Enjoy some more celebs who already have more money than they could spend, and the surprising degrees that may or may not have contributed to it.
The Rock Has a Degree in Criminology
Known to many as a world-class pro wrestler, there is a lot more in Dwayne Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He is an actor, an athlete, a total hunk, but he is also the owner of a Bachelor of General Studies degree in criminology and physiology.
He graduated in 1995 from the University of Miami, and since then, criminals would do well to stay away from him if they don't feel like wrestling him in person.
Mara Wilson Has a Degree in Creative Writing
Mara Wilson had her big break playing the lead in the film Matilda, in which her character was a child with supernatural powers. Later on in life, however, she chose to focus less on acting and more on writing.
She went to NYU Tischs School of the Arts and majored in creative writing. When asked about the shift in passions she said that she does act sometimes in her friends' projects for fun, and that she now views acting as more of a hobby rather than a job.
Martha Stewart's Surprising Double Major
Martha Stewart, America's beloved homemaker, attended Barnard College of Columbia University. She originally planned to major in chemistry, but then switched to art history, and later to architectural history. She eventually graduated with a double major degree in History and Architectural History. Would you have ever guessed that?
This also may surprise you, to help pay her college tuition, she modeled for Chanel.
Tracee Ellis Ross Got an Honorary Doctorate Degree by Her Alma Mater
Two big names of the entertainment industry, Diana Ross and Robert Ellis Silbersteinare are the people to be thanked for the woman we know and love, Tracee Ellis Ross. From Girlfriends to Black-ish, Ross always conquers the screen.
She attended Brown University, with a theatre degree, and in 2015 Ross was granted an Honorary Doctorate Degree from her alma mater, making her the youngest and only person of color chosen to receive this honor.
Other than great natural talent for acting, Cumberbatch is such a pro thanks to an M.A. he has in Classical Acting. He got this degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After receiving his degree, Cumberbatch started putting his skills to work, first in theater, then in film and TV.
Leonard Nimoy Was an Avid Educator
Another studious sci-fi legend is none other than Leonard Nimoy, AKA Spock. His showbiz career includes acting, singing, directing, writing, and more, but he had an academic side too.
Nimoy studied for two years in order to complete his M.A. in Education at Antioch College. He was also given an Honorary Doctorate from the same establishment for activism in Holocaust remembrance, the environment, and the arts. Another Honorary Doctorate of human letters was given to him by Boston University.
Sigourney Weaver Has Mastered Fine Arts
A well known face among sci-fi fans, Sigourney Weaver has her roots deep in the academic world. She attended Sarah Lawrence College, and then went on to get a B.A. in English from Stanford University. Two years later, in 1974, Weaver got a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale.
It seems that Weaver would have kept going down that academic path if it wasn’t for Ridley Scott, who chose her to play the part of Ellen Ripley in his film Alien. That character, along with other sci-fi characters she has played, is what made her the unofficial first lady of sci-fi.
Sterling Morrison Had a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies
Rock guitarist Sterling Morrison was one of the founders of American rock band The Velvet Underground. While the glitz and glamour of being a rock legend seem to appeal to many, it seems that Morrison has always had his eyes out for the academy.
When the band broke up after Lou Reed left it for a solo career, Sterling took it as a chance to fulfill his academic dream and enrolled into the University of Texas. His Ph.D. in Medieval Studies was finished not long after that.
Frank Ryan Has a Ph.D. in Mathematics
Frank Ryan must be the smartest quarterback in football history. Other than his football achievements, this man has done a lot in the academy. Actually, he almost denied the opportunity to play professional football in favor of pursuing an academic career.
Ultimately, Ryan got to do both. In 1964, he led his team to winning the championship, and the following year was when he completed his Ph.D. He even got to teach at the Case Institute of Technology as an assistant professor.
Dexter Holland Is a Molecular Biology Doctor
It feels like ’90s rock is almost its own genre. Bands like Green Day, Smash Mouth and Alien Ant Farm simply blossomed back then. Another such band was The Offspring, who released songs such as Pretty Fly for a White Guy. However, listening to the band’s music will never have you guessing that its lead singer has a full blown Ph.D.
Dexter Holland is passionate about science as he is about music, and it looks like it has been like that since he was a kid, with a high school rock band and a valedictorian graduation. By 2013, Holland was a doctoral student for molecular biology with a B.A. in Biology and an M.A. in Molecular Biology.
Mike Marshall Has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology
Baseball players aren’t known for their academic achievements. After all, being a professional athlete takes time, effort and rigorous training. That doesn’t leave much time for university. However, Mike Marshall has managed to do both.
Marshall attended Michigan State University and earned a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology. His knowledge in the field has helped him and his teammates treat injuries or avoid them. These days he makes sure to pass that knowledge on to younger generations.
Tom Scholz Is a Mechanical Engineer
Touring the world with a rock band is a dream shared by many. However, if you asked Tom Sholz about it, there is a chance he would tell you that he would rather be in a library or making meaningful contributions to science. The thing is, when your rock band fills up stadiums with die hard fans, you don’t have much of a choice but to succumb to the rock star life.
