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Academy of Evil

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"And tomorrow, we'll be learning about 'DEF': Destruction, Extortion and French Accents."

"I didn't spend six years in evil medical school to be called 'mister', thank you very much."

This is a school that teaches their students how to be better villains. There will be courses on mayhem, extortion, use of powers for evil, money laundering and many other topics. Usually the school will be a strictly evil institution that is staffed entirely with Sadist Teachers and directed by the Principal / Big Bad. Despite this rigid order much of the rules have two big caveats: Might Makes Right, and the teachers won't punish cheating — rather, they'll punish getting caught because it's a sign of sloppy work.

Presumably, such a school is funded by graduates tithing back money to the principal, though he or she may get funding from parents who enroll their children because they want their kids to follow their evil jackboot-steps. Then again, the school may act as a talent agency / crime ring and hire out students as mercenaries, or use them to commit crimes.


To be fair, Dark Is Not Evil, and the Academy Of Evil may just be suffering from a bad reputation. In this case it will at worst be teaching the Off-Grey Arts and fomenting ambition and guile in the student body. Speaking of which, expect it to have a near Darwinian social scene that makes most prisons seem like a Sugar Bowl. The Alpha Bitch won't just badmouth you, she'll have her Girl Posse cut you up and sell you for parts to the Mad Scientist-in-training.

If there is a good-aligned Wizarding School, Ninja School, or Superhero School, expect them both to be rivals. May overlap with All-Ghouls School, although they're more likely to be Dark Is Not Evil. This will most likely be where villains get their Morally Ambiguous Doctorates. See also Thug Dojo for a martial arts school that trains its students to be amoral Might Makes Right type villains.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, the monsters have a school where they learn how to be proper monsters. There always seems to be a lack of funding though...

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore did a 2000 AD gag strip based on one of these for Ming-style Space Opera bad guys.
  • St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls in Batman Incorporated, which is run by the international Terrorists Without a Cause group Leviathan and trains its pupils to become spies, assassins and depraved seducers. After Batman and an undercover Stephanie Brown took it out, it was restarted by Spyral, and trained its pupils to become spies, assassins, and depraved seducers for good causes, under the new headmistress Kathy Kane (the Silver Age Batwoman, recently retconned back into continuity).
  • In Black Hood Comics #9, criminal mastermind Markov started a school for (adult) criminals, teaching them how to fight barehanded, how to evade police capture, etc. He did so out of a simple desire to improve the local criminal landscape, having found the crooks he'd met up to that point clumsy and stupid.
  • In Deadly Class students are the sons and daughters of fine important figures such as KGB/CIA/FBI agents, Gangbangers, Neo Nazis, African Warlords, and South American Drug Cartels just to name a few.
  • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges are shown to have taken over their version of the Academy of Law during the destruction of their planet to teach the trainees how to best execute citizens.
  • Oft mentioned in Justice League International was the Manga Khan School of Melodrama, which taught students how to talk like a villain.
  • Villain Academy in Sentai School.
  • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: During the And the Enormous Profit arc, Aphra ultimately sells the Rur crystal to the "Shadow University". Though they are not shown doing anything particularly evil, the fact that they were included on the attendance list to Aphra's Auction of Evil and the fact that the morally grey Aphra says she admires them imply that they are this. They also threaten to expose Aphra's cheating and get her doctorate revoked again if she does not sell the Rur crystal to them.
    • The Shadow University returns during the Fortune and Fate arc, where we learn that they really do operate like a normal school (complete with peer-reviewed dissertations), and where it's reiterated that they have no problem buying clearly stolen artifacts from people like Aphra.
  • In the Marvel Universe, any institution run by Taskmaster is this — he first came to prominence running schools for henchmen of other supervillains. Later, during Dark Reign, he was in charge of The Initiative for a while. He's so good at what he does that the government sometimes hires him to train their operatives, including a replacement Captain America.
  • Xavier's School for Exceptionally Wayward Youth in X Men Noir is a reform school... but Professor X taught his students how to be better criminals rather than actually reforming them. He insists this was a ploy to gain their trust so they would gradually open up to him and therapy could begin in earnest. In reality, he was developing and studying them to prove his theory that sociopathy is the next stage of human behavioral evolution.
  • In mainstream X-Men continuity, Emma Frost used to be headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy — a front for the Hellfire Club that produced the Hellions, rivals to the then-Xavier Institute student body, the New Mutants. When Emma had her Heel–Face Turn, the Massachusetts Academy became a Superhero School, the front for Generation X.
    • In New X-Men: Academy X, the Hellions were another "house" within the Xavier Institute, but still kind of villain-y and rivals to the New Mutants team.
    • The Hellfire Academy in Wolverine and the X-Men is kind of like the Massachusetts Academy only completely insane.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From the Austin PowersVerse; Dr. Evil did not spend six years at Evil Medical School to be called "Mister", thank you very much.
  • The Karate Kid: Cobra Kai is essentially a Dojo of Evil.
  • Royal Pain plans to turn Sky High (2005) into one of these, turning the students, faculty and alumni into babies and then raising them anew as supervillains. Even before that the school already has villains, as evidenced by Speed and Lash.
  • The eponymous school in the 1960 film School for Scoundrels teaches how to be a nasty manipulative person, but without ever breaking any rules, because rule-breakers risk being caught. Based on a series of spoof self-help books.
  • St. Trinian's is more an academy of anarchy, but there are classes in various forms of lucrative crime and how to avoid arrest in foreign countries. The students and teachers do seem to be chaotic neutral rather than actually evil.

