From Merkel to Macron: These are some of the world’s most educated leaders

Here’s what some of our current world leaders have studied.

By U2B Staff 

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Does the type of degree you pursue play a strong role in shaping your political career? By looking at the academic credentials of some of our current world leaders, the answer would be a “no”. 

Despite that, academic credentials are held in high regards for those in high political positions.

Some world leaders have courted controversy when their academic credentials were called into question.

Chinese President Xi Jinping obtained his doctoral degree in law by the prestigious Tsinghua University, but reports are rife that his doctoral thesis may have been plagiarised; India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s education qualifications were called into question, prompting Gujarat University to share details of his MA degree.

But do certain degrees prepare you for a career in politics better than others? Not necessarily. 

Here’s a list of some of the world’s most educated world leaders:


German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel is among the current world leaders with a PhD under her belt. 

The 66-year-old became the first female German chancellor back in 2005 and studied physics at Leipzig University and earned her PhD in quantum chemistry in 1986 from the German Academy of Sciences.

Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson

Jóhannesson has a string of academic credentials under his belt. He studied history and political science at Warwick University and finished his BA degree in 1991. 

Following this, the 52-year-old graduated with a master’s degree in history from the University of Iceland in 1997. He also studied at Oxford University in England and graduated with an M.St. degree in history in 1999. 

In 2003 he completed his PhD in history from Queen Mary, University of London, said his official website.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong 

Lee is the prime minister of one of the world’s top financial centres.

He graduated with a BA in Mathematics and a Diploma in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge. 

He was also a Mason Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and received a Master in Public Administration.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 

According to Al-Jazeera, Rouhani began studying religion at an early age and attended religious seminaries and classes taught by prominent Shia scholars in the 60s.

In 1969, he attended the University of Tehran and received his bachelor’s degree in judicial law in 1972. He also received a master’s degree in public law and a doctorate at Glasgow Caledonian University.

France President Emmanuel Macron

Macron became the youngest president in French history at the age of 39 in 2017.

He studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University and also completed his master’s of public affairs at Sciences Po and graduated from the École Nationale d’Administration. 

Sciences Po and ENA are prestigious French schools; according to ENA’s website, the school trains top-level civil servants to work in the French and foreign civil service and prepares them for their future responsibilities at national, European and international level.

Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen

Frederiksen has been making headlines for postponing her wedding three times (albeit, finally tying the knot in July), no thanks to the pandemic and the challenges and responsibilities that come with being the prime minister of a country.

But more than making the news with her nuptials, the 42-year-old is the youngest Prime Minister in Danish history. 

She has a Bachelor of Administration and Social Science from Aalborg University, as well as a Master in African Studies from the University of Copenhagen.