Wizarding School

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Now remember students, this spell is only to be used on feathers, and not your classmates.

In ye olden days, people learned skills by being |apprenticed to someone, so it was natural to assume that magicians would learn the ropes in the same manner. Then, the modern age saw the rise of public schooling and universities almost completely displace apprenticeship as the means of education. In light of this, some authors decided that the school setting was a viable way to educate their magicians.

Thus was born the Wizarding School, the institute for education in magic. There the young sorcerers go to learn various forms of rule-based Functional Magic (after all, there's not much one can learn if the magic is random and uncontrollable), divided into different "subjects" or even schools of magic. Expect plenty of Magi Babble on the tests.

These come in two varieties; actual schools, and universities.

Schools are often boarding schools, with the attendant tropes. The pupils there are children, who leave at sixteen or eighteen. If the pupils are lucky, they'll also get a good Muggle education in math and science when they aren't learning magic words.

Universities usually only take students who are nominally adults, though exceptions may be made for rare genius. The usual university tropes apply. The students will spend half their time drinking in the local bars; the professors will be busy with vigorous academic politics, and magical research.

Often the institution where the story is set won't be the only such in the world, though the others don't do very much.

A subtrope of Extranormal Institute. Compare with Super-Hero School and Ninja School. Sometimes comes combined with a Magical Society.

Examples of Wizarding School include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mahora Academy from Mahou Sensei Negima—and specifically Negi's class—pretty much has the Fantasy Kitchen Sink. Robots, mages, vampires, demons, Ninja, ghosts, etc. They're still expected to keep up the Masquerade, though- the trope is played with a bit in that it doubles as a regular school, and has several Muggles. (They do it well enough that, at least at the start of the series, the Muggles in the class have only twigged onto the Robot Girl—because she is obviously robotic—and even then some of them think it might be makeup or a gag.) That's just the class, of course—the school itself has a World Tree, a library closer to an RPG dungeon than a school resource, a staff composed exclusively of mages, etc. And the muggles don't notice.
    • Played straight later with Ariadne, a suspiciously similar facility that doesn't need to bother with a masquerade due to being in another world where there are no Muggles.
    • Also Lampshaded in-series a lot, especially with the classmate Chisame (the series' Deadpan Snarker) who, early on, had a tendency to go on ranting monologues about these things which nobody else seemed to notice (like them having a 10-year old teacher, a robot in the class, the extremely varied physical ages of her classmates (they're in middle-school, but their appearances vary from looking 10-year-olds to the easily upper-teen ninja to one who certainly looks like a woman, and fought in at least one war), etc).

Chisame: This class is just too damn weird... there's an abnormally high rate of people repeating from previous years, it's like a giant kindergarten! And what the hell is with the robot?! Why doesn't anybody else find it strange?! It's a robot! A goddamn robot! And the childish teacher!! He's 10 years old!! Where did my normal school life go?!


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Witch Girls universe features multiple schools for witches; there's some overlap with All-Ghouls School due to the application of Witch Species and various other creatures that may end up as staff, as well as the Witch/Otherkin hybrids that may end up as students.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • In With Strings Attached, occasional reference is made to the Wizards' University in the city of Zagesevregar; Grunnel lectured there in the past, and Brox was there searching for a solution to the no-monster problem of Baravada. The Raleka wizards also worked at or attended the place. However, the university is never seen.
  • Malkin Academy in Malkin Academy the Cup of Kings.


Literature[edit | hide]

Listed more or less by publication date.

