Top 10 Youngest Ph.D. Holders In History | Updated

Being among the top youngest Ph.D. holders in history is the dream of every academic guru. If you’re feeling confused or can’t make up your mind, then this list of the 10 youngest Ph.D. holders in history is guaranteed to inspire you.

Often, most graduates who consider going for a post-graduate degree contemplate whether to go or not. This can come as a result of extra years of schooling, rigorous research, and the amount of time to become a specialist in their field.

Whatever the motivation, though, choosing the right area of study can be a tricky, but ultimately rewarding, process.

Nevertheless, we have compiled names of these outstanding individuals who are currently the youngest Ph.D. holders in history to inspire and encourage you.

Who are the Top Youngest Ph.D. Holders In History?

Here is a list of the youngest persons to get a Ph.D. degree in history:

  • Akshay Venkatesh – Earned Ph.D. at age 20
  • Erik Demaine – Earned Ph.D. at Age 20
  • Charles Homer Haskins – Earned Ph.D. at Age 19
  • Juliet Beni – Earned Ph.D. at Age 19
  • Sho Yano – Earned Ph.D. at Age 18
  • Norbert Wiener – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17
  • Ruth Lawrence – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17
  • Balamurali Ambati – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17
  • Kim Ung-Yong – Earned Ph.D. at Age 15
  • Karl Witte – Earned Ph.D. at Age 13

Akshay Venkatesh – Earned Ph.D. at age 20

Akshay Venkatesh, an Australian of Indian descent, is one of those who can be described as born great. At the age of 11, he competed at the 24th International Physics Olympiad, an International Physics Competition for kids in grades 6-12, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and won a bronze medal.

Furthermore, a year after his achievement in Physics, he switched his interest to mathematics and won two more  Mathematics Olympiad medals. At the age of 13, he completed his secondary education.

Akshay later matriculated at the University of Western Australia, where he graduated three years later at age 16 as the youngest student ever to earn a First Class Honours in Pure Mathematics from the school.

He also received the J.A.Woods Memorial Prize as the best graduand of the year from the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Dentistry, and Medicine.

As his desire for knowledge continued, he proceeded to Princeton University where he earned his Ph.D. in 2002 at the young age of 20. This made him one of the youngest Ph.D. holders in the world.

After completing his Ph.D. in 2002, he went from holding a post-doctorate position at MIT to becoming a Clay Research Fellow.

Recently, he is one of the professors at Stanford University. He has also made contributions to different areas of mathematics and is a respected scholar in his field.

In addition, Akshay Venkatesh is one of the top youngest Ph.D. holders in History.

Read this: 15 Best Aerospace Engineering Schools in the World | 2023

Erik Demaine – Earned Ph.D. at Age 20

Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Erik Demaine did not require a traditional road for his education.

As a child prodigy, he spent time traveling across North America with his father, an artist-sculptor who also home-schooled him. While at home, Demaine developed an interest in computers and mathematics.

At age 12, he started studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and completed his bachelor’s degree at 14.

He then proceeded to the University of Waterloo, where he got his Ph.D. by the time he was 20 years old. This achievement became one of the Youngest Ph.D. holders in history.

His Ph.D. thesis, work in the field of computational origami, received the Canadian Governor General’s Gold Medal from the University of Waterloo.

Also, he received the NSERC Doctoral Prize (2003) for Canada’s best Ph.D. thesis and research. Erik’s thesis also paved the way for modern origami notions. Erik Demaine is one of the top youngest Ph.D. holders in History.

Charles Homer Haskins – Earned Ph.D. at Age 19

Charles Homer Haskins is the youngest to get a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He was a prodigy and was fluent in both Latin and Greek as a young boy.

He graduated from Johns Hopkins University at the age of 16. Later, he became the Youngest Ph.D. holder in history at the age of 19 from the same university.

In 1890, he procured a teaching position at Johns Hopkins, after which, he functioned as a professor at Wisconsin University. He then moved to work at Harvard, where he generated a graduate studies program that is still being utilized now.

