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Online WSET Level 4 Diploma Course

We are pleased to announce that beginning in the winter of 2013, we can offer access to the online version of the Level 4 Diploma course. This course was piloted for a year in England and for another year with the International Wine Center in New York, and we are now permitted to sign up our students also.

Like the Online Intermediate and Advanced Courses, this course features WSET Certified Educators employing social media in place of face-to-face classes.  Like those courses, you only need to come to Philadelphia for exams. However, unlike those shorter courses, the online Diploma course is long. It consists of six Units whose length is:

In all, that is 52 weeks, which will usually be spread out over 15 months, but which can be extended much longer than that if you choose. You pay for each Unit just before taking that Unit, so spreading out the Units also spreads out your costs.

The Online Induction Course

Before taking your first Unit of the Online Diploma Course – whether you’re entering the program as a new Diploma student or you’re a currently enrolled Diploma student who wishes to switch to the Online program – you must first take a week-long “Induction” Course. The Induction Course will familiarize you with the tools and procedures of the online Diploma program. There is no cost for this online Induction Course as long as you are concurrently enrolling for one of the Online Diploma Units. It is offered ten times per year, shortly before the start of other Online Diploma Units. WSET advises that you should expect to spend 10 hours online during your Online Induction week.

The Online Course for New Diploma Students

New students must be holders of the Level 3 Award (also known as the WSET Advanced Certificate). You should sign up online with us, indicating one of the available start dates listed on our schedule. Note that the registration deadline is usually 2 weeks in advance of each Unit's start date. As with our Diploma Via Video students and our face-to-face students, we will then FEDEX you your Unit 2 study guide and register you for three-year enrollment in the Diploma program.

Students in the Online Diploma Course will be welcome to also participate at no additional cost in our Diploma Via Video/ Home Study Courses, although these will not always align with the dates of the Online Course. Online Diploma students will also be able to attend at no additional cost our once-yearly Mock Unit 3 exam (mid-May) and our once- yearly Mock Unit 4, 5, and 6 exam (late October or early November).

Following your participation in the one week Induction Course and the eight week Unit 2 Online Course you will be ready to take the 90 minute, 100 question multiple choice Unit 2 exam.  When you come to Philadelphia for that exam it will be part of a two-day visit to Philadelphia. You will take the exam on the morning of the first day, then spend that afternoon and the next day tasting various wines and spirits to get you used to Diploma level tasting exams.

New students must begin with Unit 2 (misnamed, long story). After that you can choose your sequence, although WSET strongly recommends that you next take Unit 1, because business of wine concepts are relevant to, and helpful with all remaining Units.

Someone starting Unit 2 in January through March might take Unit 1 in April and May, Unit 3 from June through December, Unit 6 in the next year’s January and February, Unit 5 in the next year’s March, and Unit 4 in the next year’s April and May. In this scenario, as few as three trips to Philadelphia would be needed: in early April of the first year for the Unit 2 exam and the tasting days; in early January of the second year for the Unit 3 exam; and in June of that second year for the Unit 1, 4, 5, and 6 exams (each slightly more than one hour long).

Or, if work conflicts or personal situations call for a more protracted schedule, WSET offers several starting dates for each Unit. There are three starting dates each academic year for Units 1, 4, 5 and 6; and two starting dates each academic year for Unit 3. Although there are also three starting dates each year for Unit 2, we will probably limit those we offer since each online Unit 2 class is immediately followed by two days of face-to-face tasting training in Philadelphia and we don’t have sufficient staff for multiple tasting training sessions. See http://www.phillywine.com/when/currentyear.html for upcoming dates.

Please note that the cost of each Online Diploma Unit includes the cost of that Unit’s related online mentoring program, DAPS (Diploma Assessment Preparation Scheme). Students in face-to-face Diploma courses and in our Diploma Via Video/ Home Study courses must pay separately for DAPS. (See http://www.phillywine.com/wset/diploma/daps.html for more information about DAPS and http://phillywine.com/sign-up/ for current DAPS prices.

Exams for Units 1, 4, 5 and 6 are only available in March, June, or November. Exams for Unit 3 are only available in January and June. So it is likely that you will be studying two or more of the shorter Units (1, 4, 5, or 6) before taking the exams for those Units.  Many prior students have successfully taken and passed two or more of those shorter Units on the same day, so this should not be a problem. And it does limit the number of trips you need to take to Philadelphia.

The Online Course for Previously Enrolled Diploma Students

Diploma students who began their studies in our face-to-face courses or our Home Study/ Diploma Via Video courses, and who have already taken the Unit 2 exam (or even additional Unit exams) may wish to switch to the Online Diploma Course. To do so you should sign up online with us, indicating one of the available start dates listed on our schedule. Note that the registration deadline is usually 2 weeks in advance of each Unit's start date. As with our Diploma Via Video students and our face-to-face students, we will then FEDEX you that Unit’s study guide and tentatively schedule you for the next available exam for that Unit.

In conjunction with, and just before, your first Online Unit you must take a week long Online Induction Course. This Induction Course will familiarize you with the tools and procedures of the Online Diploma Program. There is no cost for the Online Induction Course as long as you concurrently register for an Online Diploma Unit. Start dates for all Induction Courses and Online Units are listed on our schedule

In addition to your online support, Online Diploma students will be welcome to also participate at no additional cost in our Diploma Via Video/ Home Study Courses, although these will not always align with the dates of the Online Course. Online Diploma students registered for Units 3, 4, 5, or 6 will also be able to attend at no additional cost our once-yearly Mock Unit 3 exam (mid-May) and our once- yearly Mock Unit 4, 5, and 6 exam (late October or early November).

Please note that the cost of each Online Diploma Unit includes the cost of that Unit’s related online mentoring program, DAPS (Diploma Assessment Preparation Scheme). Students in face-to-face Diploma courses and in our Diploma Via Video/ Home Study courses must pay separately for DAPS. (See http://www.phillywine.com/wset/diploma/daps.html for more information about DAPS and http://phillywine.com/sign-up/ for current DAPS prices.

Exams for Units 1, 4, 5 and 6 are only available in March, June, or November. Exams for Unit 3 are only available in January and June. So it is likely that you will be studying two or more of the shorter Units (1, 4, 5, or 6) before taking the exams for those Units.  Many prior students have successfully taken and passed two or more of those shorter Units on the same day, so this should not be a problem. And it does limit the number of trips distant students need to take to Philadelphia.

What to Expect from the Online Course

First time Diploma students or previously registered Diploma students should sign up online with us, indicating one of the available start dates listed on our schedule. Note that the registration deadline is usually 2 weeks in advance of each Unit's start date. As with face-to-face students or Home Study/ Diploma Via Video students, we will then FEDEX you your relevant study guide(s) and register new students for your first three years of Diploma study (renewable if needed).

You will take classes in a digital, global classroom under the leadership of several instructors from WSET. The courses are structured, interactive learning programs, but with the freedom of flexible scheduling. Students log-in whenever they like (at least once a week), review the summary of weekly or biweekly topics, study, complete activities and tasting exercises, post responses and participate in online class discussion. WSET estimates that for Diploma Units you should estimate about ten (10) hours per week of study, including online exercises and related offline activities. Your "classmates" could be anywhere, from Philadelphia to the Philippines (WSET is active in more than 50 countries). All classes are conducted in English.

Upon registration, you will receive an email from WSET with instructions on logging into the online classroom. Once in the classroom site, you will find a course calendar listing the topics covered for each week, the background reading required, activities relevant to each topic, tasting assignments (students must purchase their own wine) and quizzes. The activities and tasting assignments require you to post responses on the site. You can view other students’ responses and the online exchange with the instructor only if you yourself post a response; interaction is critical to success in this course.

Each online Unit has specific start dates and exam dates, as well as registration deadlines. Before enrolling you should establish a reliable Internet connection and download software to access PDFs, as many assignments and attachments are posted as PDFs.

Each Unit has an associated exam date for our Philadelphia students, indicated on our schedule. You have the option of delaying an exam date as long as you notify us before the registration deadline for that exam date. However, once you are registered for an exam WSET will charge us for that exam and you would have to pay the resit price for that exam (see http://phillywine.com/sign-up/ ) to take that exam at a later date.

Exams for Units 1, 4, 5 and 6 are only available in March, June, or November. Exams for Unit 3 are only available in January and June. So it is likely that you will be studying two or more of the shorter Units (1, 4, 5, or 6) before taking the exams for those Units.  Many prior students have successfully taken and passed two or more of those shorter Units on the same day, so this should not be a problem. And it does limit the number of trips distant students need to take to Philadelphia.

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