  • Scholomance, traditionally based in Transylvania and run by the devil, was meant to be a school for users of Black Magic. It shows up in the writings of British authors (and Bram Stoker, who was Irish), usually following Scottish writer Emily Gerard's depiction of Transylvanian superstitions.
  • The Robert Sheckley 1954 short story "The Accountant" may contain the very earliest example of a wizards' school in modern fantasy literature. You don't actually see the school, but you do meet little Morton's teacher and learn of his lack of enthusiasm for Thaumaturgy, Conjuring Herbs and the Geography of Greater Hell. All because he wants to be an accountant...
  • Eleanor Estes' The Witch Family was published in 1960. Hannah's school, her classmates and teacher, and subject matter (including witchiplication) are covered in some detail.
  • The Strugatsky Brothers novel Monday Begins on Saturday, published in 1964, which is about a young programmer working at a Soviet research institute and dealing with various academical intrigues and other hijinks. It's called the "Scientific Research Institute of Sorcery and Wizardry", with all that implies.
  • Likewise the magic school on Roke in Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, published in 1968, pre-dates many other examples here. The native Muggles wouldn't bat an eye at seeing a youngster turn into a bird and fly away.
  • The Satanic Mill, published 1971, combines apprenticeship as a miller with secret schooling in Black Magic.
  • The wizards and soothsayers of Avram Davidson's fantasy works generally receive their magical education in less organized settings, but Virgil (the medieval wizard version first published in 1969, not the historical poet) is depicted attending a school with a truly horrifying finals week. For herbalism, students are given a tray full of fungi and told to remove the poisonous and healing varieties. And then they have to eat the remainder. The final exam is a simple footrace...but the devil takes the hindmost.
  • Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, from The Worst Witch series of books, which pre-date MANY of Harry Potter's tropes by a good 23 years.
  • Caithnard in The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy.
    • Before that, Lungold. Unfortunately, its founder, Ghisteslwchlohm, turned out to be an Evil Sorcerer- he used the school to gather all the wizards together, steal important prophetic knowledge from them, and then destroyed it and them so they couldn't interfere with his plans.
  • Charmed Life was published in 1977 contains Chrestomanci Castle. Almost all of the Chrestomanci Series contains some kind of Wizarding School, most notably Witch Week 's subversion.
    • Fantasyland's Wizards' University has a classic example of just that.
  • Unseen University in the Discworld, which comfortably predates Hogwarts by around fourteen years (and is also very un-Hogwarts-like, being more a parody of a University than of a Public School. The Assassins' Guild School, however...)
    • Also Bugarup University in the Last Continent.
      • And now Brazeneck College/University in Pseudopolis, which with the former Dean of UU as the head lends a competetive air to the relationship between it and UU.
  • In Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar series, the magician Pug sets up an academy on the island of Stardock to streamline the teaching of magic as well as teaching a new form of magic that he learned on Kelewan.
  • The Wizards on Ansalon in the Dragonlance series of novels, first one published in 1984, have set up minor schools throughout the continent for people who want to try and learn High Sorcery. During the early Fifth Age Palin Majere set up the Academy of Sorcery to teach Primal Sorcery.
  • Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz, published 1988; another one that pre-dates Harry Potter and yet has some striking similarities.
  • The White Tower in The Wheel of Time, published in 1990. Girls who can channel are brought to the Tower to learn to control it before they kill themselves or others. Similarly, the Black Tower, though that's more of a Wizarding boot camp.
  • Wizard's Hall, published in 1991 by Jane Yolen is somewhat similar to Harry Potter, to the point that Yolen is rather suspicious of the Potter books' originality. The main character's name is Henry and he has a red-haired friend. However, the systems of magic aren't remotely similar and there are different naming conventions.
  • The Heralds of Valdemar series has several schools of magic, the most mentioned one being White Winds, which has several branches due to the fact that graduating mages who reach Master or Adept level are supposed to start schools of their own. Tarma and Kethry set up a combination mage/fighting school toward the end of the Vows and Honor trilogy. In the Owls triolgy, it's mentioned that a Mage Collegium was set up so those mages that weren't also Heralds in Valdemar could be trained and and ensure that they would use magic ethically.
  • Greenlaw College (for women) and Glasscastle University (for men) in the Scholarly Magics books by Caroline Stevermer, the first of which was published in 1994. Greenlaw has the limbs and outer flourishes of a French finishing school for young ladies, while Glasscastle is a traditional English university.
  • The Palace of the Prophets from Sword of Truth, which was first published in 1994. Bonus points for being built as a spell-form, preventing the Sorceresses, Wizards, and especially the Prophets from aging, allowing them to accrue truly terrifying amounts of knowledge.
    • Similarly, the Wizards' Keep used to be this, but slowly ran out of Wizards.
  • Wyverley College in the Old Kingdom series, first published in 1995 by Garth Nix.
    • Although played with, in that Wyverley is mostly just a classic girl's boarding school that happens to offer a few magic classes on the side, not a dedicated school for magic.
  • Winding Circle in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic quartet, published in 1997, the same year as Harry Potter. Also Lightsbridge University, which we haven't actually seen in any of the books (several of the characters are alumni), and which sounds like it follows the trope much more closely than the temple city of Winding Circle.
    • There are also various examples in the Tortall Universe. It seems to be generally agreed that the best one in the world is the university in Carthak that Numair went to.
