MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It?

Catherine Cooke

16 September, 2021

MasterClass

MasterClass is a stand-out online learning platform, due to the famous faces teaching its online classes. Its celebrity and VIP instructors are ready to share with you their knowledge, passion and experience. So if you like the idea of learning basketball from Stephen Curry, songwriting from Alicia Keys or how to cook from Gordon Ramsay then MasterClass is a platform for you to consider.

This San Francisco elearning platform was founded in 2014, currently you can find about 100+ classes across 11 categories. Each class has an average of 20 lessons and each lesson around 10 minutes long.

If you don’t have time to read our detailed review, then please check out of video below to give you a summary of what MasterClass is all about.

But of course, you want to know if MasterClass is something more than flashy names and superb videos. And an important point to consider is, will you learn a real skill after taking one of its MasterClasses.

Let’s find out more in this detailed MasterClass review.

Affordable

Even though MasterClass is billed annually, when you break down the price month to month it’s fairly affordable for the number of classes you can access.

Well Produced

After watching 10 seconds of the first video, you’ll realize that MasterClass videos have been very nicely put together. They have a very engaging cinematic aura.

Top VIP Instructors

Of course, a big selling point of the MasterClass is getting to learn a craft from worldwide recognized professionals. For example, Yotam Ottolenghi teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking or Bobbi Brown teaches Makeup and Beauty.

Generous Refund Policy

After you purchase your MasterClass membership account, you’ll have 30 days to request a refund, not bad at all.

No Free Classes or Trials

Sadly, there aren’t any free courses or trials with MasterClass, so you won’t be able to check any course before you pay for a membership.

No Certificates

Sadly, you won’t receive a completion certificate when you successfully complete a class with MasterClass.

Lacking Reviews

There are some reviews from past members on the homepage. But nothing detailed or about specific classes. So, you are left without a comprehensive account of a previous learner’s experience.

MasterClass Review Verdict

MasterClass is an online platform that offers 100+ classes from 11 top categories. Its classes are taught by celebrities and VIPs that have a wealth of knowledge and experience and ready to share it. Its video classes are well produced and have a cinematic feel, making learning with MasterClass highly engaging. It works on a subscription model that is billed annually and also offers plans for teams and Businesses.

Who Is MasterClass For?

It is hard to pinpoint Who exactly MasterClass is right for?

As it’s a bit different from other elearning platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning. What I would say is that MasterClass will appeal to a Professional or Enthusiast wanting to learn a particular topic or someone who is a big fan of one of its famous instructors.

As I mentioned before if you are a Professional or Enthusiast that is looking to deepen your knowledge on a specific topic like Adventure Photography or Game Design and Theory. A MasterClass class will (most likely) motivate you to keep on improving, and perhaps it’ll teach you a couple of things you didn’t know.

If you are a big fan of the instructor, it may be a good idea to watch his/her MasterClass. For example, if you are a basketball point guard and love the way Stephen Curry plays, watching his course may be eye-opening – but don’t expect to get his 3-pointer stats.

However, if you are an individual learner and looking to learn a craft from scratch, then other platforms like Skillshare, Udacity or Udemy maybe a better fit and focus more on fulfilling an educational goal.

MasterClass for Businesses

Like most other online learning platforms, MasterClass doesn’t only offer its classes for individual learners, it has plans for teams and businesses. You can invest in your team or business by contacting sales to choose the plan for your business.

MasterClass for Business

You will fill in your company information choosing the number of annual memberships (between 5-1000 seats), name of your company or organization, location and email address (see image below). The group rates discount (5-35%) when you purchase of 5+ annual memberships.

MasterClass Organization Application

In short, employees love MasterClass for Businesses;

  • Stream anytime, anywhere, at your pace
  • Get inspired, 10 minutes at a time
  • An immersive learning experience
  • Learn from the world’s best
  • 100+ Instructors across a variety of categories
  • Unlimited access with your annual membership

> Check out MasterClass For Businesses here

How Much Is A MasterClass Membership?

MasterClass works on 3 different subscription models giving you access to the catalog of 100+ classes across 11 categories taught by the world’s best on cooking, leadership, photography, writing and more.

