Have you ever wondered how many of your favorite celebrities have graduate degrees, but simply couldn’t find the time to Google it and see for yourself? Well, fret not, the Baylor Graduate School does have the time and we’re about to dish out some knowledge regarding Hollywood’s most knowledgeable figures. It’s always good to know that if your grad school plans don’t work out, you can just move to Hollywood and hope for success there. Here’s five celebrities you (maybe) didn’t know had graduate degrees!
- James Franco
Though Franco has a penchant for playing the happy-go-lucky stoner (Freaks and Geeks, Pineapple Express, Spring Breakers, etc.) he seems to sport a surprisingly big brain. In 2006, Franco reenrolled at UCLA and received permission to take as many as 62 course credits per quarter (the regular amount is 19). I’m pretty sure 62 hours is completely impossible to handle without some serious help or leniency from the university, but it’s still impressive that the guy even wanted to take classes in the first place. He graduated in 2008 and went on earn his MFA in Writing from Columbia in 2010. The most recent info I could find on him says that he is currently enrolled as a PhD student at Yale. According to Mr. Franco, staying in school helps him stay grounded and he enjoys being around people who share his same interests.
- Shaquille O’Neal
For those who don’t know, Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) is one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game of basketball. His interests, however, are not limited to sports. He’s also a rapper, actor, reserve police officer, and get this…doctor. He earned a bachelor of arts in general studies from LSU, received his MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005, and earned his Ed.D in Human Resource Development at Barry University. Shaq currently serves as the newest member of TNT’s halftime show along with NBA legends Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. Although Shaq’s commentary is somewhat lacking at times, he’s usually good for some slapstick humor which is only punctuated by his 7’1, 350 pound frame. See here.
- Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is one of the most respected and awarded actresses of all time. It comes as little surprise to find out that she was properly trained for the profession. She received her BA from Vassar College in 1971, earned an MFA from Yale’s drama school in 1975 and was given an honorary doctor of arts degree in 1981. I won’t list all of her accolades here, but believe me, they are legion. Suffice to say, furthering your education never hurts—no matter which profession you choose.
- Ken Jeong
You probably recognize this guy from his over-the-top roles in movies and television. Jeong is best known for his parts in NBC’s Community and The Hangover trilogy. But were you aware that he is a licensed physician? Dr. Jeong graduated high school at 16, completed his undergrad at Duke and earned his M.D. from UNC Chapel Hill in 1995. He then practiced medicine for a few years in Los Angeles before landing his breakout role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up. Jeong’s success proves that med school can indeed teach you to find the funny bone (I stole that gem from somewhere online).
- Rowan Atkinson
Who could’ve guessed that one of the dumbest characters ever created would be portrayed by one of the smartest actors? Well, that’s exactly what happened with Rowan Atkinson. He received his first degree from Newcastle University in Electrical Engineering and continued on to earn his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Oxford in 1975. After appearing in several skits and programs throughout British entertainment, Atkinson revealed his breakout character “Mr. Bean” in 1990 and became a household name shortly after.
So, there’s five random celebrities with graduate degrees. Next time one of their names pops up, you can dazzle friends with your strangely specific knowledge of their education. Just make sure to give the grad school credit. We did all the Googling after all.