Does Trump Have A College Degree?- Trump’s Academic History

The United States Constitution does not expressly bar non-college degree holders from running for office. It sets the provisions in Article II, Section 5.

Donald John Trump was the 45th president of the United States. Of all the presidents of the United States, only nine never graduated from college. It represents a 19.57% minority.

An overwhelming majority of presidents in the United States have college degrees. Twenty-five presidents graduated from private universities, whereas only nine were from public institutions.

Harvard University has produced more presidents than any other, with five presidents graduating from the prestigious university.

So, Does Trump Have a College Degree?

Donald Trump is a college degree holder. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He was in the Wharton School, a prestigious business school part of the University of Pennsylvania. Donald Trump graduated in 1968.

It is worth noting that after 1953, all United States presidents have held at least one college degree.

Donald Trump’s Academic Background

In his early childhood, Donald John Trump attended the Kew-Forest School in New York. He attended a private school from 1950 to 1959.

Trump would eventually become a troublemaker, and as a consequence, was sent to military school by his parents. 

He attended the New York military academy. It is a private school with boarding facilities, where Trump attended from 1959 to 1964.

Trump attended Fordham University, Rose Hill, at the Bronx for two years, between 1964 and 1966. 

During his time at Fordham, he avoided the draft due to medical complications. He was to fight in the Vietnam war; however, he was diagnosed with a condition known as bone spurs.

Donald Trump would attend the University of Pennsylvania between 1966 to 1968.

He attended Wharton, a prestigious business school. He would graduate in 1968 with an undergraduate degree in economics.

Presidents Ranked By Academic Qualifications

There have been several United States presidents, all with varying levels of education. Education in the United States has evolved over the last 300 years.

It has become fundamental to American society. While access to higher education remains a challenge to many folks, most presidents attained it.

Let us find out how the United States presidents compare to each other:

1. Lacking formal education

Despite being a self-trained lawyer, Abraham Lincoln had no formal education. It was a period in American history when access to education was a challenge to most people. During this period, many people became professionals through apprenticeship.

Andrew Johnson also never received any formal education. He was a tailor before he served in the House of Representatives.

2. High school diploma

Under the category, we have ten presidents, the most notable being George Washington. George Washington was the first president of the United States.

Except for Harry Truman, all these presidents served before the 20th century. They include George Cleveland, Zachary Taylor, James Monroe, among others.

3. Undergraduate degree

More than half of the presidents of the United States are in the category. The first president to hold a degree was John Adams. Since 1963, every president has had a college undergraduate degree.

4. Posthumous Advanced Degree

A Posthumous Advanced Degree is an honorary award granted to a deceased student who had not completed the program. 

These students might not have met the minimum requirement for graduation but are conferred degrees with the dean’s permission.

Notable presidents with Posthumous Advanced Degrees are Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt.

5. Master Degrees

Only seven presidents have earned advanced degrees in their time. Most of the presidents that served in the last 35 years have completed master’s degree programs, including George Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, etc.

Except for George Bush, all these presidents had master’s degrees in law. George Bush had a Master’s in Business Administration.

6. Doctor of Philosophy

The only president to have completed a doctorate was Woodrow Wilson. President Wilson completed his degree at John Hopkins University. With this accolade, he became the highest-educated president in the United States. 

Classification Of Higher Education In The United States

After completing elementary school and high school in the United States, further education is optional. 

Most students, however, go to colleges through scholarships or by private means. The alternative is joining the military to pay for your college tuition.

Not all institutions are the same. Higher education is classified into four main categories:

  1. State colleges
  2. Private colleges
  3. Community colleges
  4. Technology institutes

1. State Collages and state universities

They are considered among many folks to be very prestigious. These colleges or universities are run and financed by state governments.

In the United States, each of the 50 states has at least one of these universities. The state university was the University of Georgia, which opened in 1801. Generally, state Universities are run by trustee boards, chancellors, presidents, and executives.

State universities and colleges offer many accredited courses. They offer certificate, diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate programs. 

Most of the attendees are usually undergraduate students, who make up more than 80% of the college population.

2. Private colleges and private universities

Universities and colleges are run by private foundations, religious groups, and even government branches. They are financed from private sources.

Private colleges are known to be expensive compared to other institutions of higher learning. Unlike public universities and colleges, these private universities do not get government subsidies.

In terms of size, private colleges and universities tend to be smaller and have fewer students. They offer the courses typically offered in public universities.

3. Community Colleges

Community colleges are institutions that offer two-year courses. Their programs fall into two categories, transferable degrees, and certifications.

Transferable degrees are bridge programs that prepare students to transition into state colleges. Credits earned will enable you to graduate sooner from state universities. Certifications are programs that equip students with skills for the workforce.

4 .Technology Institutes

These are colleges that offer programs based on science and technology. The programs they offer run for four or five years. 

They produce intuitive and intelligent innovators with hands-on skills. These institutions are typically competitive, as they have low acceptance rates.

Constitutional And Legal Requirements For Running For The Presidency Of The United States

A college degree is not a constitutional requirement to become a president of the United States. The last president not to have held an undergraduate degree was Harry Truman. Harry Truman was the 33rd president of the United States.

There are several legal and constitutional requirements to be fulfilled to run for office. You can find the constitutional requirements in Article II, Section I.

There are three main requirements:

1. Citizenship

As per the United States Constitution, only citizens are permitted to run for office. The Constitution further specifies that these citizens have to be born in the United States. The qualification does not extend to citizenship by naturalization.

2. Age qualification

You must be at least 35 years old to run for the presidency of the United States. The framers of the Constitution adopted the age in 1787. 

The framers set the qualifications for each elective seat in congress and the president’s office in the period.

3. Residency requirements

The Constitution states that a candidate must have been a resident for no less than 14 years at the election time. The president must have had permanent residence within the United States.

Other legal requirements:

These are conditions that have not been expressly stipulated in the Constitution but hold by virtue of legality.

They are:

4. Holding federal office

The United States president must not hold any other federal office during their tenure as president. Any candidate who wishes to vie for the presidency must have resigned from any other public office. It enables the doctrine of separation of powers to become effective.

5. Impeachment

You cannot run for any federal office once you have been impeached, including the presidency. If the president has been impeached, he cannot appeal the decision. It bars him from becoming president for the rest of his life.

6. Treacherous acts against the United States

If convicted of treason, you will not be eligible to run for office. The acts of treason could come in many forms, like aiding enemies in wartime or participating in mutiny or insurrections. You can find the provisions in section 3 of the Constitution.


Having a bachelor’s degree is neither a constitutional nor legal requirement to run for the presidency in the United States. Despite this, 80.43% of all presidents have had at least an undergraduate degree from either a public or private university.

Donald Trump, the 45th president, is a college degree holder. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.

Before that, Donald Trump had attended military school in New York. His parents had taken him to military school after he’d caused trouble at the Kew-Forest School.

John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!


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