As a student, Scholz has expressed great interest in both music and engineering. He studied classical piano and worked on small engineering projects such as model airplanes in his spare time. Those projects are what inspired him to achieve a B.A. and an M.A. in mechanical engineering at MIT.
Angela Bassett Is a Master of Fine Arts
Doing well at Yale doesn’t come easily to anyone. It takes discipline and hard work, and apparently Angela Bassett knows that all too well. It turns out this movie star has always seen her education as a priority. She did so well in school she became the first African-American student in the National Honor Society when she was in high school.
Basset got into Yale as part of a special program for students with difficult background. That was how she got her B.A. in African American Studies. She later completed another degree, this time it was a Master of Fine Arts, which she got from Yale as well.
Dolph Lundgren Is a Chemical Engineer
Dolph Lundgren’s square jaw and overall bodyguard-like appearance have earned him acting job that predominantly included bad guys or generally unintelligent dudes. But don’t let that fool you, as he is a sweetheart and a really smart guy.
Born in Sweden, this talented actor has many achievements on his record. He is a world-class martial artist with two degrees in chemical engineering. He would have continued walking along the academic path if it weren’t for his former romantic partner, Grace Jones, who encouraged him to try making a living as an actor.
Art Garfunkel has a Master’s in Mathematics
Paul Simon may have been the more popular half of the Simon & Garfunkel duo, but when it comes to academics, Art Garfunkel takes the cake. The two met when they were in the six grade and attended junior high and high school together. In college, however, the two went in different directions.
Paul never graduated from Brooklyn Law School, and Art immersed himself in books to complete two degrees: a B.A. in art history followed by an M.A. in Mathematics Education. He has also started working on his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education but never completed it as he was called for musical duty.
Graham Chapman Knows Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Graham Chapman is British comedy royalty. But other than that, he is also a medical doctor. Chapman was born in Leicester, England, and two of his earliest interests have been, of course, comedy and acting. However, other than those two fields, he has also enjoyed science. He majored in medicine at Emmanuel College, which is also where he met John Cleese.
Chapman later completed a Medical Degree at St. Bartholomew’s Medical College and became a certified medical doctor. It seems that contagious laugh is the only thing this inspirational man won’t try to cure.
Alan Page Has a Juris Doctor’s Degree
Alan Page has a true Cinderella story. From working in construction during high school to becoming an NFL Hall of Famer, he has seen and done a lot. Despite having a successful career as a football player, Page has always been keen on attending the academy.
Parallel to his prolific football career, Page has been working hard on a legal career as well. He attended the University of Minnesota Law School and rightfully gained his Juris Doctor. He then worked at a law firm, and started pursuing law full time in 1981. Years later, in 1992, Page made history as the first African-American Associate Justice in the Supreme Court in Minnesota. He was easily reelected for several more terms in the years that came after.
Peter Weller Knows a Thing or Two About Art
Primarily known as Robocop from the iconic movie of the same name, Peter Weller has more on his record than fighting on-screen crime. He moved around a lot as a kid, as dictated by his father’s job as a helicopter pilot, but when it was time for him to decide on a college, he chose the University of North Texas.
He completed a B.A. in Theater, but that wasn’t the end of his academic journey. It was well into his 50s when he earned his M.A. in Roman and Renaissance Art, which was followed by a Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance Art History.
Ashley Judd Graduated From Harvard
Ashley Judd was born into a musical household but decided to turn to acting as her main profession. Focusing on a single profession must not have been easy for her as she was always drawn to different interests and changing schools as a result.
Her life took her in different directions, including a period of service in the Peace Corp, a B.A, in French, an Honorary Doctor of Human Letters, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard.
Christy Turlington Has a Master’s in Public Health
Christy Turlington may have won the genetic lottery, but it takes a lot more than that to achieve what she has achieved in her life. Other than a supermodel, Turlington is also a fashion mogul and a cosmetics spokesperson. She has beauty as well as brains, and her Master’s Degree in Public Health can attest to that.
She delayed her high school graduation in order to build her modeling career, but that doesn’t mean she has neglected her education altogether. By now, she has completed degrees in Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy, and Public Health.
Greg Graffin Would Make a Great Pet-Sitter
Greg Graffin is a critically acclaimed punk musician. Punk music is often associated with aggression, protest, and an in-your-face kind of vibe. This is why a punk musician with a Ph.D. may seem just about as rare as a unicorn.
Graffin, who started his punk band in the young age of 15, is very much appreciated in his field. He is also a serious academic. He attended UCLA to study anthropology and geology, and later attended Cornell to complete a Ph.D. in zoology. All those degrees make him quite the scholar.
Jerry Seinfeld Has a Major in Communications and Theater
Jerry Seinfeld, the famous actor, stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and director, is best known for playing himself in the hit sitcom Seinfeld. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego and after his second year, he transferred to Queens College, where he graduated with a degree in communications and theater.
It was during his time in College that Seinfeld developed an interest in stand-up comedy, and performed at an open-mic night at New York City’s Catch a Rising Star.
John Krasinski Had an Active Student Life
John Krasinski, the actor, director, producer, and screenwriter attended Brown University, studying English, and graduated as a playwright with his honors thesis titled "Contents Under Pressure". While he was a student, he was a member of the sketch comedy group 'Out of Bounds', and he also helped coach a youth basketball at the Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island.
