What Is an Academic Masterclass?

06 Oct, 2023 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

The idea of a masterclass is traditionally associated with music and the arts, but it has recently found a prominent place in the academic world.

An academic masterclass is a specialised learning experience designed to provide participants with in-depth knowledge, practical skills and unique insights into a chosen subject. These masterclasses are often led by distinguished experts and scholars, creating the perfect environment for intellectual growth!

As part of our residential summer schools, students at the Oxford Scholastica Academy have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular academic masterclasses alongside their courses.

With the opportunity to learn about universities and potential careers, students are encouraged to think about their futures and next steps!

How Is an Academic Masterclass Structured?

An academic masterclass is typically structured as an intensive workshop or seminar, allowing students to immerse themselves in a subject beyond the school curriculum.

With an emphasis on active participation, discussion and hands-on activities, masterclasses typically offer smaller class sizes to create a dynamic learning environment that encourages engagement and collaboration.

What Are the Benefits of an Academic Masterclass?

An academic masterclass is a one-off opportunity for in-depth learning, making for an unforgettable experience that students take with them into their future careers. 

Here are just a few of the benefits of attending an academic masterclass:

1. Expert facilitators

An esteemed expert in your chosen subject is at the core of an academic masterclass. This could be a renowned professor, a leading researcher, a thriving industry professional, or someone who has significantly contributed to the field.

Their expertise offers high-quality insights and valuable knowledge in an interactive setting.

2. In-depth exploration

Masterclasses dive deep into specific topics, exploring nuances and complexities that a traditional school curriculum doesn’t cover.

By studying a subject you’re passionate about in great detail, you’ll leave with a profound understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.

3. Practical application

One distinguishing feature of an academic masterclass is the strong focus on practical application. Rather than solely focusing on theoretical concepts, students have the opportunity to apply what they learn through hands-on activities, case studies and simulations.

This emphasis on practical application helps to bridge the gap between theory and real-world scenarios, equipping students with the necessary skills for a successful academic and professional career.

Oxford Scholastica students participating in an academic masterclass.

4. Interactivity and engagement

Masterclasses thrive with interaction! Rather than passively receiving information, students have the chance to actively engage with the material, ask questions, contribute to discussions and collaborate with their peers.

This interactive nature cultivates a vibrant and stimulating learning environment.

5. Networking opportunities

Academic masterclasses attract like-minded people, creating an excellent networking platform.

Participants come from diverse backgrounds, bringing varied perspectives and experiences, encouraging the exchange of ideas, the formation of professional connections and the potential for future collaborations!

What Masterclasses Are Offered by the Oxford Scholastica Academy?

An OSA tutor hosts an academic masterclass.

1. Careers

The Oxford Scholastica Academy offers a 90-minute Masterclass about the future of work and the continuous evolution of different career paths. You’ll learn how to find a career that matches your interests, passions and values, and how to craft a CV and cover letter to stand out from the crowd in job applications and interviews.

2. Universities

We also offer a 75-minute Masterclass delving into the UK university application process and the ins-and-outs of the UCAS system. You’ll learn how to perfect your personal statement and university applications so you can fulfil your potential and put your best foot forward.

3. Debate

Our Debate Masterclass is an entire afternoon at The Oxford Union, where Malcolm X, Albert Einstein – and even Shakira! – have all spoken. Students learn the history of the union, as well as functional debating skills from a range of popular debate styles.

In 2023, the ex-president of the Oxford Union led our Debate Masterclass, which was both an honour and an incredible opportunity for our students to learn debating skills from a true expert.

Please note, the Oxford Scholastica Academy has no formal affiliation with the University of Oxford.

4. Active Thinking

Our 90-minute Active Thinking Masterclass complements our core worldview that active thinking is more valuable than passive thinking.

The Masterclass aims to inspire students to utilise their education and future career paths to better their own experience and the experiences of others.

5. Leadership and Communication

Last but not least is our 90-minute Leadership and Communication Masterclass, which discusses the influence of privilege on leadership, successful leadership and effective communication.

The Masterclass offers an interactive and introspective session, encouraging students to consider the traits of a good leader and the benefits of effective communication.

Will an Academic Masterclass Support My University Application?

An academic masterclass helps students write their personal statements, apply to universities, and prepare for university interviews. They also demonstrate your self-motivation and passion for your subject – key traits that admissions tutors are looking out for!

Academic masterclasses are a great chance to experience a different learning style in preparation for higher education, bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application.


By Charlotte Rice

Charlotte has recently graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA Hons in Media, Journalism and Publishing. She particularly liked the variety of her course and the confidence it has given her to pursue a career in media and marketing. Music, film and Greek mythology are her passions, and she loved having her own weekly show – RiceTime! – on Brookes Radio. Charlotte worked as an Activities Coordinator for our summer school in 2023.

Interested in trying out an an academic masterclass?

Recommended articles

A Day in the Life of a History Student

A Day in the Life of a History Student

It’s been over three years since I first sent my UCAS application off to Oxford University, meeting the early submission deadline by a slither and breathing a sigh of relief. Now, as a third-year History finalist on the cusp of exams, I can safely say that these...

read more
What Is Market Failure?

What Is Market Failure?

When trying to run any sort of business, it’s important to understand the ways in which things could go wrong, so that you can plan to maximise your chances of success. Market failures are a major risk any company faces. So it’s important to understand them before you...

read more