But I digress...

Worldbuilding & Parageography

How to set up a WORLDBUILDING Course

A worldbuilding course outline, with three examples of courses

This brief PDF document lays out a flexible outline for courses on Worldbuilding.  Anyone can use it to set up a course.

The Key Course Concept:  students build a world after learning from examples.

These Worldbuilding Courses start with the study of great examples selected by the instructor, and end with students building their own world as a course project. A project-based approach lets students learn by doing.


This short writeup presents three examples of courses -- including two fun examples: 'Dragonology 101' and 'Swords & Sorcery for Sophomores'.  Although these course are fun, they are real, and can be taught anywhere.

Dragonology 101  (Worldbuilding with Dragons) here is based on a great book about dragons that discusses them in worlds developed by J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, Jane Yolen, Terry Goodkind, and J.K. Rowling.  It also studies how dragons evolved over history, in both eastern and western cultures.

Sword & Sorcery Worldbuilding  is based on a standard reference about the historical development of the Sword & Sorcery genre.  It discusses pioneering authors including William Morris, Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, E.R. Eddison, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, and T.H. White, and explores their lives and how these great Worldbuilders actually worked.  It was written by L. Sprague de Camp, a central figure in S&S and a leading author of both fantasy and science fiction.

 These examples show that, starting with a selection of worlds, a Worldbuilding course is easy to set up with the general outline, and they can be of interest to a wide audience. These sample courses can be good introductions to the field, and as rigorous as desired. The books mentioned above are not essential, but illustrate what is possible.

The course outline has actually been used for years in the Parageography course described on this site.  It was the course's success that motivated us to write this up.

Please Help!   Send questions, corrections, suggestions, etc. to: feedback@douglassparker.org 

You can quickly set up a course on Worldbuilding with this roadmap and its links to resources

You can quickly set up a course on Worldbuilding with this roadmap and its links to resources