Celebs And Their Amazing Degrees

Published on LoanPride

We all know these celebs entertainers as musicians, actors, comedians etc. but what we didn't know is that many of them studied something completely different before becoming famous, some of them even studied during their respective careers as an insurance policy for their future.

Prepare to be shocked by their impressive degrees…

Shaquille O'Neal – M.B.A, UOPX / PhD in Education, Barry University

Shaquille O'Neal is NBA legend, Actor & Rapper but he is also a Doctor of Education in Human Resource Development. Starting his academic career at the University of Phoenix and finishing at Barry University.

His doctoral capstone was "The Duality of Humor and Aggression in Leadership Styles".

Fun Fact: For his graduation ceremony he wore a custom-made 3XXL robe.

Lisa Kudrow – B.Sc in Biology, Vassar College

Actress-comedian Lisa Kudrow is known to the world as the ditzy blonde, Phoebe Buffay, on the iconic show "Friends" but before landing the role that changed her life, Kudrow had planned to follow in her father's footsteps and become a researcher in the field of Headaches. She even worked on her father's research team for 8 years before breaking into acting. Yet another case of don't judge a book by its cover.

Ice Cube – B.E in Architectural Drafting, Phoenix IT

Jerry Springer is notoriously known for his talk-show "The Jerry Springer Show" where loved ones get into heated arguments while the crowd cheers, but before he ventured into that form of entertainment he earned himself a degree in Political Science from Tulane University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in Law. He did practice law and also had a career in Politics but he spent over 3 decades in the entertainment business.

Emma Watson – B.A in English, Brown University

Since growing up on the set of the Harry Potter films, Emma Watson didn't attend "normal school" like most kids, so High education was very important to her. She chose to study English Literature at the prestigious Brown University while also studying an academic year in Worcester College, Oxford. She graduated and received her degree at Brown.

Fun Fact: Emma is also certified to teach Yoga and meditation.

Weird Al – B.A in Architecture, Cal Poly

Alfred Yankovic (AKA Weird Al) is known for his humorous songs, satiric videos and his quick quips but before he became the ambassador for Parody-music he attended the California Polytechnic State University majoring in Architecture. Can you imagine?

Rebel Wilson – B.A & B.L in Arts and Law, USW

Australian Actress Rebel Wilson didn't take college life to seriously on screen but in real life the funny girl graduated with honors a double major in Law and Arts from the University of New South Wales. Impressive.

Ron Jeremy – M.A in Special Education – Queens College

Ron J. Hyatt has been a special education teacher before he became the adult films legend known as Ron Jeremy. He has a master's degree in Special Education from Queens College in New York. Can you imagine finding out something like this on your former teacher?? Shocking!

James Franco – B.A in English, UCLA / M.A in Art, Colombia

Actor-Writer-Producer-Director powerhouse, James Franco, may have the public image of a goofy party-boy but it turns out he has a huge passion for the academics. He graduated with honors at UCLA, Columbia University, NYU, Brooklyn College, Warren Wilson College, Rhode Island School of Design, He is currently working on his English P.H.D at Yale University.

Fun Fact: Franco studied on set during shootings of his films and was able to complete a few of his classes online while maintaining a 3.5 GPA. Impressive!

Hugh Jackman – B.A in Communication, UTS

Before he became one of the most successful actors to-ever-come-out from Australia, Hugh Jackman studied Communications with a focus in Journalism in the University of Technology in Sydney. He discovered his passion for the performing arts early on and received additional education from WAAP in Edith Cowan University. Can you imagine Wolverine doing interviews instead of taking on the bad guys? Neither can we.

Dolph Lundgren – B.Sc in Chemistry, WSU / B.Sc & M.Sc in Chemical Engineering, KTH & USyd

Action superstar Dolph Lundgren had some serious aspirations to become a Chemical Engineer. He received a degree in Chemistry at Washington State University, later gained a degree in Chemical Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology and completed his master's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Sydney.

