Cormoran Strike Studies for a Degree? BA, BSc, MLitt, and PhD Programs, if I say so myself, is the cutting edge of Serious Strike Studies. Our posts here explore the psychological, mythological, alchemical, structural, intertextual, and archetypal elements in Rowling-Galbraith’s murder mystery series. There are, however, at least three failings in our approach.

Though the posts are as a rule much longer and more in depth than other websites devoted to the subject and our writers more expert in the field, these articles do not constitute a course of study, are a work in progress (i.e., largely speculative), and they are not interactive beyond exchanges in comment box threads. In brief, they’re not systematic or anything like a degree program at a college or university.

If the uber Rowling Reader wanted to pursue a degree in Cormoran Theory or Strike Studies, then, where could he or she go and what would the degree involve? After the jump, I list three pathways to an undergraduate or graduate degree via programs currently on offer at major universities in the US and UK in which a Serious Striker can major in Rowling’s detective fiction.

George Mason University: BA in English, Folklore and Mythology Concentration

Keele University: BSc in English, English Literature and Psychology

To understand Rowling best, I think, one pathway that has to be taken seriously is following in her footsteps. Her degree from the University of Exeter was in French Language Studies, but the courses she took in ‘Classical Studies’ — mythology in large part, not Greek and Latin — was at least as and probably much more influential on her writing than her facility in Frog-Speak.  One method for re-creating her mind-set or understanding her work, then, with special focus on the mythological templates behind the Strike novels, is to pursue a degree in English literature with a concentration in folk-lore and mythology. George Mason University in Washington, DC, offers exactly this type of program.

Another undergraduate program that I think would open up the Strike novels is Keele University’s English Literature and Psychology for a Bachelor of Science degree. Rowling has said that, if her dream of becoming a writer had not turned out, that she would have pursued certification as a psychologist; I think her close study of traditional and conventional psychology consequent to her experience with Cognitive Behavior Therapy informs her work so much that her novels are best read as psychomachian allegory. Which is to say that she has become a psychologist, albeit with millions of patient-readers experiencing therapy via imaginative experience of her cathartic stories. The Keele University program seems a perfect fit to pursue Strike Studies in that light.

Dundee University: MLitt in Crime Writing and Forensic Investigation

A much more direct approach to understanding the Cormoran Strike novels relative to getting inside Rowling’s head and how she thinks is to study the genre of detective fiction or ‘Crime Writing.’ Dundee University is offering a Masters degree program in exactly that with — I love this — a chance to go to the morgue:

Students in the program will enjoy the expertise of the staff at the “Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification.” and will get access to authoritative advice on how forensic scientists, police and the law work in the real world. Students will also delve into the fascinating history of forensic investigation, from its beginnings in the nineteenth century right up to the present.

What I really like about this program is that it’s not designed for the interpretation of others’ work in the genre so much as it is something of an apprenticeship in learning how to write this kind of story oneself. I find it hard to imagine a faster track to an appreciation of another artist’s genius than studying the tools of the trade and even attempting to write their kind of fiction. Dundee University offers exactly that kind of experience, one I had sans cadavers in my MFA program with detective fiction writer Lou Berney as my principal guide.

Pacifica Graduate Institute: M.A./Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology

So, you have your BA or BSc and an MLitt; where can you go for your terminal degree, a PhD in Strike Studies?

I think your best bet, besides the obvious route of being accepted into a UK university English department ‘thesis only’ PhD program as I did and writing your paper on an aspect of the Strike novels, is Pacifica University’s Depth Psychology program in Mythological Studies. This combines a specifically Jungian psychological approach to mythology, one it seems Rowling has taken if in an unorthodox fashion, with a study specifically of traditional literature, religion, as well as folk-lore and legend:

As the only doctoral program in the country dedicated to the exploration of human experience through the interdisciplinary and multicultural study of myth, ritual, religion, literature, depth psychology, and art, the Mythological Studies Program cultivates scholarship, self-inquiry, and imagination in those who seek to understand and express the depths of the psyche. … The sequence of course work provides a sustained inquiry into the diverse mythologies of the world, situating them in the global context of the postmodern world. Throughout the program, students engage in the close reading of classic works of world literature, including Homer’s Odyssey, the Greek tragedies, the Hebrew Bible, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the medieval grail legends, and fairy tales. The rituals and contemplative practices of religious traditions are investigated along with mythic and archetypal aspects of modern literature, contemporary events, and popular culture. Several methods of scholarly interpretation are taught with a special emphasis on the hermeneutical approaches of depth psychology.

This course work, when combined with the focused study of the Strike novels as the subject of a doctoral thesis, seems to combine the best aspects of the other programs described above, albeit within a Jungian hermeneutic which is problematic on several levels. For a PhD, though, in Strike Studies, Pacifica may be the best bet, perhaps the only path outside the UK PhD route.

All of that, of course, is ridiculously expensive, involves relocation and submission to academic protocols and hysterics (Masks! Jabs! Woke Police! Etc!), and demands course work that may be irrelevant, demeaning, and dissipating both spiritually and intellectually. Quite the price for certification!

For those unable or unwilling to pursue one of these paths to credentials in Serious Striker Studies, will continue to offer the best we can in this subject at a more than fair price. Thank you for studying with us as your go-to source of Strike discussion or in tandem with your degree program. Thanks in advance, too, for joining in the conversation and for sharing other study alternatives you’re aware of in the comment boxes below!

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