Famous People Who Got a 2:2 or Third Class Degree at University

Famous People Who Got a 2:2 or Third Class Degree at University

Famous People Who Got a 2:2 or Third Class Degree at University

There’s a bit of an unfair stigma attached to getting a 2:2 or a third-class degree at uni – but as these successful celebs prove, it shouldn’t stop you from making your dreams a reality.

We’re not quite sure where it comes from, but there’s a prevailing myth among students and graduates that anything other than a 2:1 or a first in your degree is useless.

But as we establish in our guide on what to do if you get a 2:2, this myth is exactly that: a myth. Loads of the very best grad schemes have relaxed their entry criteria in recent years, and you can be accepted even if you didn’t quite get a 2:1 or above.

So just to really ram the point home, we thought we’d put together a list of some of the most successful graduates with a 2:2 or below – because if it didn’t stop them from going on to greatness, it shouldn’t stop you either!

Celebrities with a 2:2 or a third

These are some famous people who either have a 2:2 or a third-class degree:

1. J.K. Rowling

Go big or go home, right?

Kicking off this list is J.K. Rowling – not just one of the most successful people with a 2:2, but one of the most successful people in the world. Period.

You may know her best as the woman who gave the world Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the criminally underrated Gilderoy Lockhart, but before she authored the best-selling book series of all time and became the world’s first billionaire author, Rowling was just your run-of-the-mill student at the University of Exeter.

It was there that she studied French and Classics – a subject in which she ultimately earned her 2:2 degree in 1986. Little did she know at that point that a handful of copies of her first published book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, would go on to be worth up to £40,000.

2. Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls’ real name isn’t really ‘Bear’ – it’s Edward Michael Grylls. Incredibly, given his modern-day fondness of the wilderness, ‘Bear’ was actually a nickname given to him by his older sister when he was just a week old (pretty cute, really).

You won’t be surprised to learn that, as a cub child, Bear took up climbing and sailing and excelled in both. And not content with mastering land and sea, Bear learned to skydive as a teenager, also earning a second dan black belt before the age of 20.

We guess what we’re trying to say is: that Bear Grylls got a 2:2 in Hispanic Studies from Birkbeck, University of London, but it was his personality that got him where he is today. In fact, speaking about how his degree affected his job prospects,

“[what helped me] was understanding that hard work, persistence, and enthusiasm are king”. Preach.

3. Mel Giedroyc

Perhaps better known as ‘Mel from Mel and Sue’, Mel Giedroyc met Sue Perkins (‘Sue from Mel and Sue’) while studying at the University of Cambridge.

The internet seems to be a bit divided on exactly what course Mel did as a student – some people say it was Italian Language and Literature, while others claim it was French and Italian. What we do know, however, is that she graduated with a 2:2, meaning we had no choice but to feature her here.

Mel’s rise to stardom is arguably the best example in this list of hard work and perseverance mattering more than degree classification. Despite some initial success on TV, it wasn’t until she got the Bake Off gig in 2010 (almost 15 years after her tele debut) that you could say she’d really ‘made it’ – so whatever you want to do, stick at it!

4. David Dimbleby

Seems to be a bit of a trend emerging here, doesn’t there? Aside from all having a 2:2 or below, all of these celebrities can reasonably be described as intelligent, eloquent, and, crucially, successful. It’s almost as if employers are more concerned with your skills, and not just how well you did at uni…

For the past 40 years or so, David Dimbleby has basically been the face of the BBC’s political coverage.

Beyond hosting the flagship political debate show, Question Time, for 24 years, he’s anchored the Beeb’s coverage of every single general election from 1979 right up until 2019 (when he was succeeded by the Welsh silver fox, Huw Edwards) – which, as anyone who’s ever tried to stay up and watch one of them will know, is no mean feat.

And where did it all begin? With a third-class degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford.

5. Prince Charles

Now, we might be being a little cheeky on this one – after all, Prince Charles didn’t get where he is today thanks to his degree. But if anyone tries to tell you that a 2:2 isn’t something to be proud of, it’s a pretty cool slam to be able to say that you got the same grade as the future King of the United Kingdom.

When Charles graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1970 with a 2:2 in History, Archaeology, and Anthropology, he became the first monarch or heir to the throne to complete a university degree. Again, not strictly relevant to where he ended up in life, but an impressive feat nonetheless.

We won’t go into detail about the life and times of Prince Charles because, to be honest, it gets a bit messy. Instead, we’ll just repeat the fact that if a 2:2 is good enough for the successor to the Queen, it’s good enough for anyone.

Courtesy / Credit: Save the Student

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