MasterClass Get Started

When you land on MasterClass you just need to add your email and click ‘GET STARTED’ (see image above). You will then get taken to the subscription plans that MasterClass offers.

MasterClass Memberships

  • Standard: $15/month ($180 when billed annually)
  • Plus: $20/month ($240 when billed annually)
  • Premium: $23/month ($276 when billed annually)

Each of these plans are billed annually, the price difference between them isn’t a crazy amount. But the main distinction is the Plus and the Premium plans allow you to download for offline viewing and numerous devices can use the platform at the same time.

If you do decide that MasterClass isn’t for then you are entitled to a refund within 30 days of registering. All you will need to do is send an email to support@masterclass.com, and you will be given a full refund. So if you aren’t sure if MasterClass is the platform for you, then consider the first month like a free trial which can be refunded.

If you don’t want to continue with MasterClass, you can cancel your membership renewal through your account page. All you need to do is follow the prompts on the Settings page and your membership will not renew for the following year.

Gift a Membership

A nice feature that MasterClass is gifting the annual membership to a colleague, friend or love one. If you have someone in your life that enjoys online learning and would enjoy exploring the classes and VIP instructors on offer, then why not gift them something memorable.

MasterClass Gift Membership

MasterClass Give Annual Membership

You can add an optional gift message which will be sent via email either immediately or on a chosen date. Just like a regular membership a 30-day money back guarantee is offered if they don’t love it.

MasterClass Grants

The MasterClass Grants Program is designed to help give back to communities in need. It provides MasterClass annual memberships to accredited organizations. Once you submit an application, the team will evaluate it and notify you via email if you have been selected for a grant.

MasterClass Grants Application

MasterClass Grants Program

> Apply for a MasterClass Grant here

How To Open A MasterClass Account?

MasterClass makes it very easy to open an account with them. I thought it would still be helpful for you to follow a step by step.

MasterClass Get Started

Register with MasterClass

  1. Visit MasterClass.com and enter your email address and click GET STARTED (see image above)
  2. Then you will choose a membership plan
  3. Next you will then be directed to add your card information (see image below)
  4. Finally, Click PLACE SECURE ORDER

MasterClass Secure Order

That’s it, it’s that easy. You will now be up and running and ready to start browsing the classes at MasterClass and start enjoying this exciting and engaging platform.

What Classes Can I Find On MasterClass?

MasterClass Classes are made up of 11 categories with topics on the following Food, Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment, Music, Business, Sports & Gaming, Writing, Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government and Wellness. MasterClass offers 100+ classes across its categories, each class you can download and watch offline.

MasterClass Class Categories

Some topic areas have fewer courses than others, for example the Science & Tech only have 4 classes and Community & Government with 5. It’s good to point out here that some of the classes are double booked, meaning that they appear in more than one topic area. For example, Food classes also appear in the Home & Lifestyle topic.

Masterclass classes are made up of 10 to 20 video lessons, and each lesson is approximately 10 minutes long. Every month new classes are added as well as categories.

New classes

MasterClass does a pretty good job of keeping its content current and fresh, with new classes being added every month. They like to give you a sneak peek of upcoming classes and the instructors teaching them, which is exciting.


MasterClass New classes every month
MasterClass New classes added every month

My MasterClass Experience

The time has come for me to share with you my experience of taking a MasterClass myself. As I am a bit of a novice in the kitchen and always looking for new recipes and inspiration. I thought the MasterClass by Yotam Ottolenghi: Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking would be a great place to start.

My initial feelings are that I am impressed with the layout of the MasterClass and how intuitive it all feels. Thought has definitely been put into making the experience very user-friendly.

Video Lessons

Its video lessons are listed on the right side, making it straightforward to follow and easy to find (see image below). You are free to pick and choose which video classes you watch in whatever order, but obviously the lessons do have a natural flow in the order given. For example, in this case, you have the Mezze Spread: Muhamara as video lesson 2 and Thoughts on Hosting as video lesson 15.

