Student Blog

6 celebrities with unexpected degrees

On-screen, celebrities are known for their acting skills, musical abilities or larger than life personalities, but behind the stage make-up, coiffured hair and designer clothes are people who embarked on the same route in life that you’re considering. Here, then, are 6 stars with unexpected degrees.

  1. Sacha Baron-Cohen: History, University of Cambridge While Baron-Cohen excels in creating uneducated, dim-witted characters, his own academic background shines. A history student at Christ’s College, Baron-Cohen immersed himself in Cambridge’s theatrical scene, before embarking on the hilarious, yet controversial career path we know him for today.
  2.  Natalie Portman: Psychology, Harvard University The Star Wars and Black Swan star has always put education and studies before her glittering Hollywood career: Portman missed the premier for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace so she could study for her high school finals. While completing her psychology degree at Harvard, she told the New York Post “I don’t care if [college] ruins my career…I’d rather be smart than a movie star”.
  3. Rowan Atkinson: Electrical Engineering, University of Newcastle Mr Bean may have had many a mishap, but Atkinson was destined for success in the field of electrical engineering. After graduating with the highest marks in his year, the comedian was set to study for his MSc at Oxford. However, he went on to meet Richard Curtis – and a very different future unfolded instead.
  4. Dennis Bergkamp: Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath Footballers are more commonly known for tabloid scandals and huge pay-cheques rather than holding specialist degrees. This Arsenal player bucks the trend of the ‘pretty-but-dumb’ stereotype that follows players around – and the fact he completed his degree while playing for the London club helps improve the image of intellectual footballers.
  5.  Lisa Kudrow: Psychobiology, Vassar College  She’s known internationally for playing Phoebe in Friends, but in academic circles, her name rings a bell for different reasons. Kudrow studied at Vassar College, intending to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a headache researcher. Kudrow’s research on cluster-headaches still holds up today.
  6.  Ashton Kutcher: Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa  This A-list actor is much more than just a pretty face: Kutcher studied biochemical engineering while at university. Kutcher was motivated to go to university due to his brother’s cardiomyopathy: his reason for studying biochemical engineering was to help find a cure for the disease. He may have dropped out after winning a modelling competition, but to this day he has strong opinions on education and being smart. During an acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards, he urged young people to be clever and educated, rather than focusing on superficial issues such as appearance.

So there we have it, 6 celebrities with unexpected degrees. Which just goes to show, there’s no single route to where you want to be. You might even find, like these A-listers, that where you want to be changes mid-journey, and that’s ok too.

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