List of Presidents of the United States by education
Most Presidents of the United States received a college education, even most of the earliest. Of the first seven Presidents, five were college graduates. College degrees have set the Presidents apart from the general population, and Presidents have held such a degree even when this was quite rare indeed, as well as unnecessary, for practicing most occupations, including law. Of the forty-four individuals to have been the President, twenty-four of them graduated from a private undergraduate college, nine graduated from a public undergraduate college, and twelve held no degree. Every President since 1953 has had a bachelor's degree, reflecting the increasing importance of higher education in the United States.
List by degree
Did not graduate from college
- George Washington (The death of his father ended Washington's formal schooling; however, he believed strongly in formal education. In his will, he left money and/or stocks to support three educational institutions.)
- James Monroe (attended the College of William and Mary but dropped out to fight in the Revolutionary War)
- Andrew Jackson
- Martin Van Buren
- William Henry Harrison (attended college but never received a degree)
- Zachary Taylor
- Millard Fillmore (founded the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York)
- Abraham Lincoln (had only about a year of formal schooling of any kind)
- Andrew Johnson (no formal schooling of any kind)
- Grover Cleveland
- William McKinley (attended Allegheny College (did not graduate) and Albany Law School (did not graduate))
- Harry S. Truman (went to business college and law school but did not receive a degree)
Some Presidents attended more than one institution. George Washington never attended college, though The College of William & Mary did issue him a surveyor's certificate. Only two Presidents attended foreign colleges at the undergraduate level: John Quincy Adams at Leiden University and Bill Clinton who was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. (John F. Kennedy intended to study at the London School of Economics, but failed to attend as he fell ill before classes began.)
Three Presidents have attended the United States Service academies: Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, while Jimmy Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. No Presidents have graduated from the much newer U.S. Air Force Academy. Eisenhower also graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College, Army Industrial College and Army War College. These were not degree granting institutions when Eisenhower attended, but were part of his professional education as a career soldier.
A complete list of each President and his undergraduate educational history appears below.
M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration)
|Harvard Business School||Cambridge, Massachusetts|
J.D. or equivalent
|Columbia Law School||New York, New York|
|Duke University Law School||Durham, North Carolina|
|Yale Law School||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Harvard Law School||Cambridge, Massachusetts|
Note: Nixon and Ford were awarded LL.B. degrees. When U.S. law schools began to use the J.D. as the professional law degree in the 1960s, previous graduates had the choice of converting their LL.B. degrees to a J.D. Duke University Law School made the change in 1968, and Yale Law School in 1971. Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were awarded posthumous J.D. degrees in 2008.
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, Maryland|
Details of Presidential undergraduate education
- A.^ JFK enrolled, but did not attend
Graduate studies by type
|Stanford University Graduate School of Business||Palo Alto, California||
|Harvard Business School||Cambridge, Massachusetts|
|School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, Maryland|
|University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||
Several Presidents who were lawyers did not attend law school, but became lawyers after independent study. Some had attended college before beginning their legal studies, and several studied law without first having attended college. It was customary to study under established lawyers. Presidents who were lawyers but did not attend law school include: John Adams; Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; James Monroe; John Quincy Adams; Andrew Jackson; Martin Van Buren; John Tyler; James K. Polk; Millard Fillmore; James Buchanan; Abraham Lincoln; James A. Garfield; Grover Cleveland; Benjamin Harrison; and Calvin Coolidge.
List by presidents
Other academic associations
School rector or president
|Thomas Jefferson||University of Virginia||1st Rector||1819–1826|
|James Madison||University of Virginia||2nd Rector||1826–1836|
|James A. Garfield||Hiram College||President||1857–1860|
|Millard Fillmore||University of Buffalo||Chancellor||1846–1874|
|Woodrow Wilson||Princeton University||President||1902–1910|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower||Columbia University||President||1948–1953|
School trustee or governor
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- Gellman, Irwin F. (2017). The Contender: Richard Nixon, the Congress Years, 1946–1952. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-300-22020-9.
- "Gerald R. Ford Biography". Fordlibrarymuseum.gov/. Grand rapids, MI: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- Bear, John (2001). Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-58008-202-0.
- Bolich, W. Bryan (1968). Duke Law School 1868–1968: A Sketch (PDF). Durham, NC: Duke University Law School. p. xxiv.
- Mwenda, Kenneth Kaoma (2007). Comparing American and British Legal Education Systems. Youngstown, NY: Cambria Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-934-043-51-6.
- New York Sun, "Presidents Roosevelt Honored With Posthumous Columbia Degrees", September 26, 2008
- Columbia Law School, "Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt to Receive Posthumous Law Degrees from Columbia Law School", September 25, 2008
- Johnson, Mary; Kelly, Erin St. John (October 9, 2008). "Presidents Roosevelt Awarded Law Degrees Posthumously: 26th and 32nd U. S. Presidents Become Official Graduates of Columbia Law School; Made Official Members of the Classes of 1882 and 1907". law.columbia.edu. New York, NY: Columbia Law School.
- Johnston, J. Stoddard (1913). "Sketch of Theodore O'Hara". The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Frankfort, KY: State Journal Company. p. 67.
- Joseph Nathan Kane, Facts About the Presidents (New York: Simon & Schuster [Pocket Books], 1968 [5th printing]), 194.
- Leitch, Alexander (1978). "Biography, Grover Cleveland". A Princeton Companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- UC.edu Archived 2006-04-28 at the Wayback Machine.
- "BU School of Law Timeline". Boston University. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Biography of Wilson on Princeton Web.
- Robert H. Ferrell, Farewell to the Chief: Former Presidents in American Public Life, 1991, page 52
- U.S. Government Printing Office, Congressional Record, Volume 108, Part 4, 1962, page 5168.
- Kaczynski, Andrew; Apper, Megan (February 2, 2015). "Here's Bill Clinton's Personnel File From His Time As An Arkansas College Professor". buzzfeed.com/. New York, NY: Buzzfeed.com.
- Media Inquiries, University of Chicago Law School
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
- Reynolds, G.T. (1902). "Madison College". In Haskins, Charles Homer; Hull, William Isaac. A History of Higher Education in Pennsylvania. Government Printing Office. pp. 155–7.
- University of Nashville Board of Trustees (1892). The University of Nashville, 1785 to 1892. Nashville, TN: Marshall & Bruce. p. 5. Note: In 1791, Jackson was appointed to the board of trustees of Davidson Academy. Jackson continued on the board when the school was reorganized as Cumberland College in 1806. In 1826, Cumberland College was reincorporated as the University of Nashville, and Jackson remained a member of the board of trustees until his death.