Udemy vs MasterClass:
A Comprehensive 2023 Comparison
Last updated on: November 24, 2023, Written by:
Just a heads up, whenever possible, I use affiliate links in my reviews to help cover the costs of running this site. You can learn more here.
MasterClass and Udemy are arguably the two most popular learning platforms in the online courses space today. Both platforms are known for providing top-tier online courses across a wide array of categories.
This brings us to the question: MasterClass vs Udemy: which is better? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. It will all depend on your specific needs. This means you’ll need first to know what you can expect from each platform so you can choose the best one for your needs.
In this comprehensive MasterClass vs Udemy review, we’ll be pitting these online learning titans against each other, comparing their courses, features, instructors, pricing, and more. In short, we’ll thoroughly explore both platforms to help you make an informed choice.
MasterClass vs Udemy: Side By Side Comparison
|$180/year or $10/month for individual, $20/month for family
|$10-$200 per course or $20 [billed monthly] or $190 [billed annually].
|📚No. of Lessons:
|Creative and hobbyists skills such as cooking, photography, writing, and more
|Almost any subject imaginable from IT to health and fitness
|⏳Avg. Lesson Duration:
|Celebrities and other well-known figures in their fields
|All individuals can become instructors and create courses on the platform
|📈Suits Best For:
|Open-minded, intellectually curious, and fans of teachers on MasterClass
|People who are looking for affordable online courses on a variety of topics
|Workbooks, PDF Guides, reading lists, assignments
|Downloadable materials such as PDFs, checklists, or cheat sheets
|Celebrity instructors, workshops, mobile app, downloadable materials, and progress tracking.
|A vast library of courses on diverse topics, lifetime access to purchased courses, and discussion forums
|English audio with subtitles
|Single, Duo, or Family annual subscriptions
|One-time course purchase or monthly subscription for 10,000+ courses
|30-day money back guarantee
|30 days refund
|High-quality courses taught by celebrity instructors, high production values, unlimited access to all courses, mobile app, and more
|Hundreds of thousands of courses, various free courses, and lifetime access to courses
|Not all courses are high quality, and some courses are outdated
MasterClass vs Udemy: Main Differences
Course Quality and Depht
In This MasterClass and Udemy
Comparison, You’ll Learn
MasterClass is a leading e-learning platform that separates itself from others with courses from world-renowned experts. However, one of the most unique aspects of MasterClass is it caters to learners of all levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced learner, you’ll leave each course with something valuable to take.
MasterClass offers quality over quantity and does it excellently well, with over 180 individual courses. Some courses feature multiple installments that teach different or more advanced techniques. The amount of content available on MasterClass makes it an attractive learning platform, even if you’re after learning something specific.
Udemy, founded in 2010, is the leading global destination for online learning. The platform boasts an unimaginably wide range of courses. With over 213,000 individual online courses spanning 75 languages, it covers almost everything under the sun. Whether you’re interested in programming, marketing, data science, or any other subject, Udemy likely has a course for you
Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Udemy also has an extremely large community comprising 64 million students and 75,000 instructors from all over the world.
Udemy isn’t just for individual students. It also serves 14,900+ enterprise customers, including companies, governments, and nonprofits.
Masterclass vs Udemy: Courses and Instructors
When comparing MasterClass vs Udemy in terms of their courses and instructors, you’ll find that these platforms take different approaches to online education.
MasterClass distinguishes itself with its exclusive celebrity-led courses, providing a unique learning experience in creative fields like entertainment, cooking, and writing. Udemy, on the other hand, takes a more expansive approach, offering a much wider range of courses, including specialized IT options, with a focus on practical skills.
When it comes to instructors, MasterClass boasts a carefully selected roster of high-profile instructors who bring not only expertise but also a glimpse into the insights and experiences that have shaped their success.
Udemy’s strength, in contrast, lies in its sheer volume and variety of instructors. The platform has instructors from all walks of life, from subject matter experts to enthusiastic professionals, resulting in a broad spectrum of teaching styles and expertise. While this approach means more options for students, it also means the quality of instruction can vary significantly across the platform.
MasterClass offers over 180 classes across the following 11 categories:
- Arts and entertainment;
- Community and government;
- Design and style;
- Food, home and lifestyle;
- Science and tech;
- Sports and gaming;
- Wellness, and writing.
