UNCSA to launch exchange program with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

UNCSA will launch an international student exchange program with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry beginning in fall 2020, Provost David English has announced. The program will allow students enrolled at UNCSA to spend up to two semesters abroad in Scotland, where they will study alongside young witches and wizards at Hogwarts.

For the first time in history, a new charm will allow Muggles (also referred to as No-Maj in the North American wizarding community) participating in the program to have limited magical abilities while at Hogwarts. Witches and wizards must forfeit use of magic during their study abroad term(s) at UNCSA in order to create a more authentic conservatory experience.

“Our exchange program with Hogwarts is an exciting new step and a natural fit for student-artists at UNCSA,” says Provost English. “The creativity that energizes our campus is not dissimilar to that found in the halls and classrooms of Hogwarts. I believe that our students will feel at home there, and will find tremendous value in their unique course offerings.”

Creating the opportunity for students to study magic at Hogwarts further emphasizes UNCSA’s commitment to educating the whole artist—allowing students to practice their art in a nontraditional conservatory setting with a nontraditional medium (magic). 

From composers to carpenters, dancers to writers, directors and beyond—each artistic expression at UNCSA can be enhanced by the addition of magical properties, and the exchange program offers a first-hand opportunity to create in a new way.

In celebration of this historic partnership, UNCSA commissioned alumnus Ivan Potter-Smith (Visual Arts ’10, Scene Painting ’15) to illustrate a UNCSA crest that complements the four Hogwarts house crests—Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. 

Giannini crest

The UNCSA house crest was designed and illustrated by D&P alumnus Ivan Potter-Smith.

The UNCSA house crest features an octopus—a symbol of flexibility, creativity, intelligence, movement and mystery. Its tentacles grasp objects that represent learning across UNCSA’s five conservatories, along with a nod to the beloved pickle mascot. The crest bears the name of one of the school’s founders, Vittorio Giannini—a composer who also served as the first President of NCSA.

The crest will adorn the robes of UNCSA students attending Hogwarts, as a fond reminder of home.


UNCSA students will be allowed to enroll in a number of courses including, but not limited to, Charms, Flying, History of Magic, Magical Theory, Potions, Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures, and Muggle Studies. 

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to invite UNCSA students into our community,” says Hogwarts Headmistress Minerva McGonagall. “Their skill is enviable, their work ethic is admirable and I look forward to the many ways they will enhance and diversify our student body.”

We are pleased to have the opportunity to invite UNCSA students into our community. Their skill is enviable, their work ethic is admirable and I look forward to the many ways they will enhance and diversify our student body.

Minerva McGonagall

UNCSA students will also lend an authentic voice to Hogwarts’ Muggle Studies course. “We very much look forward to learning about their Muggle fascination with Ariana Grande, Instagram filters and aggressive pickles,” added McGonagall.

To prepare UNCSA students for their Hogwarts coursework, Director of Stage Properties Bland Wade has collaborated with famed British wandmaker Ollivanders to develop a custom UNCSA wand made of longleaf pine wood to honor North Carolina. 

Hogwarts students accepted into the exchange program will have the opportunity to audition for one of UNCSA’s five conservatories, and will enroll in both academic and arts classes. They will have the opportunity to work directly on one of UNCSA’s more than 200 annual performances.

Student life

Upon arrival at Hogwarts, UNCSA students will be sorted into one of four houses—Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin—which will determine their dormitory placement. Exchange students may contribute to earning points for Hogwarts’ annual House Cup award. They are also permitted to attend Quidditch trials and play for their house, if selected as a team member.

Though traditional Quidditch cannot safely be played on the UNCSA campus, student engagement staff members are working with famed Bulgarian Quidditch Seeker Victor Krum to develop and test a Muggle-friendly version of the game.

Additionally, exchange student representative seats will be added to both the High School Student Government and College Student Government organizations.

Travel regulations 

Due to difficulty in navigating to Hogwarts’ exact location, the British Ministry of Magic and American Magical Congress have approved use of Portkeys for all exchange student travel. UNCSA cabinet members have already begun meeting to establish Portkey location(s) on campus, along with a security plan for how often they will be changed and when they will be (in)active. Currently, the following items are under Portkey consideration: the Elephants, Library Warhol painting, Chester the squirrel and the Pickle Jar ketchup dispenser.

Eligibility and application information 

All UNCSA high school students, along with first- and second-year undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the exchange program. Currently enrolled Hogwarts students 14 and older may apply.

Provost English and Headmistress McGonagall are discussing opportunities for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students and graduate students to spend a term teaching Muggle Studies, Muggle Music or Muggle Art classes. Options for advanced students to shadow Hogwarts graduates who are completing additional years of Auror or Healer training are being developed as well.

Additional information concerning course credits, technology requirements and communication between campuses is forthcoming. Applications will open in late fall 2019, and selections will be made on or before July 31, 2020. 

Foreshadowing a future partnership, Chancellor Lindsay Bierman referenced the (assumed) fictional Hogwarts at the 2018 University Commencement ceremony.

“Our school has often been compared to the fictional Hogwarts of the ‘Harry Potter’ novels and you can easily see why,” he said. “We have no shortage of wizards on our campus and their magic keeps us spellbound.” 

We look forward to discovering what new magic this exchange program will uncover.

by Hannah Callaway

April 1, 2019 (April Fools' Day)