  • The Harry Potter series, with its Hogwarts, is the Trope Codifier. It has this as its Characteristic Trope, even though the main plot eventually centers upon defeating Voldemort. Other Wizarding Schools from other countries are mentioned by name in the series, such as Durmstrang in Bulgaria and Beauxbatons in France. Due to Popcultural Osmosis, many later examples of this trope either reference it or seem to.
  • The Bard Schools in the Books of Pellinor. Though these are actually cities built around Schools.
  • The wizard's school in Trudi Canavan's The Black Magician Trilogy, published 2001.
  • There's a College of Magic in Salamander, published in 2001, where most of the story takes place. It's portrayed as a research center as much as a school, though.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, first published in 2003, this trope is averted, although it's mentioned and dismissed by the titular demon: magicians are often power-hungry and corrupt (like many Real Life politicians) and keep their knowledge to themselves as much as they can, so schools are out of the question; instead, the next generation of magicians are taken from parents who don't want them (since magicians are forbidden from having children) and taught singly by each magician.
  • The University in Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, published in 2007, fits into this trope. It is the only school where you can learn the world's particular brand of sympathetic magic and is a boarding school set in a town that is based entirely around The University.
  • Hell's Gate by David Weber has the Union of Arcana, a federation of magic using nations that have several. The two mentioned by name are Mythal Falls Academy, the oldest and most prestigious magical research and teaching Academy in Arcana and the Garth Showma Institute, the second largest magical academy anywhere (and whose prestige is rapidly overtaking that of the Mythal Falls Academy).
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman and published in 2009, has Brakebills, a wizarding university in upstate New York; it has an insanely difficult entrance exam and time there is out of sync with time in the rest of the world.
    • Brakebills also has a second campus in Antarctica, where students in their fourth year are sent for intensive magical education under Professor Mayakovsky.
  • Edgewood Academy, Brightwood University, and Blackthorne College are the token schools of magic in The Princess 99. Though, Blackthorne is closer to a madhouse if anything. To be honest the entire book reads like Tim Burton Presents: Harry Potter.
  • Magisterius University in Tales of MU.
  • Parodied by Ros Asquith's Trixie Tempest And The Witches Academy. The protagonist, having grown up on Harry Potter, expects to be sent to a Hogwarts-esque school, but when she gets to the actual place, Conundrums Academy is a rundown building with rule books like dictionaries and the common punishment for misbehaving students is the stocks, or being drenched in frostbite-inducing water.
  • The Schola Sorceriae from The Circle Of Magic series by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. Predates that other "Circle of Magic" series by 7 years.
  • The Grevillian Institute in Doctrine of Labyrinths is one of the actual schools for wizards. Usually "school" refers to a school of thought.
  • The Collegia Serevain in Collegia Magica.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The last few seasons of Charmed featured a magic school, which, like Negima, was inspired by Harry Potter. Earlier seasons never even hint at its existence and the young witches shown all had to learn how to use their powers without it.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place had one of these in a Harry Potter parody, named 'Wiz Tech.'
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom: In the episode "Back to School", the Inept Mage Mannitol is forced to return to the wizarding school he flunked out of years ago in order to complete his training in a heavily Lampshaded parody of Harry Potter.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The GURPS setting Illuminati University, which covers more than just magic. Classes include hysteria and future history, the botany building is a tree, and destruction of any planetary bodies requires written permission from the Arch-Dean (who, according to rumor within the setting, is either a former angel, a former demon, or both - the art, done by Phil Foglio of Girl Genius fame, depicts her with both a halo and devil horns).
    • GURPS also has the Technomancer world, a Magitek setting where magic returned to the world with the first atomic explosion in 1945. Most schools in advanced magical countries have magical courses for basic spells, and doctorates in Thaumaturgy are available from most colleges and universities.
  • In Shadowrun MIT becomes MIT&T ("Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Thaumaturgy") post-Awakening, and is a top research school in both fields. Most universities followed suit. Notable is Charles University, where the Great Dragon Schwartzkopf is a lecturer.
  • D&D's 'Known World' setting (aka Mystara) has a few of those, notably the Great School of Magic set in the wizard-ruled nation of Glantri.
    • Eberron of course has plenty of those. Notable is the Library of Korranberg, as well as the Flying Towers of Aundair, who have a very Hogwarts-like feel, including monsters and constructs roaming the halls, as well as dungeons filled with magical hazards and Malevolent Architecture.
    • Forgotten Realms has Thay, an Evil Empire with several academies to train their Red Wizards.
  • There are a few in Magic: The Gathering, including the Conclave of Mages and the School of the Unseen from the Ice Age cycle, but the most important (and the one with the most game-breaking card) is the Tolarian Academy.
  • The Shugenja Dojo in Legend of the Five Rings also qualify
  • The Heptagram in Exalted, of course. Think of it as Hogwarts meets Gossip Girl with more than a few elements of the aforementioned Scholomance. There used to be a second school on the same island, but... something happened... and now the old site is sowed with salt and covered with mystical sigils.
    • Exalted actually has a lot of these. Lookshy has an academy for those wanting to study Magitek, the Sidereals have Department 137 of the Forbidding Manse of Ivy, and the Underworld has the Raiton Academy for the tutelage of necromancy.
  • Witch Girls Adventures, of course. 4chan's /tg/ took a run at it, and realized that it comes off as if the school is teaching young witches to take horrible vengeance on anyone who irritates them in the slightest. And then they started telling stories about the horrors of being in the organization that hunts them.

