Elder Scrolls

College of Winterhold

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Collegeicon College of Winterhold
College of winterhold map
Hold Winterhold Hold
Type Guild Headquarters
Sublocations Hall of Attainment
Hall of the Elements
Hall of Countenance
The Arcanaeum
Arch-Mage's Quarters
The Midden
Quests College questline

Elder Knowledge (Main Quest)

Characters See list of characters
Enemies Draugr (The Midden)
Ice Wraith (The Midden)
Location ID See IDs
"You know, if you have the aptitude, you should join the Mage's College in Winterhold."
Farengar Secret-Fire[src]

The College of Winterhold is a guild of mages centered in Skyrim. It is a faction and location that appears in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is a guild of magic-users similar to the Mages Guild of Cyrodiil and Morrowind. When the Dragonborn appears, the current Arch-Mage is Savos Aren, with Mirabelle Ervine serving as the Master Wizard. During the faction's main quest, Tolfdir replaces her as Master Wizard.


The College is located in the northern section of the city of Winterhold, in northern Skyrim. Instructors of each magical discipline reside within, offering training and various magical wares.

Outsiders view the College with indignation, believing its members to be the cause of the cataclysmic, "The Great Collapse," which occurred in 4E 122. The event left Winterhold in ruins, in terms of physical destruction with the vast majority of Winterhold destroyed, the destabilization of its government, economy and social structure and the lasting emotional and psychological damage to Winterhold's people, who believed that the College of Winterhold was to blame for the Great Collapse.[1]

Upon visiting the College, it can be joined by passing a test of merit, which requires the casting of a spell. The College must be joined during "Elder Knowledge" in order to progress the main quest. Joining the College opens a questline consisting of eight main quests and eight side quests, one of which is radiant. There are three potential followers associated with the guild, becoming available once their three personal quests are completed.

Three unique achievements can be unlocked by completing tasks for the College: Gatekeeper - Join the College of Winterhold, Revealing the Unseen - Complete "Revealing the Unseen", and "The Eye of Magnus" - Complete "The Eye of Magnus".


Before entering the College, the gatekeeper, Faralda, will wish to see a demonstration of the Dragonborn's magical powers. She requests to see a spell appropriate for the Dragonborn's level before gaining passage. These spells include:

Although she does not state it explicitly; some spells, e.g. Fear, must be cast at the emblem on the ground or she ignores it. If the spell she requests has not yet been learned, she offers to sell it for 30 GoldIcon. The gate beyond the bridge does not open until the proper spell has been demonstrated for Faralda.


A high-level persuasion check bypasses this test. Additionally, revealing one's Dragonborn-identity to Faralda causes her to ask for a Thu'um demonstration. Successfully using it bypasses the spell-casting test. This option can only be used during the quest Elder Knowledge

Rules and expulsionEdit

Killing a student causes other college members to refuse speaking with the killer, starting the Rejoining the College quest. Stealing items from college members is also considered a crime.

Architectural DesignEdit

Collegemapkey 03

A map of the College of Winterhold. Notable locations are indicated with numbers.

The College of Winterhold is located north of Winterhold on a large cliff. A narrow bridge in a state of disrepair connects the city to the College.

The central courtyard is dominated by a statue of the first Arch-Mage of the College, Shalidor, who is also the supposed founder of the city; this is the hub of the facility, offering access back out to the bridge and into the three Halls. The exterior windows offer exceptional views of the coastline.

The courtyard branches off to the three halls of the College. The Hall of Attainment, the living quarters for mage apprentices, is off to the left upon entering the College, while the Hall of Countenance, the living quarters for more advanced mages, is off to the right. Straight ahead lies the Hall of the Elements, the lecture hall of the college.

From the Hall of the Elements, the Arch-Mage's Quarters branches off on the left while The Arcanaeum, the College's library, branches off on the right.

The Midden, a prison or storage area beneath the College, houses an Atronach Forge, the Augur of Dunlain, and the Daedric Relic. Ice Wraiths and Draugr inhabit the halls of The Midden. A tunnel here leads to Skyrim just outside of the College.


TESV Banner Winterhold

The banner of The College of Winterhold.

