From Hogwarts to Exeter: a degree in magic in the UK becomes a reality

The courses will begin in September next year

From the dream of entering the Hogwarts school of magic, that of Harry Potter, to the reality of being able to enroll in a real post-graduate specialization course in magic, from September next year, at the University of Exeter, in the south-west of the UK. An “innovative” Master’s Degree in Magical and Occult Sciences which was created following the “recent increase in interest in magic and the occult”, as Professor Emily Selove, head of the course, said, quoted by the BBC.

There will be neither vice-principal Minerva McGonagall, born from the pen of JK Rowling, nor Potions Professor Severus Snape, but, as the course directors explain, teachers with experience in history, literature, philosophy, archaeology, sociology, psychology, theater and religion which will illustrate the role of magic in the West and in the East.

More than learning to do magic, therefore, the opportunity offered to students will be to study its history and the impact it has had, together with witchcraft, on society and science in various parts of the world.

The study topics

“Decolonization, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism and anti-racism are at the heart of this curriculum,” explained Selove, who is a professor of medieval Arabic language and literature. The lessons will take place at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. The course, he added, ”will allow us to reevaluate the assumption according to which the West is the place of rationalism and science, while the rest of the world is a place of magic and superstition”.

Among the professional opportunities, the University of Exeter indicates teaching and consultancy, tutoring, employment in museums or within libraries, in tourism, in artistic organizations or in publishing. Topics of study, explains the BBC, will be ”dragons in Western literature and art, the legend of King Arthur, paleography, Islamic thought, archaeological theory and practice and the representation of women in the Middle Ages”. But also, as stated on the course website, ”magic in Greece and Rome, occult texts in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the history of witchcraft, magic in literature and folklore, deception and illusion, the history of science and medicine”.