Presidential Education

OK, everyone, in the September edition of Harper’s, they included in the “Harper’s Index” a statistic that said that exactly one president had received a Ph.D.

Here is the link:

This sparked discussion in a writing class that I’m in, during which, one fellow promised us that the Ph.D. was Jimmy Carter, for nuclear engineering. I couldn’t find verification to this, so I’ll include it in my question…

So, does anyone know where I can find a list of the degrees our presidents achieved? Our teacher assures us that most of them got Juris Doctorates (a law degree, apparently), but I don’t really trust her. I swear, I searched google. I know how things work.

Ok, thanks everyone.


Except that the Ph.D holder is Woodrow Wilson, who earned one in Political Science from Johns Hopkins in 1886.

Jimmy Carter didn’t attend graduate school according to his bio in “The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents.”

CSPAN put a lot of stuff about the presidents on this website

FWIW, the PhD was Woodrow Wilson, and I believe his PhD was in history.

Er…make that political science, I guess.

Note, the “fellow” was not me. Honest.

Thank you, though.


I would add that Wilson’s Ph.D. dissertation was mostly a reworking of his famous (at the time) book “Congressional Government, a study in American Politics”, which was first published in 1885.

geez, if he’d had a PhD in nuclear engineering, you think he’d at least know how to pronounce the word…

Perhaps a bit of a tangent, but is there any Prez other than Dubya who held degrees from both Yale and Harvard?

This site has a lot of interesting info on Presidents, including their respective levels of education.

I notice that W “holds” degress from Harvard and Yale, not earned them.


Dubya earned both his degrees. His Yale degree was a B.A. in history (or A.B.? can’t remember if they put it in Latin), then he went to Harvard a few years later and earned an M.B.A.

I believe he’s the first Prez with an M.B.A.

(BTW, I’m not asking about honourary degrees; I’m wondering if any other President has earned degrees from both Harvard and Yale).

I did a little reading up on the presidents, I can’t find any past presidents who graduated from both Harvard and Yale (although lots graduated from one of those two universities). And to my knowledge, no previous president has held the degree of M.B.A.