James Franco is considered a jack of all trades with acting, writing, producing, directing and hosting credits. But it's his passion for education that has garnered him the most attention lately, as he has simultaneously earned a master of fine arts degree from Columbia while starring in multiple films, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in English from Yale.
Late-night host Conan O'Brien helped perfect his sharp wit as a writer with the Harvard Lampoon magazine, while a student at the elite university. He graduated in 1985 with a degree in history and literature.
This actor, writer and philanthropist may have dropped out before earning his undergraduate degree at Harvard, but Matt Damon made up for it with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.
Claire Danes dropped her psychology textbooks at Yale halfway through her undergraduate degree and never looked back, as she continued her career on stage and screen.
David Duchovny, the star of "The X-Files" and Showtime's "Californication," may know a little a bit about the finer points of a good script as he holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from Princeton and Yale universities, respectively. He's also started work on a doctoral thesis for a Ph.D. at Yale.
She may be an acclaimed actress, producer and film director, but Jodie Foster also managed to complete an undergraduate degree at Yale, leaving with a diploma in 1985.
This actor and former model may best be known for his roles on the TV shows "Party of Five" and "Lost," but Matthew Fox is also an alumnus of Columbia University's class of 1989, with a bachelor's degree in economics.
Actor Paul Giamatti has starred in a range of films from comedies to dramas, but he first cut his teeth in student productions at Yale University, where he holds both bachelor's and master's degrees.
His character may not have been able to quit his cowboy pal in the film "Brokeback Mountain," but Jake Gyllenhaal had no problem dropping out of Columbia halfway through his undergraduate degree.
Before moving on to stage and screen and winning an Academy Award for his efforts, Tommy Lee Jones was a football player for the Harvard Crimson and roommate of future Vice President Al Gore. Jones graduated from Harvard in 1969 with a degree in English.
Ashley Judd my be recognized for her TV and film roles, but she's also regarded for her passion for philanthropy, which led her to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she earned a master's degree in public administration in 2010.
While his role as Jim Halpert on NBC's "The Office" may have launched him into the celebrity spotlight, John Krasinski has shared that he had no plans to be an actor when he graduated with an English degree in 2001 from Brown University.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, the star of such movies as "Secretary," "The Dark Knight" and "Crazy Heart," will always be a Columbia University Lion at heart, and a member of the class of 1999.
Edward Norton's entertainment career has spanned stints as an Oscar-nominated actor, director, screenwriter and producer, but he's also a Yale graduate of the class of 1991, and holds a degree in history.
Before she assumed the role of a vampire's girlfriend in the HBO series "True Blood," Anna Paquin won an Academy Award for her role in the film "The Piano," and also managed to work in a year as a student at Columbia University before dropping out.
An Oscar-winner for her role in "Black Swan," Natalie Portman also enjoys the title of Harvard grad, having earned a psychology degree in 2003 while filming portions of the "Star Wars" prequels.
As an actress and model, Brooke Shields has often been heralded for her beauty. But she's also an acclaimed author and holds a degree in French literature from Princeton University, from which she graduated in 1987.
Elisabeth Shue may be best known for her roles in the films "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Adventures in Babysitting," but she's also a Harvard alumnus who returned to complete her degree in 2000 after leaving to pursue her acting career.
As a TV and film star with many credits to his name, Jimmy Smits is also a Cornell University alumnus, having earned a master of fine arts degree there in 1982.
Julia Stiles took a break from her early acting career to earn a degree in English literature from Columbia University in 2005. She later immersed herself in stage and screen roles again, including a stint on the Showtime series "Dexter," which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
TV, stage and film legend Meryl Streep has done it all, including a master of fine arts degree from the prestigious Yale School of Drama in 1976. Streep has been recognized as the most nominated actor and performer by the Academy Awards and Golden Globes -- perhaps ivy can lead to gold.
Elizabeth Banks may be best known for her role in the comedy film "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but she's also a 1996 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
A veteran of "Saturday Night Live," Rachel Dratch (on left) majored in drama and psychology at Dartmouth College and graduated in 1988.
Rashida Jones is a 1997 graduate of Harvard who studied religion and philosophy en route to a film and TV career, including her current role on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."
Alicia Keys attended Columbia University before leaving early to pursue a successful music career, selling more than 35 million albums and winning numerous awards -- including 14 Grammys.
A nine-time Grammy Award winning singer and musician, John Legend actually studied English at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his bachelor's degree in 1999.
Longtime actor, musician and author John Lithgow graduated from Harvard in 1967, and credited his experience performing in a university production as the deciding influence for him to pursue a career as an actor.
A 1989 graduate of Yale University's renowned theater and English programs, Ron Livingston went on to acclaimed performances in the "Band of Brothers" miniseries as well as "Sex and the City" and the cult favorite "Office Space."
Actress Amanda Peet graduated from Columbia University in 1994, and went on to many featured and supporting roles in stage and screen projects, including "The Whole Nine Yards," and "Gulliver's Travels."
Mira Sorvino, Oscar-winning actress and star of the cult favorite "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," can also list Harvard graduate on her resume after earning her degree in East Asian studies there in 1989.