List of prime ministers of the United Kingdom by education

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Universities attended by British Prime Ministers
University Number of Prime Ministers
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
Other university
No university
A bar chart of universities attended by British Prime Ministers

A list of prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the educational institutions they attended. As of November 2020, of the 55 prime ministers to date who have attended university, 28 were educated at the University of Oxford (including 13 at Christ Church), and 14 at the University of Cambridge (including six at Trinity College). Three attended the University of Edinburgh, three the University of Glasgow, and two Mason Science College, a predecessor institution of the University of Birmingham. John Major was (as of 2021) the last of the eight prime ministers who did not attend university after leaving secondary education. A number of the prime ministers who attended university never graduated.

Twenty prime ministers were schooled at Eton College, of whom nine were educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, including all three who held office between 1880 and 1902 (Gladstone, Salisbury, Rosebery). Seven were educated at Harrow School and six at Westminster School. Ten prime ministers to date have been educated at only non-fee-paying schools; these include all five who held office between 1964 and 1997 (Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major). Theresa May was educated at both independent and grammar schools. Three did not receive (primary or secondary) school education and were homeschooled during childhood.

Fifteen prime ministers trained as barristers at the Inns of Court, including 12 at Lincoln's Inn (although not all were called to the bar). Two (Wellington and Churchill) completed officer training at military academies.

Although William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath (in 1746) and James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave (in 1757) briefly attempted to form governments, neither is usually counted as Prime Minister. They are not listed below.

List of British prime ministers by education[edit]