Later he went on to attended the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut.
Whitney Port Has a Degree in Gender studies
The Hills star, Whitney Port, is not only a television personality but also a fashion designer, and author. Before she got in the spotlight she earned a degree in gender studies from the University of Southern California. After graduation, she went on to intern with the magazine's Women's Wear Daily and W.
When asked about her student life Port said "The worst part was probably having to take classes that you weren’t really interested in," but in general she enjoyed her studies.
Dr. Shaquille O’Neal
The retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal received a doctorate in education from Barry University in Florida. His degree focused on organizational learning and leadership; for his thesis, he studied how CEO’s and business leaders integrate humor with the work environment.
Upon receiving his degree he credited his parents for always pushing him to put education before basketball. Many may not know that O’Neal has a B.A. from Louisiana State University, and an MBA online from the University of Phoenix.
Connie Britton Has a Degree in Asian Studies
Connie Britton, the American actress, singer, and producer, majored in Asian studies with a focus in Chinese at Dartmouth College. She even did a summer semester at the Beijing Normal University during her freshman year.
Coincidently, her roommates with Kirsten Gillibrand, who is now a New York senator.
John Cho Majored in English
John Cho is famous for his role as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar film franchise. Many may not know that he made history in the industry as the first Asian-American actor to headline a mainstream thriller film, and then he made history again when he starred as Henry Higgs in American sitcom Selfie, making him the first Asian American actor cast as a romantic lead.
Before breaking barrier, Cho earned a degree in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and coincidently, that's also where his interest in acting sparked. Cho once recalled how it all started in an interview "I was in this writing group and this fellow in it was directing a play...He literally said, 'How tall are you and what do you weigh?' I think somebody got sick and he needed to know if I fit the costume. It was really like two lines."
Uzo Aduba Has a Degree In Voice Performance
Uzo Aduba, better known as "Crazy Eyes" on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, received critical acclaim, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and if that wasn't impressive enough, she has two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.
Aduba obtained a degree in Voice Performance from Boston University’s School of Music, where she also ran on Track and Feild team. In 2017 she returned to her old college to give the commencement address saying, "It wasn’t so long ago that I was waking up at 7:50 in the morning in West Campus and making my way down to [the College of Fine Arts] for an 8 a.m. ear training and sight-reading class." What an inspiration!
Rashida Jones: Comparative Religion
Being the daughter of two entertainment industry moguls: Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones had big shoes to fill. Luckily for her, she inherited her parents' talent and intellect, and she has made a name for herself in her own right.
Before she became a hit in Parks and Recreation and The Office, she graduated from Harvard with a degree in comparative religion. She was quite an active member of her university, as she was a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club and also the musical director of an a cappella group called the Harvard Opportunes.
Would You Want Gerard Butler to Be Your Lawer?
Before he became a Spartan, Butler obtained a law degree from the University of Glasgow. After graduation, he was a trainee lawyer at a big firm but because he was quite the party animal at the time, he would often miss work, and subsequently got fired just one week before he'd become a qualified lawyer. Butler already realized that being a lawyer wasn't his true passion, and although he wasn't is what direction he would take, he was sure of one thing, he wanted to be famous.
At the age of 25 at he made the decision to move to London to pursue a career in acting, and at 30 he moves to Los Angeles, and the rest is history.
Oprah Winfrey Has a Degree in Communication
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women in media, won an oratory contest which got her a "full-ride" at Tennessee State University, a historically black college, where she majored in communication.
Winfrey's close and friends and family were certainly not surprised by her career choice. She once told an interviewer how her grandmother once said that ever since Winfrey could speak, she was "on stage".
Brooke Shields Graduated From Princeton
Besides being an accomplished model, Brooke Sheilds is also apart of Princeton University's alumni. In 1983 she decided to go on a hiatus from her modeling career and dedicate four years to attend college and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in French Literature.
Her senior thesis was titled “The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, Pretty Baby, and Lacombe Lucien.” We're not exactly sure what that means, but we sure that Sheilds behind it, it's fascinating. Please tell us more!
Danica McKellar is a Math-Whizz
Danica McKellar, also known as Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years took a break from acting to study Mathematics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she graduated summa cum laude of her class.
McKellar went on to author several mathematic books, three of which have made The New York Times children's bestseller list. She is an education advocate who strives to make math more approachable to adolescents.
Danai Gurira Has a Degree in Social Psychology
Danai Gurira is probably best known for her role as Michonne in the hit series The Walking Dead. Little do people know that she's quite the scholar. She has a bachelors degree in social psychology and also a Masters of Fine Arts in acting from New York University.
Before being a phenomenal actress, Gurira is an educator, she has taught playwriting and acting in many African countries including in Liberia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Speaking four languages: French, Shona, basic Xhosa, and English of course, makes it easy for her to get around the continent.
America Ferrera got a Full-Ride on a Presidential Scholarship
America Ferrera interest in acting sparked at a young age, which led her to study theater. She enrolled at the University of Southern California double majoring in theater and international relations. Although she had to put her studies on pause for a period to focus on her acting career, she was sure to go back to school to complete her studies and obtain her degree.