He is referred to as the first medieval historian in the US and is well respected for his 1927 book The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century and his academic work on the Norman institutions.

Perhaps not simply a professor, Haskins needed a political character to play also. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him as part of the committee that helped solve territorial problems during the World War I era.

Haskins was also part of the delegation that represented the US at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He provided a potential solution to the German State of Saarland issue at the conference, and his proposal was accepted.

Juliet Beni – Earned Ph.D. at Age 19

At age 15, Juliet Beni was already a high school senior.  In 2012, she graduated from the University of California, River Side, with her doctorate in psychology.

She also graduated as the Youngest Ph.D. holder in history ever at the University of California.

Her lifelong goal is to be a medical doctor, and she has enrolled as a student in  Irvine’s Haider program in Biomedical Science, at the University of California. She hopes to pursue her passion for medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In addition, Juliet Beni is one of the top youngest Ph.D. holders in History.

Sho Yano – Earned Ph.D. at Age 18

Sho Timothy Yano was a child prodigy with an estimated IQ of 200. At age two, he was reported to have started reading, writing at three, playing classical music on the piano at four, and already composing at five.

By the time he got to 8, he had scored 1500 out of 1600 on the SAT, which was seen as a stress test. He graduated from the American School of Correspondence at 9 and then entered Loyola University Chicago, where he graduated at 12.

Yano proceeded to the University of Chicago and became the youngest person with a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at 18. Also, Sho Timothy Yano is one of the top youngest Ph.D. holders in History.

Norbert Wiener – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17

Norbert Wiener, a German-born in  Columbia, was also a child prodigy. His father homeschooled Norbert as a young boy in mathematics. At 11, he graduated from Ayer High school and then entered Tufts College(now called Tufts University). In 1909, he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the age of 14.

Norbert did not immediately pursue other advanced level education within the field. He started studying zoology and philosophy before turning his focus back to mathematics. In 1912, at 17, he earned his Ph.D. as the youngest Ph.D. in the history of Havard University.

As someone who has always loved learning and challenges, he worked briefly as a journalist and helped automate the anti-aircraft weaponry used during World War II.

Finally, he originated cybernetics and did pioneering work that paved the way for the field’s development.

Also, read this: Best Online Ph.D. History Programs in the World | 2023, Admission Requirements, Tuition

Ruth Lawrence – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17

Ruth Lawrence, an England-born, gained an O’level in mathematics and a Grade A at A-level pure mathematics at 9.

In 1985, At 13, she became the youngest British person to gain a first-class degree and also graduate from the University of Oxford in modern times. She also got another bachelor’s degree in Physics the following year.

At 17, she was the youngest person to get a PhD. in Mathematics from Oxford University before becoming a junior fellow at Harvard University at 19. she later became an associate professor at the University of Michigan.

Ruth later moved to Israel where she accepted the post of associate professor of mathematics at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She is known today for her work in the fields of Algebraic Topology and Knot theory.

Balamurali Ambati – Earned Ph.D. at Age 17

Balamurali Ambati is among the top 10 youngest professors in the world. He is an Indian American Ophthalmologist. According to his parents, he was already solving calculus which most teenagers found difficult at 4. At 11, he co-authored a research publication on the issue of AIDS.

He graduated from New York University at the age of 13 and then continued his study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. In 1995, he graduated at 17 and became the world’s youngest doctor, as seen in the Guinness Book of Record.

Balamural later moved on to finish most of his necessary medical training. At the age of 24, he became the youngest practicing doctor up to now.

As a result of his expertise, he can utilize his abilities to help a number of people today. He is associated with research studies and works globally and internationally, performing complex surgeries and medical procedures.

Kim Ung-Yong – Earned Ph.D. at Age 15

Kim Ung-Yong was the youngest person to get a Ph.D. in South Korea.

Kim Ung Yong is a South Korean child prodigy and holds a Guinness Book World Record for the highest IQ score of 210. He was said to have learned the Korean alphabet and 1,000 Chinese characters when he was one. At 3, he could solve calculus problems and published a best-selling book.

