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Introduction to Ethics

Introduction to Ethics

Sophia's Introduction to Ethics course explores philosophical approaches to understanding morality and evaluating moral actions. In this course, you will learn about a variety of normative ethical theories, and apply these theories to real world ethical issues. With an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of major approaches to ethics, you will build the critical thinking skills necessary to justify ethical positions. Full Description

3 semester credits

  • Guaranteed to transfer to our 19 partner network institutions.* See Partners
  • Sophia courses have been transferred for credit to over 300 institutions*. See the List
  • Recommend for credit to the ACE and DEAC college and university networks. (See below for details.)

Category: Humanities

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Take this 3-Credit College Course FREE!*
* For real. No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 3 semester credits.
This course is ACE Credit® recommended for transfer to many different colleges and universities.* Learn more
This course is DEAC-approved as meeting the criteria for Approved Quality Curriculum (AQC) status. Learn more


Guaranteed to transfer to our partner colleges and universities.* See Partners

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Introduction to Ethics

This course uses problem-based learning to help you apply knowledge to real-life situations. By using relatable scenarios, you'll learn how to think critically about ethical and philosophical inquiry, explore your own belief system, and better understand the role of ethics in everyday life. This course uses our Many Ways™ learning model that features multiple teaching styles to support your unique learning preferences.


Explore philosophical approaches to real-world ethical issues, learn about major approaches to ethics, and analyze various modes of ethical points of view. Key topics include:

  • Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics
  • Divine Command Theory, Conventionalism, and Egoism
  • Utilitarianism and Kantian Deontology
  • Virtue-based Ethics and Evaluating Personal Beliefs

Assessments & Grading
This is a pass/fail course. You'll complete 11 Challenge assessments (these are like quizzes) and 4 Milestone assessments (these are like tests), with an overall score of 70% or better.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you'll know how to explain the goal of ethics, evaluate philosophical arguments, and understand key terminology. You'll be able to apply moral theories to real-world issues and interpret the role of bias in ethical decision-making.

For more course details and Learning Outcomes, download the syllabus.


369 Student Reviews
by Sheila J. on June 23, 2019
Of the 7 courses I have taken, I felt this one to be the most challenging to date. The material is short, but I found I needed to read and read again to gain understanding of the material, which is not typical for me. Finished each unit with reading material in about 3.5 hours each.
by Lanita R. on June 2, 2019
This course was super hard. I would suggest taking it through Capella University rather than Sophia. None of the questions matched with the lessons. If I could give it a zero stars, I would. I barely passed the class and I am a 4.0 GPA student! This class needs to be reviewed and redone by Sophia!
by Ashley T. on October 12, 2019
I barely passed because I rushed through this course. So, I advise against doing so! This class is was a bit difficult because I didn't take notes, and relied on memory, which will not get you through this course! There are many terms and theories that can be easily confused. Take notes!
by Derek E. on January 23, 2020
Not my favorite class to take, but its a required course. That being said this is what you should do to pass. 1. Read everything, don't skim through. 2. Take notes, writing things down helps you remember better. 3. If it doesn't make sense after reading it the first time, read it again until it does. 4. They do not want you to know just the definition. They want you to know how to apply the context to scenarios. Good luck.
by Mark G. on June 13, 2019
The material was fine, but the questions in the Milestones were intentionally ambiguous. The answers offered for these questions were vaguely written to feed into the ambiguity of the questions, which allows the reader to infer an incredible amount of difference in what was asked and what is meant to be asked. The questions need revamped and a difference between exactly what is being asked and what the answers are referring to will be essential.
by Ronald U. on June 3, 2019
I would not recommend this course to anyone. Like others have said the questions are very poorly worded and confusing. Some were double or even triple negatives, misleading, and even grammatically incorrect. Find another avenue to fulfill this requirement.
Sophia replied on June 4, 2019

Ronald, Congratulations on your successful, and rapid, course completion. We do appreciate your feedback provided throughout the course. We hope you will find your next Sophia course more satisfactory. Thank you.

— Mike F. | Sophia Learning Coach
by Ruby M. on April 2, 2017
I loved this course I felt I learned more than regular courses. It was direct to the point. Tutorials were very informative.
by Sarah T. on September 24, 2018
Interesting course!


  • Q: What does "Try it for Free" mean?

    A: The Free Trial allows you to access the course of your choice, or multiple courses. It gives you access to the first unit ("Challenge 1") in the course. This will let you meet the course instructors, sample the instructional content, and answer a set of assessment questions in the Challenge. You can also read the Student Guide and watch an Orientation Video to learn more about the course format, requirements, and resources.

    Any work you complete in the Free Trial is saved, so if you decide to register, you do not need to repeat it. Of course, we also let you reset it and start over if you wish.

  • Q: Does Sophia accept third-party payment for tuition, such as financial aid or military benefits?

    A: Sophia courses are not eligible for most third party payment methods. Course tuition is paid by the student, using a credit or debit card. Tuition is due at the time of course registration. Sophia offers a payment plan option for course tuition.

  • Q: When do the courses start and how long do I have to complete a course?

    A: You choose your own course start date and have 60 days from your chosen start date to complete each course. Sophia courses are self-paced, so many students complete a course in less than 60 days.

  • Q: Where do I get the textbooks for my course?

    A: You do not need any textbooks for Sophia courses. All material is taught by video and text-based tutorials that are in the courseroom, and are included in the course tuition.

  • Q: How am I graded in the course?

    A: Sophia courses are graded on a pass/fail basis, with 70% overall required to pass the course. Your score is based upon points earned in the formative assessments ("Challenges"), summative assessments ("Milestones"), and if applicable, the authentic assessments ("Touchstones"). Currently, our Foundations of English Composition, English Composition I, and Public Speaking courses contain Touchstones.

  • Q: How do I know which courses I should take?

    A: Consult with your academic adviser at your university to determine specifically which Sophia courses could fit into your program. You can download the course syllabus directly from our site to share with your school advisor.

  • Q: Are the tests proctored?

    A: Sophia courses utilize keyboard biometrics as an alternative to proctoring. No webcam is needed for a Sophia course.

  • Q: I'm taking a course where I have to submit Touchstones. How long does it take for my Touchstone to be graded once it's submitted?

    A: We provide our faculty graders with up to 7 business days to grade a Touchstone. The actual time may vary based on volume and grader capacity.