Jesus, this book. It's actually a terrifying speculative commentary about the dangers of power, and the inherent barbarism of children. The moral of this game is that those with power are free to do as they please, and sadistic murder is acceptable vengeance for any slight, no matter how petty or minor.

  • The Eight Colleges of Magic in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe train the magically gifted to be of use to the Empire. Of course, many potential students are killed by superstitious peasants before they get there, and using magic when you aren't a member of one of the colleges is punishable by being burnt alive at the stake. Not to mention, because of all this, if you do have magical aptitude you have the choice of either join, dying or being a fugitive.
    • The Imperial Colleges might be the greatest centres of magical learning in the Old World, but they were founded comparatively recently (about 200 years before the present time) by the young High Elf Archmage Teclis, and only teach about magic split into its eight constituent colours - because that's all humans are capable of grasping without going utterly mad. The far more magically-adept High Elves have the White Tower of Hoeth in the kingdom of Saphery, where the full secrets of High Magic (which combines all eight colours into one harmonious whole) are studied and taught by its Loremasters. Teclis, who studied at the Tower, became High Loremaster of the institution after founding the Imperial colleges. It also teaches absurdly skilled ascetic warrior-scholars the arts of sword mastery, and these swordmasters act as the Tower's emissaries, guardians and agents in the outside world.
    • The Dark Elves, by contrast have the Seven Convents of Sorceresses, based in Ghrond.


Video Games[edit | hide]

Games where a wizarding school is the primary setting:

  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is completely based around this trope, specializing in alchemy.
  • Sorcerer University, for the first two games of The Spellcasting Series. There are competing schools, but SU is depicted as the Ivy League of spellcraft.
  • Magicians Quest Mysterious Times is also based on this concept.
  • In Wizard 101, the game starts out inside a university dedicated to teaching magic. The University is devided into six schools: Fire, Storm, Ice, Life, Death, and Myth. Players start out as newly admitted students, and while they do not actually attend any classes in the games, most of the spells a character learns comes from the professors of those six schools. (Headmaster Ambrose also hands out a few spells as rewards for specific in game achievements.)
    • Ravenwood also teaches a seventh school of magic, Balance, despite it not being given a classroom. Instead, it's classroom is hidden in Krokotopia. Students of this school learn their first few spells from another person that studied the basics of the school.
    • The worlds of Dragonspyre and Celestia also had academies before they were destroyed by the Dragon and Storm Titans respectively. Fortunately enough of Celestia survived for the player to learn a few spells from the Sun, Moon, and Star schools.
    • There is also the rival school of Pigswick, which features the Expys of Ravenwood's seven schools but with different names and almost backwards philosophies. Also only half the teachers there show any competence in there teaching. One even admits he has no idea what he's doing and is just using the previous proffesor's notes.
  • Academagia: The Making of Mages takes place in a complex non-Earth-based magical academy.
  • Magical Diary: Horse Hall revolves around an American high school for witches and wizards. It's mostly a Dating Sim but you do learn and use spells as well.
  • Magical Starsign has two wizarding schools, which are central to the game's plot.
  • The Silver Star Tower in Grim Grimoire.
  • Unsurprisingly, some Harry Potter videogames.

