There are a few famous individuals who have knuckled down in the past to achieve a postgraduate degree of PhD without being awarded it in an honorary fashion. Given the high number of “celebrities” in the world today though, the number is relatively small, even when you consider those no longer with us.

Condoleezza Rice has her PhD in political science from the Graduate School of International Studies at University of Denver, USA.

Gordon Brown has his PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Martin Luther King Junior received a PhD in systematic theology from Boston University, USA.

Brian May, guitarist from Queen received his PhD from Imperial College, UK, after completing his thesis on zodiacal dust clouds.

This is of course not a definitive list, a lot of time has been spent (wasted?) searching for famous names though, ultimately ending up quite fruitless! Of course one’s perception of a celebrity could be quite different to another’s. If you start to consider those recognised with a Nobel Prize or past inventors, then the list certainly starts to grow.

Any additions would be welcomed as a comment below.

Categories: Trivia


Dnichols · December 31, 2010 at 10:48

Robert Vaughn…The Man from UNCLE

Ben · October 5, 2010 at 00:47

Woodrow Wilson received his PhD in history and political science in 1886 from Johns Hopkins University

henry B. Crawford · September 23, 2010 at 12:39

General David Petrerus is also Dr. David Petrerus with a PhD from Princeton.

The only president of the United States with a Doctorate was Woodrow Wilson, who received his in History and Poli Sci from Johns Hopkins in 1886. He was president of Princeton U until he ran for US president and won in 1912.

Nathan · January 1, 2010 at 23:10

Bill Cosby earned a M.Ed. (Master of Education) and Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) degrees from the University of Massachusetts.

Tony · April 18, 2009 at 06:32

The current chancellor Germany, Angela Merkel has a doctorate degree in physical chemistry. See the wiki link

grayson downs · September 14, 2008 at 23:12

one to add to list of celebs with Phds, Greg Graffin, lead singer of punk band bad religion has a Phd and teaches at UCLA between albums and tours

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