Skip To Content

    22 Celebrities Who Hold Prestigious College Degrees

    "What, like it's hard?"

    1. Natalie Portman graduated from Harvard with a psychology degree in 2003.

    played Padme in "Star Wars"
    Ian Gavan / Getty Images

    Her work has been published by scientific journals twice.

    2. Yara Shahidi began studying interdisciplinary sociology and African American studies at Harvard in 2018.

    played Zoey Johnson on "Black-ish"
    Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images for MTV

    Her application included a letter of recommendation from former first lady Michelle Obama.

    3. Emma Watson graduated from Brown University with a degree in English literature in 2014.

    played Hermione in "Harry Potter"
    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

    She previously studied at Oxford University.

    4. Eva Longoria earned her master's degree in Chicano studies from California State University in 2013.

    played Gabby on "Desperate Housewives"
    Dominique Charriau / WireImage / Via Getty

    She was still working on Desperate Housewives when she started taking classes with Dr. Rodolfo Acuña, whose book Occupied America "changed [her] life."

    5. John Legend earned his bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on African American literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.

    Charley Gallay / Via Getty

    He was only 16 when he started his freshman year.

    6. Lionel Richie earned an economics degree from Tuskegee University in 1974.

    "Truly" singer
    Jean Baptiste Lacroix / Getty Images

    During his freshman year, his musical group the Commodores won the annual freshmen talent competition.

    7. Lupita Nyong’o earned her bachelor's in film and African studies from Hampshire College in 2007 before graduating from the Yale School of Drama with a master's in acting in 2012.

    Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Via Getty

    In My Genes, her senior thesis film, was featured at the 2010 New York African Film Festival.

    8. Cole Sprouse earned a degree in archeology from New York University in 2015.

    Michael Kovac / Getty Images for IMDb

    He attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies, which enables students to design their own majors.

    9. Ken Jeong was pre-med at Duke University before completing his medical degree at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995.

    played Leslie Chow in "The Hangover"
    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    He pursued comedy and even won the Big Easy Laff-Off while completing his residency in internal medicine at Oshsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

    10. Meghan Markle graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a bachelor's in theater and international studies.

    Duchess of Sussex
    Charles Mcquillan / Getty Images

    As an undergrad, she also interned at the US embassy in Buenos Aires.

    11. Mayim Bialik earned her doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007.

    played titular character on "Blossom"
    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

    Her degree is similar to the one her Big Bang Theory character Amy Farrah Fowler — a neurobiologist — holds.

    12. Taraji P. Henson earned a drama degree from Howard University in Washington, DC in 1995.

    played Cookie Lyon on "Empire"
    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

    She worked her way through school as a Pentagon secretary and a cruise ship performer.

    13. Adam Sandler graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1988 with a bachelor's in acting.

    played Henry Roth in "50 First Dates"
    Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

    One of his acting professors took him out for a beer and kindly suggested he "choose another path." When they ran into each other years later, the successful actor introduced the professor to his friends as "the only teacher to ever buy me a beer."

    14. 2 Chainz earned a bachelor's in psychology from Alabama University and played on the school's basketball team from 1995 to 1997.

    part of rap duo  Playaz Circle
    Jamie Mccarthy / Via Getty

    He attended on a basketball scholarship.

    15. Wanda Sykes graduated from Hampton University with a marketing degree in 1986.

    played Barbara Baran on "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
    Taylor Hill / Getty Images

    For a few years after graduation, she worked as a procurement officer for the National Security Agency.

    16. Spike Lee graduated with a bachelor's in mass communications from Morehouse College in 1979, then he earned an MFA in film production from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

    "Da 5 Bloods" director
    Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

    He's now a professor in NYU's graduate film program.

    17. Bradley Cooper graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's in English in 1997.

    played Jackson in "A Star Is Born"
    Steven Ferdman / Getty Images

    He also earned a master's degree from the Actors Studio Drama School in NYC.

    18. Sigourney Weaver graduated from Stanford in 1971 with a bachelor's in literature, then she pursued a master's in acting at Yale.

    played Ellen Ripley in "Alien"
    Steve Granitz / WireImage / Via Getty

    She was classmates with actor Meryl Streep and playwright Christopher Durang.

    19. Meryl Streep graduated from Vassar College in 1971 with her bachelor's in drama and costume design, then she earned her MFA in drama from Yale.

    played Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada"
    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    Michael Schulman, author of the biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, said that the actor "was uncomfortable being put on a pedestal" at Yale.

    20. Bridgit Mendler is pursuing her PhD from the MIT Media Lab.

    played Teddy Duncan on "Good Luck Charlie"
    Jason Laveris / FilmMagic / Via Getty

    She also studied at Harvard Law.

    21. Jamie Foxx earned a degree in classical music and composition from United States International University in 1988.

    played Ricardo Tubbs in "Miami Vice"
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    As a student, he also performed at comedy clubs.

    22. And Shaquille O'Neal earned a doctorate in education from Barry University in 2012.

    NBA player
    Michael Tullberg / Getty Images

    He pursued his degree because he promised his parents he would follow his passion for education. His thesis focused on "the value of humor in leadership."

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form