their game in the learning categories available
  • A fan of the teachers on the platform

Finding great courses on MasterClass

Finding MasterClasses

MasterClass offers several ways for you to explore the platform. You can:

  • Browse its library by category and sample lessons for free
  • Scroll down the Welcome Screen to find what’s new and trending
  • Search for instructors, classes or topics
  • Watch the YouTube trailers which give a great feel for each class
  • Or Read our Best MasterClass Review 

MasterClass alternatives

Online Learning is big business and there’s lots of competition in the space so you’re spoiled for choice.

The Great Courses

The Great Courses is a flexible platform that allows you to learn a wide range of disciplines and skills on your own terms in your own time. Compared to other platforms, The Great Courses has online and offline options and is compatible with over devices like Roku, Kindle Fire, and even DVD. Because there’s no subscription fee, you commit only to what you pay for (and without time constraints). It also has several free courses to sample.

Creative Live

One possibility is CreativeLive which offers a wide range of courses from cake decorating to social media management. All under the guidance of world-class creatives, cultural icons, and even Pulitzer Prize winners. CreativeLive has more classes (1,500+) than MasterClass and its tutors include Tim Ferris and Richard Branson (though most are far less famous). 

CreativeLive’s membership is also cheaper for individuals. Though MasterClass works out cheaper if you are joining with others. You can read our full CreativeLive review here.

Coursera and edX

If you’re looking for academic, certified, courses then you could try Cousera or edX. They have world class learning partners on board such as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford. Their offerings are broadly similar to each other but the course library for Cousera is much larger with over 7,000 courses. Costs on these two platforms vary from a few dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the type of course you choose. But there is a lot of content you can try for free. 

Udemy and Skillshare

Other, less academic e-learning platforms that come to mind are Udemy and Skillshare. Like MasterClass, both of these platforms offer courses in a wide range of subjects. However, anyone can sell their course on these platforms so the quality is much more variable.

That said, both are cheaper than MasterClass. Also, courses can be purchased individually for just a few dollars on Udemy.

For more detail check out our article Skillshare vs MasterClass – which is better?

Specialist Platforms

Then of course, there are specialist platforms out there for particular interests. For example, YesChef is very much like MasterClass but just for food, Brilliant is great for developing STEM and thinking skills and MindValley is fantastic for personal development through courses like Lifebook.

For more detail, check out our article MasterClass Alternatives.

MasterClass: What others have said

No review would be complete without considering what others have said. So I’ve scoured forums like Reddit to get a sense of what users have been saying about MasterClass.

Reactions are mixed and it’s fair to say that those who have experienced MasterClass are pretty divided.

The more negative users felt that MasterClass was “just entertainment” with little educational value. This comment sums up this view:

“Most MasterClasses are no more than basic interviews or celebrity ads. They don't teach much, it's just someone saying what they did on a high-level low resolution detail. Seriously folks, just go on youtube.” Reddit Comment

I strongly disagree with what this reviewer has said about the production quality of MasterClass – which are second to none.

However, I do agree that MasterClass has a strong entertainment focus. Highly practical classes (eg cooking) do give explicit ‘how tos’. But you’re not going to learn how to become an architect or an astrophysicist after a couple of hours with Frank Gehry or Chris Hadfield. I think few people would expect that. 

And I think expectations are key. As this user comments:. 

“I think masterclass is meant to be primarily entertainment but I thought the Gordon Ramsay and Chris Hadfield series were incredible. you get a very personal feel with the teacher, and there are definitely some things you learn, although i agree that it’s not the most educational content, but then again, it’s not a university course.  You just have to know what it is, and a comprehensive physics course it is not.” Reddit Comment

And those users who knew what to expect because they had done their homework first fiercely defend the platform:

“Seriously - I’m in media production and MasterClass looks 100x better than things you see on YouTube. Can you find some of these talks on YouTube? Absolutely. Can you find them all collected in one place, in high quality, and with an awesome workbook for easy reference? Only on MasterClass. I have happily subscribed for a few years. I’ve enjoyed floating through various courses as I look for interesting info. BBQ? Aaron Franklin’s pulled pork recipe has gotten me so many compliments. Gordon Ramsay’s cooking classes were all amazing. I’ve practically applied tips from the various film production classes to my work and used some of the business techniques to interact better in a professional environment (Bob Iger, Chris Voss). I’m not a paid endorser of MasterClass, but I’m typing this off the top of my head because I’ve experienced these classes and been able to draw principles from them that have actually helped me.” Reddit comment

This user's approach to MasterClass has allowed them to get lots of value from the platform.

