"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts. Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned."
Professor McGonagall’s introduction of the subject[src]

Transfiguration is a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It teaches the art of changing the form and appearance of an object. This type of magic is commonly referred to as "Transfiguration". There are limits to Transfiguration, which are governed by Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration.[1] There are also many branches, including Cross-Species Transfiguration and Human Transfiguration. This type of magic is regarded as "very hard work" and is "more scientific" than Charmswork. One has to get it exactly right for the transfiguration to be successful.[2]

The professor of this subject for many years was Albus Dumbledore and later Minerva McGonagall. It is unknown who took over this subject when Professor McGonagall became headmistress of Hogwarts.

Class information

"I do not accept students into N.E.W.T. classes unless they have achieved 'Exceeds Expectations' or higher at Ordinary Wizarding Level."
—Professor McGonagall on the increased difficulty in NEWT.[src]
Transfiguration class1

A second year Transfiguration class in 1992

Transfiguration is a required subject for all first year to fifth year students, with the option of a N.E.W.T. (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) course in sixth and seventh year. Minerva McGonagall was the Transfiguration Professor from 1956 until 1998, the year in which she became Headmistress of the school. Before her, Albus Dumbledore taught Transfiguration. It's unknown who became the Transfiguration professor after she became Headmistress of Hogwarts. McGonagall believes Transfiguration to be more elegant and superior to other types of magic.

Transfiguration professors

Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall were both former professors of Transfiguration

Students practise actual transfigurations during classes. Accidents sometimes result in partial transfigurations and theoretical homework is sometimes assigned. The further into a student's education the more difficult the classwork and homework becomes.

In fifth year students take the Ordinary Wizarding Level examination, much of the year is spent learning Ordinary Wizarding Level material, as well as revisiting the past four years of lessons. As part of their Transfiguration O.W.L., students must sit a written exam, and then complete a practical exam, one of the questions on the written exam asks the definition of Switching spells and one aspect of the practical is Vanishment. In order to advance to N.E.W.T.-level for the final two years of education a student must achieve a high O.W.L. score of either 'Outstanding' or 'Exceeds Expectations' on their exam.

Like charms work, Transfiguration is achieved through concentration, precise wand movements, and the proper pronunciation of an incantation. However it is generally more difficult than Charms and requires great effort.[3]

While Professor McGonagall was teaching the class, she was fair but strict, having no tolerance of silliness and threatening to dismiss any students who dared to fool around. She refused leniency for her students based on emotional circumstances. She insisted on giving Harry Potter homework despite his depression from a Divination class' death prediction, refused to let her students play games in her classroom for the upcoming Yule Ball (as Filius Flitwick did because his students were too distracted by the exciting events), and even Katie Bell knew full well that Minerva would give her homework on the day right after being discharged from St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for a near-death experience.

She refused to accept any students into her N.E.W.T. classes unless they achieved at least 'Exceeds Expectations', believing that those who have anything below would be unable to cope with the increased coursework. Failure to hand in assigned homework may result in detention, as Draco Malfoy experienced after he failed twice during 1996.

Location and time


Transfiguration classes are held in Class 1 on the first-floor, Class 34 on the third-floor, Class 99 in the South Tower and Classroom 1B on the ground-floor, around the Middle Courtyard. Classroom 1B is big, surrounded by high windows, has four rows of three desks, and still has enough room for several cages and bookshelves, two chalkboards, and a desk for the teacher. Several candlesticks stand lit behind the desk.

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Thursday second
Second Tuesday first
Wednesday second
Thursday fourth
Third Monday third
Thursday second
Fourth morning
Fifth Tuesday fourth
Wednesday third
Sixth Friday morning
Seventh unknown unknown


First Year

"Professor McGonagall watched them turn a mouse into a snuff box."
—First year exam in 1992[src]

The alphabet taught in first year classes

Second Year

"He was supposed to be turning a beetle into a button, but all he managed to do was give his beetle a lot of exercise as it scuttled over the desk top avoiding his wand."
—A lesson on turning beetles into buttons [src]

Third Year

" [...] comparing results and bemoaning the difficulty of the tasks they been set, which included turning a teapot into tortoise."
—Third year exam in 1994[src]

Complex notes taken in Transfiguration class

Fourth Year

"The guinea-fowl they had been changing into guinea-pigs had been shut away in a large cage on Professor McGonagall's desk (Neville's still had feathers)..."
—After a lesson transformation[src]

Fifth Year

"So... today we are starting Vanishing Spells. These are easier than Conjuring Spells, which you would not usually attempt until N.E.W.T. level, but they are still among the most difficult magic you will be tested on in your O.W.L."
—1995 lesson on Vanishment[src]

Sixth Year

"Harry barely understood half of what Professor McGonagall said to them these days; even Hermione had to ask her to repeat instructions once or twice. "
—The increased difficulty during sixth year[src]

Known professors

Required textbooks

Known O.W.L.s

Branches of Transfiguration

Vera Verto 250px

Vera Verto in action


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Behind the scenes


Notes and references

Transfiguration (class)
Professors: Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks: A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Known practitioners: Emeric Switch · Circe · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell ·
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts: Chair to cat · Match to needle · Snail to Teapot · Teacup to Rat · Switching Spell · Transforming Spell · Avifors Spell · Mice to Snuffboxes · Beetle Buttons · Rabbit Slippers · Vera Verto · Teapot to tortoise · Draconifors Spell · Lapifors Spell · Vanishing Spell · Owl to opera glasses · Guinea fowl to guinea pig · Hedgehog to pincushion · Small Child to Rat · Meddling Man to Monkey · Crinus Muto
Branches of Transfiguration: Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration

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