What Is It Like to Take Online Classes at Sophia?

Posted on May 11, 2023

Posted on May 11, 2023

Whether you’re just starting your degree, returning to school after a break, or looking to accelerate your degree program, taking online courses for college credits is a great way to knock out your general education credits.

Sophia Learning offers a range of self-paced, college-level general education courses that may transfer to other institutions. You can complete your gen ed courses online, at your leisure, to save time and money on your degree.

What’s it like to take online transferable college-level courses at Sophia? Let’s find out!

Getting Started

Starting your education journey at Sophia couldn’t be easier. Start by signing up for a free trial to become a member, which gives you access to the first challenge of your chosen course.

After the trial, you can choose the membership option that works best for you, including one-, four-, and 12-month options. Once you have a membership, you’ll get access to 50+ on-demand courses that cover a range of general education subjects. All courses are included in your membership, and you’re welcome to take as many as you like during your membership period (with a two-course limit at one time).

Sophia courses are transferable to partner colleges and universities, as well as hundreds of additional institutions that reviewed Sophia courses for credit. However, it’s important to confirm that your courses will transfer to your chosen institution. 

Sophia Courses

Sophia courses are designed to be self-paced, so you can start at any time and work through the material at the speed you’re most comfortable. There are no formal classes to attend or weekly assignments on deadlines.

Each course consists of Challenges, Milestones, and Touchstones:


Sophia courses use a problem-based learning model with real-world scenarios to enhance critical thinking. Each Challenge has an average of 5-10 practical problems to solve.

You have multiple attempts to solve the problems, and you may stop and start as you wish to continue learning and improve your score. All Challenge questions must be attempted at least once to advance to the Milestone.


Milestones test your understanding of the course concepts with 20-30 questions. You will have a set time limit to complete the Milestones, which is displayed on the Course Dashboard.

While there is no minimum score required for individual Milestones, they contribute to your overall course average. Milestones carry a weight three times that of Challenges for your final score. You will have an opportunity to retake each Milestone once, as well as a Practice option to check your preparedness before taking the scored version.

The Final Milestone is offered after you complete all the Challenges and Milestones. One-unit courses and some other courses may not have a Final Milestone. You may need to verify your identity with a photo ID before taking the Final Milestone.


In some courses, Touchstones are used to apply mastery of concepts. These are project-based assessments with a deliverable, which is submitted for manual grading and originality. All Touchstone submissions must be original and unique to the course, rather than repurposed from other courses.

You can work on Touchstones at any time, but you have to pass the Unit Milestone before you can submit the Touchstone for grading. You must earn at least 50% overall on each touchstone to pass, but that grade also contributes to your course average. If you fail a Touchstone, you can resubmit it once for a better score.

To recieve a Sophia transcript:

  • Complete Challenges by attempting the questions

  • Achieve an average score of 70% or better across all Challenges, Milestones, and Touchstones

  • Complete each Touchstone with a score of at least 50%

Online Lab Components and Courses

Sophia also has brand-new lab components to accompany lecture courses. Like on-campus learning, having lab work creates a more robust journey into the natural sciences for a firm grasp of the scientific method and real-world relevance.

Labs are available for Human Biology and Introduction to Chemistry. All labs are performed online without the need for specialized science equipment. To meet the requirement, you will need to write lab reports and answer quiz questions pertaining to the information in the course.

With a Sophia subscription, you are only permitted to be active in two courses at one time. Because labs are used in conjunction with the course lectures, taking a science course with a lab reaches the two-course limit.

Other Sophia Learning Pathway Benefits

We’re invested in your success with our courses. Our learning environment has an array of tools to support your educational experience, including:

  • Learning Coaches via a Live Chat feature

  • A Progress Bar with a recommended schedule to complete your course

  • Score indicators for real-time feedback and your current score

  • A View Report page with detailed activity and progress indicators

  • Third-party tutoring options for select courses from Pearson SmarThinking

Transferring Courses

A transfer credit represents a course you’ve successfully completed at Sophia that is applied at another school. Earning general education credits is a great way to accelerate your degree program – and save some money in the process. Sophia partners with 40 colleges and universities, and over 1,000 institutions have reviewed Sophia courses.

Once you complete a course successfully, you can request an official transcript through Parchment or Credly for ACE transcripts. Most Sophia partner institutions have automated transcription.

Always contact your advisor or registrar to be sure a Sophia course will transfer for college-level credit at your chosen institution. Our Learning Coaches can also help you determine which courses are ideal for your program or how to send your Sophia transcript.

Let’s Get Started!

Are you ready to accelerate your learning experience with Sophia Learning? Take the first step by exploring our courses, browsing partner schools, or signing up for a free trial!

Category: The Sophia Experience

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