Over the years Ferrera has put her political knowledge to use an has been an activist for Latino rights and women rights. Active in movements like Voto Latino and #MeToo.
Sam Hunt Has a Business Degree in Economics
Before being a rockstar, was a football star. Hunt studied at the Univerity of Alabama and majored in philosophy before graduating with a business degree in economics. He played quarterback on his school's football team, and after practice every day, he would go back to his dorm and teach himself how to play the guitar.
He initially tried to pursue a career as a professional football player, but then made the decision to focus on music. Feeling a bit unconfident about his decision initially, he once admitted "I never saw myself as a musician or having any musical talent... I was just killing time that summer, and a buddy had recently bought a guitar. I picked it up one day and on a whim thought, 'You know, I think I want to buy a guitar.'" His fans are surely happy about that decision.
Regina Hall Has a Masters in Journalism From NYU
Far before her role in Girls Trip, Hall earned her bachelors degree in English and her master’s in journalism from New York University. She once told the Los Angeles Times how she intended on writing and producing segments for shows like 60 Minutes, but ventured into acting in her late twenties, appearing in her first commercial at the age of 26. She still publishes articles from time to time, between her acting gigs.
Reflecting on her life as a college student, Hall once said: "I loved being a student. I could've gone to school until I was 75 years old as long as somebody would've paid my rent. I would've been a professional student." Who knows, perhaps she'll go back to school one day to pursue a Doctorate.
Cole Sprouse is an Archaeologist
Cole Sprouse, formally known for his role on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody for, and even more so, as Jughead from the hit series Riverdale took a break from acting to obtain a degree from New York University— and his major will surely surprise you!
He created his own major at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, in Archaeology, specifically focusing in Geographical Information Systems, which he explained as "basically like virtual cartography." After he graduated, he worked in an archaeology lab in Bulgaria. And later in New York. Besides his love for archaeology and acting, he also loves photography and has been proven to be talented in that field as well. Is there anything he can't do?
Lupita Nyong'o Has an M.A. in Acting
The world has been Lupita Nyong'o's oyster for quite some time. She was born in Mexico, brought up in Kenya, and has attended Hampshire college in the United States. After obtaining her B.A. in Film and Theater Studies, she turned to work as a production assistant in Hollywood. Three years later, she scored her first cinematic role in the short film East River.
Nyong'o then went on to earn her Master's Degree in Acting from Yale. It wasn't long after her graduation that she was cast in 12 Years a Slave and became a well known face in Hollywood. Her degrees have proved themselves useful and she has the Academy Award and the Tony to attest to her great acting skills.
Laverne Cox Has a Degree in Dance
Laverne Cox one of the most iconic characters from the hit series, Orange Is the New Black originally attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts and later transferred to the Marymount Manhattan College, where she earned a B.F.A. in Dance. But she dabbled quite a bit in theater during her time as well.
She once wrote, "My first week there a guest teacher saw me in the hall and thought I would be perfect for a play he was doing in the theater department,". "This was the first of many plays I did with the theater department even though I was a dance major. While this was frowned upon, I never played by the rules." and even today, Cox continues to bend the rules and that's what her fans love about her.
Harry Hill Is a Neuroscientist
What is it about comedians and their astute minds? This BAFTA-winning comedian is actually a former neurosurgeon. With his outlandish style, Harry Hill may not look the part, but he certainly armed himself with great medical knowledge. Hill attended Angley School and then later went to Cranbrook School in Kent, then St. George’s Hospital Medical School before obtaining his degree and training in neurosurgery from the University of London.
Hill quit the medical profession because he didn’t like the feeling of not being able to control the circumstances around him. But despite this, he is still on England’s list of registered medical practitioners.
Dr. Oz Is an Accomplished Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Dr. Mehmet Oz is often called foul names because of the backlash that a lot of television doctors have been receiving about their dubious credentials. But The New York Times has dubbed him as “one of the most accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons of his generation.” Oz has also performed about 5,000 open-heart surgeries and a lung transplant operation. That is quite a feat, even for a surgeon like him.
Oz was educated at Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in biology in 1982. He then earned MD and MBA degrees at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Penn’s Wharton School.
Alison Williams Is a Yale Grad
She plays Marnie Michaels, who is known for making bad decisions, on the comedy-drama series, Girls. Allison Williams is the opposite, though. She knew what she wanted to do—to act professionally. She had her education in New Canaan Country School and Greenwich Academy. Williams later attended Yale University, where she focused on her degree in English and archaeology. While attending Yale, she joined the improv comedy group, Just Add Water. It was here that she found out where her passion was, comedy.
Williams performed a mashup of the song A Beautiful Mine, the theme song for the TV series Mad Men, and it caught the attention of many viewers. One of those viewers was Judd Apatow, who gave her a part in the series Girls.
Sacha Baron Cohen Graduated From Cambridge
Who knew that Sacha Baron Cohen obtained a serious degree in college? Baron Cohen is known for creating and playing moronic fictional characters, such as Ali G, Bruno, and Borat Sagdiyev. He was completely into the characters he portrayed and had different accents and appearances for each one. His talent earned him many awards, including the Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards, in 1999, for The 11 O’Clock Show.