  • Played with in Discworld with the Assassins' Guild School, which while it does still teach the art of assassination, is also considered a prestigious academy for gentlemen and, as of recently, ladies. Another Academy of Evil is discussed in Sourcery, though it may not actually exist:
    Of course, all Grand Viziers talk like that all the time. There's probably a school somewhere.
  • Dracula is mentioned to have studied at the "Scholomance" — presumably the same one from the Myths & Religion section below. Freda Warrington's unofficial sequel has the now-abandoned Scholomance play a big role in the plot.
  • Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg's The Circle (2011): The witches are told straight out that their school is a place of evil. And much of the bad stuff in the novel happens there.
  • Battle School from Ender's Game is on the very dark side of morally ambiguous. On the one hand, they're training commanders to attack an alien race that once attacked them. On the other hand they plan the complete genocide of the aliens and consider students killing one another an acceptable part of their training. The eventual sequels cast Battle School in a different light, showing that while it's quite deliberately teaching "evil values" to many of the students, it's doing so for their weaknesses: the institution was founded to deal with far more important and long-term problems than an unfortunate kerfuffle with an alien race, and a number of its students were destined even before their enrollment to become problems. Battle School is actually finishing them to look really good to their sponsors upon graduation... and then fail miserably. (And in the meantime, using them to help finish the other students in other directions.)
  • The dark elven city of Menzoberranzan from Forgotten Realms has one, most elaborated on in R. A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels (but also appearing in Elaine Cunningham's Liriel novels and the War of the Spider Queen series). Tier-Breche (usually simply called "The Academy") is divided into three sub-schools, Melee-Magthere (for warriors), Sorcere (for wizards) and Arach-Tinillith (for the clergy of Lolth). Considering its two functions are to train the students to lethal efficiency in their particular discipline and firmly induct them into a Religion of Evil, it's a very scary place. Since the main hero Drizzt is a warrior, his education mostly takes place in Melee-Magthere — and it's ripe with backstabbing, Klingon Promotion and things like using children to bait monsters for students to practice on. And yet Drizzt's mentor [Defector from Decadence Zaknafaien]] adamantly insists that he goes there, because apparently Sorcere is even worse.
  • Catherine Jinks's Evil Genius Trilogy sends its protagonist, the Sociopathic Hero Cadel, to the Axis Institute, which includes courses like "Poisoning" and "Forgery."
  • Harry Potter:
    • It's noted that Durmstrang, the Eastern European school, has the reputation as this among the eleven great Wizarding schools of the world. Even though they don't accept muggleborns and teach Dark Arts, it's downplayed. They have one particularly infamous former pupil, Dumbledore's old "friend"/arch-nemesis Gellert Grindelwald, but they had to draw the line and expel him when he crossed a line, whereas a school that really played this trope straight would probably have nurtured him. We do meet Durmstrang alumni who are definitely not evil and take a hard stand against evil (Viktor Krum comes to mind right away) and this isn't shown as being very odd. It's also noted in some supplemental information that the school has gone through a bit of a renaissance after trying to rehabilitate after the fall of Voldemort.
    • The Death Eaters tried to make Hogwarts this in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when it's being run by the Death Eaters — they change the curriculum to make the Dark Arts and Muggle "Studies" mandatory, making the curriculum all-evil, all the time. It doesn't work on the students except for Slytherin House.
      • Slytherin House has this reputation even earlier in the series; nearly all of the Death Eaters came from Slytherin.
  • The House of Reform in The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, rivals to the eponymous Extranormal Institute, and described as "a whole school of Wrong 'Uns. Lobelia Draycott probably gave out end of term prizes for the most inventive crimes."
  • The Higher Institute of Villainous Education, or H.I.V.E.
  • Lawless Academy in Lawless is a school for criminals.
  • In Rogue Sorcerer, the Tower is an academy for Sorcerers who use blood magic to control murderous demons.
  • In The Screwtape Letters, it's mentioned that Hell has a Training College for young devils, run by a demon named Slubgob. They study such courses as sexual temptation ("a subject of considerable tedium," complains Screwtape, who is no Horny Devil) and disguising oneself as an Angel of Light.
  • There is a "Shadow Academy" in Star Wars Legends, as a Dark Side counterpart to the Jedi Academy.
  • In Twig, an academic organization known simply as "The Academy" is the scientific force behind an empire spanning a full third of the known world, with a specialization in biological modification. Weapons projects are first in line for funding, students are subtly encouraged to backstab and sabotage each other, and the Academy has anyone who they suspect knows Academy science when they shouldn't assassinated.
  • The Nightmoore Academy of Frank Peretti's Veritas Project series.
  • The Wheel of Time has Mesaana opening a lot of those during the Age of Legends, and its pupils were not dedicated to idle cackling.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: A Season 5 episode reveals that HYDRA operated at least one secret facility that served as a boarding school for children born into the organization. It's shown that Brigadier General Hale, Wolfgang Von Strucker, and Jasper Sitwell were all students there in the same class.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) featured a school where students were implanted with a mind control chip. One of the classes featured assassination as a viable business practice for getting rid of the competition.
  • The Thundermans: Max Thunderman wants to go to one of these, but for now he's keeping up the Masquerade in a suburban public school. And since that's the whole premise of the show...
  • There are two that show up in Charmed, both called simply The Academy. They focus on turning humans into demons.

