Let’s not pretend that most of us haven’t — at one time or another — harboured a brief fantasy about attending Hogwarts.
Whether it’s competing in Quidditch tournaments, turning your arch-nemesis into a snake during a Defence Against the Dark Arts dual, or simply wandering through the ‘Restricted Section’ of the library after hours, there are many parts of the Witching & Wizardry curriculum to entice even the most Muggle-minded of us.
But what about those of us, gifted with the ability of magic and fictionality, who were actually lucky enough to receive a Hogwarts Letter of Acceptance via Owl Post? What’s it like to actually go to the famed school, and — most importantly — which are the best classes you can take there?
Well, we’ve done our best to work that out for you.
First off… how many classes are there at Hogwarts?
There are seven core classes at Hogwarts: Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, History of Magic, Astronomy, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. First-Year students are required to take all of these subjects, alongside Flying Lessons — or Broom Flight Class.
Beyond the core subjects, there are also six elective subjects students can choose to take — which they can opt to take on from their Third Year. These are Ancient Runes, Apparition, Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, and Muggle Studies.
To find out which classes are the most popular, we’ve calculated the total number of mentions of each class, from Year 1 to 7.
And here’s what we found…
|Class Name||Taught by||Total mentions||Class Type|
|Potions||Professors Snape and Slughorn||177||Core|
|Defence Against the Dark Arts||Professors Quirrell, Lockhart, Lupin, Moody, Umbridge, and Snape||129||Core|
|Transfiguration||Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore||82||Core|
|Divination||Professor Trelawney and Firenze the Centaur||80||Elective|
|History of Magic||Professor Binns||48||Core|
|Care of Magical Creatures||Professors Kettleburn, Hagrid, and Grubbly-Plank||44||Elective|
|Ancient Runes||Professor Babbling||14||Elective|
|Muggle Studies||Professor Burbage||14||Elective|
Overall, Potions class was the most popular across all seven books, with the highest total number of mentions (177 in total), taught by the one and only Professor Severus Snape.
Following this, the next most talked-about class across all seven books was that which was most sought after by the same Professor — Defence Against the Dark Arts. Fans of the Harry Potter books and films will know that this class saw a range of wizards and witches teach it during Harry and his peer’s time at Hogwarts. Professors Quirrell (or, Voldermort), Lockhart, Lupin, Moody (or, “Barty” Crouch Jr), and Umbridge all took on the role of the subject’s Master before the former Potions Master, Snape, was finally appointed the role in the final book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
In comparison, the two least popular classes (with a total of just 14 mentions each) are The Study of Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies. The first of these is an elective subject, taught by Professor Bathsheda Babbling (according to an early draft by J.K Rowling). The class is one of the lesser-discussed subjects over the series, and consists of studying and decoding the meaning behind ancient symbols and alphabets presumably created by Bronze and/or Iron age Wizards. Its most famous student was Hermoine Granger, who received an Outstanding in her O.W.L exam, despite apparently mixing up the ancient symbols for ‘defence’ and ‘partnership’. The second, Muggle Studies, involves — as you might expect — the study of all things muggle. Throughout all seven years it’s taught by Professor Charity Burbage, though it’s removed from the curriculum when Voldermort and his death eaters take over the school in the final book on account of their belief that it encourages magical and non-magical people to mix and have children.
The Most Popular Classes at Hogwarts (Total) – Percentage Breakdown
How does this all change over time?
Interestingly, throughout each school year, different classes lose and gain popularity– gaining different numbers of mentions as the students get older.
For instance, while Potions class roots itself as a firm favourite in year one (with a total of 15 mentions out of 42) it drops off in favour of other classes by the time the children reach their third year in The Prisoner of Azkaban where it is only mentioned 10 times — overtaken by Divination (with 23 mentions) and Defence Against the Dark Arts (22 mentions). The class then rises to fame again in the later school years, reaching a peak in the sixth year during Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, when Professor Horace Slughorn takes over teaching duties; here the class gains 68 mentions.
Likewise, other classes see shorter rises and falls in popularity, presumably during years where they become more pivotal (and the central characters are actually old enough to take them). For instance, the elective class Care of Magical Creatures rises to popularity during the third, fourth and fifth years of Hogwarts, where it is mentioned 9, 18 and 11 times respectively, accounting for most (86%) of its 44 total mentions.
The Most Popular Classes at Hogwarts – Year-on-Year Comparison (Years 1-3)
Equally, while Professor Flitwick’s Charms lessons — a core class that is taken from First Year onwards — remains relatively low in popularity in the student’s first few years of Hogwarts (with 7, 10 and 11 mentions in the first three books) it becomes much more popular as the students get older. In the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, it is mentioned 18 times (perhaps because more of the students want to brush up on their knowledge for the competition) and then continues to gain interest over the course of the next two years; with 28 mentions in book five and 22 in book six.
The Most Popular Classes at Hogwarts – Year-on-Year Comparison (Years 4-6)