Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki
"And then, once you had managed to find them, there were the classes themselves. There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words."
— The challenging nature of academic classes at Hogwarts[src]

Some of the subjects learned in Hogwarts; the bat represents Defence Against the Dark Arts, the wand represents Charms, the mortar and pestle represents Potions and the cat represents Transfiguration

There were a variety of subjects taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1][2] These included both the core curriculum and the electives, available from third year forward.[1] In the fifth year, students took the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) exams to determine whether they could achieve a score high enough to continue to N.E.W.T.-level (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) for the class in the remaining two years.[3]

Some classes, including the core classes, might be dropped in sixth year. Specialised classes such as Alchemy became available in sixth year provided there was sufficient demand.[1]

Even though students couldn't apply for Time-Turners to take more classes than were able to fit in the timetables, a student's head of house was able to suggest a Time-Turner to an individual on very rare occasions.[4] All students did, however, have a choice to drop a course if they became a burden (aside from the essential classes).[5]


All first-years at Hogwarts had to take seven core subjects: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy and Herbology.[2] Flying lessons (on broomsticks) were also compulsory.[6] Flying was the only one of these that could be dropped upon entry into second year.

At the end of their second year at Hogwarts, students were required to choose a minimum of two additional subjects from the following list: Arithmancy, Muggle Studies, Divination, Study of Ancient Runes and Care of Magical Creatures.[7][1] Students couldn't elect to drop any of the core subjects at this time, but they could choose to drop an elective if it became a burden.[5]

1996 Charms theoretical O.W.L. examination

During their fifth year, students had an appointment with their Head of House to discuss which job they wanted to go into. The professor would recommend any specific subjects for N.E.W.T. level required for this job, taking into account their predicted O.W.L. grades based on their current performance. The teacher could recommend subjects based on the student's current grades if the student was unsure of what job they would like. These students made provisional choices for N.E.W.T.s at this time and their choices were confirmed or rejected depending on their achieved O.W.L grades or the demand.[8]

A N.E.W.T.-level Potions class

During sixth year, students advanced to N.E.W.T.-level classes, based on the individual's O.W.L. scores for a certain subject. The professor would decide the O.W.L. grade needed. Course work during this year was much more advanced than it had been previously. The majority of students' time was spent studying and trying to cope with the vast amounts of homework they were being given.[9] Students in the sixth year could also elect to take part in Apparition lessons for a fee of twelve Galleons.[10]

The seventh year was the final year of magical education. At the end of the year, students took the exam for their N.E.W.T. subjects that had been chosen in sixth year and carried through to the seventh.

Very specialised subjects such as Alchemy were offered in the final two years, but would only be provided if there was sufficient demand.[1] It is unknown whether the student would need any grades from another subject to take the subjects, or whether it was open to anyone to try. There may have been a N.E.W.T. exam for these subjects too.

Certain subjects could be abolished for certain reasons. Albus Dumbledore was originally planning to scrap Divination altogether due to its inaccuracy to most, but he kept the subject as a pretence to protect Sybill Trelawney from the Death Eaters.[11] During the conquered Ministry's regime, Defence Against the Dark Arts was cancelled and replaced with outright Dark Arts, conforming with Lord Voldemort's reign of darkness.[12] Upon the defeat of Voldemort, the Dark Arts class was abolished and the regular Defence class was restored.

Core classes


Main article: Astronomy (class)

The Astronomy Tower

Astronomy was the only field of study at Hogwarts that had a direct equivalent in the Muggle world. Astronomy classes took place in the Astronomy Tower, the tallest tower in Hogwarts, and were taught by Professor Aurora Sinistra. Lessons involved observations of the night skies with telescopes. Lessons were held every week at midnight, and first years had lessons on Wednesday.

Known student homework activities included learning the names of stars, constellations and planets, and their locations, movements, and environments.[2]


Main article: Charms (class)

1991 first year Charms lesson, taught by Filius Flitwick

Charms were a type of spells concerned with giving an object new and unexpected properties, and hence this class mainly consisted of learning those sorts of spells. Charms classes were described as notoriously noisy and chaotic, as the lessons were largely practical.[13] Charms was considered a "soft option" by some when picking N.E.W.T.-level classes.[14]

Dark Arts (core in 1997–1998 only)

Main article: Dark Arts (class)

Dark Arts only became a subject and mandatory for all students during the 1997–1998 school year, when it was taught by Amycus Carrow.[12] It replaced Defence Against the Dark Arts that school year.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

1994 fourth year DADA lesson, taught by Alastor Moody

Defence Against the Dark Arts, commonly shortened to D.A.D.A., was the class that taught students defensive techniques to defend against the Dark Arts, and to be protected from dark creatures.[2]

