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Michelle Obama didn’t recently earn a doctorate

June 26, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Congratulations, Dr. Michelle Obama! Since her husband left the White House, and her children are out of the house, Mrs. Obama decided to complete her “PHD in law.” 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Former First Lady Michelle Obama has not earned any new degrees since leaving the White House in 2016. 

THE FACTS: Several social media users are posting Facebook photos of Michelle Obama and falsely congratulating her for recently completing a new law degree after leaving the White House in 2016. 


The posts, many of which were made in May or June, have received thousands of shares on Facebook. 

But Obama was already accomplished on this front, having earned a juris doctor decades before her husband Barack assumed the presidency in 2008. She graduated with her juris doctor from Harvard in 1988, three years after finishing her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University. 

A spokeswoman for Obama confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that she has not earned any new degrees since leaving the White House in 2016. 

Obama has received several honorary degrees from universities after giving commencement speeches, including honorary doctorate degrees from Oregon State University in 2012, Bowie State University in 2013 and Jackson State University in 2016

Since leaving her First Lady post, Obama debuted a memoir, “Becoming,” in 2018 that was followed by a 34-city book tour that concluded last year, and a Netflix documentary unveiled this year. 


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536