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MasterClass: Everything You Need to Know

By Cait Williams

Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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Updated: September 30th, 2022
MasterClass: Everything You Need to Know

Chances are, at some point over the last few years, you’ve heard someone mention MasterClass. Maybe you even asked yourself “What is MasterClass?” Well, today you will find out! In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at how this platform works and how you can best use MasterClass to learn!

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online learning platform that launched in 2015. There are lots of sites that offer classes, access to a range of topics, and offer the ability to ask real time questions. So, what makes MasterClass stand out?

MasterClass is so unique because of who teaches the classes. Don’t just learn how to act from a random YouTube video, get full lessons from Natalie Portman, Steve Martin, and Judd Apatow! Learn to cook with Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, Roy Choi, and so many more!

You don’t have to think too hard about the credentials that MasterClass instructors have-you are paying for quality teaching and MasterClass delivers! While many sites offer accredited teachers and professionals, MasterClass goes above and beyond.

So, how does their website work? MasterClass offers classes and what are called “sessions.” We’ll cover what each one is and the difference between them. 

Classes 

Let’s start with classes. Classes are anywhere from one hour to four hours long. They’re broken down into lessons that can be watched one at a time or one after the other. MasterClass understands that life is busy. They want their content to fit into your life, which means breaking things down into more manageable portions. 

A class usually has between 10 – 15 lessons that consist of a short video and written material. Each MasterClass will have a downloadable guide or workbook that you can use while going through the lessons.

Sessions

Okay, let’s get into sessions now. Sessions are a relatively new edition to the MasterClass universe. Sessions were designed so that users could gain more hands-on experience. They require a bit more commitment than their traditional classes, but they also offer unique accessibility.

Sessions last 30 days and go through a structured curriculum. During them you will work with a group of peers and teaching assistants to complete real projects that you will receive feedback on. If, however, you begin a session and do not complete it, that’s okay! You still maintain access to the materials until your membership expires. 

The point of sessions is to gain real experience with others, so if you do begin one, they recommend sticking with it to get all that you can! 

Don’t miss: Top 10 online learning platforms

Membership 

One of the best things about MasterClass might just be their price tag! Of course they can’t offer the quality content they do without some kind of membership plan, but at only $15 a month, it’s much more affordable than one might expect. 

MasterClass bills you once a year for the full 12 month period, meaning you pay one lump installment for their individual plan. There are no levels of membership, rather, each plan they offer gives you access to all the same material. But still, they have various plan options that offer various features. Below are their three plans and current pricing (subject to change).

Individual plan

  • $15/month
  • Watch on 1 device at a time
  • Cannot download for offline viewing 

Duo plan

  • $20/month
  • Watch on 2 devices at a time
  • Can download for offline viewing

Family plan

  • $23/month
  • Watch on 6 devices at a time
  • Can download for offline viewing 

The differences between their plans are quite simple. As we said, there is no difference between available content. What changes between plans is the ability to download material for offline viewing and how many people can watch that content at once. 

MasterClass content can be watched in their app, on laptops, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku streaming players. The different plans offer you the ability to watch classes on multiple devices at once. You may be buying this to learn on your own, but MasterClass knows that learning with others can be a key feature to learning.

With their Duo and Family plans, learners have the ability to watch classes at the same time as others who may be in the next room or the next state. And of course, the flexibility to download content and view it at your leisure works no matter your schedule. 

Finding the right class

MasterClass offers over 150+ classes and that number is growing. Their courses are broken down into categories that range from design and style to science and tech. So, how do you find what classes are right for you? 

When you sign up, MasterClass will ask you a few questions about what topics you’d like to learn more about. From there, they’ll suggest a list of courses that you may be interested in. Because MasterClass memberships give you access to all of their content, you don’t need to worry about starting a class and then deciding it’s not for you.

Their material is designed so you can learn about what interests you! You’re not locked down to just one class at a time. Take your time looking at all they have to offer and remind yourself that you have time to explore it all! 

Also see: Guide to Coursera scholarships & financial aid

Deciding between MasterClass and other platforms

MasterClass is an impressive and affordable option to receive expertly-curated instruction online. It is time-flexible and offers a great way for anyone to pursue their classes. That being said, depending on your goals, it is not the perfect fit for everyone.

Drawbacks to consider

There are two main drawbacks to the MasterClass learning style. One is that there is no interaction between you and your instructor. While you are given a great wealth of information to soak up and will complete interactive assignments and may even collaborate with other students, you will never receive the feedback of an expert in the field. If you have questions about the topic, you’ll have to research their answers yourself. If you are a student who learns by asking questions and engaging in discussion, this may be difficult.

Another main drawback to MasterClass is that its courses do not offer any certification. You will most likely be unable to leverage your MasterClass credentials to land any jobs or internships. This is not to say that they are not useful towards a career; if you apply the skills you learned to complete a project or impress a potential employer, they can be hugely helpful. But in the eyes of hiring managers, these classes in and of themselves are not a great asset for candidates.

Other programs

If the drawbacks mentioned above do not deter you, we recommend MasterClass as a great option! However, if you are looking for something different, there are other options. If you want a program with more instructor interaction and something that can lead to a degree, try investigating the online degrees offered through Coursera. While these require much more time and money than a MasterClass, they can also open more doors in your career.

And if you’re looking for something less intensive than that, but also want a program that offers certifications, there are many other options out there. Many of these are also hosted on Coursera, or on individual college websites. EdX is another great alternative to look into.

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • MasterClass offers inexpensive online courses taught by experts in the field, and oftentimes even celebrities
  • Students do not get to interact with instructors directly, but have at their fingertips a wealth of resources assembled by the class designer
  • These courses can be very informative and hugely helpful for those pursuing a passion. However, you will not receive any benefit from the courses beyond the knowledge you learn. You will not take any formal tests or receive any credentials
  • MasterClass are one of many new options for online learning platforms out there. Be sure to check out all of your options in our list of the top 10 online learning platforms!
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions

How does canceling work?

You can cancel your membership at any time. Note, however, that because you are billed an annual amount once a year, and not monthly, MasterClass does not refund you for months that you don’t use. They simply won’t bill you for another year should you choose to cancel. 

Do they offer a free trial? 

Simply put, no. MasterClass does not offer a free trial. They do, however, offer a 30-day money back guarantee. 

Is it worth it?

Whether or not MasterClass is worth it is up to each individual user to decide. MasterClass aims to provide high quality courses and allow members to learn from top professionals in their fields.
For more information about Masterclass check out their website! At the button of their homepage you will find even more frequently asked questions with great answers!

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