Newsflash, Walter Cronkite: you can’t get a master’s degree in Being Famous. These celebrities went nose to the grindstone and got the work done to get their degrees. And we’re guessing during their stints in college, most of them had to work on a group project or two
1. Will Ferrell
Fate is a cruel, funny thing. On one hand, if Will Ferrell pursued his college passion of sports broadcasting, we wouldn’t have Step Brothers, Elf, or Anchorman, thus leaving The Internet with no movies to quote. On the other, we’ve also been robbed of a reality where Will Ferrell is a sports broadcaster. A cruel, funny thing indeed.
2. Dolph Lungdren
It’d be easy enough to dismiss ol’ Ivan Drago as another meatheaded action hero, but the Expendables star — and masters graduate with a degree in chemical engineering — boasts a brain almost as impressive as his muscles. Almost.
3. Eva Longoria
Well before she made waves as a Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria got edumacated at Texas A&M University–Kingsville with a degree in kinesiology. Which is the study of human kinectics, or the physiological aspects of human movement. Which we totally didn’t have to look up on Wikipedia just now.
4. Forest Whitaker
The sleepy-eyed Academy Award winner swung a football scholarship at the prestigious Cal Poly Pomona before transferring to the University of Southern California to study opera as a tenor. Now that that’s out of the way, please leave all your “Ghost Dog of the Opera” jokes in the comments below.
5. Lisa Kudrow
Anyone who’s watched an interview with the Friends alum knows that she’s a far cry from the flighty airhead she played on TV, but it’s still surprising — and darn impressive — to find out she has a degree in psychobiology, and spent several pre-fame years conducting intensive research alongside her scientist father.
6. “Weird Al” Yankovic
Two very important things happened during Weird Al’s tenure at California Polytechnic State University: he earned a degree in architecture, and he wrote the definitive lunchmeat-themed parody song, “My Balogna.” Because of one of those things, the world is a much better place.
7. Kenny Chesney
Honestly, it isn’t too terribly surprising that country artist Kenny Chesney left East Tennessee State University with a degree in advertising. What’s surprising is that he still hasn’t seized the opportunity to bill himself as the “Don Draper of Honky Tonk.”
8. Ashton Kutcher
It’s pretty much the textbook definition of the American Dream: guy enrolls in college to pursue a degree in biochemical engineering, guy gets recruited by a talent scout, guy becomes a big name actor in LA, guy makes a bunch of rom-coms and marries Demi Moore for a little bit.
9. Jake Gyllenhaal
Years before Donnie Darko posters were plastered across every film student’s dorm room ever, Jake Gyllenhaal spent time studying Eastern religions and philosophy at Columbia University, where big sis Maggie was majoring in Eastern religions and literature.
10. Lil Wayne
Although it’s easy to imagine that Wheezy would’ve mastered in silent lasagna studies or something of the sort, the rapper actually earned a degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix.
11. Brad Pitt
Try as you might, it’s genuinely tough to imagine a world where Brad Pitt ditched his acting aspirations and instead leapt headfirst into the interconnected worlds of journalism and advertising. Mostly because Us Weekly wouldn’t have anything to talk about, but still.
12. Michael Jordan
Not only would the world have been robbed of one of the greatest living athletes if Michael Jordan strictly stuck to his college studies of cultural geography, but we’d also be missing out on Twitter’s greatest fast food bromance. (Yes, we know it’s not really him. No, that won’t stop us from pretending it is.)
13. Ken Jeong
Bet you didn’t know that the Community and Hangover scene-stealer is also, you know, a registered MD. That’s right — the Man That Would Be Chang was a medical student at the University of North Carolina before completing his internal medicine residency at Ochsner Medical Center, all the while moonlighting as a stand-up comedian.
14. Sean Penn
Little-known fact: Sean Penn majored in auto mechanics at Santa Monica College. Not-as-little-known fact: he minored in being the most intense person to ever live.