We mapped the college major of every state’s governor.
Ok, so you’re a realist — you don’t believe your elementary school social studies teacher and know you probably won’t be president. So you set your sights a little lower than the White House: the governor’s mansion.
I got you.
So get ready to start kissing some babies (with parental consent), because we’ve mapped governors’ majors so you can see how your gubernatorial resume compares —that means your governor resume (you should probably know that).
We’ll have you sleeping in that governor’s mansion in no time — without a scandal, that is. And in case you change your mind or do get caught in a scandal, we’ve always got other options for you.
While there’s no sure-fire recipe for political success, there are definitely some patterns that emerge — and some counterintuitive findings as well.
1. You don’t necessarily need a degree
To begin with, Governors Gary Herbert from Utah and Scott Walker from Wisconsin don’t have degrees at all — that’s why those states are empty on the map— which quickly demonstrates that there’s no secret sauce for gubernatorial success.
2. Public schools make a strong showing
Counting West Point, there are 27 undergraduate public schools compared to 21 private schools, and only six Ivy leagues:
There’s also no secret Governor’s Program at any of these schools, because Dartmouth and Harvard are the only schools with more than one gubernatorial alum.
3. Not a lot of STEM degrees
Even though they’re in high demand pretty much everywhere else, there are only three engineering degrees and one biology degree in the whole bunch.
These are the most common majors for governors:
I suppose it makes sense that political science is the most popular major for governors — after all, everyone seems to want to find a job that makes use of their major. That said, when you consider that a governor is essentially the CEO of a state, the abundance of financially-focused majors makes sense as well.
And as the former governor of California can attest, being able to speak English is kind of helpful too.
At times it seems like going to law school is a prerequisite for politicians — but I guess it makes sense that lawmakers know a lot about law.
Governors don’t make laws though, so it’s interesting that twenty-four of our governors have law degrees. And coincidentally, Political Science and English are two of the most popular law school majors as well.
We have a few outliers popping up, which goes to show that you can always make use of your degree, even if it isn’t ostensibly tied to your first job or field.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown — Women Studies
Oregon’s population is 50.5 percent female and she won the election with 50.62 percent of the vote — coincidence, or not?
Yes. Yes, it’s actually almost by definition a coincidence.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin — East Asian Studies
I’m not sure how this one helped him considering that Kentucky’s Asian population is about 1 percent.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum — University Studies
No, this one doesn’t mean he studied universities, it’s more or less what NDSU calls “undecided”. He went on to Stanford for his MBA and founded a successful venture capital company, so he decided a bunch of things eventually.
Kansas Governor Brownback — Agricultural Economics
Considering that agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of his state’s total economy, it actually makes sense that Gov. Brownback has a degree in agricultural economics. He also has a law degree, so he pretty much fits the mold of a farmer politician.
|AK||Bill Walker||Business||Lewis and Clark College||Independent|
|AL||Kay Ivey||Education||Auburn University||Republican|
|AR||Asa Hutchinson||Accounting||Bob Jones University||Republican|
|AZ||Doug Ducey||Finance||Arizona State University||Republican|
|CA||Jerry Brown||Classics||University of California at Berkeley||Democratic|
|CO||John Hickenlooper||English||Wesleyan University||Democratic|
|CT||Dannel Malloy||Political Science||Boston College||Democratic|
|De||John Carney||English||Dartmouth College||Democratic|
|FL||Rick Scott||Business||University of Missouri at Kansas City||Republican|
|GA||Nathan Deal||Liberal Arts||Mercer University||Republican|
|HI||David Ige||Engineering||University of Hawaii Manoa||Democratic|
|IA||Terry Branstad||Political Science||University of Iowa||Republican|
|ID||Butch Otter||Political Science||College of Idaho||Republican|
|IL||Bruce Rauner||Economics||Dartmouth College||Republican|
|IN||Eric Holcomb||History||Hanover College||Republican|
|KS||Sam Brownback||Agricultural Economics||University of Kansas||Republican|
|KY||Matt Bevin||East Asian Studies||Washington and Lee University||Republican|
|LA||John Bel Edwards||Engineering||United States Military Academy||Democratic|
|MA||Charlie Baker||English||Harvard College||Republican|
|MD||Larry Hogan||Political Science||Florida State University||Republican|
|ME||Paul LePage||Business||University of Maine||Republican|
|MI||Rick Snyder||General Studies||University of Michigan||Republican|
|MN||Mark Dayton||Psychology||Yale University||Democratic-Farmer-Labor|
|MO||Eric Greitens||Philosophy, Politics and Economics||Duke University||Republican|
|MS||Phil Bryant||Criminal Justice||University of Southern Mississippi||Republican|
|MT||Steve Bullock||Philosophy, Politics and Economics||Claremont McKenna College||Democratic|
|NC||Roy Cooper||Political Science, Psychology||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Democratic|
|ND||Doug Burgum||University Studies||North Dakota State University||Republican|
|NE||Pete Ricketts||Biology||University of Chicago||Republican|
|NH||Chris Sununu||Engineering||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Republican|
|NJ||Chris Christie||Political Science||University of Deleware||Republican|
|NM||Susana Martinez||Criminal Justice||University of Texas at El Paso||Republican|
|NV||Brian Sandoval||English, Economics||University of Nevada at Reno||Republican|
|NY||Andrew Cuomo||Liberal Arts||Fordham University||Democratic|
|OH||John Kasich||Political Science||Ohio State University||Republican|
|OK||Mary Fallin||Human and Env. Science||Oklahoma State University||Republican|
|OR||Kate Brown||Women’s Studies||University of Colorado at Boulder||Democratic|
|PA||Tom Wolf||Political Science||Dartmouth College||Democratic|
|RI||Gina Raimondo||Economics||Harvard College||Democratic|
|SC||Henry McMaster||History||University of South Carolina||Republican|
|SD||Dennis Daugaard||Political Science||University of South Dakota||Republican|
|TN||Bill Haslam||History||Emory University||Republican|
|TX||Greg Abbott||Business||University of Texas at Austin||Republican|
|VA||Terry McAuliffe||Political Science||Catholic University of America||Democratic|
|VT||Phil Scott||Industrial Education||University of Vermont||Republican|
|WA||Jay Inslee||Economics||University of Washington||Democratic|
|WV||Jim Justice||Marketing||Marshall University||Democratic|
|WY||Matt Mead||Broadcasting||Trinity University||Republican|
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