Seller prepares cheese for the custumers at cheese festival. Organic and farm food

Pursue Your Passion for Cheese

Artisan Cheese & Sensory Fundamentals Professional Certificate

This one-of-a-kind online cheese course heightens your knowledge of cheese and sensory evaluation.

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Program Snapshot

Fall Start Date

September 23, 2024

Fall Registration Deadline

September 16, 2024

How Often

Once every spring and fall



Learning Format


Online Learning Type

Asynchronous with optional live sessions


4 weeks

Time Commitment

8-10 hrs. per week


Professional Certificate

VA Benefit Eligible





20% discount available for UVM Affiliates






Are you a Cheese Enthusiast?

Tap into Vermont’s award-winning cheese industry in our 4-week cheese education program. Our goal is to support the educational needs of cheesemongers, restaurant staff, food systems professionals, and aspiring cheesemakers. 

There are no prerequisites and UVM’s cheese course is designed for those new to the cheese industry or those who have some basic knowledge, but want a more holistic foundation.

What sets UVM apart

Throughout the world, Vermont is recognized as a leader in the dairy and cheese industry.

UVM’s cheese program is a one-of-a-kind online learning experience.

Learn from instructor Tom Perry, an award-winning cheesemaker and national cheese sales manager for Shelburne Farms.


Our Cheese Course is for:

  • Cheese enthusiasts, chefs and restaurant staff wishing to expand knowledge on artisan cheese
  • Cheesemongers who want to learn more about cheese and sensory evaluation
  • Food systems professionals, especially those in cheese food sales
  • Aspiring cheesemakers who desire to grow and professionalize


Cheese Education: Learning Objectives 

  • Identify types and characteristics of American and international small-batch artisan cheeses
  • Examine the artisan cheesemaking process
    • Note – You will gain a strong foundation of the cheesemaking process but you will not learn how to make your own cheese
  • Evaluate artisan cheeses based on the sensory criteria of texture, aroma, and flavor
  • Assess the professional selling and marketing of artisan small-batch cheeses
  • Identify career pathways in the artisan cheese industry


  • Assess an artisan cheese by providing a description, initial tasting notes, as well as use and pairing suggestions
  • Compare artisan cheeses by category, texture, terroir, and flavor profile
  • Identify animal milks and other raw materials used in the cheesemaking process
  • Note: For the cheese research activity you will need to purchase a selection of artisan cheeses (up to 4). Find a store that offers a good selection of fresh American and European cheeses, such as a specialty food store, local food co-op, or local grocery (chain) store.

  • Evaluate the characteristics of aging and rind development, and how these influence the aroma, flavor, and texture of different cheeses
  • Summarize a select artisan cheese by describing its origin, history, style, ingredients, aging and rind
  • Analyze a selected artisan cheese by describing its aroma, flavor, and texture
  • Note: This module includes filmed content exclusive to this course of cheesemaking at award winning von Trapp Farmstead in Vermont. 

  • Identify career pathways in cheese and cheesemaking
  • Identify skills and knowledge base required for professional positions in the artisan cheese industry
  • Describe the use of selected artisan cheese in cooking and/or paired with beverages and/or other foods
  • Evaluate the business behind a selected artisan cheese, including how the cheese is advertised and sold
  • Create a professional sell sheet that highlights important information about a selected artisan cheese, including its ingredients, rind, age, and origin, and sensory evaluation notes
  • Examine AOC and DOP designations and how this information can be used to further an understanding of artisanal European cheeses and American cheeses based on them
  • Note: This module includes an interview with Doug Jacknick from renowned Columbia Cheese Importers, which specializes in importing European cheeses directly from the cheesemaker to distribute to U.S. cheesemongers.  

  • Complete a full sensory evaluation that assesses the aroma, flavor, and texture of your selected cheese
  • Create a final presentation recording that addresses all of the critical elements of the final project

Final Project

Learning will culminate in a final presentation where students will present on a cheese of their choosing. Students will complete activities each week that build-up to the presentation:

  • Module 1: Select 2-4 cheeses to begin researching
  • Module 2: From the cheeses researched in module 1, select a cheese for the presentation
  • Module 3: Profile selected artisan cheese and describe its use in cooking or pairing. Complete one-page professional ‘sell sheet’ for cheese
  • Module 4: Full sensory evaluation of selected cheese and final presentation

Live Seminars

There will be two live seminars as part of the course. One will be at the end of Module 1 and the second will be at the end of Module 4. Both will be recorded and available for viewing later.

Student Stories

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Career Outlook

Opportunities in the Cheese Industry

Overall, as consumers’ interest in high-quality, artisanal cheeses continues to grow, so does the demand for skilled workers in the cheese industry. 

These job titles reflect positions that are primarily involved in promoting and selling cheese products, building relationships with customers, developing marketing strategies, and analyzing market trends, which this course will give you a strong foundation in. 