MasterClass Yotam Ottolenghi video lessons

MasterClass Yotam Ottolenghi: Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking Lessons

The video lessons are highly engaging and well produced, that it feels more like a Netflix cooking show. I enjoyed watching every lesson and left feeling very inspired. Something that is important to consider is that most of the celebrities and VIP instructors are very used to being in front of camera and have had years of experience captivating and motivating their audience. When you leave a MasterClass you feel pretty pumped and definitely wanting more.

My Notes

As you move through the video lessons, you can write notes on points you want to remember or words of wisdom that you don’t want to forget from the VIP instructors (in this case Yotam Ottonlenghi is full of them, but maybe I biased as I love his cooking). The notes section is broken up into each lesson, so you can make notes about each specific lessons. It’s a nice feature to have and acts like a modern-day notebook. I’m not sure how much you would honestly use it, but having it doesn’t hurt.

MasterClass Lesson Notes

MasterClass Yotam Ottolenghi: Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking My Notes

Workbook

The downloadable workbook that comes with every MasterClass is available in a PDF format. In this case, it is a cookbook with all the recipes and ingredients shared throughout the MasterClass. I must add it is really beautifully designed and put together and a really great take away resource to refresh your memory on the MasterClass.

 

MasterClass workbook PDF

MasterClass Downloadable Workbook


Discuss with members

MasterClass Discuss with members

If you are looking to connect with other members of the MasterClass community, then this is the place to do so. At the bottom of each MasterClass video page is the option to JOIN THE DISCUSSION (see image above). The community is a place to ask questions, share thoughts and get feedback about the video lessons you have watched. A simple filter is in place where you can choose between the category, title of topic and what I consider the most useful filter LATEST and TOP (see image below) to follow all the discussion points. You can freely start your own New Topic.

MasterClass community Yotam Ottolenghi

MasterClass Community

On average, there is around 3-4 discussion topics a month with most classes. A member of the MasterClass Team seems to always be around to help or resolve users questions. In terms of members connecting with other members, there is some sense of community and conversation, but nothing extraordinary. There is some conversation about sharing recipes and asking where cooking equipment is from. But if you are expecting a reply from Yotam Ottolenghi himself, then that won’t be happening, instead you have to make do with the MasterClass team or your fellow members 🙂

To summarize

Before concluding all the reasons, you should take a MasterClass. It would only be fair to highlight areas that are lacking and expectations you may have from an online learning class or course. MasterClass won’t be able to offer you a certificate or any sort of formal accreditation, Coursera or edX are better suited for this. Neither are there any quizzes, coursework nor deadlines, Skillshare or Udacity would be your best fit in that case. Finally, if you’re looking for a wider variety of categories and topics, then Udemy and LinkedIn Learning are the go-to platforms for quantity.

You will love MasterClass for:

  • It’s highly engaging video lessons
  • Well Produced and beautifully shot videography
  • Option to watch the video lessons when it suits you
  • Downloadable Workbook
  • To discuss thoughts and ask questions to the community
  • The year membership gives you plenty of time to enjoy the full platform of classes

> You can check out Yotam Ottonlenghi: Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking here 

6 Tips To Find The Perfect MasterClass Course

Browse the categories

MasterClass makes it easy for you to browse its collection of courses, its 100+ classes are organized into 11 categories. You can find classes on the following categories Food, Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment, Music, Business, Sports & Gaming, Writing, Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government and Wellness.

MasterClass Categories

MasterClass Categories

When you land on the homepage, you can pick any of the topics you are interested in, and MasterClass will show you all the classes in that category and will interest you. It’s a really nice filter and a quick way to find what you are looking for (see image below).

MasterClass classes for you

Video Preview

You will be able to watch a video preview for each MasterClass, that are around 2 minutes long. It will give you a taste of what to expect from the class and the instructor. I must say, its class preview are more like movie trailers than a course introduction and definitely will have you hooked.

MasterClass Serena Williams class preview

MasterClass video preview

Remember though that the purpose of the video preview is to get you hooked and wanting to by a MasterClass membership. So, really try to make a well-rounded decision if MasterClass is right for you.

