Associate Certification
Self Study

Study from anywhere in the world at a time that suits you with the Academy’s eLearning platform.


  • What you learn
  • What you get
  • Who's it for?

What you'll learn

What you'll learn on this Self Study Course

  • How to describe the key ingredients used in cheesemaking and their purpose
  • Have an overview of the steps involved in cheesemaking and maturation
  • Understand the Academy of Cheese Make/Post-Make (MPM) Model
  • Understand how milk is produced
  • Recognise the condition of a soft mould-ripened cheese in terms of degree of ripeness
  • Understands cheese grading and its relevance
  • Understands the role of maturation and affinage in adding value to the product
  • Knows the different techniques to accelerate and decelerate ripening in soft mould-ripened cheese
  • Understand of how cheese is bought and transported including the term “chill chain”
  • Understand the importance of offering an appropriate range of cheeses for a cheese board
  • Select and use appropriate packaging, to wrap and re-wrap cheese
  • Be able to cut cheese using appropriate tools
  • Understand the importance of caring for, cutting and serving cheeses appropriate to the variety
  • Understands the key descriptors of cheese i.e. country of origin, species of milking animal, vegetarian/animal rennet, raw/pasteurised milk, MPM Model, protected status, age
  • Understands the principles of pairing cheese and drinks
  • An overview of the history of cheesemaking
  • Understand the differences between large scale and artisan production
  • Understand an overview of the nutritional value of cheese
  • Demonstrates good hand-washing techniques
  • Understand how to handle cheese safely
  • Understand the difference between “use by” and “best before”
  • Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 1 Structured Approach to Tasting Model
  • Practical assessment of cheese using the model

At Level One you are required to study and taste 25 iconic cheeses. You will find details on each cheese in your delegates pack and in the online Cheese Library. Whether you attend an online or classroom course you will be expected to have tasted the 25 cheeses on the Level One list by the time of your assessment.

Use the Structured Approach to Tasting Cheese (SATC) sheet to record your tasting notes.

Whichever way you chose to study, you’ll need to take the online exam to become a certified Academy of Cheese Associate. It’s 30 questions in 30 minutes, you’ve got this! 

What you get

Enrol now and get Instant Access to your Level One Learning Road

12 months access to our Learning Road and exam. 

You have 12 months access to the Learning Road and to take the exam. 

Free resources

Exclusive Delegate Resources

Each delegate can download a digital delegate pack with informative visual guides to use alongside the Learning Road. These include the cheese matrix, the simple & complex flavour trees, the classification guide, the step-by-step tasting sheets and the full colour Level One 25 cheeses book. 

A printed version of the delegate pack is also available to purchase.

Level One 25 Cheese Matrix

Level 1 Make Post-Make Model

Level 1 Standards & Learning Outcomes

Level 1 Structured Approach to Tasting Cheese

Level One 25 Cheese Profiles

Velocheese Mozzarella

Velocheese Smoked Scamorza

Velocheese Burrata

Velocheese Straciatella

Cote Hill Blue




Banagher Bold

12 months access to our Academic Cheese Library (over 175 cheeses)

Delegates can access our ever-growing Cheese Library which clearly and accurately catalogues cheese in a user-friendly way. It is a valuable research tool for studying at home, for inspiration ahead of a trip to the cheesemonger and for retailers swotting up on their range or looking to add something new.

What People Are Saying About The Programme

Who should become an Academy Of Cheese Associate?

Retail professionals


Food Writers


Chef’s & Restaurateurs

Fanatical foodies



Cheese Judges

You are not alone

The purpose of Academy of Cheese is simple, to provide cheese education in support of the industry and those that work within it. 

Delegates enrolled

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely not! The Level One course is the place to start your cheese education, whether you work in the industry or simply love cheese. We start with the basics and expand your knowledge, giving you a new appreciation for cheese and its industry.

No, not one entry requirement! The Level One is open to all and its the place to start your cheese education. 

No problem. You can study online with the self guided eLearning platform from anywhere in the world - at anytime that suits you . 

The virtual classroom courses are taught live by a Training Partner across Zoom or a similar alternative platform. You will still receive access to the online Learning Road (think of this as your digital course book) to swot up on your knowledge and take the exam.

The self study eLearning option uses only the online Learning Road to take you through the course materials, there is no tutoring from a Training Partner. It is 100% self guided online study.

Regardless of which teaching method you choose, you are studying the same certification and will take the same online exam.

7 reviews for Associate Certification
Self Study

  1. aliciawright

    I studied this course during lockdown and it was so helpful and informative it is a great start for anyone who is wanting to learn about cheese even if you are not in the industry itself. Very effective learning plan I love how the modules are all laid out and how there is no time limit so I could study at my own pace throughout the course. I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has a keen interest or passion for cheese.

  2. Priscilla Tan

    I took this course to learn more cheese. Being an Asian, cheese consumption is not native. Through this course, I am better to understand the world of cheese. The systematic tasting approach is very helpful in me to better appreciate cheese and communicate effectively about cheese. Thank you Academy of Cheese, whilst not yet an expert, I am certainly not a noob!

  3. Svein Erik Backlund

    I took the course over a year ago with Charlie Turnbull as instructor. The intention was then to see how you did the courses since I hold many courses in Norway. The course was very good and a slightly different approach than what we normally have in Norway.
    It has become an example to follow. Now I sign up for Level 2

  4. Garth Andersen

    Fantastic to see all the hard work the Academy has put into this course. I work in the cheese industry and have been keen to get certified through AOC for a few years now. Very happy to be on my way.

  5. Boris Svinolobov (verified owner)

    Thanks to the academy for an interesting and exciting course.🧀

  6. Tom Healy

    Very well presented.
    I’ve been away from working with cheese for a few years and this course has reignited my interest..will definitely be doing Level 2.
    Thank you.

  7. amontenegro

    A very complete and educational course. Very happy to learn every time more about this wonderful world of cheese. Greetings from Peru!

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