The subject had an extraordinarily high turnover of staff members — throughout Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts, no Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher remained at Hogwarts for more than one school year. These included Quirinus Quirrell,[15] Gilderoy Lockhart,[16] Remus Lupin,[17] Bartemius Crouch Jnr impersonating Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody,[18] Dolores Umbridge,[19] Severus Snape,[20] and Amycus Carrow.[21][12]

Hagrid suggested that "They're startin' ter think the job's jinxed. No one's lasted long for a while now."[22] Dumbledore suggested that Voldemort jinxed the position because his application for it was rejected.[23] The position had also been coveted by Snape, but he was denied the position as well. Snape was finally appointed D.A.D.A. professor in 1996.[20] After the end of the Second Wizarding War, the jinx on the position was lifted. Harry Potter would occasionally come to the class to give lectures on the subject.


Main article: Herbology

1993 second year Herbology lesson, taught by Pomona Sprout

Herbology was the study of magical plants and how to take care of, utilise and combat them. There were at least three greenhouses, holding a variety of magical plants of varying degrees of lethality.[2] Herbology was also the subject Neville Longbottom excelled in.[24][25][14] He later replaced Professor Pomona Sprout as the Herbology teacher by 2019.[26] The class was considered to be very exhausting.

History of Magic

Main article: History of Magic

1992 second year History of Magic lesson, taught by Cuthbert Binns

History of Magic was the study of magical history, which was taught by Professor Cuthbert Binns. His lessons were depicted as some of the most boring at Hogwarts. They were only lectures, given without pause, about significant events in wizarding history. Topics had included Goblin Rebellions, Giant wars, and the origins of wizarding secrecy.

This was the only class at Hogwarts that was taught by a ghost, as the professor never noticed he had died and simply continued teaching as if nothing had changed.[2][27] Many considered this to be the most boring Hogwarts class.


Main article: Potions (class)

1991 first year Potions lesson, taught by Severus Snape

Potions was described as the art of creating mixtures with magical effects. It required the correct mixing and stirring of ingredients at the right times and temperatures. Snape's lessons were depicted as unhappy, oppressing times set in a gloomy dungeon in the basement of the castle,[2] whilst Horace Slughorn's, who replaced Severus Snape as Potions Master, was shown as more cheerful and even fun at times.[14][28][29]

Potions was also a difficult class to achieve an O.W.L. in, as only twelve students from Harry Potter's year managed it.[14] The O.W.L written exam was described as "difficult".[3]


1992 second year Transfiguration lesson, taught by Minerva McGonagall

Transfiguration was the art of changing the form or appearance of an object, and hence this was what this class taught. Transfiguration was a theory-based subject, including topics such as "Switching Spells" (altering only a part of some object, such as giving a human rabbit's ears); Vanishing Spells (causing an object to completely disappear); and Conjuring Spells (creating objects out of thin air).

It was possible to change inanimate objects into animate ones and vice versa — Minerva McGonagall, the class's teacher, transfigured her desk into a pig. According to Minerva McGonagall, "Transfiguration is some of the most dangerous magic you will be taught at Hogwarts".[2]


Third years and up


Main article: Arithmancy (class)

Arithmancy was a branch of magic concerned with the magical properties of numbers. It was a favourite subject of Hermione Granger. Arithmancy was reportedly difficult, as it required memorising or working with many charts.[30] It was also an elective course that could be taken by students third year and above.[7] The subject was taught by Professor Septima Vector.[30] It was separated into normal Arithmancy and Advanced Arithmancy Studies.[31]

Care of Magical Creatures

1995 fifth year Care of Magical Creatures lesson, taught by Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank

Care of Magical Creatures was a class which instructed students on how to care for magical beasts. Classes were held outside the castle.[32] In Harry's first two years, the class was taken by Professor Silvanus Kettleburn who then retired "in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs". Dumbledore then recruited the gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid to accept a teaching position along with his gamekeeping duties.[17]

Although Hagrid was obviously very experienced and knowledgeable, he consistently misjudged the risk that the animals he used in his lessons pose to his students, which sometimes resulted in chaos.[32][33] When Hagrid was absent, his lessons were taken over by Professor Grubbly-Plank, an acquaintance of Dumbledore's.[34][35][36]


Main article: Divination (class)

1993 third year Divination lesson, taught by Sybill Trelawney

Divination was the art of predicting the future. Various methods were described, including tea leaves, fire-omens, crystal balls, palmistry, cartomancy (including the reading of conventional playing cards and the tarot), astrology, and dream interpretations. Divination was described by Professor McGonagall as "one of the most imprecise branches of magic". Supporters of the subject claimed that it was an inexact science that required innate gifts like the "Inner Eye". Those opposed claimed that the subject was irrelevant and fraudulent.[32]

Harry was first taught Divination by Professor Trelawney, and then later by Firenze after Trelawney was sacked by Dolores Umbridge in Harry's fifth year.[37] In his sixth (and presumably seventh) year, Firenze and Professor Trelawney taught Divination.[38] Divination was considered to be a very tiring class.