MasterClass is educational entertainment which you can dip in and out of to get practical takeaways (from the more practical classes) and inspiration and a layperson’s understanding of more complex topics.

Evaluating MasterClass

Features: Unlimited access to all 150+ classes and their resources for either single or multiple users depending on which subscription you choose.

Content quality: Each class has on average 20 lessons which are around ten minutes in length. Extremely high quality production values with lots of supporting footage, stills, graphics and animations to support learning. Some classes include case studies and workshops.

Content breadth: Eleven categories including Food, Arts and Entertainment, Writing, Music and Wellness.

Teachers: The teachers are all acclaimed and globally recognized experts in their trades

Supporting materials: Downloadable workbooks and (with MasterClass Sessions) the opportunity to collaborate with a cohort of fellow students

Payments & refunds: There are three subscriptions billed annually (Individual $180, Duo  $240 and Family $276). Each has a 30 day no quibble money back guarantee

Support: You can check out FAQs on MasterClass, chat with a bot or submit a request using the form supplied.

How to open a MasterClass account

MasterClass sign up

Opening an account is straightforward.

  1. Go to MasterClass, supply your email address and click on Sign Up
  2. You’ll be asked what has brought you to MasterClass, just check the appropriate options (or skip this step)
  3. Select the categories and classes that most interest you (or skip this step)
  4. Based on your picks a number of classes will be suggested that you can sample for free
  5. Once you decided to go ahead with your purchase click Get Started
  6. Choose your membership type and provide payment details

Is MasterClass worth it?

On the whole it is a “Yes” from me.

But it is important to set your expectations. MasterClass is not an academic platform and it does not provide certification. 

MasterClass does provide an amazing opportunity to learn from globally acclaimed masters of their respective trades. The platform does a great job of curating the wisdom and backstories of its teachers into carefully structured courses. All in one place and all in incredible cinematic quality.

There are always actionable insights that you can apply directly to your professional and personal life. But MasterClass can’t take you from zero to hero. The more practical classes (food, magic) will give you start to finish instructions. But you will not learn to play the guitar or the piano from scratch after a couple of hours with Tom Morello and Herbie Hancock.

The best way to get a feel for MasterClass is to watch some of their YouTube trailers. If you enjoy them, then it’s safe to say you'll enjoy MasterClass.

And since you can sample every class for free – and have 30 days to get your money back after subscribing, you really have nothing to lose by giving MasterClass a go. 

Frequently asked questions

How much does MasterClass cost?

A MasterClass individual subscription is $15 per month, Duo (2 users) is $20 per month and Family (6 users) $23 per month – all are billed annually.

Does MasterClass have a refund policy?

Yes MasterClass has a 30 day money back guarantee. 

How many courses are there on MasterClass?

There are over 150 classes on MasterClass in eleven categories.

Does MasterClass have a free trial?

No, but MasterClass does allow you to sample lessons for free and has a 30 day money back guarantee.

Does MasterClass give certificates?

MasterClasses do give you actionable insights that you can apply to your personal and professional life but it does not provide certificates.

What languages is MasterClass available in?

MasterClass supports English, Spanish, French and German

Can I buy an individual MasterClass?

No, you can no longer buy MasterClasses individually

Is MasterClass legit?

Whilst MasterClass may not be for everyone, it is definitely legit. Since its launch it has attracted nearly half a billion in investor funding and is predicted to go public in 2022. Plus I've spent more than a year benefiting from it myself.

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