Did James Franco go to college? is an interesting question—and an even more interesting answer.
James Franco went to college. In fact, he went to several colleges. The actor is quite the academic and, in addition to acting, James Franco has spent much of his adult life in education.
One of the things James Franco is most famous for is his deep interest in education. He has gone to a variety of colleges and has a few degrees under his belt. You might be surprised to find out that the actor is also well on his way to getting a PhD. Perhaps most interestingly, he also taught at several colleges, too.
James Franco and his SEVEN Degrees
To say that James Franco went to college is quite the understatement. Not only has he gone to college, but he’s also taught college courses.
While James Franco’s first experience with college was relatively short-lived, he eventually went back. After graduating from Palo Alto High School in 1996, James Franco enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles to study English. However, he wasn’t there long because he decided that acting was better suited for him. He dropped out during the end of his freshman year.
It was pretty clear that he made the right decision in pursuing acting. James Franco has landed several big and impressive roles and has won several acting awards. His first acting gig was in 1997 in the drama series Pacific Blue and for the next nearly 20 years James Franco would devote all of his passion and energy to acting.
However, things changed in 2006 when James Franco decided to return to UCLA. He finished his English major (with a major in creative writing). This was the one of the first instances of an impressive academic work ethic.
James got special permission to take 62 credits per quarter (the average is about 20). He was able to not only continue acting, but also finished the Bachelor’s degree in no time.
In June 2008, James Franco graduated with a GPA of 3.5/4.
Here’s where James Franco’s education gets very interesting. In 2008, James moved to New York City to attend Columbia University.
Not only was James working on a Master of Fine Arts (creative writing) degree there, but he was also simultaneously enrolled at Brooklyn College (fiction writing), New York University’s School of the Arts (filmmaking), and North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College (poetry).
Whew, that’s a lot of studying to think about—let alone actually accomplish!
But his education life continues—in 2010, James Franco was accepted to do a PhD in English at Yale University. Being the overzealous student he is, he was also accepted into Rhode Island School of Design’s literature and creative writing program. It didn’t end there, he was also accepted into the University of Houston’s creative writing program (he did turn this one down, however).
Academic Conspiracy Theories
On paper, James Franco’s academic record looks amazing. But for some fans, there’s no choice but to criticize him.
Some critics mention that as a celebrity with enough money to spend on tuition (or several tuitions) any institution would be more than happy to welcome him on board. Having a celebrity at a college or university would be a selling point to get other students to enroll, so, from a marketing standpoint, his time as a student would be lucrative for any college.
Additionally, since James Franco would be paying full price for courses, there would likely have been special arrangements made for the actor/student. He finished an impressive amount of programs in a short period of time and by granting him a degree, each institution could claim him as a former student (thus the marketing ploy continues).
So, while the quality of the education is up for debate and they may not be “conventional” degrees, we can state with 100% certainty that James Franco definitely went to college.