Fact Check

Did Harvard Admit Michelle Obama's Degrees Are Fake?

A routine review of content labeled satire.

Published April 6, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama laughs while signing copies of her new book 'Becoming' during a book signing event at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, November 30, 2018 in New York City. The former first lady's memoir has sold more than 2 million copies in all formats in North America during its first 15 days on the market, according to a statement released on Friday by Penguin Random House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Harvard University confirmed that Michelle Obama's degrees are fake.

On March 14, 2020, ObamaWatcher published an article positing that the degrees earned by former first lady Michelle Obama at Harvard University were fake and that her transcripts had been altered to change her gender from male to female:

Harvard Admits Michelle Obama’s Degrees Are Fakes

Supposedly, Michelle Obama attended both Harvard and Princeton Universities for her degrees before becoming a lawyer and professor. It was bafflement for many on how the former first “lady” obtained such high ranking degrees.

Now the truth is finally coming to light. She didn’t.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.

In reality, Obama graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1985 and then earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. The claim that Michelle Obama is really a man (hinted at in the fictional article) is an unfounded yet oft repeated conspiracy theory.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


Brown, Sarah.   "Obama '85 Masters Balancing Act."     Daily Princetonian.   7 December 2005.

ObamaWatcher.com.   "Harvard Admits Michelle Obama’s Degrees Are Fakes."     14 March 2020.

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