What’s the difference between self-study, virtual and classroom courses?

The Academy of Cheese offers four levels of certification, starting at Level One (Associate), progressing to Level Four (Master of Cheese). Each certification builds upon the previous level, and accordingly, requires a greater level of time and commitment, so it is important that you find a study option that fits your diary, location and budget. Listed below are the three study options available for all Levels; all options cover exactly the same modules, course content and final exam.

1. Self-study courses

We have two really flexible programmes that allow you to self-study from anywhere in the world, at anytime of the day. You study at your own pace at a time that suits you. Both programmes give you online access to the course and its resources for 12 months after you enrol and whilst all study materials are downloadable, you do have the option to order printed packs. The course fee does not include cheese, but our website can point you in the right direction for that!

Academy of Cheese self-study course

The Academy’s eLearning platform is the cheapest study option available. When you enrol, you will receive a student login, which, as well as all the study materials you will need, gives you 12 months access to complete your course modules; “knowledge checks” to make sure you’re on track; optional, live, Guided Sessions with an Academy of Cheese tutor; and the online exam at the end. The course is really simple to navigate and allows you to refer back to the online syllabus as often as you need before sitting the exam.


Self-study Level One benefits, at a glance:

  • Study at your own pace, in your own time
  • Optional, free-to-join, online Guided Sessions with expert tutor
  • Available 24 hours a day 365 days a year
  • Study from any location anywhere in the world
  • The most economical way to study with us
  • Created by the Academy of Cheese

Turnbull’s Virtual, On-demand course with videos, audios & other material

Similar in it’s flexibility to the self-study option above, the on-demand course is available 24/7 via pre-recorded videos delivered by Academy of Cheese accredited Training Partner, Charlie Turnbull. With almost seven hours of bite-sized videos, Charlie’s enthusiasm and knowledge of cheese shines through on his videos, bringing another level of understanding to your studies. As with the self-study option, you can access the course 24/7 and can pause and replay the videos, returning to modules you find more challenging.


Turnbull’s On-demand – benefits, at a glance:

  • Study at your own pace, in your own time
  • Available 24 hours a day 365 days a year
  • Study from any location anywhere in the world
  • Video lessons presented by Charlie Turnbull
  • Audio lessons

2. Virtual courses

Usually held over more than one session, these are courses hosted by Academy Training Partners, via live webinar, making them accessible to both UK and overseas delegates (just check the time zones and language!) You will study as part of a small group, in a virtual classroom, giving you a fun and interactive way of learning, with guided cheese tasting included. You can request a home cheese delivery when you buy your course, or you can choose to shop for your own at your local cheesemonger / delicatessen / farmers’ market.

3. Classroom courses

When you choose a classroom-based course, you get to study at the Training Partner’s location, in a small classroom setting. Usually delivered over one or two days, the courses follow exactly the same curriculum as the self-study and virtual options, with the added benefit of having a cheese expert on-hand to deliver the course work and guide you through the cheese tastings in a fun and interactive way. Classroom course fees cover the cost of the printed delegate pack, access to the online exam, cheese to taste during the class and lunch and refreshments are usually included. You will also have access to the Academy’s online study resources and Cheese Library for 12 months.