"We test to discern your Discipline. Your area of concentration. It is what you are, and with the right guidance, you may safely rise to unknowable heights."
Henry Fogg to Brakebills students[src]

Disciplines are the individual variations of Magicians' magical aptitude, or their affinity for a specific strain of magic.


Disciplines are personal to every Magician and are determined by the Circumstances surrounding their birth; where they were born, where the Moon was located at the time, the state of the weather, their personality, and about two hundred or more other technical factors. A Magician's Discipline could be determined by studying these factors, theoretically, but they are usually tested for since the process for calculating them from that data is tedious. Most Magicians are ambivalent about Disciplines, believing the theory behind them to be weak and seeing them as socially divisive.[1]

Disciplines usually manifest fully in a Magician's twenties, but there have been cases where they develop much later in life.[2]For some, such as Quentin Coldwater, their disciplines may not manifest if they are not mature enough, as personality is a factor that determines when disciplines manifest.[1] At Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, students receive their Disciplines at the start of their Third Year during a series of tests performed by the faculty shortly after completing their Second Year finals. Students within the same Discipline groupings are given housing facilities to live in on campus, such as the Physical Kids' Cottage or the Tree House Dorm.


Physical Magic


Alice Quinn turning her hand invisible.

Psychic Magic


Penny Adiyodi meditating in a Psychic Amplifier.


  • Notable Members: Darcy, Harriet Schiff, Plum Purchas
  • Known Disciplines: Camouflage, Mirror Magic
  • Description: Disciplines in Illusions allow Illusionists to create, shape and manipulate illusions, causing targets to see, hear, touch, smell and/or taste things which do not actually exist or cause them to perceive things differently from what they truly are. They are capable of cloaking, invisibility, and projections that make the CIA look like amateurs, and are widely known as great liars. Illusionists are housed in the Illusionist Castle at Brakebills, which can be made invisible and levitate off the ground.


  • Notable Members: Lipson, Faye, Georgia, Sophie Carlson
  • Description: Magicians with disciplines in Healing are referred to as Healers, a title akin to "doctor", and are credited with creating some of medicine’s greatest advancements such as the cures for polio and smallpox vaccines, erectile dysfunction medication, and the invention of x­ray technology. They primarily reside in the Brakebills Infirmary.


Natural Magic

  • Notable Members: Josh Hoberman, Hamish Bax
  • Known Disciplines: Herbology, Botany
  • Description: The strains of Natural Magic disciplines focus on the manipulation and development of the environment through the use of magic. Naturalists are very grounded and poised to harness the Earth’s innate power, making them capable of cultivating plants with magical properties. At Brakebills, Naturalists are housed in the Tree House Dorm in the forest surrounding the school.


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