But the Baron Cohen off-screen is far from dumb. He attended an independent private school in Hertfordshire and went to the University of Cambridge after, entering Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1993, he earned an upper-second-class degree in History, which means he graduated with upper-second-class honors. Baron Cohen was part of the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club, where he performed in several plays, including Cyrano de Bergerac and Fiddler on the Roof.
James Franco is a Ph.D. Student at Yale
James Franco is a gifted yet controversial actor. His acting break came in 1999, but he only gained worldwide fame in the film Spider-Man, in 2002, when he played Harry Osborn. Franco loves to learn, and who wouldn’t with that remarkable intellect of his? He graduated from Columbia University with a master’s in fine arts.
Franco also attended Brooklyn College for fiction writing, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for filmmaking, and the low-residency MFA Program for Writers at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College for poetry. But he did not stop there. Franco also has a Ph.D. in English from Yale University.
Danai Gurira Has a Bachelor's in Social Psychology
Danai Gurira first held our attention as Michonne on The Walking Dead. But she actually has a long and esteemed career in television, film, and theater. Gurira is more than just someone who has been crushing bad guys on TV. This gifted actor and playwright has a degree in social psychology from Macalester College in Minnesota. She also has a master’s in acting from the Tisch School of the Arts in New York.
Being a Zimbabwean-American, she is expected to know more than one language. But she is actually proficient in four languages! She speaks French, English, Shona, and Xhosa.
JK Rowling Has a Degree in French
As one of the most famous novelists of the modern era, one would think that JK Rowling would have a degree in literature. But the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series actually earned a bachelor of arts degree in French and classics at the University of Exeter. She graduated in 1986 after enjoying a year of study in Paris.
Rowling wanted to study English but her parents thought that being a bilingual secretary was the way to having a stable job. She did become a bilingual secretary in London for Amnesty International and later worked at the Chamber of Commerce before she began writing Harry Potter.
John Legend Has a Bachelor's in English
It seems like whatever John Legend does, he does it well. This multi-awarded, illustrious musician graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on African-American literature. But he started studying when he was just 16 years old. He graduated from high school as a salutatorian in just four years.
The songwriter and record producer has a string of accolades under his belt, such as the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Hal David Starlight Award, and even a Primetime Emmy Award. He was given an honorary degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.
Rebel Wilson Has a Law Degree
Rebel Wilson is known for her roles in blockbuster films, Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, and is climbing her way to becoming one of Hollywood’s favorite comedians. But the pre-Hollywood Wilson was anything but funny. The Australian actress was shy as a child and would always be in the library, leading her to have a near-perfect result of 99.3 percent on her Higher School Certificate (HSC).
She admitted to Seth Meyers that she has a law degree from the University of New South Wales, which she described to be the Harvard of Australia. Wilson said she put her degree to use when she negotiated her own contracts early in her acting career.
Ben McKenzie Has a Bachelor's in Economics and Foreign Affairs
Ben McKenzie became a household name when he played the role of Ryan Atwood in the television series, The O.C. He earned a few nominations and awards for the series before landing his debut film appearance in Junebug. He then appeared on television shows, Southland and Gotham. Prior to fame, McKenzie was a student at the University of Virginia and graduated with a degree in foreign affairs and economics.
He told his school’s alumni magazine that it was a blessing to be able to study while performing onstage at night. McKenzie considered it an opportunity to have a “well-rounded” education.
Natalie Portman Has a Bachelor's in Psychology
Natalie Portman is a Hollywood icon and has been acting professionally since she was a kid. The Israeli beauty described herself as ambitious and hard working. It didn’t come as a surprise when she graduated with a degree in psychology from Harvard University while at the same time continuing her acting career. She was Alan Dershowitz’s research assistant. Dershowitz is a prominent figure in United States constitutional and criminal law.
Portman also attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and took graduate courses. Portman is not only an accomplished and award-winning actress; she has also been published in multiple scientific journals and is an ambassador of FINCA International, an organization that seeks to end poverty.
J. Cole Has a Bachelor's in Communications
J. Cole, whose real name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole, has quite some remarkable achievements. He was the first rapper to get signed to Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation. He is one smart cookie, as he balanced studying at St. John’s University, where he was both on an academic scholarship, and chasing his musical aspirations.
Cole was rapping on the side and writing full-time. His good sense of time management earned him a degree in communications, minoring in business, and he graduated as summa cum laude in 2007. But he didn’t get his diploma until 2015 because of a library book he never returned. The missing book’s fee was eventually waived.
Aziz Ansari Has a Bachelor's in Marketing
People first knew the Indian-American actor for his role as Tom Haverford on the series, Parks and Recreation. But this funny man had his beginnings in New York City, where he started doing stand-ups while studying at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He earned a degree in marketing. However, he loved stand-up too much, kept doing it, and has never looked back since.
When Parks and Recreation ended, Ansari created the series, Master of None, and has snagged Emmy and Golden Globe wins for it. He was the first Asian-American performer to win a Golden Globe for acting.
