Top 6 Rock and Metal Stars With College Degrees

There is a common belief that if you are a bad boy and cannot cope with academic tasks,
you can easily leave school and develop a music career with your local rock band. There are many live examples to prove such an opinion, but this is not the only option how the
education of metal and rock stars look like. Many succeed both in music and academic
performance and finish colleges or even earn PhDs without hurdles. Other musicians who
left studies earlier managed to go back to colleges years later to finish their degrees. The
result is one; if you are a rock star, it doesn’t mean you are not a well-educated one. Look through the top famous examples from rock and metal music history.


The famous band members all have different kinds of college degrees. But the one who
stands out is their lead guitarist Brian May. An author of over twenty songs, including “We Will Rock You”, May is an astrophysicist by profession. He started his thesis long ago in the 70s, but the fast-developing music career with Queen made him put it on hold. It was not complete until 2007 when Brian returned to Imperial College and finished his thesis to earn a degree finally.

The Offspring

The Offspring frontman Dexter Holland has a similar story to Brian May. Holland, as well,
had to make a pause in his degree completion back in 1994. He was on the way to
completing PhD in molecular biology when Offspring released their third mega-successful
album and were busy with the things related. Many years later, in 2017, Dexter decided to finish it up and completed his degree at the University of Southern California.

The Velvet Underground

Sterling Morison, the Velvet Underground’s guitarist, had covered a long way to completing his degree in Medieval Literature. He started it from Syracuse University in New York together with Lou Reed, their frontman.

Morison shares his memories about those days:

‘I was writing an essay on music, literature, or whatever at the backstage between concerts and parties, and realized my education was of a poor quality due to my busy schedule, so I decided to leave it for a while.’

Still, a break wasn’t long, and Sterling managed to complete his program in the City College of New York in the shortest time. Afterward, he moved on to doing his degree in Literature at the University of Texas. He dedicated much time to university life and managed to gain his PhD eventually.


Wagner Lamounier, an iconic metal singer of Sepultura and Sarcofago, can boast about an extensive academic background and ongoing university activity as well.

Wagner is known for his significant influence on thrash and black metal not only in his
homeland Brazil but all over the globe, too. Surprisingly, he also has a PhD in economics. In addition, after Lamounier retired from his music career in 2000, he became a professor at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and teaches economics and applied statistics there.


Radiohead’s frontman, Thom Yorke, is considered to be an influential musician, with his
talents to play several instruments and unique manner of singing. Although he was
interested in music from his early school years, he chose a different educational path.
Thome studied Fine Arts and English at Exeter University. He graduated successfully,
however, he has never had a possibility to apply his qualifications, developing his career as a world-known singer and musician.

Bad Religion

Greg Graffin, a member of punk rock iconic band Bad Religion, has a profound educational background. While his band was famous for creating trends for punk music internationally, Graffin managed to earn several qualifications.

First of all, he gained an undergraduate Anthropology and Geology degree at the University of California. Greg proceeded with his Master’s degree at the very same institution and completed one in Geology there. Sometime after that, the musician decided to earn a PhD, so he wrote a dissertation and completed a degree in zoology. Such efforts and achievements make him one of the most educated musicians.

Final Words

The real-life examples prove that people can combine education with any kind of career or leisure activities with success in both fields. Even metal and rock musicians can excel in science or literature or any other specialization. You only need to be determined, oriented at success, and hard-working to combine and perform well in several different fields. Besides, there is always a possibility to ask for professional assistance with any of your occupations, either with an essay for university or songwriting for your rock band.


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