StudyAdvantage Magazine

Hollywood Pretty Boy and Academic Whiz – Where Did He Study? – James Franco Education

Published: March 24, 2017

In our “Where did they study?” article series we examine the educational resumes of timely & relevant figures in business, politics, technology, science, sports, arts and media.



James Franco is a great example of a modern celebrity. Apart from being an acclaimed Hollywood and Broadway actor and an Academy winner, he is also a humanitarian supporting various causes and charities including non-profit organisations working with young kids and the LGBT community. Franco is a big personality in the art world as well. During his high school years, he painted and after his acting breakthrough he collaborated with Marina Abramovic, one of the most important performance artists today. In addition, James Franco is an author of a number of published fiction books and a recording artist. We’re obviously very interested to see where this superbly well-established, not to mention extremely good looking, actor studied.


Franco’s parents, who met at Stanford University, supported and encouraged him to do well at school, which most likely had a positive effect on Franco’s approach to education and studying. After graduating from Palo Aalto High School, James was accepted to study at UCLA  with a major in English and creative-writing concentration. He dropped out of college in order to pursue acting but resumed his studies at UCLA and graduated in 2008. Franco re-enrolled with a great thirst for knowledge – the college has an upper limit of 19 units per semester he managed to take between 20-62 credits every term and maintain a GPA above 3.5 while working on movies. That’s pretty impressive.

After graduating from UCLA  in 2008, Franco relocated to New York to pursue postgraduate studies and again, he did it big style. He enrolled at three different universities to study MFA writing at Columbia, filmmaking at  New York University and fiction writing at Brooklyn College and he also joined a residency writing program at Warren Wilson College. Franco graduated from Columbia in 2010 and is currently a PhD candidate in English at Yale.


Article written by Tereza Gladisova, a contributing editor at StudyAdvantage covering stories in education, media and entertainment.


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