Carrie Underwood Has a Degree in Mass Communications
We all know her as the sweet country girl who rose to fame when she won American Idol in 2005, but it seems like her brilliance doesn’t just shine on stage. Underwood earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications at Northeastern State University with an emphasis in journalism. She graduated as magna cum laude and had to fly back to Oklahoma to attend her graduation ceremony, even though she had just started her first tour.
Underwood has mentioned before that if she didn’t win American Idol, she would have become a reporter or a news anchor. But destiny had other plans. She is now one of the best-selling female country singers.
Hugh Laurie Has a Bachelor's in Anthropology and Archaeology
Hugh Laurie played the brilliant and unconventional medical genius, Dr. Gregory House, in the TV drama, House. But in real life, Laurie is an expert in something else. The English actor graduated from the same college as his father—Selwyn College in Cambridge. He took anthropology and archaeology with a specialization in social anthropology. Laurie entered Selwyn College to focus on rowing and becoming an expert oarsman just like his dad.
Laurie previously enrolled in the prestigious Eton College for his higher education and it was there that he briefly thought of becoming a doctor or a member of the medical profession. But that, as we know, did not push through (not in the real world anyway) and he is now a multi-talented actor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Has a Bachelor's in International Business and Economics
The Austrian-American actor and former governor of California is more than just his huge biceps. Arnold Schwarzenegger completed a degree in international business and economics at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1979. He also had a degree in fitness marketing and business administration, obtained in 1980.
The filmmaker, author, and philanthropist made use of his degrees as he invested in real estate and marketed gym equipment and exercise supplements. With his success in bodybuilding and in business, he was on his way to becoming a millionaire before he even turned 22. It was then that he tried to get into acting. He rose to international fame with the movie Pumping Iron, which gave him the notoriety he needed to take over Hollywood.
Vinny Guadagnino Has a Bachelor's in Political Science
Vinny Guadagnino may have been surrounded by party people on the reality television series, Jersey Shore, but who knew this television personality is a political science major? That’s right, he graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science from the College of Staten Island. And he graduated with a remarkable 3.9-grade point average.
The actor was about to go to law school and was studying for his LSATs when he was cast in Jersey Shore. He has often expressed his desire to attend law school, but right now, he is seizing all the opportunities thrown at him.
John Cleese Has a Bachelor's in Law
Known for his work with the comedy group, Monty Python, none of us would have imagined John Cleese being a lawyer. Cleese earned his degree in law in 1963 from Downing College, Cambridge University. Prior to studying law, he taught science, geography, history, English, and Latin at St. Peter’s, a preparatory school in Weston where he also attended when he was a kid.
But comedy was his passion. Cleese joined the Cambridge Footlights and had his first success when he wrote and appeared as a cast member in A Clump of Plinths. He then completely left the legal life to embark on a career in the comedy industry.
Rowan Atkinson Has a Master's in Electrical Engineering
Mr. Bean has given so much laughter to so many people because of his comical simple-mindedness, but the man who portrays him is far from simple. Rowan Atkinson attended Newcastle University where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. He later received a master of science in electrical engineering from The Queen’s College, Oxford. Atkinson eventually became an Honorary Fellow in 2006.
During his time in Oxford, Rowan Atkinson started writing and performing comedy revues. He first gained attention in The Oxford Revue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1976. Atkinson eventually left the electrical field and spawned a very successful career in comedy.
Ron Jeremy Has a Master's in Special Education
Adult film actor, Ron Jeremy, has not always been in the adult film industry, and it’s amazing how different his world was prior to being in the entertainment field. Jeremy earned two degrees in college—a bachelor of arts in education and a bachelor of arts in theater. He then received a master’s degree in special education from Queens College. After graduating, he taught special education classes in high school. He particularly worked with children with autism and teens with schizophrenia.
However, Ron Jeremy had always loved acting, and teaching wasn’t going so well for him financially. After a few hops, skips and jumps, he found himself in the adult film world. Is it even possible for you to imagine him being a clean-cut teacher who changes the lives of special kids?
Chris Martin Has a Degree in Latin and Greek
The noted musician did a great job of balancing school and music back when he was still a student. Chris Martin was previously educated at the esteemed Sherborne School in Dorset. He later earned his degree in ancient Latin and Greek studies with first-class honors at the University College London (UCL). It was in UCL where he met his Coldplay bandmates.
While in college, Martin pursued music and formed a band in 1996 with Johnny Buckland, Will Champion, and Guy Berryman. Their band was initially called Pectoralz. They later changed it to Starfish and finally settled on Coldplay. Definitely the best of the three!
David Spade Has a Bachelor's in Business
David Spade is a natural prankster, so he was instinctively drawn to making people laugh and was pushed by his friends to try stand-up comedy. But little do we know that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Arizona State University, in 1986. He was even a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
However, Spade could never run away from comedy. He had already started performing stand-up in college and wanted to make it his full-time career. In 1990, he joined Saturday Night Live as a writer and later became a cast member. He then built a strong acting career on both the small and big screens.
