Six Musicians You Might Not Expect to Have College Degrees

Sometimes it’s really tough to juggle everything on your plate when you’re in school.  It seems as if there just aren’t enough hours in the day to go to class, finish all of your homework, have a bit of a social life, and sleep.  This is why so many college students have Red Bull or coffee pulsing through their veins.

Imagine doing all of these things, in addition to carrying on a music career.  Trying to find time to tour, or get in the studio, and live that “rock star life.”  Seems impossible?  Here are five guys that did it.  Some of them obtained their degrees prior to becoming famous musicians, some of them finished their degrees while at the height of their fame, and others didn’t even start until after they had reached their rock star status.

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer 

The eccentric front man of the power pop trio, Weezer attended classes on and off since 1995 at Harvard University.  After completing the bands’ 2005 release, “Make Believe,” Cuomo returned to Harvard to finish up his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and graduated in 2006.  Despite being engaged at the time and in his 30’s, Cuomo lived in the Harvard dorms for the last couple semesters of his education.

Dexter Holland of The Offspring

Singer Dexter Holland of the SoCal punk outfit The Offspring attended the University of Southern California.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology.  He was a Ph.D candidate in Molecular Biology, but abandoned that to pursue his music career with The Offspring.  Holland is also an Airline Transport Pilot and is certified in flight instruction.  He even took a solo ten-day trip around the world.


Starting off as a lowly intern and then a disc jockey at Atlanta’s radio station Hot 97.5, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges worked his way up in the business.  In addition to having released seven albums and appearing in multiple films, Ludacris also graduated from Georgia State University with honors.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in music management.  This came in handy in he launched his own record label Disturing Tha Peace.

Jim Morrison of The Doors

Thinking about it, it might not be that surprising that Jim Morrison obtained a film degree from the University of California, Los Angeles before joining the classic psychedelic band.  The metaphors used in their music, the trippy videos, and Morrison’s stage and video presence all might have been things he learned while studying film.

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion

Greg Graffin, Ph.D. double majored in anthropology and geology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a Master’s degree in geology.  He received his Ph.D. at Cornell University. In 2006, a book of back and forth discussion between Graffin and Preston Jones, a historian at the Christian John Brown University in Arkansas  was published, called Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity. He also teaches a course on evolution once in a while at Cornell.  He started in 2009, took a year off, and started up again in 2011.

Brian May of Queen

Brian May, in addition to being number 26 in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time” and the guitarist of one of the most legendary rock bands of all time, is an astrophysicist.   He studied mathematics and physics at the Imperial College London, and graduated with Upper Second Class Honors.  He began his Ph.D. program, studying reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the solar system (try saying that five times fast, let alone studying it.) When Queen got successful, he hung up his telescope for a while, just writing scientific research papers before officially graduating in 2008.  Asteroid 52665 Brianmay is even named after him.

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Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, double majoring in journalism and communications. She writes for her college newspaper, mostly covering local bands and interns at 89x, a metro-Detroit radio station. She frequents the movie theater and when she has free time, she likes spend it with her friends. Carmen hopes to one day be a music journalist.