    Myths & Religion 


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Bleak Academy in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine exists beyond the edge of the world; many of the darker characters have studied there.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, devils are Lawful Evil outsiders created from mortal soul shells, in a gruesome process that strips the damned soul of its memories and original personality. To help them (re)learn how to infiltrate and manipulate mortal society, promising devils are sent to Offalion, an academy of sorts on Baator's squalid layer of Maladomini. Here senior baatezu put together half-ruined mock-ups of Material Plane locales like marketplaces, temples and palaces, to run intricate scenarios and simulations that prepare devils for upcoming missions. Success means a devil can be sent off on assignment to continue climbing Hell's hierarchy, while failure may lead devils to be demoted into a lower form of baatezu. Sometimes mortals are conscripted to take part in the scenarios as advisors or even wild cards, and those who do so have a chance to learn about the devils' plans for the Material Plane.

    Video Games 
  • Byrgenwerth College in Bloodborne. While they started out as a regular college of some type, one day they discovered the hidden Pthumerian Tombs below the city of Yharnam. It was their decision to crack open the "Tomb of the Gods" that inadvertently started the city's descent into madness, and it was a demented former student that started the blood craze (leading to the Vilebloods). The evil part comes in when it's revealed in The Old Hunters DLC that Byrgenwerth sent Hunters and students to sack a fishing village that was home to a local Eldritch Abomination and apparently killed everyone there. Eventually, they split into several factions, the largest of which being the Healing Church. Their decision to keep investigating alternate ways of understanding the Pthumerians' mastery of magic aside from Old Blood (the Fishing Hamlet massacre, research on Insight) brought them into conflict with the Healing Church, and spelled doom for everyone involved. In the modern day, Byrgenwerth is abandoned aside from the dead and the insane. The implication is that most students went their separate ways once the Healing Church started to take off.
    • The School of Mensis is a heretical offshoot of the Healing Church, which as previously mentioned splintered from Byrgenwerth. It is, bar none, the most malevolent faction of the game, having no issue with kidnapping people to serve as fodder for their rituals. Their land has been twisted into an expanse of mountains bearing countless screaming faces, rising above a sea of fog. Their headquarters serve as a prison for an Eldritch Abomination and an incubator for another.
  • Choice of Games offers Grand Academy for Future Villains where you're attending the school that teachers evil masterminds and would-be despots, and is aware of the genres they're being to sent to.
  • The Academy of Evil, from Crash Twinsanity, a private school that literally teaches students to be evil, for the sake of being evil. The series' antagonist, Dr. Neo Cortex, studied here, while his niece was thrown out and had to continue her studies at the Evil Public School.
  • The Institute of Evil, Nether Academy — the setting of Disgaea 3. It's literally a school in hell, where demons go to learn how to be properly evil (By their generally awkward standards). Since Disgaea demons run on Bad is Good and Good is Bad, the students they consider honor students are the ones who never attend class or do their homework, while the delinquents are the ones who maintain 100% attendance (even though the teachers rarely bother showing up), and give THEMSELVES homework (which they always complete) since the teachers won't. They also pick up litter. Oddly, the so-called "delinquents" are the only ones who ever get to graduate from the academy, since they run off the same standards as any other school in that regard... In fact, the previously mentioned delinquents are the first ones to ever graduate, which amounts to be Kicked Upstairs. You see, the Academy's objective is to make the students remain paying the tuition for all eternity.
  • The Sith Academies on Korriban and Malachor V in Knights of the Old Republic and The Sith Lords, respectively. The former encourages backstabbing and killing your fellow students and even teachers to gnaw your way to the top. The Korriban academy has been rebuilt and reestablished by the time of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's not notably less evil than it used to be, as Sith Warrior and Inquisitor player characters can attest. For starters, it's possible (even encouraged) for each of them to be the Sole Survivor of their training cadre.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake: Big Boss runs a child soldier military, outright declaring his pride in creating a cycle of retaliation and death that will ensure the darkest parts of war survive to the modern ages. But given the sheer level of his charisma and military prowess in building his PMC, and the capabilities of his archrivals, it's implied that he was training up the next generation of Millitaries Sans Frontieres, an international infiltration and shock trooper army, to harass and terrorize the world whenever it got complacent enough to send good soldiers into the meat grinder for fun and profit, or when secret organizations attempt to enslave the world again.
  • Scholomance in World of Warcraft. It's a school for necromancy that trains aspiring cultists and minions of the Scourage.
  • The Umbrella Management Training Facility in Resident Evil 0 is what it sounds like: an ornate, mansion-like university of sorts owned by Umbrella to train prospective employees, managers and scientists for future employment, as well as instill within its students fanatical loyalty to the company. Said education does indeed involve Umbrella's signature unethical experiments with viruses among others. Additionally, its situated in the Arklay Mountains of Raccoon City, not far from Umbrella's main Arklay Laboratory. And yes, there is a hidden lab underneath the facility as well, run by a mad scientist (James Marcus) to boot, and to give you an idea of what kind of madmen this place churned out, series supervillain Albert Wesker got his start here alongside G-Virus creator William Birkin. The school was shut down at some point, and when plans to reopen it were made, they were just as soon scrapped by both the resurrected James Marcus going on a rampage and unleashing the T-Virus in it, and when Birkin set off the facility's self-destruct system, destroying it.