Muggle Studies (core in 1997–1998 only)

Main article: Muggle Studies

A 1980s Muggle Studies lesson

Muggle Studies was a class taught by Charity Burbage,[39] which involved the study of the Muggle (non-magical) culture "from a wizarding point of view". It also included Muggle Art and Muggle Music.[40][41] The only need for witches and wizards to learn about Muggle ways and means was to ensure they could blend in with Muggles while needing to do so (for example, at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup).

Voldemort murdered Professor Charity Burbage because she portrayed Muggles in a positive light and was opposed to limiting wizardry to only people of pure-blood origins.[39] For the rest of that academic year, Alecto Carrow, a Death Eater, taught Muggle Studies.[21] However, her lessons (which were made compulsory) mainly described Muggles and Muggle-borns as subhuman and worthy of persecution.[12]

Study of Ancient Runes

The Study of Ancient Runes was a general theoretical subject that studied ancient runic scripts. It was taught by Professor Bathsheda Babbling (c. 1991-?).[42] It was an elective course that could be taken by third-year students and above.[7]

Sixth and seventh year

Advanced Arithmancy Studies


Main article: Alchemy (class)

Alchemy was a sort of composite subject between Transfiguration, Potions and Muggle Chemistry, focused roughly on the transmutation of substances into other forms. It was an elective, only offered to NEWT level students if the demand was sufficient.[1]


Apparition lessons

Apparition was the magical form of teleportation in the wizarding world. Lessons were optional to those in the sixth and seventh years. In the wizarding world, performing Apparition required a licence and could only be legally performed by people over seventeen years of age. The described reason for the restriction was that Apparition was dangerous if done improperly: insufficient concentration could have led to body parts being left behind in an unfortunate side-effect known as splinching.

Although magical enchantments on the Hogwarts Castle and its grounds prevented Apparition and Disapparition there, these protections were temporarily relaxed within the Great Hall for short periods to permit students to practise Apparition. Wilkie Twycross, a Ministry of Magic Apparition Instructor, offered lessons in Apparition to sixth-years.[28]

Extra-curricular subjects

Ancient Studies

Main article: Ancient Studies


Main article: Apparition (class)


Main article: Art

Art was a class where students painted, drew, and otherwise depicted artistic things.[41]


1991 first year flying lesson, taught by Rolanda Hooch

Main article: Flying (class)

Flying was the class that taught the use of broomsticks made for the use of flying. It was only mandatory to Hogwarts first years and optional for second years and above. This class was taught by Rolanda Hooch. The subject was the only one that required physicality.[6]

Ghoul Studies

Main article: Ghoul Studies

It is assumed that students learned about ghouls in this class, and possibly other similar creatures.[31]

Magical Theory

A subject taught to at least first years. It was taught in Class 67 on the fourth floor of Hogwarts Castle.[43] It presumably covered magic from a purely theoretical view, and Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling might be a required textbook.

Muggle Art

Main article: Muggle Art

Muggle Art was a class where students painted, drew, and otherwise depicted artistic things.[40]

Muggle Music

Main article: Muggle Music


Main article: Music

Music was a class in which students were taught musical instruments and possibly sang in the Frog Choir. In the early 1990s, it was taught by a male professor.[41]


Main article: Xylomancy (class)

Xylomancy was a class in which students learned about the 'often overlooked' way of divination which had something to do with twigs.[43]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Hogwarts School Subjects" at Wizarding World
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
  10. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
  19. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
  22. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 7 (Mudbloods And Murmurs)
  23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  24. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14 (The Unforgivable Curses)
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
  27. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  28. 28.0 28.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 22 (After the Burial)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 6 (Talons and Tea Leaves)
  33. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 13 (Mad-Eye Moody)
  34. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 24 (Rita Skeeter's Scoop)
  35. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  36. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
  37. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  39. 39.0 39.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  40. 40.0 40.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  42. J. K. Rowling's official site
  43. 43.0 43.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
Hogwarts subjects
Core classes Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extracurricular classes Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Ghoul Studies · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy
First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams ·
Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test