You Won’t Believe That These 6 Celebrities Have PhDs

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Bachelor’s degree alone is difficult to obtain, let alone a doctorate. And if they are a tremendously demanding feat to accomplish for us, what are they like for those in show business, who have far more on their plate?

As a matter of fact, you might be surprised when you see who on our list holds a PhD (or two), and in which science. Looks (and professions) can be deceiving, so buckle up!


1. Bill Cosby

Once America’s most beloved father figure, and as of recently, an actor known for his drugging and sexual assault accusations, Bill Cosby has seen some media turmoil. We bet you did not expect that he actually holds a doctorate degree in education which he gained at the University of Massachusetts of Amherst in 1977. As a matter of fact, he wrote a dissertation titled “An Integration of the Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning”.

However, not even his PhD was hidden from the public’s critical eye. Many professors from other universities stepped out and spoke about PhDs given based on “life experience”, usually awarded to actors, musicians, and the like. There were also allegations following Cosby’s lack of attendance at courses and easy credits earned by guest-starring at certain shows, as well as the controversy of him not writing his own thesis. Regardless of whether or not these statements are true, it appears that Bill Cosby can’t catch a break.


2. Shaquille O’Neal

This globally famous NBA superstar is also an athlete many people can learn from. Shaquille O’Neal started his doctorate studies at Louisiana State University. However, once he got the opportunity to fulfill his dreams of being a professional basketball player, he decided to leave university, much to his parents’ dismay. And yet, as a true down-to-earth celebrity as the media makes him out to be, Shaquille went back to university to finish his degree, and even got a “leave of absence” from his coach to do so.

Aside from getting a PhD to keep the promise made to his concerned parents, another reason for this huge life decision might be the thing he is quoted for: “Who knows when I will have to return to a regular 9-5 job”. It seems that even millionaires fear of ending up at the job market.

Shaq is also one of those celebrities who just cannot get enough of degrees. He also plans on studying law. Clearly, once you go doctorate, you cannot go back.


3. Miuccia Prada

This extraordinary woman is the name behind the famous fashion house, and the 75th most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes magazine. She studied at the University of Milan, and surprisingly enough, even though being an heir to a fashion empire, she got her doctorate degree in political science! The woman of a powerful name and an even more powerful presence, Miuccia Prada was a politically active young woman, and it was natural for her to make a similar choice in her education: “In those days, if you weren’t stupid, you wanted to change society and you were leftwing.”

And yet, during her activism, she still had an affinity towards presentable appearances, “To want to be a fashion designer was really the worst thing that could happen to me. I thought it was dumb and conservative. But my education at home pulled the other way, giving me a taste for beautiful things, an instinct for fashion. I adored that.”

Miuccia Prada’s politics-driven fire only helped in establishing an empire, and it takes a strong character as hers to survive in the fashion world. Perhaps it is not so strange that a woman like her studied such a wildly opposite subject.


4. Brian May

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the fabled lifestyle of celebrity musicians. What if we told you that a guitarist and songwriter of an iconic band is actually a doctorate’s degree holder in one of the most serious sciences out there?

Meet Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen. May earned his PhD in astrophysics, from the Imperial College of London. He started his thesis on reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the Solar System, before Queen gained momentum. And even when he had to drop out of college for his music career, May still managed to co-author two scientific papers. In 2007, he returned to his doctorate studies and received his diploma. Another unbelievable fact about such a gritty, versatile rock musician is that he was a science team collaborator at NASA for their New Horizons Pluto mission.

When interviewed about his achievement, May proudly said: “It’s a bit like an album – you’ve got to live with it for the rest of your life, so you want it to be perfect.” Thirty-six years from starting his thesis, May finally got his PhD, which serves as yet another reminder that it’s never too late.


5. Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik is an actress whose face is instantly recognized as Amy Farrah Fowler from the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory. The character she plays is a neuroscientist, and incidentally (or not), so is Bialik.

After acting in a 90s sitcom titled Blossom, she went back to school to get her PhD. Even though she was accepted at Harvard and Yale, Bialik chose UCLA to be closer to her parents. Her doctorate thesis was “Hypothalamic Regulation In Relation To Maladaptive, Obsessive-Compulsive, Affiliative, and Satiety Behaviors in Prader-Willi Syndrome.” Another fun fact is that she can speak Hebrew and Spanish.

As for the character of Amy Fowler, Bialik herself said that the producers of the show gave Amy her profession, in order to ensure the credibility of the facts stated in the script. As an answer to what swayed her from her actual profession, Bialik is quoted: “I’m glad that I completed my PhD and I’m very proud of it, but the life of a research professor would not have suited my needs in terms of what kind of parenting I wanted to do.”


6. Ken Jeong

Famous for playing Leslie Chow in the Hangover movie series, and señor Chang in the widely popular TV series Community, Ken Jeong is, believe it or not, a licensed physician in the state of California.

He received his M.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and proceeded to work in his profession for several years prior to becoming an actor. Ken Jeong was, in fact, a very gifted child and teenager, receiving the Greensborough’s Youth of the Year award in high school, something no one would think of when they see the characters he tends to play.

Jeong’s wife, Tran Ho, is also a licensed family physician. It was her who persuaded him to take up acting: “Medicine is a hard-won skill, and acting can be a fickle profession, so I tried to be realistic. Now, I’m a spoiled actor. I get weekends off and hiatus weeks – time I never got as a doctor“. And it was a good decision indeed, because the TV and silver screens are now richer for one intellectual, funny antagonist. Besides, who wouldn’t want an actual doctor on set?


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