6 Celebs With Unexpected College Degrees


When it comes to being rich and famous, there's often more than what meets the eye. Check out our list of six celebrities who have earned unexpected college degrees.

Studious Celebs

Celebrities come in many shapes and forms, and while they may be widely recognized in our society, they're typically not famous because of their educational background (think about it for a second—am I right?). That's not to say an impressive background doesn't exist, though. In today's post, we'll take a look at six celebs with college degrees that may surprise you.

group of graduates

1. John Legend

Before the ''All of Me'' singer rose to superstardom, he was busy being a musical smarty-pants. Born in 1978 in Springfield, Ohio, as John Stephens, John Legend developed a passion for music from a very young age and was leading his church choir by the time he was 11. In addition to his musical talents, he also had great success in the classroom, graduating from high school as the salutatorian of his class when he was just 16 years old.

After graduation, John attended the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1999. That degree helped him nab a job with the Boston Consulting Group, a highly regarded global management consulting firm, where he worked for a few years as a consultant before he decided to pursue his first love—music—full time.

2. Kourtney Kardashian

Next on our list of degree-earning celebs is Kourtney Kardashian, who you probably know as the eldest sister from her family's insanely popular, long-running reality television series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Unlike her just-as-famous sisters, though, Kourtney decided to get a college education.

Upon graduating from Marymount High School in Los Angeles in 1998, she headed to Dallas, Texas, to study at Southern Methodist University. After two years there, Kourtney relocated to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the University of Arizona, where she ultimately earned a bachelor's degree in theater arts. Fitting given her role in reality TV…or not?

graduate receiving college degree

3. Ken Jeong

There's just something about Mr. Chow, the hilarious villain we loved to hate in The Hangover film franchise, isn't there? Prior to becoming a celebrity and making millions of people laugh in those movies, however, Ken Jeong was a real practicing physician!

After graduating from Walter Hines Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 16 years old, he thought about pursuing a career in comedy, which he always loved, but his parents urged him in the ''safer'' direction of medicine, and he obliged. Jeong first attended college at Duke University, where he finished his pre-med studies in 1990. Next came his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which he received in 1995. Following his residency in New Orleans, he worked as a licensed physician in Los Angeles for several years. During this time, he performed many stand-up comedy gigs, which eventually led to the full pursuit of his acting career.

4. Rebel Wilson

As a celebrity, Rebel Wilson may be best known for her often-brash roles in Bridesmaids and the Pitch Perfect films, but there's definitely more to this Australian actress than the characters she portrays on screen. Several years after receiving her Higher School Certificate—Australia's equivalent to a high school diploma—in 1997, Wilson earned bachelor's degrees in both law and the arts from the University of New South Wales, a prestigious college in Sydney, Australia.

graduation cap and books

5. Shaquille O'Neal

In addition to Shaquille ''Shaq'' O'Neal being one of basketball's most recognized celebrities (he's 7'1'', after all!), he also has a variety of college degrees under his belt. After he graduated from high school in San Antonio, Texas, in 1989, he attended Louisiana State University, which he left after three years to join the NBA.

However, Shaq had promised his mother that he'd finish college and held true on that by earning a bachelor's degree in general studies from LSU in 2000. He wasn't done, though, and in 2005, he received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. After that, he still wasn't satisfied! Shaq went on to receive a doctoral degree in education from Barry University in Florida in 2012, following his retirement from the NBA. Talk about a (big) man with a plan!

group of college graduates

6. Carrie Underwood

Last on our list of celebrities with college degrees is Carrie Underwood. Before she became the season four winner of American Idol and the recipient of several prestigious music awards, Underwood was just a small town girl from Oklahoma who loved to sing. After graduating as salutatorian from her high school in 2001, Underwood chose to get a college education at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where she graduated magna cum laude and received a bachelor's degree in mass communication.

Would you like to explore different career fields, degrees and colleges? Look no further than's article directory, which contains thousands of articles about these topics and more.

By Erin Riskey
October 2018
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