By the time he got to 5, Ung Yong enrolled at Grant High School, Los Angeles, after he caught the attention of the school. He also appeared on Fuji TV in Japan and solved differential equations.

At 8, he went to study nuclear physics at the University of Colorado, where he graduated with a master’s degree and later on, took a job at NASA. He became one of the youngest Ph.D. holders at the age of 15.

Despite this achievement, Ung-Young was not always joyful in those early years. He warns that academic success does not necessarily equal success and achievement.

Presently, he’s a professor at Chungbuk National University, where he can help develop the potential in others.

Karl Witte – Earned Ph.D. at Age 13

Karl Witte was the youngest person ever to receive a Ph.D., born in 1800 and died in 1883. As a child, he was used as a subject for a book written by his father: “The Training of the Child.”

At the age of 9, Witte could speak various languages like German, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek.

When Karl got to 13, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Giessen, Germany. This made him a Guinness Book of World Record as the youngest Ph.D. holder in the world, a record yet to be beaten.

In 1818, it was said that he traveled to Italy to further his education and eventually become a lawyer. Later, he developed a love for literature and became an established scholar of this Italian poet, Dante.

Young College Graduates

Many first-year college students may believe they are too young and unprepared for the trip ahead.

The academic intensity might be daunting. Parents are concerned about how their children will handle having so much control over their schedules. There are numerous decisions that will have an impact on your future.

What is an eighteen-year-old meant to do? If you believe eighteen is too young to face the challenges of college, consider doing it when you’re eight years old. You read that right.

The youngest college graduate ever enrolled at the age of eight, received his bachelor’s degree at the age of ten, and his master’s degree at the age of fourteen.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most recent and distinctive college graduates.

  • Michael Kearney 
  • Moshe Kai Cavalin
  • Alia Sabur
  • Sho Yano
  • Gregory Smith
  • Kathleen Holtz

Who is the Youngest Ph.D. Holder in India?

Tulsi was born in Patna, Bihar, on September 9th, 1987. His parents, Supreme Court counsel Tulsi Narayan Prasad, observed his rapid learning ability at a young age.

He apparently finished high school at the age of nine, when most children have barely mastered arithmetic.

When asked about his abilities, he told TOI, “I believe I am endowed with talent. When I was little, I used to solve mathematics problems effortlessly while my friends struggled.”

At the age of 22, he received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in August 2009. His Ph.D. thesis was titled “Generalizations of the Quantum Search Algorithm,” in this case.

You can check this: 10 Best Universities in the World to Study Molecular Biology & Genetics

Who is the First Youngest Graduate in the World?

The first youngest graduate and one of the top 10 youngest professors in the world list is Michael Kearney. Michael Kearney, at the age of 10, received his degree in anthropology from the University of South Alabama in 1994.

Laurent completed his high school graduation in just a year and a half, earning a diploma at the age of eight.

Before then, despite being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), he managed to outperform all expectations, and astounded the world with his remarkable talents and intelligence.

He not only said his first words when he was four months old, but he also told his doctor at six months that he had an ear infection in his left ear, and by 10 months old, he was reading.

He received a coveted math test for the John Hopkins program when he was four years old and received a perfect score without any prior preparation or specific studying for the exam.

And, at the ripe old age of ten, he graduated from college, breaking a global record for the youngest college graduate that has yet to be broken!


Who are the youngest Ph.D. holders in history?

Some of the youngest Ph.D. Holders in history include
Akshay Venkatesh
Karl Witte
Balamurali Ambati
Ruth Lawrence
Erik Demaine

At what age did Balamurali Ambati graduate from New York University?

Balamurali Ambati graduated at the age of 13 from New York University

When did Juliet Beni get her Ph.D. degree?

Juliet Beni earned her Ph.D. degree at the age of 19.

Where was Norbert Wiener born?

Norbert Wiener was born in Germany.


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