StudyAdvantage Magazine

Barack Obama’s Education – This is Where He Studied

Published: January 12, 2017

obama 1.001


As his 8 year term comes to an end, 44th President of the United States Barack Obama is praised and celebrated across America and the world. A groundbreaking president in many ways, Obama introduced legislature that touched people ranging from the LGBT community to the disadvantaged, lacking healthcare insurance. He proved that a truly driven individual, put in the shoes of the world’s most powerful person could bring about large-scale change.

Perhaps the most sought-after job in the world, StudyAdvantage takes a closer look at the academic requirements for the position of President of the United States of America (in case you ever end up wanting to “apply”). We give you Barack Obama’s academic history.

Barack Obama Sr. and then-wife-to-be Ann Dunham met in a Russian Class at University of Hawaii at Manoa, where Obama Sr. was a foreign student from Kenya (Barack Sr. later attended Harvard for his graduate studies). Hawaii is where young Barack grew up with his mother before she re-married and moved with her son to Jakarta, Indonesia. From age six to ten, Obama attended local Indonesian schools, before finally returning to Hawaii where he stayed with his grandparents.


Obama 1


In 1979, Obama moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College for a brief period of time. This is where he made his first public speech, urging the university to join the disinvestment from South Africa in response to its Apartheid system. Although engaged in college activities, Obama quickly transferred to Columbia University in New York City in his junior year, where he was to finish his undergraduate degree with a major in political science with a specialty in international relations and English literature. Fresh out of college, he spent two years working in New York before taking on the job of community organizer in the Chicago South Side district.

Receiving some real-life experience, working with community development and meeting people, Obama got a first taste of the political life. As an aspiring public representative, he had his eyes set on the ultimate politician’s education – Law School. In ’88, this dream would become reality, as he started Harvard Law School. Before graduating with a JD degree magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he served as editor and president of the Harvard Law Review – arguably the most prestigious law journal in the nation.

With an impressive academic record under his belt, you’d think Obama was ready to leave the world of academia behind, but it wasn’t long after his graduation from Harvard Law School that he, in 1991, accepted a two-year position as Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School to work on his first book. He then taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years before turning to politics in 2004. The rest is history.



Are you curious to learn more about the universities Barack Obama has attended?

Mathilda Herlin


Read Mathilda’s latest blog post from Columbia University here




Hillary Clinton Donald Trump.001


Find out about Donald Trump’s academic record – who wins?





Trumps senior adviser – Jared Kushner – where did he study?


Other magazine articles