Wanda Sykes Has a Bachelor's in Marketing
Even though she’s been called one of Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Funniest People in America,” Wanda Sykes has not always been a comedian. She received a degree in science and marketing from Hampton University. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. After graduating, Sykes got a job as a contracting specialist at the National Security Agency. But it seems like her job as a procurement officer did not suit her.
She belonged on the stage. Sykes first performed at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC, indicating the start of her stand-up career, that would soon blossom into a TV and film career as well.
Eva Longoria Has a Master's in Chicano Studies
Eva Longoria is packed with a lot of beauty and brains, with not just a bachelor, but also a master’s degree. The Desperate Housewives star graduated with a bachelor of kinesiology from Texas A&M University.
When Desperate Housewives ended in 2012, Longoria kept a low profile and earned her master’s degree in Chicano studies from California State University after three years. Her thesis was entitled “Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.” Wow, it’s one thing to receive a bachelor’s degree, but it’s another thing to have a master’s degree too. Longoria tweeted back then: “You’re never too old or too busy to continue your education!” And we can all agree on that.
Weird Al Yankovic Has a Bachelor's in Architecture
Weird Al Yankovic, whose real name is Alfred Matthew Yankovic, is known for his hilarious songs and parodies of hit music. But the degree he took in university is anything but hilarious. Yankovic graduated as valedictorian at Lynwood High School and went to California Polytechnic State University, where he studied architecture.
It was at Cal Poly that he earned the moniker “Weird Al” on his radio show. He also created his first parody, My Bologna, which was from The Knack’s song, My Sharona. Once he graduated in 1980, Yankovic recorded another parody, this time inspired by Queen’s hit, Another One Bites The Dust and followed it with a few other releases until he found soaring success.
Rooney Mara Has a Bachelor's in Psychology, International Social Policy, and Nonprofits
Rooney Mara, the award-winning actress who rose to fame in the film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, did not think she would end up in the world of acting. She first studied at George Washington University for a year and then moved to New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies. Mara graduated in three notable degrees—psychology, international policy, and nonprofits. You can say she is armed with a whole lot of knowledge.
Her family has a history of philanthropic endeavors, so it’s no wonder that she put her education to use when she created Faces of Kibera, which is a charity that gives housing, food, and medical care to orphans in Nairobi, Kenya.
Gene Simmons Has a Bachelor's in Education
Who would ever think that The Demon would have been a schoolteacher? If Gene Simmons didn’t pursue his dreams of becoming a rock star, he would have landed in academia. The bassist and co-lead singer of the popular rock band, Kiss, spent two years at Sullivan County Community College to earn an associate degree in education. He went back to New York City and graduated with another degree: a bachelor of arts in education from Richmond College.
After getting his degree, Simmons met Paul Stanley and formed a band called Wicked Lester. Together with his other friend, Steve Coronel, the three began performing on the nightclub circuit. But they weren’t earning much. Simmons briefly taught sixth graders in Spanish Harlem to support their dreams. He also held other jobs, including being a deli cashier and an assistant at Glamour, before forming Kiss and becoming massively successful.
Lionel Ritchie Has a Bachelor's in Economics
Known for being a versatile musician, Lionel Richie also has a degree in economics, with a minor in accounting, gained at the Tuskegee Institute. But it was also during this time when he took a major interest in music and eventually formed the band, The Commodores. The famous American singer, songwriter, and producer placed his studies on hold after being picked up by an agent and going on tour with his band. But he went back to school and earned his diploma in 1974.
It was also in 1974 when The Commodores got signed with the prestigious Motown label. It was quite a wonderful year for the young lad and his band.
Brian May Has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics
Brian May, the legendary lead guitarist and songwriter of the rock group, Queen, has a bachelor of science in physics degree he obtained back in the 70s. And mind you, he earned the degree with honors. May then went back to school at Imperial College London so he could complete his Ph.D. in astrophysics. He did his doctoral thesis on the motions of interplanetary dust.
Prior to earning a degree in physics, May was educated at Hampton Grammar School where he achieved ten GCE Ordinary Levels and three GCE Advanced Levels in mathematics, applied mathematics, and physics. Dr. May’s intellect is just as rockin’ as the songs he wrote and played in the band.
Lisa Kudrow Has a Bachelor's in Biology
Lisa Kudrow may be famous for playing the typical dumb blonde, like Phoebe Buffay in the sitcom Friends and Michele Weinberger in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, but she is nowhere near that in reality. Her world before acting actually revolved around medical research.
Kudrow’s father was a distinguished physician and researcher while her brother was a neurologist. Young Lisa Kudrow wanted to be on the same road as her family so she got a bachelor of arts, majoring in biology from Vassar College. She then worked on her father’s research team, which earned her credits. Just what was she researching, you ask? Turns out the Kudrow gang was focused on headaches.
Ken Jeong is a Doctor of Medicine
Ken Jeong may be noted as a comedian who never fails to make us laugh, but did you know that he is actually a medical doctor? He is best known for his roles as Ben Chang on the sitcom Community and as Leslie Chow in The Hangover film series, where he is immortalized as the man who jumped out of a trunk in his birthday suit. So who would ever think that this actor got an M.D. from the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, in 1995?
He finished his internal medicine residency in New Orleans while starting his stand-up comedy career at the same time. He is a licensed physician but is no longer practicing medicine. Jeong chose to focus on his acting career and is currently one of the panelists of the American reality singing competition television series, The Masked Singer.
Gabrielle Union Has a Bachelor's in Sociology
The charming Gabrielle Union wanted to pursue a career in law, but as we all know, that did not go as planned. A huge believer in education, Gabrielle first attended college at the University of Nebraska and played on the soccer team. She then went to Cuesta College but transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she graduated with honors with a bachelor of science in sociology degree.
As she was on her way to law school, Union worked at a modeling agency to pay her way, but ended up progressing to becoming a model. Her agent later found out that she could act and the rest, as they say, is history.
Conan O’Brien Is a Harvard Graduate
Who knew that this tongue-in-cheek talk show host came from a family of intellectuals? Conan O’Brien’s father was an epidemiologist, physician, and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, while his mother was a retired attorney. He graduated as valedictorian in high school and received a degree in American history and literature. O’Brien graduated magna cum laude in 1985.
He served twice as the president of the humor magazine, The Harvard Lampoon. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles and began his career as a writer. Conan was later asked to take over David Letterman’s role as a host on Late Night and so started his hosting career.
David Duchovny Has a Master’s Degree From Yale
David Duchovny played the sharp and clever FBI agent, Fox Mulder, on the TV series, The X-Files, but it’s his role as the seeming simpleton writer, Hank Moody, on Californication that the young viewers are more familiar with. In reality, the actor is an English literature graduate from Princeton University and has a master’s from Yale.
He wanted to be a screenwriter and saw acting as some kind of immersive research. In a funny twist of fate, he ended up getting hooked and pursuing acting full time. Duchovny has won several awards, including a Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama and another one for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical. By the by, he was also able to publish three books.
Mayim Bialik Is a Neuroscientist
We all remember her as the title character from the sitcom, Blossom, and we fell in love with her brains as Amy Fowler on the comedy series, The Big Bang Theory. But this will make you love the actress even more: Mayim Bialik is a real-life scientist, just like her character!
Bialik is certainly not one you would overlook when it comes to brainpower. She had a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with minors in Hebrew and Jewish. The actress then earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007. Her research concentrated on the hypothalamic regulation of obsessive-compulsive disorder among people with Prader-Willi syndrome.
Ashton Kutcher Has a Bachelor's in Biochemical Engineering
While some people think that Ashton Kutcher was initially just a fine actor and a prankster, especially when he created Punk’d. He is more than meets the eye and people are often surprised that he has a major in biochemical engineering from the University of Iowa. He hoped to find a cure for his brother’s septal heart defect and cerebral palsy.
Kutcher is also an investor who co-founded different businesses and investments. He also formed a not-for-profit foundation to put an end to child slavery and later, to prevent child sex trafficking.
Bradley Cooper Has a Bachelor's in English
The Oscar-nominated actor is just as passionate onscreen as he is with the English language. So much so that he graduated with honors at Georgetown University in 1997. Bradley Cooper supposedly cried when he read Romeo and Juliet in the campus library as part of his study towards his English degree. In an interview with GQ, he also described how elated he felt when he first read Paradise Lost.
Cooper’s passion would soon trickle down to his acting career. His first TV appearance was on Sex and the City, but he gained commercial success in the film, Wedding Crashers, with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. It was his work in The Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper, American Hustle, and A Star Is Born which earned him Academy Award nods.
Kourtney Kardashian Has a Bachelor's in Theater Arts
They are one of America’s most famous families, and with the television and business empire they have built, one would wonder if they could even have time to graduate with any college degrees. Well, two of them did—Kourtney and Rob. The eldest Kardashian went to Texas and enrolled in the Southern Methodist University to pursue a bachelor’s degree. But after two years, she moved to the University of Arizona where she earned her bachelor’s degree in theater arts with a minor in Spanish.
Kourtney soon found out that acting was not for her and together with her sisters, she got involved in retail and fashion. Their clothing lines have had massive success all over the country.
Will Ferrell Has a Bachelor's in Sports Information
Will Ferrell is a household name in the comedy industry and has done quite a lot of films in his career. However, he did not originally plan the entertainment path as he was growing up. He was never the class clown in high school and was, in fact, studious. He played football and set a school record for most field goals made.
In 1990, Ferrell received a bachelor of arts in sports information from the University of Southern California. But the sports information program is no longer existent. Some of his films show that root in sports though, such as the films Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights, and Semi-Pro.
Freddie Highmore Has a Bachelor's in Spanish and Arabic
The English actor made his first debut in the comedy, Women Talking Dirty, when he was only seven years old. Since then, he has built a prominent name for himself in Hollywood. Despite his success, Highmore never stopped studying. He gained his high school education at an independent school called Highgate School. Later, when he was filming Bates Motel, he studied at the University of Cambridge’s Emmanuel College. Highmore earned a double-first degree, a British counterpart of first-class honors, in Spanish and Arabic.
Highmore, who has previously won awards as a young actor, received much acclaim for his role as Norman Bates in Bates Motel and was nominated thrice for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He finally won a People’s Choice Award in 2017.