Pursuing Higher Education - Tolkien?


New Member
Hi there! I'm completely new to Mythgard and this forum so I apologize if there is already a thread that deals with my questions (if so, could you point me in the right direction?)

Anyways, I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in English and Education and I am now thinking about the direction I would like to go regarding Graduate School. That being said, I am aware of Signum's Master's course in Tolkien studies... so my first question would be: has anyone completed (or maybe is currently in) this course and what was your experience? What are your plans after completion?

Additionally, were I to go a different route and pursue a PhD, possibly, somewhere else - how could I tailor my focus toward Tolkien (obviously my PhD would have to be in something else... not just 'Tolkien') and do you have any suggestions as far as Universities are concerned? I have to admit, I'm a complete novice when it comes to this information... I recently heard in an interview that Tolkien Studies (masters and phd) were becoming more prominent and acceptable (accredited), and if I could somehow pursue a degree related to Tolkien and fantasy, that would be a dream, and here is why:

I've always had a deep appreciation for Tolkien growing up (LOTR being the reason I loved to read) and, as an Education major, I would love to get the chance to teach his works either in grade-school or at University. I think Tolkien could be the catalyst for a lot of young (including college) students who dislike reading, or simply misunderstand the world they're missing out on! Often, student's are exposed to works that don't quite live up to their imagination, or that are simply boring. But I think that Tolkien was an academician to the point that his works are both exciting to read and enormously academic, should we wish to dive into them (as the Tolkien Professor has done so). Pursuing a degree that could help me understand and make my own observations concerning Tolkien (specifically with how he redefined the fantasy genre) would be enormously helpful because I want students to discover the joy of reading fantasy! It is unfortunate that fantasy is played down as such a weak genre to start students off with when I think it could be THE catalyst to push them into reading for the rest of their lives!

Anyways, if this has been posted before I apologize and would love to be directed to the nearest thread. Otherwise, thank you for your time and your help guys!


Staff member
Yes, certainly, look into Signum's Tolkien Studies Masters option.

If you wish to teach English at the middle school or high school level, you likely currently have the credentials you will need, but will be paid more if you earn a Masters. From that point of view, working on an online masters while teaching is an attractive option, and Signum's is both in a fun topic and competitively affordable.

If you want to go the PhD route, I am less familiar with your options, but I would think you might want to find professors who teach Tolkien and look into the English PhD program at their university. Because, well, what you need is an advisor who would support your interests.


Hestia of the Hearth
SJCole, I completed the Masters program here at Signum. I did one course at a time while I worked and raised my family, and school took 10 hours per week in the beginning, fifteen toward the middle, and 50 to 60 hours per week during my thesis (I got to move around some of my work load). World class professors teaching what they love and know best. Wow. After completing the degree, I have been teaching English at the community college level, I'm a preceptor here at Signum, and on Monday (!?) I will be opening a new WriterSpace program locally.