Potter 101: Five Great Additions to Your Fall Semester

With the fall semester getting into full swing we decided to carefully arrange our schedule to allow for some off-the-wall but completely legitimate Harry Potter-themed modules, lessons, and courses. Get ready to brush up on your Potter academia.

1. Durham University’s “Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion”

Suggested Prerequisite: A fascination of the various wizarding schools as social institutions and no hard feelings that you are still awaiting a letter.

Technically not a course, this module aims to analyze and understand the social, cultural, and especially the educational impacts that the novels have had globally. Its covered content includes “The peer group: bullying, friendship and solidarity,” “Gryffindor and Slytherin: prejudice and intolerance in the classroom,” and even “Muggles and magic: the escape from the treadmill and the recovery of enchantment.”

2. East West School of Planetary Herbology’s Certified Herbalist Program

Suggested Prerequisite: A fondness for the tiny monsters that are Mandrakes.

There was a tempting brewery program (à la Potions style) that almost made it. But we figured an herbalist’s program offers more variety for those of us not particularly tickled by butterbeer. Combining Western herbal, traditional Chinese, and traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, graduates are expected to leave with several hundred hours of clinical practice and (we hope) a far tastier alternative to Polyjuice Potion. Keep in mind that this can take up to and more than three years to complete. So unless your name is Neville, you may want to opt for one of their shorter courses.


3. Yale Divinity School’s “Christian Theology and Harry Potter”

Suggested Prerequisite: A recommendation from Sybill Trelawney herself to help get into this school.

While we’re unsure about its current availability, this course explores the Christian themes interwoven throughout the seven novels. The concepts of resurrection, death, sacrifice and perhaps even the after-life (what on earth was that King’s Cross scene in DH?) might finally be answered by those lucky enough to snag a seat in this highly demanded course.


4. Michigan State University’s “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse — Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior”

Suggested Prerequisite: A strong desire to tell your loved ones “I told you so!”

You forgot about these, didn’t you? Their existence is actually mentioned in the first novel, and judging from the Inferi’s characteristics, they may be a close relative. Needless to say, the wizarding world isn’t necessarily immune from a zombie apocalypse, and knowing how to fend off these suckers, wand or no wand, can mean all the difference between death and being gifted a nifty turban. Just ask Quirrell. Oh, wait…


5. MuggleNet Academia

Suggested Prerequisite:  Novels from the series riddled with your own personal annotations and analysis.

Good ol’ MuggleNet Academia. Reliable. Entertaining. And open to all. If you’re seeking clever insights and passionate debates, punctuated with the occasional deep division on what constitutes canon, then these podcast-sized “lessons” are going to be a great find. Plus, there’s never any coursework. What more can you ask for?