You see them on the big screen or the tv screen and covers of magazines and you may think you have nothing in common with them. Well, the truth is you have more in common with celebrities than you think. In fact, several actors have academic degrees- even some with professional designations. While many of them got their degrees before breaking into the world of acting, some completed the degree while already in the spotlight. Though it might be hard to picture them hunched over books studying as opposed to standing tall on the red carpet, here are 5 actors who studied while famous. 

  1. Emma Watson– Emma Watson is perhaps one of the best known for having a degree in this list. After successfully starring in the Harry Potter franchise she went on to attend Brown University where she graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of English Literature. The program took her 5 years to complete because she took 2 semesters off for acting projects. 
  2. Natalie Portman– Even after starring in Star Wars: Episode 1 Natalie Portman chose to balance acting and school. She attended Harvard from 1999-2003 and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While studying she filmed the second Star Wars and spent a summer break preforming on Broadway. 
  3. Mayim Bialik– Mayim Bialik is now best known for her role on the Big Bang Theory, but she got started as a child actor and reached fame on Blossoms. She took a break from acting in 1993 and attend UCLA. She ended up earning both a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew studies. 
  4. James Franco– James Franco originally dropped out of university in 1999 to pursue acting but ended up regretting the decision and re-enrolled in 2006 at UCLA. He graduated from UCLA after only 2 years with a bachelor’s degree in English. Not happy with just one degree he also has, a master’s degree in English from Columbia University with plans to get a second master’s degree in English from Yale. While working on his master’s degree he also studied film making at New York University, creative writing at Brooklyn University, and poetry at Warren Wilson College.
  5. Arnold Schwarzenegger– Arnold Schwarzenegger was already known as a bodybuilder and had starred in 1970s Hercules in New York when he started taking classes through UCLA. He then applied those credits towards his degree when he enrolled in 1979 at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He continued to take most of his classes through distance education and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing.

As hard as it may be to believe these actors balanced stardom with studying to earn their degrees. They decided that they valued education and it was worth any potential risks to their careers. They help to prove that studies have a lot to do with passion, determination, and hard work. 

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