Embark On An Adventure

Studying at the Mythgard Institute

Whether you are a serious student who is eager to pursue a degree, or a serious fan who is simply eager to learn, the Mythgard Institute offers a unique opportunity to fulfill those desires. The Mythgard Institute allows both auditors and MA students to share in an exciting, interactive learning experience to enhance their knowledge of a field they are passionate about. If you would like to know more about the difference between the two programs, keep reading to find more information. If you already know which option is right for you, you can go straight to our MA Admissions or Auditor Admissions pages!

Apply to Take a Course at the M.A. Level

Set out on your journey towards a master’s degree with Mythgard! We are developing an M.A. program in English, with concentrations in Tolkien Studies, fantasy literature, medieval literature, and more. In order to become an M.A student at Mythgard, you will need to apply, and then register for classes once you have been accepted. Go to our MA Admissions page to Apply today and to see how the whole process works.

Take Courses for Fun

Sign up to audit our courses, and you can work towards one of Mythgard’s Certificates in Tolkien Studies and Fantasy Literature. There is no need to apply to audit our courses, you can simply register for classes! Go to our Auditor Admissions page to register!


11.25.2011 – [...] the thing I like most is that it has helped me rediscover a passion that I forgot I had. It has been a long time since I’ve read critically and really studied a piece of literature, and I did not remember how much I enjoyed that. Plus, it has put me in touch with others of a like mind, or at least similar-enough minds, whom I likely would not have met otherwise. (read more)

Check out the exciting course we are offering this term!


If you are still unsure about which option is right for you, please read the section below to help you make your choice.

M.A. or Audit

Mythgard students have two choices when they enroll in our classes.  Those who want to use the course towards an M.A. should fill out the application to take the class for credit.  Those who just want to enjoy the lectures and not write the papers or receive grades should register to audit the class.  M.A. students will have access to all of the course sessions and features .  Auditors, however, will only watch or listen to the primary lecture and the closing session, and they may participate on the discussion board.  Auditors will not be involved in the small-group discussions or the graded assignments.

If you are still unsure about which choice is right for you, take a moment to read through the student examples given below:

A Week in the Life of a Mythgard M.A. Student

Here’s what a typical week in the life of a Mythgard M.A. student should look like:

Let us call our imaginary M.A. student Folco Boffin.

At the end of the week before, Folco checked the course reading schedule carefully, making sure to leave himself plenty of time, since there is quite a bit of reading to do.  Professor Olsen is lecturing on The Fellowship of the Ring this week, so Folco re-read the long sections of the book Prof. Olsen assigned and he also read the critical articles listed as supplementary reading.

On Monday evening, Folco logs in to the online lecture hall to listen to Professor Olsen’s lecture. He takes careful notes during the class, especially about passages or ideas he’d like to discuss more later in the week (he is especially interested in the significance of Gandalf’s self-sacrifice on the Bridge of Khazad-dum).  He makes an entry on the class discussion board thread on this subject, engaging in a heated debate with his friends Fatty Bolger and Hugo Bracegirdle.

On Wednesday afternoon, Folco logs in to the discussion room, making sure his microphone is plugged in and ready to go.  Halfast Gamgee, his preceptor, opens up the discussion, and Folco immediately hits his “raise hand” icon (he wants to explain his theory about the Balrog’s “dark fire” before Hugo steals his thunder).

Thursday morning, Folco pops in on Professor Olsen’s office hours time and they have a ten-minute discussion about the funeral song for Boromir (they didn’t quite get to that in the discussion session).  Folco knows that there is a lot of reading for The Two Towers next week, so he starts reading the next assignment Thursday night.

Finally, he enters the lecture hall one more time for Professor Olsen’s closing session.  Folco is delighted to hear that Prof. Olsen goes over the funeral song a bit (he’d mentioned during their chat on Thursday that he might), since it was not covered very much in the primary lecture on Monday.  After the closing session, Folco gets back to his The Two Towers reading and spends some time working on the outline of his final paper, which is due in a few weeks.


11.29.2011 – One of the most incredibly insightful and exciting lectures on Lord of the Rings I have ever heard or read – Drout lives inside Tolkien and it is a true gift to hear him talk on LOTR[. ] This is the power of the Mythgard Institute being able to hear and interact with the great minds of Tolkien and related scholarship of today!

A Week in the Life of a Mythgard Auditor

Here’s what a typical week in the life of a Mythgard auditor will look like:

Letus call our imaginary auditor Farmer Maggot.

Maggot is an intelligent and curious fellow, and although he is much too busy running his farm to be able to take Mythgard courses for credit, he is excited about the chance to learn more about these works.

Maggott does get a chance to do some the reading this weekend prior to Monday evening’s lecture by Professor Olsen.  He’s been wondering what Sigurd and Gudrun was about anyway, since it came out a couple years ago.  He didn’t quite get to finish the reading (he had an unusual number of trespassers to thrash in the last few days), but he still logs in to the lecture hall and watches the live lecture.  He even submits a few questions which he had while reading the first part, and Professor Olsen answers his questions halfway through the lecture.

In the next couple days, he manages to finish the first half of Sigurd and Gudrun, so he goes back and listens to the primary lecture again.  He logs in to the discussion board and responds to a long thread about the differences between Tolkien’s Sigurd and the hero in the Volsungasaga.

On Friday, he logs in for the closing session to hear Professor Olsen’s responses to students’ questions and his last comments about the first half of the book.  This weekend, he’ll start reading the second half of the book, between training sessions with that promising new puppy who is still being trained to drive hobbit-lads out of his mushroom patch.

Find out more information about our applying for courses at the M.A. level and auditing our courses.  You can also let us know what future courses you would be interested in taking.