Fun Fact: Lundgren received the Fulbright scholarship to MIT and moved to Boston but his love life moved him to NYC where he started his famed acting career.

Brian May (Queen) – PhD in Astrophysics – Imperial College London

Most people know Brian May as the legendary guitarist of the iconic band Queen but as much as he is gifted in music, he is also blessed with a brilliant scientific mind.

Other than a PhD in Astrophysics from the Research University – Imperial College London, he also served as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 to 2013 and was a "science team collaborator" on NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission.

Fun Fact: Asteroid 52665 "Brianmay" was named after him. The man is not just a rock star he is an asteroid star.

Carrie Underwood – B.A in Mass Communication, NSU

Country superstar Carrie Underwood is not just an American Idol season four winner she is also a sharp writer & student who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications focusing on Journalism in Northeastern State University.

Natalie Portman – B.A in Psychology, Harvard University

Natalie Portman became the first Oscar-winning actress to graduate the prestigious Harvard University. During her studies, she was a research assistant, co-wrote two research papers that were later published in scientific journals and contributed to a memory study titled "Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy". Post-Graduation Portman took a few courses in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Fun Fact: Natalie speaks English, Hebrew, French, German, Japanese and Arabic.

Rowan Atkinson – BSc & MSc in Electrical Engineering, Newcastle University/Queen's College

It's hard to think of the goofy Mister Bean as a serious student but coming from a proper British family, Rowan Atkinson was expected to study for a "real job" and so he pursues his intellectual path to Newcastle University, where he gained his BSc in Electrical Engineering and then continued to receive his MSc degree in the same major at Queen's College, Oxford. After he made a name for himself as a comedic performer, Queen's College made him an Honorary Fellow.

Sacha Baron Cohen – B.A in History, Cambridge University

When you think about characters like Ali G and Borat, the word 'Educated' does not come to mind, however, Actor-Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen had graduated with upper-second-class honors from Christ's College (Under Cambridge University) where he wrote a dissertation on "The Jewish Impact on the U.S. Civil Rights Movement". He decided that instead of pursuing his PhD he will attempt making people laugh and made it big.

Mayim Bialik – PhD in Neuroscience, UCLA

Mayim Bialik is not just a successful TV star for over 4 decades she also has a PhD in Neuroscience and on her B.Sc was a triple major with Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She was also accepted to both Harvard & Yale but decided to study in UCLA to be able to juggle her academic life with her acting. The Big Bang actress might not have to work too hard to understand her lines, after all her dissertation was such a light read titled: "Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader–Willi syndrome" – try saying it in one try, we dare you!

Ken Jeong – M.D, UNC School of Medicine

Dr.Ken is not just a fancy TV titled for the hilarious actor Ken Jeong, who graduated from Duke University and later received his M.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

After completing his medical residency in Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, he was convinced by his wife to pursue his passion for stand-up and acting.

Fun fact: Jeong is a licensed doctor in the state of California.

Christy Turlington – B.A in Comparative Religion & Eastern Philosophy, NYU

Supermodel Christy Turlington is the ultimate triple threat: Brains, Looks & Heart. She had graduated from New York University with a double major in Religion and Eastern Philosophy and later continued her education at Columbia University working on her Master's degree in Public Health. Turlington founded a non-profit organization dedicated to safe pregnancy and childbirth all around the world.

Bill Cosby – PhD in Education, UMass

Actor-Comedian-Singer-Author Bill Cosby is probably one of the most iconic names in American-TV sitcoms history since the 60s but he also has a passion for Education – learning and teaching. He received his B.A, M.A & PhD in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Fun Fact: Along with his Emmys and Grammys, Cosby was awarded 57 honorary Academic degrees since 1985 (such as Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Fine Arts, Doctor of Humane Letters & Doctor of Music), However, due to recent events some of his degrees were revoked.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson – BGs in Criminology & Physiology, UM

Wrestling Superstar turned actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is not only unbelievably strong he is also extremely sharp. He graduated from the University of Miami with a double major degree in criminology and physiology.

