To Top

Many celebrities had the intention of studying at university and receiving a degree, but dropped out before graduation. Other stars made education their priority and saw it through until the end. Here are 11 A-listers with advanced degrees who understood how important it was to walk across the stage and get that diploma.

1. David Duchovny

The X-Files star is surprisingly very bright, although you might have guessed this from his character on Californication. Duchovny graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in English Literature. The actor then went on to receive a Masters of Arts from Yale University in the same subject. Duchovny is currently pursuing a doctorate from Yale.

A-Listers with advanced degrees
s_buckley -

2. Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik plays Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit series The Big Bang Theory. Coincidentally, Bialik doesn’t have to work too hard to play a neurobiologist on television. That’s because she actually has a Ph.D. in neurobiology from UCLA.

stars who say no to meat
DFree /

3. Ashley Judd

The Divergent actress took her time finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky, and understandably so – she had a full blown acting career going on. Judd majored in French and minored in anthropology, art history, theater and women’s studies at UK. Then, in 2010 Judd returned to school and received her master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

a-listers with advanced degrees
Jaguar PS -

4. James Franco

The young actor is known for his intelligence and has recently made education his top priority. Franco re-enrolled in UCLA in September of 2006 and completed his undergraduate degree in June 2008. He has three masters degrees: two writing degrees from Columbia University and Brooklyn College and a third masters in directing from New York University. The Pineapple Express star is currently pursuing a Ph.D in English at Yale University.

celebs who started at mcdonalds
Everett Collection /

5. Shaquille O’Neal

You may be surprised to find out that the NBA star had time to receive a master’s degree. O’Neal left Louisiana State University when he was drafted into the NBA. His parents were disappointed in his decision, but he promised them that he would return to school. After he retired from basketball Shaq did in fact return to school. He graduated in 2012 with a Ph.D in education from Barry University. Call him Dr. Shaq now.

Celebrities who suffer from Arthritis
Mayskyphoto -

6. Bill Cosby

Comedian Bill Cosby played a doctor on screen in the awarding winning series, The Cosby Show. The actor also has his doctorate in real life. Cosby received a Ph.D in Education from the University of Massachusetts. Cosby even wrote his dissertation on one of his shows entitled An Integration of the Visual Media Via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.

bible verses that could be about celebrities
Featureflash -

7. Ken Jeong

The Hangover star is notably hilarious, but when Ken Jeong needs to buckle down, he can. Jeong completed his undergraduate degree at Duke University in 1990 and received his M.D. qualification from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995. The Community actor went on to complete his internal medicine residency at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. All the while, he was also working as a stand-up comedian. Today, Jeong is a licensed physician in the state of California.

stars who appeared on entourage
Helga Esteb -

8. Lisa Kudrow

The ditzy Friends actress is nothing like her character Phoebe, in real life. Kudrow received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Vassar College. The actress hoped to follow in her father’s footsteps and research headaches. Kudrow worked on her father’s staff for eight years studying cluster headaches, before breaking into acting.

smart actors who played dumb characters
Helga Esteb /

9. Chris Martin

The Coldplay frontman put his music career on hold to study Greek and Latin at University College London. It was here at university that Martin met his fellow band members. Although the group had been signed by a record company, they refused to release their first album until after graduation.

a-listers with advanced degrees
s_buckley -

10. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o became a household name in Hollywood following her award winning performance in 12 Years a Slave. Not only is Lupita a fantastic actress, she’s also an A-list academic. Lupita has a master of fine arts from the Yale School of Drama.

celebrity quotes on body image
Jaguar PS -

11. Angela Bassett

The How Stella Got Her Groove Back star fine-tuned her acting skills at Yale University. Bassett received her B.A. degree in African-American studies in 1980. In 1983, she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama. She was the first member of her family to receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

bizarre facts about bobbi kristina
DFree -

More in Celebrity