How To Earn a Degree Without Studying

Want to know the secret of earning your degree without studying? It’s super easy… just become a celebrity. Famous people like Oprah Winfrey and Kanye West have been given degrees from top colleges without even stepping a foot in a classroom.

Here are some celebrities that earned their degrees just by showing up to graduation. 

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J.K. Rowling 

J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, the best selling book series of all time. It sold more than 500 million copies world wide. In 2004 Forbes named Rowling as the first billionaire by writing books. Rowling has received six honorary degrees from St. Andrews University, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Aberdeen, Harvard University and her Alma Mater University of Exeter. 

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Oprah Winfrey 

Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show which ran from 1981 to 2011. It was the highest rated tv show of it’s kind. She has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history and the first woman African American billionaire. She has received an honorary Fine Arts Degree in 2002 from Princeton University, a honorary doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Duke in 2009, an honorary Doctorate degree from the University of the Free State in South Africa in 2011 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard in 2013. 

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Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep has been nominated for 21 Oscars, 3 of which she won. She is considered by many to be “the best actress of her generation.” She received 31 Golden Globe nominations and won 8 of them. She has won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards and has been nominated for 15 British Academy Film Awards. In 2004 she received the AFI Life Achievement Award and in 2017 received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award. Meryl Streep has 4 honorary degrees, three from the Ivy League schools Princeton, Yale and Harvard. The last one was from Indiana University at Bloomington for a Doctorate of Fine Arts. 

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Yoko Ono 

Yoko Ono is a singer-songwriter who is best known for being John Lennon’s second wife and peace activist. Yoko has three honorary degrees for her work in art and activism. In 2001 she received an honorary degree from the University of Liverpool. In 2002 Yoko received an honorary degree from Bard College and in 2014 she received an honorary doctorate from the Pratt Institute. 



Bono is an Irish singer-songwriter who is best known for being the frontman for the band U2. He is also a venture capitalist and philanthropist. He has two honorary degrees. In 2003 he received one from Trinity College Dublin and one from UPenn in 2004. In 2013 NYU offered him an honorary degree but he declined because his daughter was graduating and he didn’t want to overshadow the event. 

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Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman is an actor, producer and narrator who won an Oscar for the film Million Dollar Baby and was nominated for another four. Morgan Freeman has two honorary doctorate degrees. One in 2013 from Boston University and one in 2015 from Howard University. 

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Jimmy Kimmel 

Jimmy Kimmel is a comedian and talk show host known for hosting the late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! since 2003. When he was a young man Jimmy attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas but dropped out in 1986. In 2013 he was invited back and given an honorary doctorate for his achievements for his television and comedic success. 

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Kanye West 

Kanye West is a rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer. He won a Grammy for his debut studio album The College Dropout in 2005. Then ten years later he received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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Muhammed Ali 

Muhammed Ali was a professional boxer, philanthropist and activist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest sportsmen in the 20th century. He has received two honorary doctorates, one by Princeton in 2007 and one from Muhlenberg College in 2009. 

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Kermit the Frog 

The leader of the muppets, Kermit the Frog received a honorary doctorate in Amphibious Letters from Southampton College in New York for his contributions to environmental awareness and education. And keeping with the tradition, he also gave the commencement speech. Some students were against giving the honor to a fictional character while others wore big green stickers on their graduation caps that said “Kermit ’96”. The beginning of Kermit’s speech went like this; “President Steinberg, Chancellor Sillerman, distinguished guests and my fellow amphibians, I stand here before you a happy and humble frog. When I was a tadpole growing up back in the swamps, I never imagined that I would one day address such an outstanding group of scholars.” The event was well covered by the press.

Okay, so technically celebrities are only given honorary degrees. And honorary degrees don’t really mean anything, we all know the colleges only give them out for positive press. So if you do become a celebrity and receive an honorary degree unfortunately it won’t further your academic career. But they do look just as good as real ones framed and hanging on the wall.