Winterhold was once a great, powerful and wealthy hold[2] [3], and its relationship with the College of Winterhold was good.[4]

In 4E 122, an unprecedented, cataclysmic event struck Winterhold and most of the areas along the coastline. A massive storm came in from the Sea of Ghosts which brought huge waves which crashed into Winterhold. Most of the city fell into the sea, leaving the city in ruins both physically in terms of the destruction of the city itself, and the emotional and psychological damage to Winterhold's people. This event would eventually be referred to as "The Great Collapse." The event left Winterhold in ruins, and some had said that things would never be the same again, including Winterhold's relationship with the College of Winterhold. The people of Winterhold would eventually begin to blame the College for causing the Great Collapse. Winterhold has never really recovered from the Great Collapse.[5] [6]

Historical documentsEdit

Papers kept in the College's library are meant to prove its age, reportedly dating back 700 years. However, dialogue with Serana reveals it to be much older as she recalls the college from before she was entombed in the First or perhaps even Merethic Era.

The first recorded evidence of the College's existence is Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim. Arguably, the documents in the College are not meant to date the institution's age. As noted in the Pocket Guide to the Empire, the College became home to an older library of documents, the Ysmir Collective.[3]

Relation to the Mages GuildEdit

As the College was independent from the Mages Guild, Necromancy was never made illegal by the College, unlike the Mages Guild in Cyrodiil. For the College of Winterhold, the practice was generally regarded as a tool, not a weapon, although practicing it outside of the College was advised against by Phinis Gestor. Like Cyrodiil, there were still wandering groups of Necromancers that did not function alongside the College. Since the College was independent of the jurisdiction of the Mages Guild, it was unaffected by the Necromancy Ban of 3E 431 and the subsequent eradication of that ban which led to battles against Mannimarco.


The College is often blamed for The Great Collapse of 4E 122 and is therefore widely distrusted. It is often believed that it was activities at the College that caused the disaster; the proof of this is that only the College remained untouched. The College has since been cautious as to avoid provoking the population of Skyrim.[1] [7] Many nationalistic Nords also do not trust the College because of the fact that the immigrant Dunmer make up the vast majority of the members within the faction. Additionally, most Nords view magic and its practitioners as spineless and weak, as stated quite humorously by a pair of feuding siblings upon entering Winterhold.

The only positive relation the people of Skyrim have to the College of Winterhold are requests for various items to be enchanted for them. Sergius Turrianus explains that enchanting services are the only connection between the College and the people of Skyrim. [8] Occasionally, he will have his students travel to a specific location in Skyrim to pick up an item from a person who made a request to the College to have the item enchanted.[9]


Lectures are held in the Hall of the Elements during the day. These cover a wide range of subjects and the Dragonborn is welcome to listen, provided the college has been joined.

Colette Marence: RestorationEdit

Faralda: The Synod and The College of WhispersEdit

Drevis Neloren: DoomstonesEdit

Urag gro-Shub: Shalidor's writingsEdit

Phinis Gestor: Eye of MagnusEdit



Main quests Edit

College of Winterhold questsEdit


Under Saarthal.

Side questsEdit


The Eye of Magnus.

Follower questsEdit

Master-level spell questsEdit


Former MembersEdit


Colette Marence

Colette Marence, expert Restoration trainer.


Gatekeeper (Achievement)
Join the College of Winterhold
Points 10 Game points
Bronze trophy

Revealing the Unseen (Achievement)
Revealing the Unseen
Complete "Revealing the Unseen"
Points 10 Game points
Bronze trophy

The Eye of Magnus (Achievement)
The Eye of Magnus
Complete "The Eye of Magnus"
Points 30 Game points
Silver trophy



This section contains bugs related to College of Winterhold. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
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Start a Discussion Discussions about College of Winterhold

  • Those lectures

    2 messages
    • I've never saw any of those lectures of any senior mage in College.. When are those happening?!
    • I just happened to bump into one?! It was something around 2pm I believe, I saw everyone in the hall and so I stopped to see what´s going o...
  • Lectures?

    4 messages
    • well i finshed the whole quest line and im still waiting ill follow this to see if any one can clear it up and edit the page.
    • having the same issue, after looking at the lecture contents on the wiki i have concluded that they only take place before finishing ...

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