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 are a variety of classes taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These include both the core curriculum and the electives, available from third year forward. In the fifth year, students take the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) exams to determine whether they can 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. Some classes, including the core classes, may be dropped in sixth year. Specialised classes such as Alchemy become available in sixth year provided there is sufficient demand.

Even though students cannot apply for Time-Turners to take more classes than are able to fit in the timetables, a student's head of house may suggest a Time-Turner to an individual on very rare occasions. All students do, however, have a choice to drop a course if they become a burden (aside from the essential classes).


All first-years at Hogwarts must take seven core subjects: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy and Herbology. Flying lessons (on broomsticks) are also compulsory. Flying is the only one of these that is dropped upon entry into second year.

At the end of their second year at Hogwarts, students are 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.[1] Students cannot elect to drop any of the core subjects at this time, but they may choose to drop an elective if it becomes a burden.

OWLS 1996

1996 Charms theoretical O.W.L. examination

During fifth year students have an appointment with their head of house to discuss which job they would like to go into, the teacher will recommend any specific subjects for N.E.W.T. level required for this job, taking into account predicted O.W.L. grades based on current performance. The teacher may recommend subjects based on the student's current grades if the student is unsure of what job they would like. These students make provisional choices for N.E.W.T.s at this time and their choices are confirmed or rejected depending on their achieved O.W.L grades or the demand.

During sixth year, students advance to N.E.W.T.-level classes, based on the individuals O.W.L. scores for a certain subject. Course work during this year is much more advanced than it was previously. The majority of students' time is spent studying and trying to cope with the vast amounts of homework they are being given. Students in the sixth year may also elect to take part in Apparition lessons for a fee of twelve Galleons.

The seventh year is the final year of magical education and at the end of the year, students take the exam for their N.E.W.T. subjects that were chosen in sixth year and must carry through to the seventh.

Very specialised subjects such as Alchemy are offered in the final two years, but will only be provided if there is sufficient demand.[1] It's unknown whether the student will need any grades from another subject to take the subjects, or whether it's open to anyone to try. There may be a N.E.W.T. exam for these subjects too.

Certain subjects may be abolished for certain reasons. Albus Dumbledore was originally planning to scrapping Divination altogether due to its inaccuracy to most, but he kept the subject as a pretence to protect Sybill Trelawney from the Death Eaters. 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. Upon the defeat of Voldemort, the Dark Arts class was abolished and the regular Defence class was restored.

Core classes

Charms class in 1991

A first year Charms class


A first year Potions class

Electives (third years and up)


A third year Care of Magical Creatures class

Third year on:

Sixth and seventh year (with sufficient demand):

Extra-curricular subjects


Notes and references