Are we one step closer to a real life Hogwarts?
Next year, students at the prestigious University of Exeter in Devon will begin a postgraduate degree unlike any other: a Masters in Magic.
Beginning in September 2024, students at the University of Exeter in Devon will be able to study the history of “esotericism, witchcraft, ritual magic, [and] occult science,” as they study towards their MA in Magic and Occult Science.
The program has already received over 100 student inquiries and counting, confirming the program leader’s belief that the course is warranted due to "a recent surge in interest in magic and the occult.”
Would you major in magic?
While the finer details of the coursework seem to be still getting ironed out, it is believed that some of the courses would-be magic experts might study include courses on dragons in western literature and art, the legend of King Arthur, the philosophy of psychedelics, and the depiction of women in the Middle Ages, among others.
"Decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism and anti-racism are at the core of this programme," explains Professor Emily Selove, who will lead the upcoming program.
"Magic and the occult have been and remain an enormous part of Western culture, and it is foolish to deny this or to refuse to take it seriously. Rigorous study of these subjects allows us to reexamine the relationship of humans to the natural world and of different human cultures to one another."
The course will also challenge existing western teachings, Selove says.
“This MA will allow people to reexamine the assumption that the West is the place of rationalism and science, while the rest of the world is a place of magic and superstition."
Professor Selove says that “decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this program.”
What might one do with such a degree?
The school says that their unique Masters in Magic will prepare students for jobs in “teaching, counseling, mentoring, heritage and museum work, work in libraries, tourism, arts organizations or the publishing industry,” among other career paths.
While the degree intentionally situates magic as a part of our shared global heritage, the irony of a trailblazing magic degree being offered in the UK of all places has not gone unnoticed.
This is, after all, the same place that put hundreds of individuals on trial for witchcraft between the 16th and 17th centuries, with some historical reports estimating that roughly 500 "witches" were executed in total.
And get this: the last of those is believed to have died in Devon in 1865 – the very city where students can now obtain their Masters in Magic.
What do you think of the MA in Magic and Occult Science? Does such a degree belong alongside similar fields of study, like theology or religious studies?
Given the choice, would you major in magic?