Originally Posted: Apr 13, 2012
Last Updated: Oct 6, 2017
Contrary to popular belief, not all celebrities go to school for a degree in acting or modeling. You may be surprised to know their real degree!
Bill Nye (the Science Guy)
Bill Nye the Science Guy was made famous as the host of the Disney/PBS children’s science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993-1998). Nye studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University and graduated in 1977. He was later awarded honorary doctorates by Johns Hopkins University (2008) and Willamette University (2011). Shortly after graduating, he headed for Seattle to work as an engineer at Boeing, and soon started moonlighting as a comedian.
Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean)
Best known as Mr. Bean or Johnny English, Atkinson didn’t always picture a career in comedy. He attended Newcastle University, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and then continued on for an M.Sc. in electrical engineering at The Queen’s College, Oxford. While at Oxford, Atkinson acted and performed sketches for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS).
What do you think a model turned TV star turned movie star turned producer would have studied in college?
Certainly not biochemical engineering! That’s right, Ashton Kutcher enrolled at the University of Iowa in 1996 with a planned major of biochemical engineering. His motivation? To find a cure for his fraternal twin brother’s cardiomyopathy.
The University of Iowa is featured on some excellent CollegeXpress lists, including Colleges that Meet the Financial Needs of Students and Colleges to Consider if You Want to Study Biology.
Best known as the “weird” one on the cast of Friends, Lisa Kudrow is living proof that even geniuses can play a ditz! Kudrow received a B.A. in Biology from Vassar College, and worked as a researcher for eight years, earning credit on a study of the comparative likelihood of left-handed individuals developing cluster headaches
Vassar’s biology program has only gotten bigger, and they have gotten much more selective! You can find Vassar on our Experts’ Choice: The Hottest Colleges in the Nation list.
Some know her as NBC’s Blossom; others know her as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s “friend that’s a girl, but not a girlfriend” on The Big Bang Theory. Surprisingly enough, her role as a neurobiologist corresponds to her real-life pursuits.
Bialik earned a bachelor degree in neuroscience, Hebrew, and Jewish studies in 2000 and then went on to the Ph.D. program in neuroscience. Bialik was accepted to both Harvard and Yale, but chose to attend UCLA.
Would you be more likely to choose a college based on famous alumni?