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 Certificate Program or sit in on Tolkien-related courses as an auditor.

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

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. or Certificate with a concentration in Tolkien Studies must take at least five of these courses.

IDCourse NameDurationStart Date
LITD 5304Beowulf Through Tolkien12 WeeksJanuary 15, 2018
LITA 5307Beyond Middle-earth12 WeeksMay 6, 2019
LITA 5302Lewis & Tolkien12 WeeksJanuary 13, 2020
LITA 5305The Story of the Hobbit12 WeeksMay 7, 2018
LITA 5315The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien12 weeksAugust 31, 2020
LITC 5301Tolkien & Tradition12 WeeksAugust 27, 2018
LITA 5314Tolkien in Context12 weeksAugust 26, 2019
LITA 5311Tolkien’s Poetry12 WeeksJanuary 15, 2018
LITA 5306Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth12 WeeksJanuary 14, 2019
LITA 5312Tolkien’s Wars and Middle-earth12 WeeksMay 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.

Contact Us!

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