"As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through the human veins, bewitching the minds, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even stopper death - if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
Professor Snape's introduction of the subject[src]

Potions is a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In this class, students learn the correct way to brew potions. They follow specific recipes and use various magical ingredients to create the potions, starting with simple ones and moving to more advanced ones as they progress in knowledge. A standard potions kit includes plant ingredients such as Belladonna and supplies such as glass phials and weighing scales, along with a standard cauldron that all students are expected to bring with them to lessons.[2]

The Professor of this subject is referred to as a Potions Master.[2] The Potions Master at Hogwarts for many years was Horace Slughorn[3] and later Severus Snape. By 2016, Professor Slughorn had retired for a second time, and an unidentified teacher had taken over.

Class information

"When they arrived in the corridor they saw that there were only a dozen people progressing to N.E.W.T. level."
Harry Potter on the very few people who were able to advance[src]

A potions class

At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Potions is a required subject for students, from first year to fifth year. Potion recipes can be found in many books, including the books the students at Hogwarts use in their classes, but the intricacies of timing, ageing, stirring techniques, and bottling which are much more difficult to learn without the mentoring of the experienced masters. Certain ingredients can be found in the cupboard in the classroom, but others have to be bought before the start of the year at the apothecary. Around 1981, Severus Snape became the professor of Potions at Hogwarts. Snape served as the school's potions professor through 1996, until he became the DADA professor and was replaced by Horace Slughorn.[4]

Slughorn pottermore

AN.E.W.T.- level potions class

Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations are taken at the end of a student's fifth year; as such students are spent learning Ordinary Wizarding Level potions and possibly revisiting the past four years of lessons. As part of their Potions O.W.L., students must sit a written exam one of the questions asks to describe Polyjuice Potion and its purpose and after students must complete a practical exam.[5] Professor Snape mentioned that achieving a high mark at Ordinary Wizarding Level is difficult.,[6] which was later demonstrated in 1996, when only twelve students reached the required level to advance to N.E.W.T.[4]

When Severus Snape was the professor, students had to achieve an 'Outstanding' on their O.W.L. in order to take his advanced class.[5] As Head of House, Professor Snape tended to favour students from Slytherin House more than other students, so Slytherins tended to do better than others at the subject. On the other hand however, Horace Slughorn was more lenient; Harry and Ron were both allowed to continue to the N.E.W.T. class with an 'Exceeds Expectations' O.W.L. He also did not grant Slytherins special treatments, thus having them lose their advantage in good classwork.[4]

Location and time

Potions lessons take place in the Dungeons.[2]

Classroom layout

The classroom used to be squared-sized, very large, with large tables and windows. In the corner resides a stone basin used to wash students' hands and ladles.[2] From 1992-onwards, the classroom was of an oval shape and relatively smaller, with small work tables. In 1996, the classroom was extended, adding space for more work tables.[4]

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Monday first
Friday first/second
Second Monday Third
Third Monday
Tuesday afternoon
Thursday third
Friday first
Fourth Tuesday third
Friday fourth/fifth
Fifth Monday second (last half)
Sixth afternoon
Seventh unknown unknown


First year

"Snape made them all nervous, breathing down their necks while they tried to remember how to make a Forgetfulness Potion."
—First year exam in 1992[src]
Besides potions and their ingredients other information is covered in first year as well. Students are informed of the basic details on preparation of the Draught of Living Death, such as what would be created if powdered root of asphodel was added to an Infusion of Wormwood and the difference between Monkshood and Wolfbane.[2] They class also covers the twelve uses of dragon blood,[7] the types of cauldrons, and the types of phials used in potion-making. Bezoars[2] are briefly mentioned and the standard ingredient is also discussed and often used.[8]



Second year

Second year students are set an essay on Flobberworm Mucus and its uses in potions.[13] Also homework includes something that involves Hair-Raising Potions.[14] This year appears to focus more on actual potion brewing then the previous one.



Third year

Third year students learn about Undetectable Poisons and are instructed to write an essay on Shrinking Solutions.



Fourth year

Fourth year lessons includes information on Poison Antidotes. It is unknown what type of poison these potions refer to, common or uncommon. Also this lesson is most likely a theoretical one. Mixing antidotes is complex and advanced, which are also covered in sixth year as well as this one.



Fifth year

"I think it appropriate to remind you that next June you will be sitting a important examination, during which you will prove how much you have learned about the composition and use of magical potions."
Professor Snape regarding the Potions O.W.L.[src]
Fifth year homework includes writing an essay on the properties of Moonstone and its uses in Potion making[6] and to write an essay on how to properly brew the Strengthening Solution.[23] Also potions and other classwork this year is O.W.L.- level in preparation for the upcoming exam.[6]



Sixth year

"...These are the kind of things you ought to be able to make after after completing your N.E.W.T.s."
Professor Slughorn referring to the potions that will be covered in sixth and seventh year[src]
In sixth year, Golpalott's Third Law is covered in class. The Law appears to say that the antidote for a blended poison cannot simply be created by finding the antidotes to each separate poison in the blended whole and mixing them together. Students have to write an essay on Everlasting Elixirs, using their textbooks Advanced Potion-Making as a source of information.