Fun Fact: Johnson's autobiography "The Rock Says" debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and spent over 20 weeks on the list.

Gerard Butler – B.L in Law, University of Glasgow

It seems that even in his academia years Gerard Butler was a work hard – Play hard kind of a guy and although he did finish his Law degree from the University of Glasgow School of Law it didn't come easily. The Scottish party boy took a year off to live the wildl ife in California before committing to that one last year in his degree.

David Duchovny – B.A in English, Princeton University / M.A in English, Yale University

We know David Duchovny as a struggling author on the TV show "Californication" but in real life, he is quite the opposite of that. He studied English literature at both Princeton & Yale graduating with a B.A and a M.A and he also began working on a Phd but had yet to finish it.

Fun Fact: Duchovny published two books titled "Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale" and "Bucky F*cking Dent".

Eddie Redmayne – B.A in History of Art, Cambridge University

Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne attended Eton College the same year as Prince William and graduated with honors at Trinty College, Cambridge majoring in History of Art.

Fun Fact: Despite being colorblind, Redmayne wrote his dissertation on the color-shade International Klein Blue".

Dexter Holland (The Offspring) – B.Sc in Biology & M.Sc in Molecular Biology, USC

Punk-Rocker Dexter Holland is a total nerd! (in the best possible way of course). The lead singer of The Offspring has a bachelor's degree in Biology and master's in Molecular Biology both from the University of Southern California. He was in the process of getting his PhD in Molecular Biology but the band became an international success and he stopped his candidature. Recently, Holland returned to Academia as a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research.

Jerry Springer – B.A in Political Science, Tulane University / J.D in Law, Northwestern University

Jerry Springer is notoriously known for his talk-show "The Jerry Springer Show" where loved ones get into heated arguments while the crowd cheers, but before he ventured into that form of entertainment he earned himself a degree in Political Science from Tulane University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in Law. He did practice law and also had a career in Politics but he spent over 3 decades in the entertainment business.

Ashley Judd – B.A in French, UK / MPA – Harvard University

Award-winning actress Ashley Judd has a B.A degree in French from the University of Kentucky and she had graduated the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a Public Administration degree. Judd was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College.

Hugh Grant – B.A in English, Oxford University

The British charmer Hugh Grant had studied English Literature at the New College, Oxford and graduated with honors. He also received an offer from the Courtauld Institute of Art to pursue a PhD in Art History but decided not to take the offer because he could not secure a full grant.

Eva Longoria – B.Sc in Kinesiology, ATM / M.A in Chicano Studies, CSUN

The “Desperate Housewives” star graduated Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology (the scientific study of human or non-human body movement). Later in her career, she earned a Master's degree in Chicano Studies from California State University.

Edward Norton – B.A in History, Yale University

Before becoming a famous actor and an activist Edward Norton graduated from Yale University with a degree in History. While he was a student he was also a competitive rower and took some acting lessons on the side.

Fun Fact: After graduation, Norton worked at his Grandfather's company as a consultant in Osaka Japan while also speaking some Japanese.

Martha Stewart – B.A in European & Architectural History, Bernard College

Before turning herself into a household brand, Marat Stewart enrolled Bernard College with the intention of majoring in Chemistry but quickly switched to a double major in European History & Architectural History.

Fun Fact: To help pay her tuition Martha did some modeling for Chanel.

Steve Carell – B.A in History, Dension University

Before becoming known as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", Steve Carell was all about History, especially American History, earning him a degree from Dension University. Quite the serious subject for The Office's goofy star.

Matthew Fox – B.Ec in Economics, Columbia University

Known for his leading roles in shows like "Party of Five" and "Lost", actor Matthew Fox received his degree in Economics from Columbia University, where he also met his wife. In recent years he's been getting into some troubles with the law and hasn't been acting much, so it might be a good thing that he has a degree to fall back on.

John Legend  – B.A in English, Penn University

Musician John Legend not only has numerous music awards including an Oscar, a Golden Globe and Grammys, he also graduated with honors from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania earning a degree in English focusing on African-American Literature.