The content in MasterClass falls under the edutainment category. Characterized by Netflix-level production values and celeb instructors, MasterClass lessons are more geared towards hobbyists and enthusiasts than traditional students. The content not only imparts valuable knowledge but also entertains, making the learning experience engaging and enjoyable.
With only 11 categories for its courses, MasterClass’s variety might seem lacking compared to Udemy’s. However, the beauty of MasterClass categories is that they appeal to a diverse range of interests. From culinary arts with Gordon Ramsay to music composition with Hans Zimmer, and from writing with Margaret Atwood to sports with Serena Williams, MasterClass has something for everyone.
MasterClass courses revolve around creative and artistic subjects, making the platform a haven for those passionate about craftsmanship, storytelling, and creativity.
MasterClass courses are designed to be easy to consume with each course typically consisting of 20+ video lessons, with an average duration of 10 minutes per lesson. Students also receive companion workbooks, reading lists, recipes, playlists, assignments, and more to reinforce their learning.
When it comes to the depth of its courses, you’ll find that MasterClass tends to be more about broad strokes than fine details.
The real gem lies in the specific insights shared by the master instructors. These are often nuggets of wisdom, drawn from a wealth of personal experience, that can be challenging to find elsewhere. The courses provide a backstage pass to the minds of these masters, allowing students to grasp the mindset, philosophy, and approach that has made them successful.
Udemy has over 210,000 courses under the following categories. Each of these categories typically has dozens if not hundreds of subcategories:
- Development (Web/mobile app/games/software engineering etc.)
- Finance & Accounting
- IT & Software
- Office Productivity
- Personal Development
- Productivity & Video
- Health & Fitness
Udemy’s open-door policy, which allows anyone to publish their expertise on the platform, makes it a rich and diverse library of educational content. This openness means you can find courses on even the most niche or specialized topics. It’s like a one-stop shop for all kinds of learning, making it super handy for people who want to get really good at something specific.
With over 210,000 courses and hundreds of categories to choose from, it’s safe to say that Udemy’s course catalog is diverse and extensive. Whether you’re looking to enhance your professional expertise, delve into a new hobby, or acquire new skills in emerging fields, Udemy’s vast course selection ensures there’s something for everyone.
Despite the variety Udemy offers, the vast majority of its courses focus on developing professional skills to help individuals enhance their expertise and stay relevant in the ever-evolving professional landscape. This makes Udemy a great fit for individuals looking to upskill or reskill without the constraints of traditional education costs or time commitments.
The freedom for instructors to design and publish their own courses without Udemy’s input means that the structure of courses can differ considerably across the platform. Some courses can take less than an hour to complete while others can be 200+ hours long.
Some courses follow a traditional format, with a series of lessons organized into sections, quizzes, and assignments to reinforce learning, while others may adopt a more interactive approach, incorporating hands-on projects, discussion forums, or group activities.
Fortunately, each course on Udemy comes with an overview containing pertinent information about the course, such as the format, the estimated time commitment, and whether supplementary resources are provided.
The depth of Udemy courses can vary significantly depending on the instructor and the specific course. Fortunately, Udemy has a robust review system where students can share their experiences and insights. By reading these reviews, prospective students can get a sense of whether a course provides the level of detail and depth they are seeking.
Top Rated Lessons
Top Rated Lessons
- Kris Jenner The Power of Personal Branding. In her course, Kris Jenner, the “momager” of the Kardashian-Jenner family, shares her personal brand story and how she built the Kardashian-Jenner suite of brands. She shows you how to create a personal branding story, build a brand, and project it to the world.
- Annie Leibovitz – Teaches Photography. In this course, Annie Leibovitz, the legendary Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue photographer, teaches the art of creating timeless images. You will learn how to work with subjects, shoot with natural light, develop concepts, and bring images to life in post-production.
- Timbaland – Teaches Producing and Beatmaking. The Grammy-winning music producer teaches his innovative techniques for discovering beats, layering tracks, creating hooks that stick, and collaborating with other artists.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson – Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication. The renowned astrophysicist uses his MasterClass to teach you how to find objective truths and how to share them. Expect to learn scientific thinking, navigating cognitive bias, making predictions, and effectively communicating and connecting to any audience.
- Kelly Warstler Teaches Interior Design. Learn interior design techniques to make any space more beautiful, creative, and inspiring from the award-winning designer. The course covers sources of inspiration, starting a project, working with space, materiality in design, living with color, and creating experiences with art and objects.
