I would be happy to know which country has the maximum number of ministers with PhD degrees.

I ask this question because I was reading about the new ministers appointed by the Modi government. Looks like the cabinet has at least 5 PhDs.

I hope I can find answers of nations with 8-9 or more cabinet ministers with PhDs.


3 Answers 3


The Federal government of Ethiopia has 12 PhDs. The names are listed below:

  1. Abiy Ahmed (PhD) Prime Minister

  2. Kene’a Yadeta (PhD) Minister of Defense

  3. Getahun Mekuria (PhD) Minister of Education

  4. Lia Tadesse (PhD) Minister of Health

  5. Samuel Urkato (PhD) Minister of Science and Higher Education

  6. Sileshi Bekele (PhD) Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy

  7. Hirut Kassaw (PhD) Minister of Culture and Tourism

  8. Ergoge Tesfaye (PhD) Minister of Labour and Social Affairs

  9. Abraham Belay (PhD) Minister of Innovation and Technology

  10. Fitsum Assefa (PhD) Minister of Planning and Development Commission

  11. Gedion Timothewos (PhD) Attorney General with the Rank of Minister

  12. Hirut Woldemariam (PhD) Social Sector Advisor to the Prime Minister with the Rank of Minister

Reference: Website of the Ethiopian Embassy in London

  • 3
    Is this more than other countries? Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 7:40
  • hmm, that link does not work for me.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 13:11
  • @CGCampbell See it here Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 14:28
  • 3
    Where did they get their PhDs? Which subjects? Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 14:54

Assuming we're allowing past governments - at the beginning of 2011, the second Merkel Cabinet (Germany) included twelve ministers with PhDs or other doctoral degrees.

Unfortunately, only ten still retain their degrees, as in February 2011, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's doctorate was withdrawn by the University of Bayreuth after plagiarism was discovered (see Guttenberg plagiarism scandal). A couple of years later, the University of Düsseldorf revoked Annette Schavan's doctorate for the same reason.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of 2011, twelve out of sixteen ministers held doctorates.

Name Position Subject
Angela Merkel Chancellor Quantum Chemistry
Guido Westerwelle Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Law
Rainer Brüderle Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Economics
Thomas de Maizière Federal Minister of the Interior Law
Wolfgang Schäuble Federal Minister of Finance Law
Ursula von der Leyen Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Medicine
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg Federal Minister of Defence Law (revoked in 2011)
Kristina Schröder Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Political Science
Philipp Rösler Federal Minister of Health Cardiothoracic Surgery
Peter Ramsauer Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Business Economics
Norbert Röttgen Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety Law
Annette Schavan Federal Minister of Education and Research Philosophy (revoked in 2013)
  • 30
    Man, two doctorates revoked in a cabinet in a few years is quite the trivia point anyway Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 17:29
  • 10
    @AzorAhai-him-, after some initial cases there has been a systematic look at the academic credentials of political figures, who often found the time to earn their degree in parallel to a starting political career when a PhD is usually a full-time task. The "plagiarism hunters" might have been driven by political motives to uncover non-political misconduct. There have been several more cases, since, plus some possibly getting ahead of themselves (complaining that a non-academic political manifesto does not follow scientific citation standards ...).
    – o.m.
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 19:29
  • 17
    @o.m. it doesnt matter what they're driven by, the fact that plagiarisms, fake CVs etc. are so rampant in German politics is a shame. It's like blaming Snowden for uncovering the massive NSA spying.
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 7:50
  • 8
    @Hobbamok Sadly I don't think plagiarism is "rampant in Germany" more than in other countries. Probably in Germany when they find out they take drastic measures against it. I bet many PhDs turned politicians (especially in Law and other non-scientific fields) did not earn their title honestly in many countries. The problem is that even if the press finds out, the "scandals" are soon swept under the carpet. ... Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 13:34
  • 6
    @Hobbamok ... In Italy we have our shares of fake degrees (not only PhDs, but Masters as well) in public figures, but people easily forget and even if they are momentarily shadowed by the scandal, they get reelected soon most of the time, if their ties with their parties is strong. Not to mention "independent media" which are not truly independent because they have vested interests in supporting the aforementioned politicians. Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 13:35

The Iranian government has many PhDs as well. (At least 20!)

  1. President Dr. Rouhani obtained a PhD degree in Constitutional Law in 1999 for a thesis titled The Flexibility of Shariah (Islamic Law) with reference to the Iranian experience.

  2. First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri Kouhshahi received a PhD from Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran in industrial management.

  3. Head of Presidential Office and Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi Joz holds Ph.D in International Relations from Warsaw University.

  4. Vice-President for Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian received his Ph.D in economics in 1989 .

  5. Vice-President and Head of Plan and Budget Organisation Mohammad Bagher Nobakht

  6. Vice-President for Legal Affairs Laaya Joneidi
    possibly Ref 1 Ref 2

  7. Vice-President for Parliamentary Affairs Hossein-Ali Amiri
    possibly Reference

  8. Vice-President for science and technology affairs Sorena Sattari received a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran.

  9. Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Ma'soumeh Ebtekar holds a PhD in immunology from Tarbiat Modares University in 1995.

  10. Vice- President and Head of Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi received a PhD in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.

  11. Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment Issa Kalantari obtained PhD in agricultural physiology from Iowa State University.

  12. Minister of Education Mohsen Haji Mirzaei earned a Doctorate in Sociology from the Islamic Azad University, Tehran.

  13. Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi holds a PhD in Islamic jurisprudence and law from Ferdowsi University in Mashad.

  14. Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Farhad Dejpasand
    possibly Reference

  15. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif obtained a Ph.D. in international law and policy in 1988.

  16. Minister of Health and Medical Education Saeid Namaki
    possibly Reference

  17. Minister of Agriculture Jihad Kazem Khavazi
    possibly Reference

  18. Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli received a PhD in geography from Tarbiat Modarres University.

  19. Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mansour Gholami

  20. Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian holds a PhD in Water Resources Management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

  • 1
    Not sure why you're including so many unconfirmed. Even without them, the list is still impressive.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 15:34
  • 5
    I think the "unconfirmed" people are really PhDs. If you search site:president.ir president appoints, you can see search results with names of people with or without Dr prefix. I have written the word possibly because Wikipedia doesn't mention it. And it would be a humongous task to confirm all those through other sources. Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 15:43
  • ah, ok. I can't search that site where I am now, but will do so when home. Thanks
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 15:45
  • "agricultural physiology" aka "crop physiology".
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 15:07
  • The scandals surrounding some of these PhDs are quite disastrous under normal circumstances. Fun fact: some Iranians (ahem...) are even ashamed to mention their hardly earned PhDs because these people have ruined the word and made it devoid of its meaning. Sadly, it's a shame that the situation is so effed-up that nobody cares anymore about minor! issues. R.I.P. academic honesty. Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 10:23

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