13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Have An Advanced Degree


Celebrities might not be the first people that you think of when it comes to big brains. But some of them are pretty smart. A lot of celebrities have learnt the hard lesson that fame doesn’t last forever. Plenty of stars have started to make sure that they have an education to fall back on. But some celebrities had those college degrees before they hit the big time. Here are some celebrities who have college degrees and prove that A-lister can mean A-star student too.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq had a career in pro basketball that lasted nearly a decade but he was determined that he would have a college degree to fall back on when his career finished. Sure, he has four rap albums but it’s nothing compared to his college education. He left college to play pro basketball but promised that he would go back one day. In 2000 he returned to college and got his college degree, receiving a bachelor of arts in general studies. His coach let him miss a home game so that he could attend this graduation. He then got another college degree in 2005 from the University of Phoenix. He returned to college in 2012 and received a doctorate in Human Resource Development from Barry University. All this while he was still playing basketball, serving as a reserve police officer and acting. He is planning on going back to college again to study law.

Ashley Judd

She is a world-famous actress who is known for her humanitarian work but she is also a smart lady. Ashley had an interesting education before she set off to college. She attended 13 different high schools before she started her college degree at the University of Kentucky. She thought her degree had been wasted as she was short a class, but it turns out she only needed to sign a piece to paper to get her degree. She had studied for her college degree in French in 1990 but didn’t receive it until 2007. She minored in art history, women’s studies, anthropology and theatre. She went on to receive an honorary college degree from Union College in Kentucky. In 2010 Ashley received a college degree from Harvard University in Master of Public Administration which she completed over a year.

James Franco

In the Spiderman trilogy, he played the part of the rich kid who didn’t like school. In real life, James Franco is known for taking on more than one college degree at a time. Between acting jobs, James studies a lot. He had originally planned to study for a college degree in Marine Biology before he began acting. When his career started moving in a way he wasn’t happy with he went back to college. He received his college degree in 2008 while he studied on film sets. James loves to study and has said that it keeps him grounded. During the 2011 Academy Awards, James choose to stay in class rather than attend the ceremony. His college education has been so varied that he can now teach and does it any chance he gets. His most recent college experience is at Yale University where he is studying for PhD in English.

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa has made a name for herself as playing the dumb and quirky blonde in plenty of different shows but she had originally planned on being a researcher. She had graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, with a degree in psychobiology. And yes, her college degree sounds as complicated as you think it is. Psychobiology is a form of neuroscience that studies different behavioural mechanisms in humans and animals. She went to Los Angeles with her college degree in hand and planned to start researching and working with her dad. But she ended up taking part in a theatre group and was so successful she went on to acting. We are guessing all that studying in college gave her the upper hand when it came to acting the dumb blonde because that is something that she definitely isn’t.

“Weird” Al Yankovic

Weird Al is known for his songs and parodies of different artists but he is a smart cookie too. When he was young he was known as a nerd because he started school a year before everyone else and then skipped the second grade. After he finished high school he went to college and got his college degree in architecture. It was while he was studying for his degree at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo that he got the nickname “Weird Al” on the radio. Al has never used his college degree and since he left college he has worked on his music. One of the things he must have learnt at college was respect, Al never does a song without the original artist’s permission. A smart guy who is funny and shows respect? Just another reason to love the guy.

Ken Jeong

Funnyman Ken has had plenty of comedy roles but have you ever noticed how he plays a doctor so well? That’s because he is one. Ken graduated high school at 16 years old before heading off to college. He got his first degree at Duke University in 1990. He then went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and got his MD degree in 1995. Ken didn’t let his college degrees go to waste. He completed his residency at Ochsner Medical Centre in New Orleans and is still a licensed physician in the State of California. He started stand up comedy while he was completing his residency. His first acting job was playing a doctor in an episode of “The Big Easy”. He has had around 10 different acting roles as a doctor so he has been putting those college degrees to got use on the set.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim started her career as the baby-faced Blossom on the hit TV series. When the show finished in 1995 she decided to head off for a college at UCLA. She wanted to stay close to her parents and turned the chance to attend Yale and Harvard. It was there that she earned her first college degree in neuroscience. She took a break from studying in 2005 to go back to acting but it didn’t take her long to get another college degree. In 2007 she received her PhD in neuroscience. This has come in handy since she went to work on “The Big Bang Theory” as Dr Amy Farrah Fowler. On the show, she gets to use that big brain to help the creators of the show with proper neuroscience for the script. Before she joined the show there were references to her PhD made by the characters when they wanted her to join the physics team.

