- Ease of use: 10/10
- Variety of courses: 7/10
- Available platforms: 9/10
- Content quality: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
Last Updated: September 7, 2021
- Ease of use: 10/10
- Variety of courses: 7/10
- Available platforms: 9/10
- Content quality: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
Learning professional skills
- World-class instructors
- Excellent video production
- Immersive content
- Additional material included
- Available for most devices
- Pre-recorded classes
- No free trial
- No certificate
MasterClass is what you’d get if you mixed the best TED talks with Hollywood-level production. But are the A-list celebrities as instructors worth the hype? Do the high-end MasterClass videos really matter?
Some MasterClass reviews praise it, while some claim it’s useless. Well, it all depends on your expectations. Join us in our MasterClass review and find out all about this platform.
What Is MasterClass Good For?
MasterClass was created in 2015 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen. It’s an online learning platform that’s a bit different from most others.
While it follows a similar format to other course websites—pre-recorded video classes split into short lessons, what sets it apart is its roster of MasterClass teachers. The instructors are some of the world’s most successful professionals in their respective fields.
From actors (Steve Martin, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman), directors (Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard) and musicians (Hans Zimmer, Carlos Santana, Timbaland) to athletes (Stephen Curry, Serena Williams, Tony Hawk), writers (Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood) and chefs (Gordon Ramsey), MasterClass features the best of the best.
Anyone can take the MasterClass courses and have a pleasant experience. Still, the topics lean a bit more toward soft skills, creativity, and personal development. You won’t learn programming or Excel, so if you’re looking for instructions in those spheres, check out some alternatives, such as Datacamp.
There are currently more than 100 MasterClass courses available, and they’re split into eleven categories:
- Arts and Entertainment
- Design and Style
- Sports and Gaming
- Science and Tech
- Home and Lifestyle
- Community and Government
The MasterClass courses are well designed and suitable for all skill levels. They are sufficiently understandable for beginners and go deep enough into detail so even professionals can learn a new trick or two.
It’s worth mentioning that all of the lessons are pre-recorded. So they lack the typical interaction and engagement we usually find in live classes.
Most MasterClass courses are around two to five hours long, and you can take them on your own time. The lessons are well organised into bite-sized videos lasting anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, with most of them averaging around ten minutes. With every course, you also get a downloadable 50–100 pages long PDF workbook. It’s a valuable resource full of class notes, homework assignments, and additional reading material.
And the MasterClass videos themselves are a work of art. The high-end production and excellent instructors make the lessons entertaining and comprehensive at the same time. In that respect, MasterClass is unrivaled—even worthy competitors like Khan Academy don’t offer such high-quality production.
Some MasterClass courses have been around since 2015, so you might think they’re outdated. But the MasterClass teachers have dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft, and the skills and techniques you will learn are proven and time-tested.
Creating an account is easy. The MasterClass app and website are simple and have a intuitive navigation between lessons.
You can access all MasterClass courses through your web browser on laptop and desktop or with the dedicated app for smartphones and tablets (both Android and iOS).
We loved the fact that you can watch MasterClass on TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku streaming devices. In the Plus and Premium plans, you have the option to download the lessons for offline viewing. But this is only available for iOS devices.
The MasterClass courses lean more towards personal development and inspiration instead of obtaining hard skills. This is why you shouldn’t expect a certificate for a five-hour MasterClass online lesson; its real value is in personal growth. When you complete a course, you get a congratulatory email, which gives some sense of accomplishment.
MasterClass has a community hub for every course, where students can discuss the contents, ask questions, and share their work. It’s also possible to post questions to the instructors themselves, but these are rarely answered.
The community is a hit-or-miss feature, depending on the class. Some courses have thriving communities, with many students engaging in daily discussion, while some don’t really have much activity.
MasterClass does not have a free version available, so be wary of websites offering a MasterClass free trial—they might redirect you to scam or phishing sites.
Although there’s no MasterClass trial, they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee—plenty of time to get a feel of the site and see if it works for you.
The only pricing plan is the MasterClass annual pass, which is billed yearly and gives you full access to all content on the website. That’s a different model than most other competitors, like Coursera, for instance, where you can purchase just one course.
The MasterClass annual membership features three subscription levels: Standard, Plus, and Premium.
|MasterClass Standard||£14.16/month||In the Standard MasterClass subscription, you get access to all courses and bonus material. But you can actively use it on only one device.|
|MasterClass Plus||£18.89/month||With the MasterClass Plus, you get better video quality, up to two active devices at the same time, and the ability to download lessons to your iOS device.|
|MasterClass Premium||£21.72/month||The highest subscription tier available is the Premium MasterClass membership. On top of providing the best video quality the platform offers, you can use it on up to six devices simultaneously.|
A MasterClass discount of up to 35% is also available for businesses and teams of more than five persons.
There use to be a MasterClass discount code, but this is not the case anymore—the MasterClass price is the same for everyone. Still, you should keep an eye on the occasional MasterClass offer to buy one, get one free. With the MasterClass 2 for 1, you can split the price with someone and effectively get a 50% discount.