MasterClass Live

This is the closet thing that MasterClass offers to free classes and trials, MasterClass Live. It’s a place where you watch MasterClasses instructors sharing their knowledge and giving you a feel of how they would be as an instructor. If you do miss the scheduled live recording, then you can always catch up in your own time on previous live recordings.

MasterClass Live

Celebrity & VIP Instructors

MasterClass video lessons are taught by celebrities and VIPs. Many of its instructors are celebrities and world-renowned experts like Gordon Ramsey and Serena Williams.

Masterclass Instructors

MasterClass instructors

If you want to learn from a well recognized expert, then MasterClass really has a highly attractive pool of instructors teaching its classes. If you are a big fan of one of its instructors, then it is definitely worth checking out a class or two.

New classes

Every month, MasterClass updates its catalogue of classes by adding new classes. This keeps its content fresh and new and means there is always something for its members to be excited about.

MasterClass new classes every month

MasterClass New Classes added every month

Refund your annual subscription

As it is hard to know before buying an annual MasterClass membership if it’s right for you. As there are no free class or trials or even many reviews from previous students. It’s hard to know whether it will be the online platform for you. So, thankfully there is a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. It means you can be rest assured that if it’s not the best option for you, you’ll always have 30-days to get a refund.

MasterClass 30 day satisfaction guarantee

MasterClass 30-day satisfaction guarantee  

In my experience it was really easy and hassle-free, all I need to do was submit a request here, and I was contacted pretty instantly by support. Then I received the refund back in my account in 5 days. They do tell you that it can take between 5-10 Business days for the funds to be deposited back in your account.

CriteriaComment
Ease of use

MasterClass is easy to use, as it’s well-structured and the user experience is smooth.

Opening an account is also straightforward: use your own email or your Facebook or Google account to access MasterClass.

Convenience

There isn’t a set date where courses start, so you can learn at your own pace.

With their iOS app, you’ll be able to download lessons to watch them offline. Strangely, this option isn’t available for Android or desktop users.

Available platforms

You can enjoy MasterClass on your desktop and Apple and Android mobile devices. Android and iOS users have rated the apps with great feedback (4.8 and 4.9 respectably).

It’s also possible to watch the lessons on your smart TV. Since the courses are beautifully produced, you may want to enjoy them on a larger screen.

Official certifications:

MasterClass won’t offer you any completion certificate. Check educational communities like Coursera or edX if you need one.

Categories

MasterClass is currently offering 11 categories with a variety of classes. It includes the following:

Food (16 classes), Design & Style (7 classes), Arts & Entertainment (29 classes), Music (15 classes), Business (8 classes), Sports & Gaming (10 classes), Writing (18 classes), Science & Tech (3 classes), Home & Lifestyle (2 classes), Community & Government (3 classes) and Wellness (8 classes).

Free courses

MasterClass doesn’t offer free courses.

If free courses is what you are looking for, then check out this review for Udemy on what free courses you can’t miss out on.

Content quality

MasterClass creates its own content, and they produce the courses amazingly. However, the content itself is normally nothing groundbreaking. In my opinion classes are more of a TED talk than a proper course.

Languages

The courses are only available in English, with subtitles available. Some courses (about 5) do offer subtitles in Spanish and German.

Instructors

Of course, the instructors (or Celebrities) are a major selling point of MasterClass, they are big figures in their industry.

However, there’s not a teacher-student exchange, it’s more like a seminar from a VIP. Also, in my experience there’s barely any follow up on the questions students may have.

Course requirements

There aren’t any formal requirements for the courses, anyone can join.

Course structure

MasterClass normally offers courses that are 20 lessons long and each lesson is about 10 minutes.

Each course has a video-presentation that you can watch before enrolling. It’s also possible to watch a lesson sample, but you won’t find on the course page much information about it or a syllabus.

Quizzes & tests

MasterClass courses don’t have quizzes that you can complete to assess your progress. There aren’t either any mandatory assignments, but every course will have some sort of optional interactive resource for you to complete.

There is a PDF workbook you can follow to get more juice out of each lesson as it summarizes it’s key learnings.