Prime minister Term of office School University Degree Professional training
Walpole, RobertRobert Walpole 17211742 Eton College Cambridge (King's Coll.) 1696–98, did not graduate (LL.D. 1728)[1]
Compton, SpencerSpencer Compton
Earl of Wilmington
17421743 St Paul's School Oxford (Trinity Coll.) 1690–?, did not graduate (D.C.L. 1730)[2] Inns of Court: Middle Temple
Pelham, HenryHenry Pelham 17431754 Westminster School Cambridge (King's Coll.) 1709–10[3]
Oxford (Hart Hall) 1710–?, did not graduate[4]
Pelham-Holles, ThomasThomas Pelham-Holles
Duke of Newcastle
Westminster School Cambridge (Clare Coll.) 1710–?, did not graduate (LL.D. 1728)[5]
Cavendish, WilliamWilliam Cavendish
Duke of Devonshire
17561757 [6]
Stuart, JohnJohn Stuart
Earl of Bute
17621763 Eton College Groningen University Civil law
Leiden University Civil law
1732–34, graduated 1734[8]
Grenville, GeorgeGeorge Grenville 17631765 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) 1730–?, did not graduate[9] Inns of Court: Inner Temple
Watson-Wentworth, CharlesCharles Watson-Wentworth
Marquess of Rockingham
Westminster School [10]
Pitt, William 1William Pitt the Elder
Earl of Chatham
17661768 Eton College Oxford (Trinity Coll.) 1727–28, did not graduate[11]
Utrecht University 1728[12]
FitzRoy, AugustusAugustus FitzRoy
Duke of Grafton
17681770 Westminster School Cambridge (Peterhouse) 1751–53, M.A. 1753[13]
North, FrederickFrederick North 17701782 Eton College Oxford (Trinity Coll.) 1749–50, M.A. 1750[14]
Leipzig University 1751–52[15][16]
Petty, WilliamWilliam Petty (FitzMaurice)
Earl of Shelburne
17821783 [17] Oxford (Christ Church) 1755–57, did not graduate[18][19]
Cavendish-Bentinck, WilliamWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck
Duke of Portland
Westminster School Oxford (Christ Church) 1755–57, M.A. 1757[20]
Pitt, William 2William Pitt the Younger 17831801
[21] Cambridge (Pembroke Coll.) 1773–76, M.A. 1776[22]
MP for Cambridge Univ. 1784–1806
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Addington, HenryHenry Addington 18011804 Winchester College Oxford (Brasenose Coll.) 1774–78, B.A. 1778 (M.A. 1780)[23] Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Grenville, WilliamWilliam Grenville
Lord Grenville
18061807 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) 1776–80, B.A. 1780[24] Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Perceval, SpencerSpencer Perceval 18091812 Harrow School Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) 1780–82, M.A. 1782[25] Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Jenkinson, RobertRobert Jenkinson
Earl of Liverpool
18121827 Charterhouse School Oxford (Christ Church) 1787–90, M.A. 1790[26]
Canning, GeorgeGeorge Canning 1827 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) 1787–91, B.A. 1791 (M.A. 1794)[27]
Robinson, Frederick JohnFrederick J. Robinson
Viscount Goderich
18271828 Harrow School Cambridge (St John's Coll.) 1799–1802, M.A. 1802[28]
Wellesley, ArthurArthur Wellesley
Duke of Wellington
Eton College French Royal Academy of Equitation, Angers
Grey, CharlesCharles Grey
Earl Grey
18301834 Eton College Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) 1781–83, did not graduate[29]
Lamb, WilliamWilliam Lamb
Viscount Melbourne
Eton College Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) 1796–99, M.A. 1799[30] Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Glasgow University Resident pupil of Prof. John Millar
Peel, RobertRobert Peel 18341835
Harrow School Oxford (Christ Church) Classics and Mathematics
1805–08, B.A. 1808 (M.A. 1814)[32]
MP for Oxford Univ. 1817–29
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Russell, JohnJohn Russell
Earl Russell
Westminster School Edinburgh University Resident pupil of Prof. John Playfair
Smith-Stanley, EdwardEdward Smith-Stanley
Earl of Derby
Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) Classics
1817–20, did not graduate[34][35]
Hamilton-Gordon, GeorgeGeorge Hamilton-Gordon
Earl of Aberdeen
18521855 Harrow School Cambridge (St John's Coll.) 1800–04, M.A. 1804[36]
Temple, Henry JohnHenry John Temple
Viscount Palmerston
Harrow School Edinburgh University Resident pupil of Prof. Dugald Stewart
Cambridge (St John's Coll.) 1803–06, M.A. 1806[39]
MP for Cambridge Univ. 1811–31
Disraeli, BenjaminBenjamin Disraeli
Earl of Beaconsfield
Dr Cogan's School, Walthamstow Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Gladstone, WilliamWilliam Ewart Gladstone 18681874
Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) Classics and Mathematics
1828–32: B.A. 1832 (M.A. 1834)[40]
MP for Oxford Univ. 1847–65
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Gascoyne-Cecil, RobertRobert Gascoyne-Cecil
Marquess of Salisbury
Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) Mathematics
1847–50, B.A. 1850 (M.A. 1853),
Fellow of All Souls Coll. 1853
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Primrose, ArchibaldArchibald Primrose
Earl of Rosebery
18941895 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) 1866–68, did not graduate[42][43]
Balfour, ArthurArthur Balfour 19021905 Eton College Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) Moral Sciences
1866–70, B.A. 1870 (M.A. 1874)[44]
Campbell-Bannerman, HenryHenry Campbell-Bannerman 19051908 High School of Glasgow Glasgow University Greek and Logic
Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) Classics
1854–58, B.A. 1858 (M.A. 1861)[46]
Asquith, Herbert HenryH. H. Asquith 19081916 City of London School Oxford (Balliol Coll.) Classics
1870–74, B.A. 1874, Fellow 1874–82[47]
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Lloyd George, DavidDavid Lloyd George 19161922 Llanystumdwy National School Solicitor
Law, BonarBonar Law 19221923 High School of Glasgow Glasgow University Extramural student
Baldwin, StanleyStanley Baldwin 19231924
Harrow School Cambridge (Trinity Coll.) History
1885–88, B.A. 1888 (M.A. 1892)[49]
Mason College Metallurgy
Macdonald, RamsayRamsay MacDonald 1924
Drainie Parish School Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution Extramural student
Chamberlain, NevilleNeville Chamberlain 19371940 Rugby School Mason College Metallurgy
Churchill, WinstonWinston Churchill 19401945
Harrow School RMC Sandhurst
Attlee, ClementClement Attlee 19451951 Haileybury College Oxford (University Coll.) Modern History
1901–04, B.A. 1904 (M.A.)[53]
Lecturer at LSE 1912–14, 1919–23[54]
Inns of Court: Inner Temple
Eden, AnthonyAnthony Eden 19551957 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) Persian and Arabic
1919–22, B.A. 1922 (M.A.)
Macmillan, HaroldHarold Macmillan 19571963 Eton College Oxford (Balliol Coll.) Classics
1912–14, did not graduate
Douglas-Home, AlecAlec Douglas-Home
Earl of Home
19631964 Eton College Oxford (Christ Church) Modern History
1922–25, B.A. 1925 (M.A.)
Wilson, HaroldHarold Wilson 19641970
Royds Hall Grammar School;
Wirral Grammar School for Boys
Oxford (Jesus Coll.) PPE (transferred from Modern History)[55]
1934–37, B.A. 1937 (M.A.)
Fellow of University Coll. 1938–45[56]
Heath, EdwardEdward Heath 19701974 Chatham House Grammar School Oxford (Balliol Coll.) PPE
1935–39, B.A. 1939 (M.A.)
Callaghan, JamesJames Callaghan 19761979 Northern Secondary School, Portsmouth Civil Service: Inland Revenue
Thatcher, MargaretMargaret Thatcher 19791990 Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School Oxford (Somerville Coll.) Chemistry
1943–47, B.Sc. 1947 (M.A. 1950)
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Major, JohnJohn Major 19901997 Rutlish School Correspondence course in banking
Blair, TonyTony Blair 19972007 Fettes College Oxford (St John's Coll.) Law
1972–75, B.A. 1975 (M.A.)
Inns of Court: Lincoln's Inn
Brown, GordonGordon Brown 20072010 Kirkcaldy High School Edinburgh University History
1967–82, M.A. 1972, Ph.D. 1982,[57]
University Rector 1972–75[58]
Cameron, DavidDavid Cameron 20102016 Eton College Oxford (Brasenose Coll.) PPE
1985–88, B.A. 1988 (M.A.)
May, TheresaTheresa May 20162019 Holton Park Girls' Grammar School Oxford (St Hugh's Coll.) Geography
1974–77, B.A. 1977 (M.A.)
Johnson, BorisBoris Johnson 2019 Eton College Oxford (Balliol Coll.) Classics
1983–87, B.A. 1987 (M.A.)
Prime Minister Term of office School University Degree Professional training

See also[edit]


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