Embark On An Adventure

MI_ChoosingYourPathStudying 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. 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 MA Level

Set out on your journey towards an MA in Language and Literature with Mythgard! Our MA program offers concentrations in Tolkien Studies, fantasy, science fiction and medieval literature, language acquisition, and more.

To become an MA student, you will need to follow the process on our MA Admissions page. Upon acceptance, you will be able to enroll in your first class.

[…] the thing I like most is that [Mythgard] 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)

Audit Courses for Fun

Sign up to take our courses without any of the pressure of grades. Auditing a course lets you study any of our current classes by participating in the live lecture sessions and student forums. There is no need to apply to audit our courses – you can simply register on the Auditor Admissions page.

Check out our exciting course offerings!


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

MA or Audit

Mythgard students have two choices when they enroll in our classes.  Those who want to use the course towards an MA 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, including:

  • Two lectures per week which can be attended live via our online classroom interface or downloaded for later viewing.
  • A discussion board to converse on topics related to class with other students, auditors and professors.
  • Weekly small-group discussions led by a preceptor.
  • Graded assignments, papers, and tests as applicable.

Auditors will have access to the two weekly lectures, and they may participate on the discussion board. Auditors will not be involved in the small-group discussions or the graded assignments. However, auditors are encouraged to ask questions and make comments during course lectures, giving them the benefit of a live classroom discussion.

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 MA Student

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

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

At the end of the week, 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 for preparation to the week’s two lectures and the preceptor led group session. Professor Olsen is lecturing on The Fellowship of the Ring this week, so Folco re-reads the long sections of the book Professor Olsen assigned and he also reads the critical articles listed as supplementary reading.

On Monday evening, Folco logs in online to listen to Professor Olsen’s lecture. He takes careful notes during the class, especially about passages, ideas, and any questions he’d like to discuss more (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. While looking through posted subjects from other students, he leaves additional comments and points of interest as well.

On Wednesday afternoon, Folco logs in to the preceptor session, 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). There are several classmates who participate in a discussion that leads Folco to write additional notes that may be used for the final paper idea.

After Folco’s preceptor session ends, he asks his preceptor about additional discussion time for questions including his final paper idea. His preceptor has a second preceptor session during the day on Thursday with another group of students, and will be available for a meeting afterwards which they confirm at an agreed upon time. Folco and his preceptor have a ten-minute discussion about the funeral song for Boromir (they didn’t quite get to cover everything in discussion session and even review some of the questions and ideas Folco wrote down during the discussion). Folco knows that there is a lot of reading for The Two Towers next week, so he starts reading the next assignment Thursday night. Folco’s preceptor informs Prof. Olsen about the discussion and questions.

Finally, he logs in for Professor Olsen’s second lecture of the week. Folco is delighted to hear Professor Olsen go over the funeral song in more detail (his preceptor mentioned their chat would be passed on to Professor Olsen for additional consideration), since it was not covered very much in the previous lecture on Monday. Folco listens closely to the additional lecture points while taking more notes, and decides to use the question box to ask for clarification on a new point. When Professor Olsen reviews any questions and comments from the students before moving on, he shares Folco’s question and spends some additional time working through the answer.

After the second lecture of the week, Folco gets back to his The Two Towersreading. Before the beginning of next week’s lectures, Folco takes the time to download the previous week’s lectures so that he is able to review the them for additional notes or points he may have missed during the live lecture. Afterward, he spends some time working on the outline of his final paper which is due in a few weeks.

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:

Let us 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.