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How much does MasterClass cost? The real price revealed

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I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “how much does MasterClass cost?”

And I understand why.

MasterClass has an incredible array of high-quality classes taught by some of the biggest names from around the world.

So, of course, everyone wants to know the price because they want to figure out if “MasterClass is worth it” for them.

That’s what we’ll tackle today.

This is a comprehensive look at how much MasterClass really costs, so you can empower yourself to make a smart and informed decision on whether to sign up.

Let’s go.

How much does MasterClass cost?

There’s only one real way to access MasterClass. That is through their Annual Membership, formerly called the All Access Pass. This is a yearly subscription to the entire MasterClass platform, allowing you to take as many classes as you’d like.

And there are a lot of classes now! There are well over 100 MasterClasses with over 1,000 lessons that you can access.

So how much does the MasterClass Annual Membership cost?

$180 per year. It’s $15 per month, billed annually.

Curious what all MasterClass has to offer? Want to know about sales and discounts? Keep reading.

I got more to tell you.

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online education subscription service, where you can take classes (Masterclasses) by some of the biggest names in the world.

Gordon Ramsay teaches you cooking. Shonda Rhimes teaches you storytelling. Garry Kasparov teaches you chess. Ron Finley teaches gardening. MasterClass boasts an incredibly deep and diverse slate of teachers who will teach you skills as diverse as chess, gardening, directing, and negotiation.

I’d definitely say that MasterClass tends to focus on teaching you trades and skills — things like cooking, writing, and acting. There are courses that are geared toward business leaders (Paul Krugman teaches economics), but the trend is definitely more toward the creative side.

And while many courses give you homework and activities that you can learn while watching your instructor, there are a few courses which function more as philosophy courses taught by famous instructors.

Jeff Koons’s class on Art comes to mind.

They’re all really engaging and enjoyable; each teacher has their own style, and you can’t go wrong by trying as many out as you can.

Each course typically has 10-20 video lessons that run between 10-30 minutes each. You’re looking at usually 5ish hours of video instruction per course (though it can run higher or lower). Additionally, each MasterClass has a great PDF guide that has instructions, notes, lessons, and other information that you can download and keep forever.

Plus, you get access to the MasterClass community pages, where each course has a message board. These community pages are quite active, with users posting homework, assignments, questions, and comments. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the MasterClass experience.

That’s MasterClass: an education platform so engaging it almost feels like entertainment. Lessons you can binge watch!

What’s included in a MasterClass membership?

So, what do you get when you sign up for the MasterClass Annual Membership?

First off, you’ll get access to every course on MasterClass along with every new course that MasterClass puts out. It’s like Netflix, except they’re not removing your favorite shows every week (bring back The Office, please!).

As I’m writing this, MasterClass has over 100 courses with 1000+ lessons split between them. This is hours and hours of content that you can take and re-take any time you’d like.

You don’t have to complete lessons in order, and you can jump between classes on a whim. I’m taking Salman Rushdie’s writing course and Nancy Cartwright’s voice acting courses at the same time.

It’s going great.

All of these classes are filmed in High-Definition. There’s a glossy, high-luster finish to all of the video lessons that makes you feel like you’re at the movies — even though the lessons are quite intimate.

MasterClass’s production value and streaming capabilities are superb, on-par with Netflix (and way above HBO Max — I still can’t get over how muddy Game of Thrones looked).

Want to view your class on your laptop? Not a problem! Have to dash to a meeting, but want to finish that lesson in the cab? You can view it on your iPhone. Available on the web, or on your phone and tablet as an app, MasterClass is easily accessible from any major electronic device.

Plus, when you sign up for the Annual Membership, you get access to a PDF workbook per class which can have tremendous value (Gordon Ramsay’s and Thomas Keller function as mini-cookbooks). They usually run 20-100 pages, and you can keep them forever.

Lastly, as I previously mentioned, you get access to the discussion boards. These MasterClass discussion boards function as online communities, allowing classmates to post their assignments, ask questions, comment on other’s work, and simply leave feedback for the classes.

Whew! That’s a lot. Let’s recap!