Games where a wizarding school appears:

  • The academy and surrounding area in Angelique.
  • The academy in Castle Galava in Nox.
  • The Red Wizard Academy in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer.
  • The Heroes' Guild in Fable teaches magic as one of three disciplines that students must learn before graduating.
  • GUE Tech from The Lurking Horror and Zork: Grand Inquistor fits this.
  • WIT from Quest for Glory II (WIT = Wizards Institute of Technocery), possibly a wink to the real life MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
  • The Arcane University in The Elder Scrolls. Incidentally, we never get to see any schooling going on, other than public lectures on the courtyards - the whole building is locked off except for the ground and top floors, linked by teleporters. Still, it's heavily implied that what goes on in there is pretty spectacular.
    • Other centres of magical learning include the Crystal Tower of Summerset and the Psijic's Isle of Artaeum, neither featured in the games so far (at least not in their current roles).
    • Skyrim has the College of Winterhold, which leans much more heavily on this trope, to the point where its questline might as well be called Harry Potter and the Eye of Magnus.
  • Vane in Lunar: The Silver Star and its remakes. And of course the magic school in Magic School Lunar and the earlier version Lunar: Walking School.
  • The Aurastery in Windurst in Final Fantasy XI. Unfortunately, mage PCs don't get to attend.
  • World of Warcraft has the Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences, housed in the Mage Tower, the centerpiece of the Mage Quarter in the human city of Stormwind. It has little signifigance in the actual game however, except providing a few mage trainers and mage-specific quests.
    • The Scholomance (note the Shout-Out to the older version, see under Literature) instance is a Wizarding School catering entirely to necromancers.
    • Both Dalaran, a magocracy and Silvermoon (not a magocracy though heavily influenced by the Magisters) are mentioned to have these too in background materials.
  • New Shapers in Geneforge start at small academies to learn the basics. After that, they get apprenticed. Becoming a Shaper sucks.
  • Breath of Fire II: There is a Magic School located in Hometown (they were really thinking outside the box with those names), which is where Nina is studying. Later on, you can also find the sorceress Deis/Bleu there, who claims learning through books is boring, and would rather go back out in the world to learn the good old-fashioned way.
  • Magic use is one of the things taught at the Gardens, although they are more of an analogue for military academies.
  • Princess Ceceilia of Wild ARMs's introduction begins with her taking leave from the local magical academy, and once the party is formed, you go back there to unlock the game's Summon Magic and kick off the plot.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, Flenceburg houses a magic academy. Unfortunately, its top student attempted to bring about The End of the World as We Know It in order to get laid.
  • The Nasuverse's Mage Association is both this and a Magical Society. It's split into three competing 'Great Branches', further subdivided into various 'Departments' led by professors, and the like. It also has its own military force which can be brought to bear against either vampires, or The Church, if the prologue to Tsukihime 2 is anything to go by.
  • There are plenty of these in the world of Dragon Age, with the twist that they also function as prisons to keep mages carefully supervised and away from the general population. As such the academic politics are even more fierce than normal, with the ever present idea of 'fireballing the guards' proving an attractive idea for many.
  • Dragon Quest IX has Swinedimples Academy. Amusingly one of the students is a troublemaker named Fred.
  • Scintillus Academy in Ultima Underworld II


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In Medieval Europe, the Spanish cities of Toledo and Salamanca had the strong reputation of harbouring schools for sorcerers.