    Web Comics 
  • EVIL (the Elite Villain's Institute of Learning) is a combination of this and Wacky College.
  • Evil University in Adventurers!.
  • The defunct webcomic Mad About U was set in a university for mad scientists.
  • In Nodwick, the evil wizard Ildomir went to a school for wizards called the Heractium Dark Arts Academy.

    Web Original 
  • Silas University in Carmilla the Series is an evil university, as described in its student handbook. Which at Door Stopper length (700 pages), Laura Hollis failed to read.
  • The Round Robin story Dark Heart High uses one as a setting.
  • In the world of Nocte Yin, there are Evil Academy and Hero Academy, as well as their rival schools.
  • The SCP Foundation frequently has to deal with SCPs created by Alexylva University, a mind control-obsessed organization from an Alternate Universe where the Roman empire lasted to the modern age.
  • Deville Academy, in the Whateley Universe, is a school that takes in poor, young delinquents... and turns them into the best thieves, spies, and killers on the planet. Except for those mutant supervillains.

    Western Animation 
  • The Huntsclan Academy in American Dragon: Jake Long, where students are taught how to slay dragons and to be overall racist Knight Templars.
  • Carmen Sandiego has V.I.L.E. Academy, where said villainous organization trains new generations of super criminals. The title character was a student there, having been raised there from infancy, but escaped and went rogue after realizing they were the bad guys.
  • The Cool McCool episode "College Of Crooks," consisting of Cool's regular roster of villains (The Owl, the Rattler, Hurricane Harry, Jack-In-The-Box, Dr. Madcap and Greta Ghoul).
  • An episode of Dog City had mob boss Bugsy attempt to turn a regular school into this.
  • Earthworm Jim feature a humorous advertisement for a school for villains, showing a teacher pointing at the black board and reading, "Ah...ha...ha...ha...ha..."
  • One episode of Inspector Gadget had the titular character shutting down the M.A.D. Acedemy, which was one of these. Then, in the 2015 version, we have Evil U, which is also one of these.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz intended to open one in "The Swiss Family Phineas". He tried to drive laundromats bankrupt so he could turn them into school buildings.
  • Downplayed in The Simpsons episode "Homie the Clown", where The Mafia takes over Krusty's clown college and the new instructors encourage students to commit crimes.
    Mafia Goon: Kids these days have a lot of money, so after you perform, you might consider robbing 'em!
  • Hexley Hall in Sofia the First is shown to have rather naughty students that pick on any non-wizards.
  • Sonic Boom:
    • "Eggheads" involved Eggman running an impromptu version of this after brainwashing Sonic's friends into evil geniuses like himself.
    • "Mister Eggman" revolves around Eggman running to college to get his degree in Evil Science after learning he failed to get the last two credits required.
  • In Teen Titans, there was the H.I.V.E. (not this one), which originally trained super-villains to work as mercenaries, its star pupils being Jinx, Gizmo, and Mammoth, used by Slade in a very early episode. Later, in the third season, the school played a much bigger part of the plot, with Brother Blood as the Big Bad of the storyline and headmaster of the school. After Blood's defeat, the school was defunct, but Jinx, Gizmo, and Mammoth formed a team called the H.I.V.E. Five (which eventually got six members) that eventually joined the Brain's Brotherhood of Evil.
  • Perfecto Prep from Tiny Toon Adventures.
  • Subverted with Cloud Tower, a boarding school for witches in Winx Club. Despite its dark atmosphere, the school has nothing more than your standard academic rivalry with the protagonists' Alfea Academy. Most witches from the institution, such as Headmistress Griffin, are mischievous at best and mild jerks at worst. In fact, recurring antagonists the Trix get expelled from the school early on precisely because of their evil behavior.


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