"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.

The professor of this subject is referred to as a Potions Master. The Potions Master at Hogwarts for many years was Horace Slughorn and later Severus Snape. It is unknown if Professor Slughorn stayed as Potions Master or if someone else took over following the Second Wizarding War.

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.

Slughorn pottermore

A N.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. Professor Snape mentions that achieving a high mark at Ordinary Wizarding Level is difficult.,[2] which was later demonstrated in 1996, when only twelve students reached the required level to advance to N.E.W.T.[3]

When Severus Snape was the professor, students had to achieve an 'Outstanding' on their O.W.L. in order to take his advanced class. 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 does not grant Slytherins special treatments, thus having them lose their advantage in good classwork.[3]

Location and time

Potions lessons take place in the Dungeons.[4]

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. 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.

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Monday first
Friday first/second
Second Monday first
Wednesday third
Third Monday fourth
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]



Second year

Third year



Fourth year

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]

Sixth and seventh years

"...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]

Known professors

Required textbooks

Known O.W.L.s


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Behind the scenes


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

In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, many more students are shown to be in Harry's N.E.W.T. level Potions class than are mentioned in the book. The book specifically names Harry, Ron, and Hermione to be the only Gryffindors to have moved on to N.E.W.T. level, but the film shows Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, and Lavender Brown to be in the class as well. Katie Bell and Romilda Vane are also in the class in the film, although they are actually a seventh year and a fourth year student respectively. This was a glarring mistake on the director's part.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Severus Snape claims that there will be no "wand waving" in his class, though potion-making spells are always needed to complete the brewing process.

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.[5]


Screenshot 744

Notes and references

  1. Wands are needed to perform Potion-making spells and spells to analyse the ingridents of potions, like Specialis revelio.
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  5. Pottermore

Potions (class)
Professors: 16th century Professor · Vindictus Veridian · Severus Snape · Horace Slughorn
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 at Hogwarts: Potions Classroom · Potions Staircase · Potions basement · Potions Club · Potion Master's office · Potion Master's storeroom · Dungeon Five · Cauldron cupboard
Potioneers: Arsenius Jigger · Damocles · Glover Hipworth · Golpalott · Gregory the Smarmy · Gunhilda of Gorsemoor · Hector Dagworth-Granger · Hesper Starkey · J. Pippin · Laverne de Montmorency · Libatius Borage · Regulus Moonshine · Rubens Winikus · Sacharissa Tugwood · Tilden Toots · Dr. Ubbly · Zygmunt Budge
Potions Studied: Boil-Cure Potion · Forgetfulness Potion · Hair-Raising Potion · Shrinking Solution · Undetectable Poisons · Wiggenweld Potion · Girding Potion · Antidotes · Strengthening Solution · Everlasting Elixirs · Felix Felicis · Draught of Living Death · Amortentia · Elixir to Induce Euphoria · Hiccoughing Solution · Poison Antidote · Swelling Solution · Draught of Peace · Wit-Sharpening Potion · Polyjuice Potion

Wizarding Education
BeauxbatonsCrestClearBg Hogwartscrest Ilvermorny Crest 4 DurmstrangCrest
The Eleven Schools: Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
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 · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy