These 17+ Stars Have Impressive College Degrees
03rd December, 2021
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With celebrities, there's always more than what meets the eye. These Hollywood stars have money, fame, and (believe it or not) fancy college degrees! Celebrities tend to lead full lives. Everyone knows that. Between the shooting schedules, new skill sets to pick up, a jet-setting lifestyle, and parties, their day seems to have a few more hours than the rest of us. But some stars go above and beyond this, choosing to pursue higher education at the first chance, and not only that, they do so from the top schools in the world. You might know all about your favorite actor’s filmography, but are you aware of the degrees they added to their kitty? Here are 20 celebrities who earned prestigious degrees from notable universities.
Mayim Bialik: Neuroscience
Mayim Bialik was certainly the best casting choice for Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS cult classic The Big Bang Theory. The talented actress, also known as TV’s Blossom, has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. In an interview with Conan, Bialik revealed that the knowledge helped play the smart scientist on screen. It is safe to say that she was probably the only cast member who easily understood the scientific theories in the show.
Ken Jeong: Medicine
Ken Jeong, a stand-up comedian and actor of Hangover fame, is also a doctor. That’s right; we are talking about the infamous Mr. Chow! Jeong is a licensed practitioner of internal medicine and was, in fact, quite the genius, having graduated at 16! After earning his medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Jeong practiced in Los Angeles for several years while doing stand-up on the side.
Natalie Portman: Psychology
Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman is a proud alumnus of the prestigious Harvard University. The Israeli-American star excelled at both acting and academics during her formative years. Early on, Portman was signed on to work with some of the best in cinema, including Woody Allen and Tim Burton. And all this was before her breakthrough role in the Star Wars franchise! Portman graduated in 2003 with a degree in psychology.
Eva Longoria: Kinesiology
Eva Longoria studied at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville and earned her Bachelor of Sciences in Kinesiology. Her plans for life changed when a scout spotted her in Los Angeles in a talent hunt contest. Longoria was a dancer in her initial days, working with the pop group The Pussycat Dolls. However, it was only in 2004 that her role in Desperate Housewives propelled her career at warp speed ahead.
Conan O’Brien: History and Literature
TV’s popular late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien acts really goofy when the cameras are rolling. But that’s not all there is to him. Conan is also a proud alumnus of Harvard University, where he earned his degree in History and Literature in 1985, graduating magna cum laude. He went on to write for TV’s longest-running animation The Simpsons and took up other writing opportunities before starring in his own talk show gig.
Rowan Atkinson: Electrical Engineering
Rowan Atkinson is undoubtedly one of the most successful British comic actors in mainstream TV and cinema. A generation of young people grew up watching Mr. Bean on the small screen before Atkinson starred in Hollywood and animated versions of the show. But, the goofy and unworldly Mr. Bean is also the smartest man on set with a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oxford.
Danica McKellar: Mathematics
Danica McKellar gained recognition playing the role of Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years back in the 90s. After it concluded, McKellar studied at the University of California and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics. While pursuing acting, Danica also actively encouraged women to take an interest in mathematics and authored several books on the topic. She boasts an IQ of 154 and is truly a beauty with brains.
Brian May: Astrophysics
You may know Brian May as the lead guitarist of British rock band Queen. Once the band earned global fame, he took a break from studying and went on to tour the world with his bandmates. But his passion for astronomy knew no bounds and almost 30 years later, the veteran performer decided to update his thesis and finally earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Imperial College of London in 2007.
Lisa Kudrow: Biology
Phoebe Buffay was perhaps one of the loopiest characters on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. For a decade, audiences were constantly intrigued by the character as there was no telling what she would end up saying or doing. But in real life, Lisa Kudrow is pretty aware of everything going on around her, having an IQ of 154 and a Bachelor’s in Sciences with a focus on Biology from Vassar College.
Dolph Lundgren: Chemical Engineering
Dolph Lundgren became famously known as the arch-nemesis of Rocky Balboa from the fourth movie in the franchise. Before his big Hollywood break, the Swedish actor got a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney and received a scholarship to pursue further studies at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Did you know, the actor’s IQ of 160 qualifies him to become a member of MENSA!
Meryl Streep: Drama
With the sheer number of Academy Award nominations to her name, it should come as no surprise that Meryl Streep studied drama. After she graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Drama and Costume design, Streep earned her Master’s in Fine Arts from Yale. Only then did she move to New York City to appear in Broadway and later acted in her first major Hollywood break, the 1977 hit Julia.
Gerard Butler: Law
The Scottish hunk who rose to fame in Hollywood by tapping into every major movie genre is a licensed attorney in real life! Gerard Butler enrolled at the University of Glasgow to study law, where he graduated with honors and was also the president of the law society established by the university. In fact, he even got a job offer from one of the prestigious law firms in the city of Edinburgh. Butler, however, found his calling elsewhere and moved to the States to pursue acting.
Jodie Foster: English Literature
Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster graduated magna cum laude in English Literature from Yale University. FYI, she was class valedictorian by the time she finished high school! Her interest in fiction and other languages peaked during her time at Yale where she also studied French, German, and Italian. Her acting chops are no mean feat either, earning her Academy and Golden Globe awards for movies like The Accused and Silence of The Lambs.
Emma Watson: English Literature
Hermione Granger a.k.a Emma Watson is usually the smartest person in the room both on and off-screen. She was so determined to go to college that she enrolled into Brown University to study English Literature while shooting for Harry Potter. The young actress has made her millions, sure, but Watson revealed that a college degree was always meant to be a guarantee for the future in case industry plans failed.
Brooke Shields: French Literature
Brooke Shields gained fame as a child model and was cast in Louis Malle’s film Pretty Baby at just 12 years old. Roles in The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love made her even more of a household name. But all that recognition made it difficult for Shields to go back to college when she finally enrolled at Princeton. Despite paparazzi hounding her constantly, on and off-campus, Brooke earned her degree in French Literature.
Ashley Judd : French, Anthropology, Art History, Women’s Studies
Actress Ashley Judd got her big break with NBC’s Sister for four years and followed it up by playing Marilyn Monroe herself in the 1996 hit movie Norma Jean and Marilyn. But none of the early fame would stop Judd from going back to college to study not one but four different subjects, including French Literature, Anthropology, Women’s Studies, and even Art History!
Mira Sorvino: East Asian Studies
Mira Sorvino not only went to an Ivy League university but also chose a unique subject for her graduation. While attending Harvard, she majored in East Asian Studies and graduated magna cum laude. Her interest in the field increased when she spent a year abroad in China, where she also learned to speak Mandarin. The talented actress is best known for films like Amongst Friends, At First Sight, and The Replacement Killers.
Rashida Jones: Comparative Religion
Rashida Jones is another proud alumnus of Harvard where she studied Comparative Religion for her degree. The actress revealed that she was fascinated with different religions from a young age and wanted to pursue studies with a deeper focus on the subject. In addition to studying various religions, Jones also practiced Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism, among others. She would even visit ashrams and synagogues on a regular basis.
Geena Davis: Drama
Geena Davis ranks highly among the smartest celebrities in Hollywood, and is also a proud member of MENSA. She graduated with a degree in Drama from Boston University and received an honorary doctorate from Bates College. The Academy Award-winning actress is known for her works in mainstream TV and cinema, mainly for Thelma and Louise, for which she received both Academy and Golden Globe nominations.