Payments & refunds

Use PayPal or a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, AmEx or Discovery) to purchase from MasterClass. There is a 30-day refund policy.

Support

MasterClass claims to have an around the clock support team, 7 days a week. You can reach them via email. You may have to wait to hear back from them.

MasterClass’ knowledge base is complete and easy to use. Most of the time it answered my questions about MasterClass.

Overall rating

MasterClass is a great platform if you are looking for inspirational videos with very famous professionals. However, other platforms like Udemy, Coursera or Skillshare are focused on learning and enhancing already existing skills.

Will MasterClass Help Me With My Career?

I doubt any employer will give you a raise or a new position because you’ve watched a MasterClass course.

Do you imagine reaching out to Warner Bros asking for the lead role on its next Batman or Superman movie on the grounds that you watch Samuel L. Jackson 5 hours acting course?

That won’t happen, will it?

But you may pick a couple of good tips from Samuel’s course that may give you a confidence boost, or listening to Samuel’s old stories may motivate you to pursue your acting career.

Is MasterClass Legit?

Totally, MasterClass is a legit company and it does what it says. They won’t scam you. However, as I said during this MasterClass review, its approach is a bit different and far from MOOC (Massive open online course) institutions such as edX, Udemy or Coursera.

If you are a big fan of one of the instructors, and you would like to hear her or his stories, and get a couple of tips on how they perform their craft, you’ll be happy with MasterClass. You’ll be extremely disappointed if you expect a MasterClass course to teach you a skill or a craft for your career.

MasterClass Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration

MasterClass Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration

How is Chris Hadfield (former NASA official) going to teach any of us how to become an astronaut from our bedroom with an 8-hour course? But if you are passionate about space exploration, you may enjoy what he has to say.

Last Thoughts: Is MasterClass Worth It?

My feelings towards MasterClass is mainly positive. Let me explain myself further:

I really appreciate the power of having top instructors (Celebrities & VIPs) to grab someone’s attention, in fact, some of their stories can be very motivational. Also, the course production (the video lessons) is top, it really is one of the best out there for online learning platforms. Some filmmakers may even like their movies to look as good. Plus, the MasterClass yearly membership isn’t that expensive considering the number of courses it offers.

On the other hand, I do think that MasterClass courses won’t teach anyone a skill from zero, they feel more like a seminar with a VIP. On top of that, finding information and feedback from other students is lacking.

If you do decide that an online learning platform offering top educational courses with a focus on career is more up your street then platforms like, Coursera, edX  or Udacity may be a better fit.

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Review Updates:

16/09/21 MasterClass Grants Application

13/09/21 MasterClass for Business

30/08/21 MasterClass 30-Day Refund

28/08/21 MasterClass Last Thoughts

15/08/21 MasterClass Video

11/08/21 My MasterClass Experience

05/08/21 MasterClass Pricing

04/08/21 MasterClass Verdict

24/07/21 MasterClass for Businesses

07/07/21 MasterClass Pricing, Verdict & Classes at MasterClass

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.

Alternatives

Udemy: You won’t find celebrities teaching at Udemy, and the video courses may be sloppier produced, but when it comes to content, you can be assured that some of its courses are going to be more practical and effective than MasterClasses’ – they actually will teach you something.

Skillshare: Most instructors are normal people, however, Skillshare has some (almost) celebrities teaching courses, and the course quality is actually very high. For example, you can watch an SEO course from Rand Fishkin – probably the most famous SEO expert out there.

Coursera: If you are after a platform that offers more formal education (e.g. accredited completion certificates) and has better-structured courses and educational goals in place, Coursera (or edX) may be what you are looking for.

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Lisa V.
Lisa V.
1 month ago

Hi, I looked at your site to see if anyone else felt the way I did. So far, most of the classes I’ve listened to are really lectures but no instruction or steps to follow. It starts to seem like a sort of: here’s what I did kind of lecture. I have started dozens and quit out of boredom. I loved Billy Collins, though, and I went through the poetry workshop twice. It was varied, not just him talking about his own journey, and it gave the listener assignments to complete. The Dog Trainer, Brandon MacMillan was also full of… Read more »

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