We also liked the option to buy a MasterClass gift code. It’s an excellent present for a family member, friend, or loved one who enjoys learning new things.
If you want to cancel your subscription, you can do so by going to account settings. Keep in mind that you won’t get even a partial MasterClass refund if you cancel your subscription in the middle of the period.
Most Popular MasterClass Courses
You’ll be hard-pressed to find other course platforms that have such a stellar roster of instructors, including rivals like LinkedIn Learning.
Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I & II
In his MasterClass Gordon Ramsay is a totally different person than what we’ve seen on shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares.
Even if you don’t know anything about cooking, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step. Gordon will first take you through some basics like how to set up your kitchen layout, knife skills, and basic ingredients like vegetables and eggs.
After that, the course takes you into the preparation of meats, pasta, and fish. In the second part, Gordon will teach you restaurant-level recipes, which you can easily do at home.
Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
This is one course you don’t want to miss if you’re a writer. Most reviews of MasterClass recommend it, and Margaret Atwood has a lot to offer. In 23 lessons, you will learn how to structure your novel and develop a gripping plot and captivating characters.
In addition, the famous author discusses something rarely given attention—the business aspect of writing from dealing with agents, having work published, and handling negative reviews.
Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
Annie Leibovitz is Rolling Stone magazine’s first female chief photographer. She’s taken some of the world’s most iconic celebrity portrait photos.
In her MasterClass videos, she deconstructs portrait photography in 15 lessons going through the overall steps of the creative process and the philosophy behind it. You start with concepts like lighting and working with your subject and explore the workflow up to the post-production editing.
Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker
Whether you are a high-roller or just play for fun, you can improve your poker skills with the six-time winner of the World Series of Poker, Daniel Negreanu.
In his MasterClass online course, he goes deep into the exploration of the game, teaching aspects of poker most people are not aware of. From math and game theory to bluffs and reading your opponent, this course will boost your poker play to another level.
Most Notable Experts on MasterClass
The MasterClass teachers are some of the leading professionals in their fields. From Oscar winners to elite athletes, the instructors are an all-star ensemble, and most of them don’t even need an introduction.
- Neil Gaiman
- Margaret Atwood
- Dan Brown
- Ron Howard
- Spike Lee
- Werner Herzog
- David Lynch
- Martin Scorsese
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Natalie Portman
- Jodie Foster
- Helen Mirren
- Steve Martin
- Carlos Santana
- Hans Zimmer
- Alicia Keys
- Christina Aguilera
- Serena Williams
- Tony Hawk
- Stephen Curry
MasterClass vs SkillShare
SkillShare is one of the most popular online learning platforms. While on Skillshare, you can learn some hard skills like web design and SEO optimisation. MasterClass is more focused on personal development, although you’ll pick up something practical from every course.
Compared to the MasterClass prices, SkillShare is more affordable, with a yearly subscription of £84 for the premium plan.
MasterClass vs Udemy
Comparing MasterClass and Udemy is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both online learning platforms, but this is where the similarities end.
Udemy is one of the largest learning platforms with more than 100,000 courses available, which is an enormous number compared to the mere 110 MasterClass has. But are they all good and worth your time? Anyone can create a course on Udemy, but MasterClass features only renowned experts.
Another difference is the cost; with every MasterClass pricing plan, you get access to the complete list of MasterClass courses, and on Udemy, every course has its individual price.
Is MasterClass Worth It?
MasterClass provides a unique learning experience like we haven’t seen so far. With top-level instructors and beautiful videos, the lessons can be as captivating as blockbuster movies, but with the added value of actually learning something.
But let’s be honest—you might not become an ATP-level tennis player by watching the course by Serena Williams or an A-list film star with Samuel L. Jacksons’ class on acting. But the true value of the MasterClass education is its ability to drive your motivation to the sky while peeking into the minds of some of the world’s greatest experts.
If you are looking for office-oriented practical skills, you won’t find them here. While it’s more pointed towards creatives, anyone can benefit from the courses.
The standard MasterClass annual membership costs £170, the Plus comes in at £226.68, while the Premium plan costs £260.64 per year.
MasterClass is an online education platform featuring industry-leading professionals.
While technically you can give someone your account details, MasterClass discourages it. They also advise against any sharing, copying, and redistributing any of the content.
MasterClass is very easy to use. After you create your account and log in, you just need to pick a course and start watching.
No, MasterClass is not free. Its annual membership starts from £170.
MasterClass is absolutely legit. It makes good on its word and provides top-level content by world-class instructors.
MasterClass was founded in 2014 by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen. While Aaron Rasmussen left the company in 2017, David Rogier remains as CEO.
MasterClass has native apps for Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku streaming devices. Or, you can just connect your PC to your TV via HDMI.
MasterClass brings a lot of value for its price. While researching for our MasterClass review, we discovered awesome content.