Udemy Top Lessons
- Powerful Business Writing: How to Write Concisely. This course by high-profile business writer, Caroline McDevitt, teaches how to write with confidence. It covers techniques to keep your words down and your message compelling, improving your persuasion skills and enhancing your career prospects.
- User Experience (UX): The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX. This is an excellent course for individuals who want to build their UX skills and gain industry-recognized certification. It teaches you how to bake UX into your workflow by following a proven, user-centered design framework. The course is highly rated on Udemy, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 from 6,519 ratings.
- Pattern Making for Fashion Design -PART 1- Essential Skills. This beginner/intermediate course teaches the foundational principles of pattern making in fashion design. It covers the basic principles of pattern drafting, such as dart manipulation, added fullness, and contour, and techniques such as pivoting and slash-and-spread. The course enjoys a rating of 4.7 from 1,334 ratings and is a bestseller on the platform.
- Elite Singing Techniques – Phase I. This course is a step-by-step singing system proven to develop great technique and vocal mastery. It has a rating of 4.8 from 3,032 reviews and is highly recommended by students who have taken it. The course covers topics such as vocal foundations, breathing, vocal weight, vocal range, and vocal agility, among others.
- The Simplest & Easiest Course on Hypothesis Testing. This bestselling course is designed for students who are struggling with statistics or are complete beginners in statistics. It provides a complete and thorough understanding of the concepts of hypothesis testing, covering concepts such as null and alternate hypotheses, standard errors, Type 1 and 2 errors, and more. It boasts a rating of 4.7 out of 5 from 385 reviews.
- Beginner Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Photography. This is an excellent course for individuals who want to learn how to use their Nikon DSLR camera intuitively. It covers the basics of photography, such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and more. Students will learn how to use their camera intuitively and learn through doing rather than memorizing. The course has a rating of 4.5 from 1,013 reviews and is also a bestseller on Udemy.
MasterClass boasts a star-studded lineup of instructors including Serena Williams, Christina Aguilera, Gordon Ramsey, Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, Martin Scorcese, and Penn & Teller, to name a few.
One of the key strengths of MasterClass instructors is their proven track record of achievement. Whether it’s in the realm of filmmaking, writing, sports, or any other field, these instructors have demonstrated exceptional skill and mastery. As such, you can be sure to walk away from their classes with potentially life-altering nuggets of knowledge or wisdom.
Moreover, MasterClass understands that possessing expertise in a particular skill doesn’t automatically equate to the ability to effectively convey that knowledge through teaching. That’s why the platform carefully vets individuals based on their ability to teach effectively during the selection process.
All this ensures that students receive lessons from instructors who not only excel in their crafts but also excel at conveying their expertise to others.
User Experience and Interface
MasterClass and Udemy have both gone to great lengths to make their platforms as user-friendly as possible. Both platforms feature intuitive interfaces that make it easy to find and access courses.
MasterClass’s interface comes with filters such as instructor, duration, and category, allowing users to tailor their search based on their specific preferences and learning needs. The platform also uses engaging course descriptions and previews to provide a sneak peek into the content.
However, the production quality of its video lessons is where MasterClass truly shines. The lessons are typically well-lit, high-definition videos shot by filmmaking experts who know how to handle lighting and sets. This results in an engaging cinematic aura that makes the learning experience that much more immersive and enjoyable.
On the other hand, Udemy provides users with a robust filtering system to sort courses by numerous parameters including categories, relevance, and user ratings. This ensures users can quickly navigate through the vast array of courses. Additionally, Udemy provides a preview feature, allowing users to get a glimpse of course content before making a decision.
When it comes to the production quality of Udemy’s video lessons, however, you will find that it can vary considerably depending on the course and instructor. That said, Udemy’s guidelines state that video content must be of HD quality.
Both platforms prioritize a seamless user experience by implementing responsive designs and mobile apps, making it easy for learners to access courses from various devices. Moreover, both platforms offer features such as progress tracking, bookmarks, and downloading functionalities to enhance the overall learning experience.
Main Features of Online Learning Platforms
The MasterClass app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It allows you to access your courses on the go, download lessons for offline viewing, and receive notifications when new content is available.
Each MasterClass course comes with a downloadable workbook that contains additional information, exercises, and assignments to help you reinforce what you’ve learned.