  • Access to every course on MasterClass (over 100 as of this writing)
  • Plus more courses are being added all the time!
  • High-Definition Streaming of each lesson — and the production values are top notch!
  • PDF workbooks and guides for each course.
  • You can download and keep these!
  • Access to each course on Personal Computer, Tablet, and Mobile Device
  • Three ways to access means you can pick up your course any time and anywhere.
  • Access to the MasterClass Discussion community boards.

Is the annual membership a good value?

Yes. I think it’s a great value. Let me break it down.

Let’s take a look at Shonda Rhimes’s class: it’s 30 videos and it runs 6 hours and 25 minutes.

Let’s just say you only took Shonda’s class. That was the only class you took for the year.

$180 divided by 6h25m = $28.08 per hour.

That’s not bad! And that’s if you just took one class, and if you didn’t bother doing the homework.

How about compared to Netflix?

Netflix costs $8.99 per month at its lowest and $17.99 per month at its highest. That’s $107.88 for the low tier and $215.88 for the high tier per year.

Again, MasterClass is $180, or $15 per month billed annually. That’s competitive with Netflix, and you’re getting all of this high-value instruction from some of the biggest names in the business.

That’s the difference. With Netflix, you’re passing the time. With MasterClass, you’re learning.

Let’s break it down another way.

You can, if you want, gift a single MasterClass to somebody for $90 flat. Any class.

Knowing that, we can say that a year’s membership for MasterClass is the price of only two courses gifted away.

If you’re taking 2 courses per year, then it’s a good deal. And it’s not hard to take 2 per year. I’m taking probably 2 a month!

So yes, if you’re taking at least 2 courses a year (and there are so many courses to take), then MasterClass is definitely a good deal!

Does MasterClass have a free trial?

No. MasterClass doesn’t have a free trial.

Does MasterClass offer a discount?

Not currently. MasterClass will offer 2-1 Annual Membership deals occasionally throughout the year, though none are happening right now. They most recently had a 2 for 1 deal during the entire month of December, so I imagine they won’t be doing another huge sale for quite some time.

We’ll be the first to let you know when a sale happens!

Can you gift a MasterClass?

Yes. You can gift someone a single Masterclass for $90 flat. You simply go to the page of the MasterClass you want to gift, scroll to “give as a gift,” and follow the instructions. It’ll be sent to your recipient’s email address.

I’ll be honest though, it’s a little trickier to “give as a gift” than MasterClass has lead on. I found it difficult to find the “give a gift” button on the class page (I even did a Command-F search). If you can figure out how to walk us through the “give as a gift” steps for MasterClass, let us know!

Can I buy a single class on MasterClass?

No. You used to be able to purchase a single class for $90, but it’s no longer available.

But I like to compare the price of a single class at $90 to the price of the annual membership at $180. Again, for the price of gifting two classes, you get access to 100+ classes for an entire year. It’s a much better bang for your buck.

And honestly, the platform is best when you can access all of its features. That happens when you purchase the Annual Membership, which allows you to comb through as many classes as you want, comment on any discussion board, and stop and start at your leisure.

It’s definitely the superior choice.

Does MasterClass have a money back guarantee?

If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with MasterClass, you have 30 days from purchasing your Annual Membership to request a refund. You simply contact MasterClass with the email address you used for purchase along with the transaction ID, and MasterClass will send your money back.

You are also able to cancel gifts before they’ve been activated by the recipient. Once a gift has been activated, you can no longer cancel it.

How does the price of MasterClass compare to other education platforms?

MasterClass is probably the biggest name in online education, but it isn’t the only name. There are a few other great companies out there like Udemy, Skillshare, EdX, The Great Courses, and Mindvalley.

How does MasterClass stack up to these?

Let’s put them head to head and find out.

Udemy vs. MasterClass

Udemy has 130,000 online video courses, and markets itself as the largest online learning platform. It focuses on hard skills, like learning python and graphic design.

Price? Udemy sells each course individually, starting at $12.99, but courses can run up to $300. Most courses will go on sale throughout the year.

MasterClass, again is $180 for the year and you get access to 90+ courses.

100+ seems a lot lower than 130,000 and it is. But with MasterClass, you’re getting taught by the masters. At Udemy, you’re taught by teachers of all different skill levels.

