Frequently Asked Questions
In short, how do the online courses and programs work?
Enrollment in our courses and programs happens on an individual basis meaning you can enroll and start at any time. You can set up your own personalized schedule and complete the coursework following your own individual timetable.
Each program consists of several courses which in turn are broken down into individual lessons. The lessons include reading material, online presentations (videos, audio files, other sources) and research tasks. We assign a mentor to each student. The assigned mentor works with the student for the duration of the program, giving feedback, evaluating assignments, suggesting additional work, etc. The art courses are also online with multimedia presentations and instructions given. Students complete art projects and submit their assignments for advice and mentoring. Please see the following for the step-by-step info.
How many hours should I expect to spend on my course obligations?
The courses are structured in such a way that you can work on an individual basis, and the time needed depends very much on your individual situation. You will need to find time to study the material and work on the assignments. For the Foundation Studies 3 - 10 hours per week is a good estimate. For the Waldorf Certificate Program up to 18 hours per week will be required and 2/3 to full time during the 6 weeks of required internship. For the introductory online courses 1 to 3 hours per week is sufficient.
How long will it take to complete the courses?
The courses and programs are scheduled to be completed within certain time frames. Allow for 1 - 2 months per course, and 3 to 6 months per semester. Extensions are permitted, and can be requested on an individual basis.
Will my certificate of completion be recognized by other Waldorf Teacher Training Institutes?
Although there is no official reciprocal agreement between the teacher training institutes (as traditionally the teacher training centers have done self-accreditation), graduates from Sophia Institute have continued at other Waldorf Teacher Training centers, receiving credit for the completed courses, or have started teaching at Waldorf schools.
Can I transfer credits for courses completed including courses completed at other teacher training institutes?
Students may transfer credits received for courses completed at Sophia Institute or other teacher training institutes. For instance students who have credits for individual courses or partially completed Foundation Studies and want to transfer to or continue at Sophia Institute in order to complete the Sophia Institute Foundation Studies or the Sophia Institute Waldorf Certificate Program, will receive credits for the already completed courses.
What about tuition credits?
After completing an individual course at the Sophia Institute, some students go on to enroll in one of our full programs such as the Foundation Studies Program or the Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate Program. In this case, completed credits will be transferred directly into the program, and the amount of tuition already paid for the completed courses will be deducted from the tuition for the full program.
How does the online course compare to facilitated local group study courses?
The question as to whether the study in a facilitated local group is better can only be answered on an individual basis. The direct feedback and creation of a temporary learning community in a live group is a very special experience, and people participating in these groups often connect in a way that lasts into the future. On the other hand, the individual study (as with the online courses) is a more inward experience that typically attracts the more introverted and self-motivated person: one who has the ability and skills to work independently, but has the potential to create a deeper and more meaningful experience compared to the live group.
How can I complete the artistic courses?
Foundation Studies students and Waldorf Certificate students are required to include a variety of artistic courses. The aim is to learn about the different arts, and about the influence of Anthroposophy that has enriched and transformed traditional art forms, and created new ones, like Eurythmy. Sophia Institute offers online art courses that meet the requirements and credit criteria. Alternatively students might select to set up and complete their art courses with qualified individuals (for instance by attending artistic workshops at a local Waldorf School). Students will need to practice the arts, learn new skills, or deepen their understanding of the arts. Besides Eurythmy, courses in music, speech, painting, drawing, handwork, modeling, and spatial dynamics or others qualify for the independent studies/art courses. Students will need to attend a minimum of two artistic workshops/courses per semester in order to receive credit for the courses. Often artistic courses are offered at Waldorf schools, Waldorf conferences, or through local groups connected to a Waldorf school. Students need to seek out opportunities to attend such workshops, group sessions, or individual sessions in order to receive credit for these artistic courses. Students need to obtain certificates of attendance/statements about sessions attended and skills acquired, from the respective group leaders or workshop leaders. In some circumstances students might need to work independently, if no workshops, group sessions or individual sessions are available in their location. An outline including description of the art courses/study that clearly state the methods to be used and goals to be achieved need to be submitted and will need prior approval via the assigned Sophia Institute mentor in order for the student to receive credit for the completed independent art courses/study.
What about licensing, registration and accreditation?
The Sophia Institute accepts students from around the world interested in becoming Waldorf/Steiner Teachers or studying Waldorf/Steiner Education and Anthroposophy for personal or professional development. Sophia Institute is a member of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, is registered with the Pedagogical Section of the School of Spiritual Science, and the Biodynamic Association. Sophia Institute is registered and licensed to operate by the State of Washington (USA), UB/ID 604-059-737 / FEIN: 30-0963898.
What about prerequisites?
Anyone may enroll in any of the courses. To qualify for enrollment in one of the programs including the Waldorf Certificate Program, a student needs to have a high school diploma or equivalent, be fluent in the English language and be qualified for enrollment in college or university level studies.
All required reading and study materials will be made available online. The study materials include, but are not limited to, reading material, online presentations (videos, audio files, other sources) and research tasks. Additional study, reading and research will be recommended on an individual basis. Students might want to, but are not required to, purchase the recommended books or reading material, etc., or borrow the material from a library (for instance the Rudolf Steiner Library). Many of the books and other research materials are also available online for instance at the Rudolf Steiner Archives.
How much is the tuition?
Tuition can be paid in monthly installments (regular rate) or prepaid (prepaid/discounted rate). To qualify for the prepaid/discounted tuition rate, the tuition must be prepaid for each semester prior to the start of each semester for our programs and prior to the start of each course for our individual courses. To see a listing of the current tuition rates for the courses and programs please see our tuition info page.
When can I start?
You may enroll and start at any time on an individual basis. A mentor/advisor will be assigned to you and will work with you for the duration of the online course(s) or programs.