Disciplines are academic groupings based on areas of aptitude within Brakebills College. Professor Sunderland describes them as follows: "everybody at Brakebills has an aptitude for magic, but there are individual variations--people tend to have affinity for some specific strain."
Despite the fact that affinities are innate Professor Sunderland says "[it] has to do with where you were born, and where the moon was, and what the weather was like, and what kind of person you are, plus all kinds of technical stuff that's not worth getting into".  At the end of a Brakebills student's second year, various "inductive" tests are performed by the student to determine what Discipline they should be sorted into. In the TV series, students are tested upon acceptance to the school, and allowed to move into a Discipline specific house at the end of the first year. Once their Discipline is determined students have the opportunity to congregate in a Discipline-specific location with other members of their Discipline.
- Physical: Magical ability to manipulate matter.
- Natural Magic: Attitude to manipulation of natural elements.
- Illusion: Magical ability to create and manipulate vivid illusions.
- Knowledge: Alleged magical abilities held by scholars of magic.
- Healing: Aptitude for magical healing.
- Psychic: Magical abilities concerning psychic energies.