DURHAM University is to run a Harry Potter course.

The university will offer a second-year undergraduate module entitled Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion from the next academic year, which begins in October.

The course is the idea of Dr Martin Richardson, head of the education department and director of the education studies degree.

Dr Richardson says study of the social and moral issues raised in the children’s book series has great relevance to today’s society and the course was conceived in response to demand from students.

Writing in the Times Higher Education Supplement, he says: “Whichever side of the fence one stands... Harry Potter is hard to ignore.

“The optional module has had to meet the same rigorous academic standards as any other and has the approval of the external examiner.

“It is only fitting that a university such as Durham responds to new developments in our academic and wider social and cultural environment to develop new modules such as this.

“Surely, higher education must explore issues relevant to today’s society. Some of the universal themes covered in the works of JK Rowling certainly bear analysis, whether in English departments or outside.”

Harry Potter has also been studied at Edinburgh, Yale and Kansas State universities