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Famous people who went back to education | April 8th, 2019

Blog from the Distance Learning Centre – Famous people who went back to education

If you are on the fence about whether or not to get back into studying, remember one thing: it’s not too late, and generally it’s never a bad idea.

Furthering your academic journey and pursuing those interests can do nothing but enrich your mind, life and prospects. You’re never too old or too busy to expand your horizons and go back to school!

To inspire you, we’ve got a list of famous people who went back to education after they became household names. Some of these celebrities have the most recognisable faces in the world, but they didn’t let that stop them from getting their degrees and bettering themselves.




This movie director is worth around 3.6 billion dollars to date, has won Oscars, Academy Awards, BAFTAs and countless other awards. He is responsible for some of the best known and most celebrated movies of the 20th and 21st centuries. Although he dropped out of university to pursue this career, he decided to return to education when in his fifties. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film and electronic arts from California State University, Long Beach in 2002.

Can you imagine taking a film class sitting next to the biggest film director of all time? This is a man who is at the top of his profession, has incredible wealth and still decided to further his education in his own field, by gaining a respectable qualification in a subject he’s an established expert on!



This young lady is as fierce, determined and studious as her character in Harry Potter, without a doubt. After becoming one of the most famous faces in the world as Hermione Granger, Emma Watson enrolled in Brown University in 2009 and graduated with a BA in English Lit in 2014.

She filmed the last two Harry Potter films and made two other movies (The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring) during her time at Brown, which is pretty impressive. She didn’t let her incredible fame or busy schedule get in the way of her attaining her goals.

famous people who went back to education


To regain a little perspective and focus on improving her mind after a sell-out world tour, singer Shakira took a short university course in the History of Western Civilization. She dressed incognito and used her middle name in order to complete her course quietly without being recognised.

She has since said in interviews that she was delighted to learn new things and attend an educational setting, after not making it to university in her younger years when her career took over.

She submitted her thesis in 2013, which was entitled ‘Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers’.



This king of comedy, acting legend, writer, presenter and well-loved household name did not go down the traditional further education route when he was young but went straight into his career as an entertainer.

Then in 2007, having conquered the world of acting, stand-up comedy, singing, writing, presenting and after co-founding the famous charity Comic Relief, Sir Lenny Henry graduated from the Open University with a BA Hons degree in English Literature. He then went on to do a MA in screenwriting for TV and film at Royal Holloway London followed by a PhD in the role of black people in the media.