13 Actors With College Degrees

Actors and actresses don’t just make it big on the big screen. Some of them have also made it big academically. Here’s a list of 13 actors with college degrees. Check it out; you may find you don’t know them as well as you think! (Or maybe you do….)

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Some of you may know him as the Terminator, others as the thirty-eighth governor of the state of California. But did you know that Arnold’s got a bachelors degree in international marketing of fitness and business administration? Yep! He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 1979.

2. Ashley Judd

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Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd (Double Jeopardy)

She plays the mild-mannered mother of Tris in the movie adaptation of popular teen fiction novel Divergent and has done many other films, as well. Would any of them lead you to believe Ashley Judd has a Bachelor of Arts in French? She landed that degree by graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2007.

And on top of that, Ashley also graduated from Harvard University in 2010, earning a Master of Arts in Public Administration. Talk about a well-rounded education!

3. David Spade

The Just Shoot Me television star David Spade earned a bachelors degree in business from Arizona State University in 1986. Not too shabby, Joe Dirt.

4. Debra Messing

Star of The Starter Wife and Grace of the television show Will & Grace, Debra Messing is one sharp redhead. She graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University in 1990 with a bachelors degree in theater arts, and she holds a masters in fine arts from the Graduate Acting Program at New York University, a program that only admits around fifteen students a year.

5. James Franco

james franco graduate degree
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James Franco (Oz the Great and Powerful)

The Wizard, Oz, Harry Osborn…whatever you want to call him, James Franco is one bright bulb. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2008, but didn’t stop there. James went on to earn two masters in writing from Columbia University and Brooklyn College!

He continued to plow through the academic industry by earning a Ph.D. in English from Yale, as well. Will he ever stop? Who knows. The man’s a walking encyclopedia of literary knowledge. He’s even had his own book published–Directing Herbert White: Poems.

6. Matthew McConaughey

Star of Interstellar, actor and writer Matthew McConaughey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, earned in 1993. He’s a wonder both on and off screen.

7. Natalie Portman

Black Swan and V for Vendetta actress Natalie Portman earned her college degree at Harvard University in 2003. She currently holds a bachelors degree in psychology.

8. Mayim Bialik

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Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Most likely best known for her more recent acting on The Big Bang Theory television show, Mayim Bialik just may be as smart as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler appears. Mayim actually possesses not only a bachelors degree in neuroscience and Hebrew studies from UCLA, but she even went as far to earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2008!

9. Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater that has more than paid itself off. From her first appearance on the screen in an episode of The Famous Jett Jackson to sweet, confused Allie in The Notebook to her sassy character in Sherlock Holmes, Rachel McAdams is capable of playing a variety of roles.

10. Rowan Atkinson

Best known for his portrayal of Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson holds–get this–a bachelors degree in electrical engineering! All that goofy fumbling around in film after film…who would have imagined the actor to be such a handyman?

Fun fact: Rowan Atkinson also plays the voice of Zazu from Disney’s The Lion King.

11. Tina Fey

30 Rock and Saturday Night Life television comedian Tina Fey knows what she’s doing. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama.

12. Wanda Sykes

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Wanda Sykes (Monster-in-Law)

Actress Wanda Sykes always offers us comic relief in whatever movie she pops up in, from Over the Hedge to Monster-in-Law. But she hadn’t always planned on trying to get on the big screen. She originally graduated from Hampton University with a bachelors degree in marketing and left to pursue a government career. After a short time, she just didn’t feel cut out for the job.

13. Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell must have felt right at home on the set of Anchorman. The comedian graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelors degree in sports information/broadcasting.

How ’bout them apples? From psychology to drama, marketing to neuroscience, actors never cease to amaze their audience. And these are only thirteen actors with college degrees! Imagine how many more of them have hidden knowledge and skills.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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  • mce84

    Mark Harmon (Gibbs from NCIS) – UCLA – communications (plus he was starting QB for the Bruins)
    Ben McKenzie (Ryan from The OC) – UVA – political science
    David Boreanaz (Booth from Bones) – Ithaca – communications(?)
    Emily Deschanel (Dr. Brennan “Bones”) – Boston U
    Paul Guilfoyle (Brass from original CSI) – Yale
    Robert David Hall (Doc Robbins from the original CSI) – UCLA
    Hill Harper (Sheldon Hawkes from CSI NY) – Brown/Harvard
    Emily Proctor (Calleigh from CSI: MIami) – East Carolina
    Christopher Reeve (Superman) – Cornell/Juilliard
    Emma Watson (Harry Potter movies) – Brown/Oxford
    Hugh Laurie (House), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) – Cambridge
    Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) – Manchester

    Matt Smith (11th Doctor in Doctor Who) – East Anglia

  • Jaffermach

    Would be interesting to know who graduated from the best acting colleges in the country. Then see which of them won Oscars.

  • karol marquez

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