Course Catalog

Signum University will be offering the following courses this semester via Mythgard Institute and our homeschool center, Signum Academy.  Courses at the college level will be awarded three, Masters level credits per class via Signum University.

Spring 2014

The Gothic Tradition

The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. With ingredients such as a highly developed sense of atmosphere, extreme emotions including fear and awe, and emphases on the mysterious and the paranormal, Gothic works tend to express anxieties about social, political, religious, and economic issues of the time, as well as rejection of prevailing modes of thought and behavior.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Chaucer: Visions of Love

This class is the first semester in a two-part survey of Chaucer’s major works.  In this first semester, we will study the works with which Chaucer established his reputation in his time: his early dream vision poems and his greatest completed work: Troilus and Criseyde.  In the second semester, we will study The Canterbury Tales.  In this first semester, we will focus on immersing ourselves in Chaucer’s language, building not only a comprehension of Chaucer’s verse but a sensitivity to the subtle nuances of Chaucer’s tone and narrative voice.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Celtic Myth in Children’s Fantasy

The medieval literature of Ireland and Wales is thought to have saved for posterity the vestiges of what would have been ancient ‘Celtic’ mythology. Tales of heroes, otherworld voyages, transformation and magic have fascinated folklorists and antiquarians since the rediscovery of Celtic texts in the 19th century, and have inspired writers of fantasy literature from Victorian times to today.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Fall 2013

Sherlock, Science and Rationcination

The intellectual sibling of science fiction, born of the same parents (the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revoltion), is what its father, Edgar Allan Poe, called “tales of ratiocination.” Poe created the first scientific detective, C. Auguste Dupin, who in turn paved the way for one of the most enduring and beloved literary characters of all time, Sherlock Holmes.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Tolkien and Tradition

Tolkien once said his immediate response to reading any medieval story was to want to write one like it.  He did.  Three times. “The Story of Kullervo” came from the Finnish KalevalaSigurd and Gudrun was his take on the Icelandic Eddas, and The Fall of Arthur was inspired by the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure and the Stanzaic Morte Arthure.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Philology Through Tolkien

Tolkien is world-famous for his fiction. In his highly distinguished professional career, meanwhile, he was a philologist, and furthermore a comparative philologist, following in the footsteps of Jacob Grimm, whose innovations in comparative philology (vergleichende Philologie) must count as the Darwinian revolution of the humanities in the 19th century.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Summer 2013

Elementary Latin II Encourse

The second semester of “Elementary Latin” will complete your introduction to the basic elements of the Latin language. It will emphasize the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension – in other words, all of the tools necessary to develop a sound reading proficiency in Latin.  Missed it before? Join Dr. Carol Leibiger for a special encourse presentation.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Signum University

Beyond Middle-earth

Tolkien’s Middle-earth legends dominated his creative life, from their birth in the early Silmarillion tales through their absorption of Bilbo Baggins’s diary and their culmination in the tale of the Great Ring. However, Tolkien wrote many small pieces of prose and verse that were not directly drawn into the great narrative of Middle-earth. Join Corey Olsen and Tom Shippey for an in-depth look at a J.R.R. Tolkien you might never have met before.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

The Dystopian Tradition

Over the years, thinkers have used dystopias — stories of worlds gone wrong, of worst-case scenarios – to warn their contemporaries about what they viewed as dangerous trends in society and challenge their readers to make the world better. This class will consider a variety of historical and current “what if?” thought experiments, including classics such as 1984 and current bestsellers such as The Hunger Games.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Spring 2013

Creative Writing 002

Ever wondered what it takes to write a great story? Sign up for Signum University’s second course in Creative Writing and find out.  Participants will read and discuss great short stories with an eye toward emulating technique.  Then students will break into smaller groups, working together to move from first draft to finished piece.

College Level | 1 M.A. Credit | Signum University

Elementary Latin I Encourse

Elementary Latin I is an intensive course designed to introduce you to the basic elements of the Latin language. It will emphasize the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension – in other words, all of the tools necessary to develop a sound reading proficiency in Latin.  This Encourse was recorded in Summer 2012 by Dr. Philip Walsh and features Dr. Carol Leibiger as live preceptor.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Signum University

Science Fiction, Part II

What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?” This course will consider the development of the genre from the emergence of the New Wave in the 1960s to today.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

The Story of The Hobbit

This course will examine the life of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We will examine several important precursors of the book, works that helped establish the genre in which Tolkien was writing, or which influenced Tolkien’s own thinking. Dr. Corey Olsen will be joined in this class by distinguished guest lecturers – John D. Rateliff and Douglas A. Anderson and will also explore the film adaptations, including a bonus lecture of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth

Join Dr. Verlyn Flieger for a study of Tolkien’s major fiction.  The class will start by looking at the theory behind his work, including his two major essays, Beowulf: The Monsters & the Critics and On Fairy-stories.  Journeying further into Tolkien’s mythology, students will read Beowulf and The Silmarillion and discover how a hobbit named Bilbo and his magic ring fit into this world – and have continued to affect our own.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Fall 2012

Creative Writing

Ever wondered what it takes to write a great story? Sign up for Signum University’s first course in Creative Writing and find out.  Participants will read and discuss great short stories with an eye toward emulating technique.  Then students will break into smaller groups, working together to move from first draft to finished piece.

College Level | 1 M.A. Credit | Signum University

Science Fiction, Part I 

What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?” This course will consider the development of the genre from “proto-SF” writings through the Golden Age.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

The Story of The Hobbit

This course will examine the life of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We will examine several important precursors of the book, works that helped establish the genre in which Tolkien was writing, or which influenced Tolkien’s own thinking. Dr. Corey Olsen will be joined in this class by distinguished guest lecturers – John D. Rateliff and Douglas A. Anderson and will also explore the film adaptations, including a bonus lecture of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Mythgard Institute

Elementary Latin II

Taught by Dr. Philip Walsh and offered through Signum University, ‘Elementary Latin II’ is an intensive course designed to introduce you to the basic elements of the Latin language. It will emphasize the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension – in other words, all of the tools necessary to develop a sound reading proficiency in Latin.

College Level | M.A., Audit | Signum University

British Literature

This class is a one-year study of British literature, a look at some of the greatest works of literature from the early Middle Ages through the twentieth century. Students will be taking a smaller number of the most important and representative works of literature in various genres and studying them in detail, focusing on close and careful reading rather than merely attaining a superficial familiarity with these works.

Homeschool | Gr. 9-12, Audit | Signum Academy

Great Books I: The Ancients

The “Great Books” are the most influential works of literature in our cultural heritage, that attempt to tackle life’s big questions: What does it mean to be a human being?  How should we live?  In this course, students will become acquainted with most of the major authors from the ancient world through A.D. 1300 and take them through important poems, plays, and prose works that have had an enormous impact on our culture.

Homeschool | Gr. 9-12, Audit | Signum Academy