Superheroes are larger-than-life icons. They fight supervillains, catch planes and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. So much so that sometimes, we forget that they are people just like us. They have day jobs, families and some even go to college.
That’s right. The spandex-wearing superheroes who seemed to defy physics also go through the same college woes that we do. Check out this list of superheroes with college degrees and see if you know any of them.
Disclaimer: The comic book world is in a constant state of retcon and one hero can have many iterations. So in some versions, they might be college graduates while in others, they might be college dropouts. Nonetheless, it’s still fun to explore!
#1. Black Panther
If you have been paying attention to the superhero world in the last couple of years, you must know who he is. As the Black Panther, T’Challa is not just a capable warrior, he’s also a very educated ruler.
In The Avengers (1963), T’Challa is shown to enrol as a student in the best school in the UK and the Americas. According to the Marvel Wikia, T’Challa was a student at Oxford University where he graduated with a PhD in Physics.
Matt Murdock is The Man Without Fear! A crimefighter by night, he spends his day in court as a fearless lawyer who fights for the downtrodden. However, even in the fictional world where people fly and raccoons talk, you still need a degree to be a lawyer.
#3. Iron Man
Everyone knows this but it’s still worth mentioning. Iron Man, otherwise known as Tony Stark, is a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)! This is even acknowledged by MIT who regards Tony Stark as its greatest (fictional) alumnus.
Stark graduated with a PhD in Physics and Electrical Engineering when he was just 19 years old. So yes, take away the suit and Tony Stark is still a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist and college graduate.
Unlike most of the adult heroes, education is a big part of Peter Parker’s story. All three live-action versions of him portray him as a student still in high school or college.
At his high school graduation, it was announced that Peter managed to score a science scholarship to Empire State University (ESU). While the university is not a real university in our world, it’s a highly prestigious one in the Marvel universe, with distinguished alumni such as Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) and Emma Frost (White Queen).
Peter graduated from the ESU as a Science major. This is also where he would go on to meet his future girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and best friend, Harry Osborn.
Jennifer Walters has yet to be seen on the big screen so it’s forgivable if you don’t really recognise her. A cousin of Bruce Banner, she became the She-Hulk after receiving an emergency blood transfusion from Bruce. As She-Hulk, she followed in the footsteps of her cousin and became a crime-fighter in her own right.
However, Walters has been fighting for justice even before her She-Hulk days. She was a practicing lawyer with a Law Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
#6. The Flash
In the Justice League (2017), Barry Allen’s the Flash is shown as a student. While this is different from his portrayal in the comics as a working adult, Barry did go to college once. Specifically, he was a Forensic Science major.
While his reason for studying the programme is, at first, more personal than altruistic, Barry would go on to use this knowledge to help his crime-fighting career as the famous speedster, the Flash.
#7. Emma Frost
If you’re familiar with the X-Men films, you may vaguely remember this fashionable mutant as the telepath who can change into diamond. While that’s a decent introduction to Emma Frost, she is so much more than what meets the eye.
In the comic world, Emma Frost started her journey as a villain who is constantly at odds with the X-Men team before becoming one of their most important team members. On top of her powers, Frost is a cunning businesswoman with her own business empire. Like Peter, she started out as a student from the Empire State University. She majored in Education with a minor in Business and was an excellent student.
Batman (aka Bruce Wayne) is perhaps one of the most well-known superheroes ever. With over 80 years worth of history, you would think that his educational background would be more prominent. Sadly, it’s hardly mentioned, with more emphasis given to his crime-fighting career.
While the Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy may have portrayed the character as a Princeton dropout, one comic book version of the character shows Bruce Wayne as a law graduate from Yale University, as can be seen from some comic panels.
While we may not be able to fly or climb the wall, it’s nice to know that we still share certain similarities with these superheroes. Take your first step towards a college degree and, like these superheroes, you too could use your knowledge for good.