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"Everybody at Brakebills has an aptitude for magic, but there are individual variations– people tend to have an affinity for some specific strain."
Pearl Sunderland[src]
Brakebills Test

Disciplines are a Magicians' area of concentration, usually falling under 6 different branches (houses) of magic: Physical Magic, Natural Magic, Illusion Magic, Knowledge, Healing Magic, and Psychic Magic. Each one is different. Any magician can cast any spell, just some are better suited to certain spells or disciplines.

Overview

Magicians' disciplines can be determined by their birth; where they were born, the position and phase of the moon, the weather, as well as personality.[1] Disciplines usually manifest fully in a Magician's twenties, but there have been cases where they develop much later in life.[2][3]. For classically trained Magicians, Disciplines are determined in their first year of schooling (for the most part).

Disciplines provide not only an area of primary focus, but  also help you get into a social group so to speak. Each discipline spends their time with their Discipline. They live in houses - the Physical's have the Physical Cottage etc.

Individual Fields of Magic

  • Quaeromancy[3]: A particularly rare field of magic whose practitioners have an innate magical ability to find things. Sheila used this to find a buried box of money and to locate a leak in the magical pipes. 
  • Probability Magic:  Lionel was an expert in this kind of magic. The discipline deals with altering probability fields, which themselves are inherently invisible, but their secondary effects are observed as chance occurrences that are highly unlikely in normal situations. An example of such is Lionel's effect over it in a cards deck, where a card tossed on the side might land on its edge and balance there, or spin on one corner.[1]
  • Sense Magic: This fields of magic is used by talent scouts of Brakebills, and possibly the other magical institutions, to locate acts of magic being performed by potential students. It is typically cast upon globes, allowing for international recruitment, and isn't very reliable for discerning an exact location, but directs the scouts to a magician's general vicinity.
  • Horomancy: This is the field of magic that is associated with Time Travel, Communication through time, Timeline travel and countless other things. Basically, it is the study of Magic that relates to time. It is a rather new Discipline in that it was not really practiced until more recently. Stoppard's Mother was the first to practice it and Stoppard himself is one of the most adept Horomancer to date.

References