Fifty-eight state executives have master’s degrees; 93 have law degrees

Of the 192 officeholders currently occupying the top four executive positions in each state—governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state—184 have a bachelor’s degree, 58 have a master’s degree, and 93 have a law degree. Nine such officeholders have a Ph.D., and one has a medical degree. Eight state executives do not list holding a higher education degree in their official biography.

Among all top four state executive positions, the most popular school for a bachelor’s degree is Harvard University (6). Five such officeholders received their bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and three schools—Brigham Young University, the University of Vermont, and the University of Washington—have four alumni each.

The most popular schools for a master’s degree among the top four state executives are the University of Oxford (4), Harvard University (3), and Columbia University (3).

Seven of the current top state executives received their Juris Doctorate (J.D.), or law degree, from Harvard University. Four schools—Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Virginia—have three law school alumni each among these officeholders.

Ballotpedia reviewed the biographies of the top four officeholders in each state as of February 2023, including profiles on official state directories, campaign websites, and media reports. All 50 states have the office of governor and attorney general. Forty-five states have a lieutenant governor and 47 have a secretary of state.

Click the link below to read more about the higher education backgrounds of state executives, including breakdowns by political party and tables showing the degrees received by each top state executive.

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