Dive into the rich and diverse academic world of Tolkien Studies.


Have you ever wanted to get a degree in Tolkien studies?
Now you can!

Tolkien courses are available at a number of colleges and universities, but they are mostly limited to an elective class or two. At Signum University, we have created an entire concentration around Tolkien’s works and life.

Why Study Tolkien?

Tolkien was the father of modern fantasy – but he was also much more. His stories emerged from his personal and academic interests, which included a deep love of both language and literature.

Tolkien left behind a wealth of stories, poems, essays, lectures, letters, and notes that scholars have continued to study for decades after his death. New books, monographs, and papers continue to be published to this day on Tolkien’s writings in core areas such as literary analysis, philology, and constructed languages, with applications to topics as diverse as politics, economics, and gender studies.

Over the last couple decades in particular, Tolkien scholarship has really begun to expand into new and bigger areas. This is due partly to the popularity of blockbuster movies made from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However, it is also due to the growth of online forums where scholars, enthusiasts, and fans (categories that overlap significantly) can come together to discuss their intuitions, ideas, and insights with respect to Tolkien’s works.


The Next Step in Tolkien Scholarship

Signum University offers the next step in the evolution of Tolkien studies as a discipline. As part of our premier degree program, the M.A. in Language & Literature, this concentration in Tolkien Studies is quite possibly the first graduate degree available that allows students to focus primarily on Tolkien’s works and life.

M.A. Program Details

For those who are not ready to commit to a full M.A. program, you can also enroll in our Graduate Diploma or sit in on Tolkien-related courses as an auditor.

Tolkien Studies Courses

Signum University offers a variety of courses related to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in the context of literature, history, culture, and other areas of interest. Students seeking a M.A. with a concentration in Tolkien Studies must take at least five of these courses; Graduate Diploma students who seek a concentration in Tolkien Studies must take at least four of these courses.

ID Course Name Duration Start Date
LITD 5304 Beowulf Through Tolkien 12 Weeks August 29, 2022
LITA 5307 Beyond Middle-earth 12 Weeks May 6, 2019
LITA 5302 Lewis & Tolkien 12 Weeks January 13, 2020
LITA 5305 The Story of the Hobbit 12 Weeks August 30, 2021
LITA 5315 The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien 12 weeks August 31, 2020
LITC 5301 Tolkien & Tradition 12 Weeks January 11, 2021
LITA 5314 Tolkien in Context 12 weeks May 2, 2022
LITA 5311 Tolkien’s Poetry 12 Weeks May 3, 2021
LITA 5306 Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth 12 Weeks January 10, 2022
LITA 5312 Tolkien’s Wars and Middle-earth 12 Weeks May 4, 2020

At least one Tolkien Studies course will be offered each semester. Courses will be offered on a rotating basis every 2 – 3 years. Course order, frequency, and availability may change without notice. Links to course descriptions above may go to an older version of the course. For current and upcoming course offerings, visit the Future Courses page.

Tolkien Studies Lecturers

Dr. Corey Olsen

Dr. Corey Olsen – suit and tie

John Garth

John Garth

Dr. Tom Shippey

Dr. Tom Shippey

Dr. Nelson Goering

Nelson Goering

Dr. Verlyn Flieger

Dr. Verlyn Flieger

Dr. Sara Brown

Dr. Sara Brown

Contact Us!

If you have any questions about a concentration in Tolkien Studies or becoming a student, contact us.