Keep in mind that specific job requirements and responsibilities may vary depending on the company and the level of the position.

  • Account Manager
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Cheese Sommelier
  • Marketing Coordinator or Associate
  • Product Specialist
  • Sales Representative
  • Retail Sales Associate or Manager
  • Wholesale Account Executive


No, this is a foundational course and students do not need prior knowledge.

No. This course focuses on the cheesemaking process step-by-step, including rind development and cheese aging.  You will come away with a strong foundation of the cheesemaking process but you will not actually learn how to make your own cheese. If you wish to learn cheesemaking here is a collection of cheesemaking books.

Our professional certificate program and individual modules are 100% online. Modules are released every Wednesday, and you will have flexibility in your access to course material at any time of day.

Students will source up to 4 artisan cheeses locally at a price point of their choosing. Find a store that offers a good selection of fresh American and European cheeses, such as a specialty food store, local food co-op, or local grocery (chain) store. Students will then evaluate the cheeses of their choice through at-home practice and using the materials provided with guidance and input from our professional instructors.

Most students spend about 10 hours per week on the coursework.

Our professional certificate program and individual modules are 100% online. Modules are released every Wednesday, and you will have flexibility in your access to course material at any time of day.

This is not a self-paced course. Each module has its own weekly assignments that culminate with a final project and presentation.

Yes! We love it when we have students from other countries enrolling in our courses. Our Artisan Cheese & Sensory Evaluation Professional Certificate is 100% online.

Yes, there are two optional live sessions. The instructor will announce dates and times of the sessions at the beginning of the course. If you cannot attend, they will be recorded and can be viewed at a later time. Please note it is recommended to purchase a piece of American made “sharp cheddar” as you would find in a grocery store such as Cabot, Tilamook, or Sargento. Do not purchase a Clothbound style or imported cheddar cheese from Canada or England.

Yes, all course materials are included in the price and will be accessed through Blackboard, our online platform.

The graded assignments are varied and include:

  • weekly cheese discussions and sharing with your peers and instructor
  • submission of final project milestones for instructor review and feedback
  • a final project and presentation that you work on throughout the course including cheese selection, cheese profile, and sensory evaluation
  • weekly knowledge check quizzes

To help prepare you for the graded assignments, each module contains required readings and video lectures from the instructor and other experts in the field.

No, but students are welcome to use the career centers that include internships and jobs in American Cheese Society and the Vermont Cheese Council career centers.

Yes. The final assignment in this course is a final presentation and sensory analysis on a cheese of your choice. The final presentation is shared with your peers in the course and is built upon the foundation of work you complete in the first three weeks of the course.  Students enjoy learning about new and unique cheeses in this process.  All step-by-step detailed instructions for the final presentation are provided along with a sample presentation.

You will be assessed on your participation in the discussion boards, completion of assignments, and comprehension of the course material. To earn an electronic certificate of completion and digital badge, students must receive a 70% or better in the course. Because this is a non-credit professional program, there is no transcript.

UVM offers the Artisan Cheese & Sensory Fundamentals Professional Certificate 3 times per year. The start dates are usually in January, April, and September.

Neither federal nor institutional financial aid is available for non-credit professional programs. No scholarships are available currently.

Learn about options for discounts, grants, loans, scholarships, and more on our tuition and financial aid page.

Payment plans are not currently available for this program. Tuition must be paid in full two weeks prior to beginning the program.

Students may register by paying the full program fee online via credit card or by calling us at 802-656-8407 to make a partial payment of $500. Should you make a partial payment, the remaining amount must be paid in full no later than two weeks prior to the start of this offering. If payment is not received by then, you will automatically be dropped from the course the following business day. Refunds will be issued less a $25.00 cancellation fee.

If you need to cancel your attendance, you must notify us via email at or call us at (802) 656-2085 at least three business days prior to the start date of the course to receive a full refund, less a $25 cancellation fee. If a medical condition necessitates cancellation/withdrawal (documentation provided), this will be reviewed by our Studies Committee for any type of refund.

We recommend using a browser other than Internet Explorer with our Blackboard online learning system. Firefox, Google Chrome, or other browsers tend to work more effectively with Blackboard. It’s very important to note that Blackboard will only work with a desktop or laptop computer. It is not designed to be used with phones or tablets (e.g., iPads), so please make sure you have access to a desktop and/or laptop computer and word processing software for the duration of the class. Please ensure that the computer you do use has the full ability and no restrictions to download any third party software as it is crucial for producing your final project.

If you are a non-credit student seeking accessibility support, please email and the UVM Student Accessibility Services team will be able to assist. In your email, please include that you do not have a 95 number/NetID.

Have questions about taking an online or distance education course? Visit the Online and Distance Education FAQ page
Have more basic questions about Professional and Distance Education? Visit our About Us and FAQs pages.