Lucy Liu – B.A in Asian Languages & Cultures, UMich

Actress Lucy Liu is not just highly intelligent on TV. She started her degree in New York University and later transferred to the University of Michigan where she graduated with honors majoring in Asian languages and cultures.

Kevin Costner – B.B.A in Business, CSUF

Actor and Filmmaker Kevin Costner graduated California State University with a degree in Marketing and Finance, both majors are pretty handy when you work in such a busy industry.

Fun Fact: Costner did work in Marketing for exactly 30 days before his wife urged him to pursue his acting career full time.

Conan O’Brien – B.A in History & American Literature, Harvard University

Comedian and talk-show host Conan O'Brien majored in American Literature and History at the prestigious Harvard University. As a student, he was also the editor of the Harvard Lampoon and graduated with honors.

Rashida Jones – B.A in Religion & Philosophy, Harvard University

Actress and writer Rashida Jones ("The Office") was quite the busy beaver while attending Harvard University, she belonged to over 5 clubs, houses, and societies. She graduated with a double major in Religion and Philosophy.

Fun Fact: Jones was initially interested in becoming a lawyer the notorious O. J. Simpson murder trial changed her mind. She studied religion and philosophy

Armin van Buuren – B.L in Law, Leiden University

Dutch Superstar DJ Armin van Buuren is known internationally for his explosive live shows and cool musical collaborations but before he became one of the most famous DJs in the world he studies Law in the prestigious Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Will Ferrell – B.A in Sports Information, USC

SNL legend Will Ferrell studied Sports Broadcasting at the University of Southern California
and along with the title of "school prankster" he earned himself a degree in Sports Information.

Fun Fact: With no real surprise there, Ferrell was known for "streaking" around campus with a few of his Fraternity friends.

Jodie Foster – B.A in Literature, Yale University

Oscar winner Jody Foster had an early start in her acting career but that didn't stop her from perusing a college degree and not just any college, she graduated from Yale University majoring in Literature.

Brooke Shields – B.A in Romance Languages, Princeton University

Model-Actress Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton University majoring in Romance Languages and specializing in French literature. She is a proud supporter of her Ivy League school and had returned to give keynote speeches on many occasions.

Rooney Mara – B.Sc in Psychology & International Social Policy, NYU

Actress and activist Rooney Mara first attended George Washington University for a year and then transferred to New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she graduated with a triple major in Psychology, International Social Policy and Nonprofits that inspired her philanthropic work.

Elizabeth Banks – B.A in Communications, Penn University

Actress and Filmmaker Elizabeth Banks graduated with honors from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Communications and minored in Theater Arts. She also earned herself a Master of Fine Arts in Theater from the American Conservatory Theater acting school.  


Maggie Gyllenhaal – B.A in Literature & Eastern Religions, Columbia University

Golden Globes winning actress and activist Maggie Gyllenhaal graduated Columbia University with a dual degree in Literature and Eastern Religions.

Fun Fact: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie's brother, also studied Eastern Religions and philosophy at Columbia University, however, he dropped out after 2 years to focus on his acting.


Bradley Cooper – B.A in English, Georgetown University

Actor and producer Bradley Cooper attended Villanova University for a year before transferring to Georgetown University where he earned his degree in English. He also earned himself a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the famous Actors Studio Drama School in New York.

Fun Fact: Cooper is fluent in French after spending six months as an exchange student at Aix-en-Provence in France


Patrick Schwarzenegger – B.B.A in Business, USC

Following his famous father's footsteps not only in acting, but Patrick Schwarzenegger also graduated from USC Marshall School of Business, which is pretty helpful as he has his own company since he was 15 years old.

Reba McEntire – B.A in Elementary Education, SOSU

Country legend Reba McEntire once thought of pursuing a career in teaching and earned herself a Bachelor's Degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She did minor in music and performed in local bars next to the University so it was only a matter of time before she discovered her true calling.


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