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"Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom. No cursing allowed."
—Notice outside the classroom[src]

Defence Against the Dark Arts (sometimes written as DADA) is a subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry[2]. In this class students learn how to magically defend themselves against Dark Creatures, the Dark Arts, and other dark charms. Offensive magic is also taught in this class, such as how to duel, which requires the use of both offensive and defensive magic.

The subject is core class at Hogwarts. The position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor here was once rumoured to be jinxed, as no teacher could hold the post for more than a year. Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort) jinxed the position because Dumbledore did not give him the job when he applied for it.[3]

The subject is also a class at Ilvermorny. It began teaching the subject in the 17th century.[2]

Hogwarts

Class information

"Your defences must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the arts you seek to undo"
—Professor Snape discussing defence during a 1996 lesson[src]

Defence Against the Dark Arts is a required subject from first year to fifth year. The curriculum of the class varies greatly depending on what the professor at the time deems appropriate. Due to the jinx on the teaching post that was present before Lord Voldemort died, many teachers have been appointed to this post.

The lessons generally have a practical approach, with many of the teachers (except Dolores Umbridge) believing that when it comes to the Dark Arts a practical approach is the best way, with theoretical assignments given as homework.

Defenceagainstthedarkarts

Classroom map

In the fifth year Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations are taken; as such, students are spent learning new topics and possibly revisiting the past four years of lessons (depending on the teacher). As part of their Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L., students must sit a written exam one of the questions asks to describe the five signs of a werewolf and after students must complete a practical exam of; counter-jinxes, defensive spells, Riddikulus, and the Patronus Charm (for bonus points).[4]

To advance to the N.E.W.T. class a student must first achieve a high O.W.L. score of either 'Outstanding' or 'Exceeds Expectations'; most teachers set the bar at 'Exceeds Expectations'.

Also, due to the course being directly related to the Dark Arts itself, dark wizards who wish to teach would typically apply for this course, notably being Lord Voldemort and Severus Snape.[5]

Location and curriculum

Classrooms

Defence Against the Dark Arts classes take place on the first-floor, Class 104 in the North Tower and Classroom 3C on the third-floor. In Classroom 3C, an iron chandelier hung from the ceiling, as well as a dragon's skeleton. On one end of the classroom stands a projector that is activated by magic. Several desks and tables can be found in the classroom as well as some sets of large windows.

Lesson times

Year Day Period
First Monday second
Second fourth
Thursday first
Wednesday fourth
Third Monday fifth
Thursday fourth
Friday third
Fourth Thursday fourth/fifth
Fifth Monday fifth/sixth
Friday sixth
Sixth Monday morning
Seventh unknown unknown

First year

"The class everyone had really been looking forward to was Defence Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell's lessons turned out to be a bit of a joke."
—DADA lessons with Quirrell as the professor[src]

Dark creatures

Spells

Second year

"It is my job to arm you against the foulest creatures known to wizardkind. You may find yourself facing your worst fears in this room. Know only that no harm will befall you whilst I am here. I must ask you not to scream. It might provoke them!"
—Lockhart introducing Cornish Pixies[src]

Dark creatures

Spells

Third year

"Professor Lupin had complied the most unusual exam any of them had ever taken; a sort of obstacle course outside in the sun."
—Third year exam in 1994[src]

Dark Creatures

Spells

Fourth year

"When it comes to the Dark Arts, I believe in a practical approach. "
Barty Crouch Jr (disguised as Alastor Moody) on his approach of the subject [src]

Dark creatures

Spells

Fifth year

"Your previous instruction in this subject has been, disturbingly, uneven. But you will be pleased to know, from now on, you will be following a carefully structured, Ministry-approved course of defensive magic."
Dolores Umbridge's excuse of depriving students of practical defence[src]

Official curriculum

Dumbledore's Army

Sixth year

"You will now divide... into pairs. One partner will attempt to jinx the other without speaking. The other will attempt to repel the jinx in equal silence. Carry on."
—A N.E.W.T. lesson on nonverbal spells[src]

Dark creatures

Spells

Changes to curriculum

"You have had five teachers in this subject so far, I believe. Naturally, these teachers will all have had their own methods and priorities. Given this confusion I am surprised so many of you scraped an O.W.L. in this subject. I shall be even more surprised if all of you manage to keep up with N.E.W.T. work, which will be much more advanced."
—Professor Snape on the curriculum's instability[src]
Due to the constant changing of teachers, the curriculum of Defence Against the Dark Arts varies from year to year. Each teacher has his or her own priorities, and his or her respective efficiency proportional to his or her beliefs and methods, such as Quirinus Quirrell and Dolores Umbridge believing that theories are enough (which is, in fact, more hindering), while the more effective Remus Lupin, "Alastor Moody" and Severus Snape have a more balanced belief in theory and practical defence. Gilderoy Lockhart, fraudulent and incompetent, is one known teacher who taught nothing to the classes of his respective tenure, aside from nonsensical and unrelated materials, considering that he was hired solely for the purpose of ousting him as a fraud to the world.[6] In the 1997-1998 school year, the class was changed to Dark Arts.

During the 1995-1996 school year, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had gotten into his head that Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was using the students to create a private army of young wizards to overthrow the Ministry. As such, he implanted Umbridge to become the teacher of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, which he believed to be the main source of training (e.g. defensive spells) for Dumbledore's would-be soldiers. Umbridge supplied a syllabus based entirely on theories on avoiding conflicts instead of facing them, all of which was simply reading out of the textbook, believing that this would be sufficient in passing the examinations. This misguided belief deprived the students on any useful lessons as even the theories are inaccurate, thus leading to the formation on Dumbledore's Army, which taught more practical defence that students from all grades found more useful. Umbridge would later claim that the spells Harry taught were deemed by the Ministry inappropriate for students at their ages.

Known professors

"There is a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and that position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort's death broke the jinx that kept a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year."
J. K. Rowling stated the jinx on the DADA post has been lifted[src]

Media

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Wizarding Education
BeauxbatonsCrestClearBg Hogwartscrest Ilvermorny Crest 3 DurmstrangCrest
The Eleven Schools: Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
Core classes: Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes: Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extra-curricular classes: Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy

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