Testing Exceptions in C# with NUnit

Testing Exceptions in C# with NUnit


Exceptions are an essential part of any programming language, and they can help to prevent crashes and ensure that code is robust. However, testing exceptions can be a complex task, as they can be triggered by a variety of different conditions.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to test exceptions in C# using NUnit, a popular unit testing framework.

Exception Handling in C#

In C#, exceptions are represented by the Exception class and its subclasses. When an exception occurs, it is thrown, which means that it is passed up the call stack until it is caught. If an exception is not caught, the program will crash.

Try-Catch Blocks

Try-catch blocks are used to catch exceptions and execute code in response to them. The general syntax of a try-catch block is as follows:

  // Code that may throw exceptions
catch (Exception e)
  // Code to handle exceptions

The try block contains the code that may throw exceptions. If an exception is thrown, it will be caught by the catch block. The catch block can contain code to handle the exception, such as logging the exception or retrying the operation.

Testing Exceptions

Testing exceptions can be tricky, as they often require specific conditions to be met in order to be thrown. However, NUnit provides a number of tools that can make it easier to test exceptions.

The AssertThrows Exception Method

The Assert.ThrowsException method is a powerful tool for testing exceptions. It can be used to verify that a given piece of code throws a specific exception. The general syntax is as follows:

  () => {
    // Code that may throw exceptions

This method takes two parameters: the exception type to expect and the code to execute. If the code throws the expected exception, the test will pass. If the code does not throw an exception, or if it throws an unexpected exception, the test will fail.

The Exception TestFixture

The Exception test fixture is a special test fixture that can be used to test exceptions in a more controlled environment. It provides a number of methods that can be used to set up and tear down test conditions, such as creating mock objects and throwing exceptions.

Using NUnit to Test Exceptions

Here is an example of how to use NUnit to test an exception:

public class MyExceptionTests
  public void MyMethodThrowsException()
    // Set up test conditions

    // Execute code that may throw exceptions

    // Assert that the expected exception is thrown
      () => MyMethod()

This test will verify that the MyMethod method throws a MyException when it is called.


Testing exceptions can be an important part of developing robust and reliable software.

By using NUnit and its built-in tools, developers can ensure that their code handles exceptions correctly and does not crash.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.