The MasterClass community is a forum where you can connect with other learners, ask questions, and share your experiences. You can also participate in group discussions and receive feedback on your work.
Udemy offers close to 600 free courses on a selection of topics from WordPress to fitness. However, these courses do not come with all the niceties of a paid course, such as a certificate of completion, and additional course features like the Q&A and direct messaging.
Although the courses on Udemy are not officially accredited, you will be given a certificate of completion when you complete a paid course. These certificates can certainly be added to your resume to show your initiative. If you are looking for an official certification, you may want to check out Coursera or edX.
As a means of quality control, Udemy has a review system where learners can leave feedback on the courses they’ve taken. This can help you decide which courses to take and which ones to avoid.
Udemy vs MasterClass Pricing
MasterClass and Udemy couldn’t be more different when it comes to pricing. MasterClass offers a subscription-based model, where students can access all of the platform’s courses for an annual fee of $180. Unfortunately, MasterClass doesn’t run discounts.
Udemy, on the other hand, offers both single-course purchase and subscription options. The price of individual Udemy courses can vary considerably with prices ranging from $10 to $200. Fortunately, the site runs promotions regularly, sometimes offering students discounts of up to 70% off!
Udemy also has a subscription option for individuals known as a “Personal Plan.” For $30 per month, you get access to a curated collection of over 10,500 top-rated courses in tech, business, and personal development.
Choosing between the two platforms based on pricing isn’t as simple as it might appear to be. At $180 per year or $15 per month, MasterClass is obviously way cheaper than any of Udemy’s plans. However, you need to remember that Udemy’s subscription plan gives you access to over 10,500 courses with certificates compared to MasterClass’s 180+ with no certification.
Moreover, when you purchase a Udemy course, you get to keep it for life while your access to MasterClass lessons ends with your subscription.
Pricing Compared With Other E-Learning Platforms
And according to another, “I’m nearly done working my way through a couple of Udemy courses, both of them by Colt Steele. I think each of those courses was more than worth the money. I bought them each on sale, probably around $20 a piece, I don’t quite recall.
I’d recommend Colt Steele to anybody that thinks they would benefit from video instruction.”
It’s commonplace to find positive MasterClass reviews such as this one, “I have been a customer of MasterClass since it launched in the UK and I absolutely love it. I wish there was a few new writing classes and business classes, but I literally do almost all of the classes, including cooking, writing, business, leadership. I don’t understand the negative reviews as the trailers are very clear what is being offered. I will continue to pay my annual membership and gift the classes to my team who I think they’ll help. Great work MasterClass.”
According to this Mindvalley review by a student, “Since starting the Ultramind series, my meditation skills have significantly improved. I’ve been working on this for some time, but only after going through the centering exercise multiple times have I been able to achieve deeper states consistently, instead of falling asleep or not really feeling like I was making progress. This is after a few 6-month+ stints of daily meditation with Headspace or other guided programs and much time on my own in silence. Say what you will about Mindvalley, but the Silva stuff is powerful.”
The majority of negative reviews I could find about both platforms revolved around the subscription cancelation process, with most complaining that the process was more complicated than it needed to be. Nonetheless, the refunds were always made.
Alternatives to MasterClass and Udemy
Mindvalley is a personal growth-focused learning platform. As such, all its courses revolve around personal growth, spirituality, and well-being, making it a great resource for those seeking enlightenment.
Coursera is an online learning platform that offers courses, certificates, and degrees from top universities and companies worldwide. They have a vast range of courses in various fields, including computer science, business, health, and more. You can enroll in individual courses or complete a full degree program. That is what makes the MasterClass or Udemy comparison with Coursera so difficult, as the former can’t offer you accredited certificates.
Like MasterClass, Skillshare is also an online learning community that offers thousands of classes for creative and curious people. They have classes in graphic design, cooking, photography, marketing, and more. MasterClass is similar with Skillshare in more ways than one, as they both cost around $15 per month to use.
BBC Maestro is a subscription-based streaming platform that offers pre-recorded lessons and detailed course notes. It provides courses in various disciplines, including writing, filmmaking, cooking, and more. As you can see, its offerings are eerily close to those of MasterClass, which is why people are usually stuck choosing between BBC or MasterClass.
Udemy or MasterClass: Final Verdict
I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.