Jay Leno

Jay is known as the host of the Tonight Show but got into comedy while he was in college. When he left high school he headed off to college at Emerson College. While it was there he set up the college stand up club in 1973 and studied for his college degree in speech therapy. When he performing at the college comedy club he got the bug for stand up comedy. When he left college he started stand up and worked 300 nights a year until 1992 when he got his own show. It might seem like a waste of a college degree but he has put his training to good use on stage. His degree has made it easier for him to communicate with large crowds and easy to understand. He is now over $130 million so it must have been worth all that studying.

Rowan Atkinson

Rowan is known for his dim-witted characters and is famous for making generations of British people laugh using hardly any words as Mr Bean. Before he started comedy he studied at college and received a college degree from Newcastle University, England, in electrical engineering. After this he went on to Queen’s College, Oxford in England to study for his MSc in electrical engineering in 1975. While he was at Queen’s College he caught the attention of the drama societies and he met the people who would help to shape his career. His college career wasn’t finished when he left for comedy. In 2006 the Queens’ College made him an Honorary Fellow after all of his success. If it wasn’t for his college education we would not have the comedy stylings of Mr Bean and Blackadder.

Dolph Lundgren

The Swedish actor is known for his big action roles rather than his big brains. When he was a kid he was a bit of a small fry and a nerd. His dad encouraged him with his studies and moved to the United States in the 1970s to study. His first college degree was from Washington State University when he received his degree in chemistry. After one year of mandatory service with the Swedish Marine Corps, he went back to college. He then got his second degree in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. At the beginning of the 1980’s he moved to Sydney, Australia and received a Master’s degree in chemical engineering while he worked as a butcher. He was even awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT. The film Expendables made references to Dolph’s education as an expert despite his appearance as a dummy.

Brian May

When Brian was in college he started a band with his friends and went on to become one of the biggest rock stars in the world. During the 1970’s Brian studied at Imperial College in London, England, where he got his college degree in mathematics and physics. But in 1974 his band Queen received massive success and he decided to drop out of college to tour with the band. Not everyone was happy with this. When his dad found out Brian had dropped out of college he was not impressed. It was only when Brian flew his parents to New York to see Queen play that his dad understood why he had dropped out. In 2006 Brian went back to college to finish his studies and received his PhD a year later. He has put all the studying to good use because now he takes part in different astrophysics events.

Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir might be a heavyweight boxer but there are brains behind those muscles. As well as speaking his native language of Ukrainian, he speaks Russian, German and English, plus he has a college degree or two. In the ring, Wladimir is called “Dr Steelhammer” for a reason, he actually has a PhD. When he was in college he boxed at the local amateur boxing club. From 1996 he studied at Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky Pedagogical Institute. After he left there and until 2001 Wladimir studied sports science at Kiev University where he received his PhD. It was only after he graduated that he started boxing professionally. He has been using his knowledge over the years to help different causes and projects across the world to help end war. Hopefully, all that boxing won’t have knocked his college degree out of his head.

Gerard Butler

Gerard may be known as a rough actor but he has studied hard at college to get a college degree in law. When Gerard was young he moved from Scotland to Canada, and then back to Scotland again when his parents split up. He stayed in Scotland for his education and got good grades at school and went off to college. He studied for a law degree while he was at Glasgow University. His father died when Gerard was 22 years old and he took a year out of college to heal and go travelling. When he came back he finished his college degree but never got to finish his training, he was fired from his training one week before he qualified as a lawyer. After that, he decided to become famous and keep up his partying lifestyle. He now uses that college degree to get out of trouble with the law.

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