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December 16th, 2011,
Famous People With Degrees

By Alexander Diedrick

Actors and actresses are more than just pretty faces on the big screen. They are people, too, and many of them could have had very promising careers outside of the limelight with the bachelor’s degrees that they earned before they became famous.

I’m leaving out the obvious degrees such as “Theater,” “Fine Arts,” and “Attractive-ology.” The actors and actresses in this post hold degrees that don’t necessarily translate into becoming a movie star.

After reading this article, you might start wondering if you should give up on your cancer research or law degree in order to be the next Ashton Kutcher (who gave up finishing his biochemical engineering degree to go into modeling — no joke here).

But before you do that, remember that these are the anomalies in the industry. I would suggest that you keep up with the cancer research and simply enjoy learning that some of your favorite actors and actresses are secretly geniuses.

English Literature Bachelor’s Degrees
Held By: Tommy Lee Jones, Rachel Weisz, Stephen Fry, Hugh Grant, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Fred Savage, Renee Zelwegger, Lauren Graham
A bachelor’s degree in English literature teaches you a strong combination of literature and writing, and graduates with such a degree are usually destined toward careers such as teaching, publishing, or journalism. However, these actors used their degrees to bolster their understanding of literature that some people forget about: movie scripts.

Psychology Bachelor’s Degrees
Held By: Natalie Portman, Katharine Hepburn, and Jon Stewart
Psychology degrees are all about understanding the brain and why it works the way it does. Although it may not sound like it would help actors and actresses, it’s perfect for them because understanding human behavior is necessary in entertaining a mass of humans. Natatlie Portman even went to Harvard to earn her bachelor’s degree. Think about that the next time you see her swooning over Thor.

Communications Bachelor’s Degrees
Held By: James Gandolfini, Spike Lee, Tim Allen, David Boreanaz
This bachelor’s degree actually seems perfect for actors and actresses. There isn’t much of a difference between acting in a blockbuster and communicating to in some other major way. Although communications degrees tend to start their students on career paths such as journalism, these actors used their degrees to better understand their craft.

Business Bachelor’s Degrees
Held By: Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Surprisingly, Michael Douglas and the rest of the “Wall Street” cast are not on this list. Students with business degrees have a high priority in this country, and many times go on to make six-figure salaries with enough work. These actors made the same salaries by doing things a bit differently: by making robots-from-the-future and Western movies.

Surprise Bachelor’s Degrees:

Chinese Language — Held By: Lucy Liu and Mira Sorvino

Engineering — Held By: Donald Sutherland

Sports Broadcasting — Held By: Will Ferrell

French Literature — Held By: Brooke Shields

Computer Science and Mathematics – Held By: Masi Oka

Architecture – Held By: James Stewart

Psychobiology – Held By: Lisa Kudrow

Alexander Diedrick is the writing intern for