Known professors

Required textbooks


Passing Grades

Fail Grades

Known O.W.L.s


Behind the scenes


Padma Patil, Dean Thomas, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Lavender Brown, Leanne and Seamus Finnigan in Potions class

Author's comments

Chemistry was my least favourite subject at school, and I gave it up as soon as I could. Naturally, when I was trying to decide which subject Harry's arch-enemy, Severus Snape, should teach, it had to be the wizarding equivalent. This makes it all the stranger that I found Snape's introduction to his subject quite compelling ('I can teach you to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death...'), apparently part of me found Potions quite as interesting as Snape did; and indeed I always enjoyed creating potions in the books, and researching ingredients for them. Many of the components of the various draughts and libations that Harry creates for Snape exist (or were once believed to exist) and have (or were believed to have) the properties I gave them. Dittany, for instance, really does have healing properties (it is an anti-inflammatory, although I would not advise Splinching yourself to test it); a bezoar really is a mass taken from the intestines of an animal, and it really was once believed that drinking water in which a bezoar was placed could cure you of poisoning.[8]


Notes and references

  1. Wands are needed to perform Potion-making spells and spells to analyse the ingredients of potions, like Specialis Revelio and the Potion-making spell.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 12 (Professor Umbridge)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Pottermore
  9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  12. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12 (The Polyjuice Potion)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16 (Professor Trelawney's Prediction)
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
  19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
  21. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15 (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang)
  22. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  25. 25.00 25.01 25.02 25.03 25.04 25.05 25.06 25.07 25.08 25.09 25.10 25.11 25.12 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 22 (After the Burial)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  28. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 3 (Mixed Message) - Potions Lesson "Wound Cleaning Potion"
  29. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 8 (Owl Prowl) - Potions Lesson "Cheese-Based Potions"
  30. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 12 (Now You See Me) - Potions Lesson "Laughing Potion"
  31. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6
  32. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 20 (A Circle of Friends) - Potions Lesson "Potion for Dreamless Sleep"
  33. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 26 (Unfinished Business) - Potions Lesson "Regerminating Potion"

Potions (class)
Arsenius Jigger · Bilius Finbok · Damocles Belby · Erica Stainwright · Fleamont Potter · Gethsemane Prickle · Gilderoy Lockhart · Glover Hipworth · Golpalott · Gregory the Smarmy · Gunhilda de Gorsemoor · Hector Dagworth-Granger · Hesper Starkey · J. Pippin · Laverne de Montmorency · Libatius Borage · Linfred of Stinchcombe · Mulpepper · Nicolas Flamel · Phineas Bourne · Quintia McQuoid · Regulus Moonshine · Rubens Winikus · Sacharissa Tugwood · Skower · Tilden Toots · Dr. Ubbly · Vindictus Viridian · Zygmunt Budge
Potions at Hogwarts
Cauldron cupboard · Dungeon Five · Potions basement · Potions Classroom · Potions Club · Potions Staircase · Potion Master's office · Potion Master's storeroom
Professors Bartholomew · Horace Slughorn · Severus Snape · Swoopstikes · Unnamed Professor (16th century) · Unnamed Professor (2021)
Textbooks Magical Drafts and Potions · One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi · Advanced Potion-Making · Moste Potente Potions · A Collection of Above Three Hundred Receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery
Potions studied at Hogwarts
Ageing Potion · Amortentia · Antidotes · Antidote to Common Poisons · Antidote to garish pink blended poison · Antidote to Uncommon Poisons · Befuddlement Draught · Calming Draught · Cheese-Based Potions · Confusing Concoction · Cough potion · Cure for Boils · Deflating Draught · Doxycide · Draught of Living Death · Draught of Peace · Elixir to Induce Euphoria · Erumpent Potion · Everlasting Elixirs · Felix Felicis · Fire Protection Potion · Forgetfulness Potion · Garish pink blended poison · Girding Potion · Hair-Raising Potion · Herbicide Potion · Hiccoughing Solution · Invigoration Draught · Laughing Potion · Pepperup Potion · Polyjuice Potion · Pompion Potion · Potion for Dreamless Sleep · Regerminating Potion · Shrinking Solution · Skele-Gro · Sleeping Draught · Strengthening Solution · Swelling Solution · Undetectable Poisons · Weedosoros · Wideye Potion · Wiggenweld Potion · Wit-Sharpening Potion · Wound-Cleaning Potion
Hogwarts Curriculum
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
Extra-curricular 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
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