Skillshare vs. MasterClass

Skillshare is another learning platform that’s a bit similar to Udemy in that there are tons of courses taught by people from all walks of life. At last count, it had 27,000 courses. Like Udemy, it’s less curated than MasterClass.

The main difference between Skillshare and Udemy is that you pay an annual membership for Skillshare. It’s $90 a year or $19 per month.

Skillshare does have a 7-day free trial period, allowing you to access their subscription courses for a week to decide if it’s right for you.

Like Udemy, Skillshare is more focused on hard skills, but does branch out into more creative fields. I’d put Skillshare and Udemy into similar categories when it comes to online learning.

MasterClass’s Annual Membership is a flat $180. The courses are premier and expertly curated. It’s a much more thoughtful experience.

The Great Courses vs. MasterClass

The Great Courses is the oldest of these learning platforms — having been started over 30 years ago. These are college-level courses taught by renowned professors through video lessons.

There are several thousand courses available on The Great Courses, and content is being added frequently. Plus, each course had video, audio, and guidebook options for ease of access.

Cost? You can purchase classes individually for anywhere from $16 to $500. Most classes seem to be in the $50-$200 range.

But, you can sign up for The Great Courses Plus — their subscription service, which costs $49.95 per month or $360 billed annually.

It’s much more academic than MasterClass, taking on a bit of a “the history channel” vibe. If that’s your thing, go for it.

But if you’re looking for high-quality, curated courses taught by some of the biggest names in the world (real masters), then MasterClass might be best.

EdX vs. MasterClass

EdX is actually a really cool platform (I’ve been using it to learn Italian) where some of the top universities (think MIT and Harvard) teach you free courses.

Free.

They’re video based, but have lots of quizzes, homework, and writing assignments that you complete in your own time. Your progress is tracked by a computer.

You have the option to purchase a “verified certificate” for $50. This gives you a digital certificate stating that you successfully completed the course according to the college’s standards. Not bad for Harvard!

EdX is great if you want to learn certain languages, want to take a deep dive into college-level courses on International Law, The threat of Thermonuclear War (that’s a real course) or 3000+ other heady topics.

It’s not going to teach you how to write poetry with Billy Collins or discover your style with Queer Eye’s Tan France. For that, you need MasterClass.

Mindvalley vs. MasterClass

Mindvalley’s another interesting platform. It’s all about self-improvement. Classes can be as simple (but effective) as public speaking seminars or as esoteric as chakra healing.

It’s all about exploring your mind.

Mindvalley classes typically run for a month, and are characterized by breaking up the material into daily lessons. You can’t binge Mindvalley. Oftentimes, you are restricted from moving ahead of your daily lesson. You move at the pace of the group.

Mindvalley is also considerably more expensive. It’s $599 for the year. This gets you access to 30+ courses taught by self-help experts, energy healers, and other gurus. It’s a smaller, more specialized platform, but the courses typically have more content and more required out of you (the learner) than MasterClass.

MasterClass costs $180 for the annual membership. This gets you access to 90+ courses taught by celebrities and experts in their field. It’s friendly, engaging, and educational.

Is MasterClass better than these platforms?

MasterClass, out of all of these, is definitely my favorite (I’m serious). Why?

Primarily because the content on MasterClass is so engaging.

I really, truthfully, love taking these classes. And I love talking with you about them afterwards. The content is quality. The delivery is superb. And the teachers are all so thoughtful, gracious, and considerate. You really feel like they’re in your living room while they’re teaching you. It’s intimate. It’s special.

The other platforms don’t quite reach those heights for me. EdX is pretty darned great if you’re looking for some serious higher education and don’t want to break the bank. But for the best all-around, MasterClass has my heart.

Conclusion: Is the MasterClass Annual Membership worth it?

At $180 for a year’s access to MasterClass’s deep and growing library of premium learning content, yes, the MasterClass Annual Membership is worth it.

You get access to high-quality streams of curated courses taught by Judy Blume, Timbaland, and Neil Gaiman. You get PDF workbooks to go along with each course.

You have access to thousands of lessons, and many more are being added each month.

For $180, it’s a great value. I definitely recommend the MasterClass Annual Membership.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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