Ashley Judd Heading Back to School for Her Ph.D.

Judd, who has a masters from Harvard, will study public policy at UC Berkeley.

ByLuchina Fisher
August 16, 2016, 1:08 PM
PHOTO: Actress Ashley Judd attends The Creative Coalition's Benefit Gala Featuring Fergie at The Electric Factory, July 27, 2016, in Philadelphia.
Actress Ashley Judd attends The Creative Coalition's Benefit Gala Featuring Fergie at The Electric Factory, July 27, 2016, in Philadelphia.
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

— -- Ashley Judd is going back to school.

The 48-year-old actress announced Monday during a Facebook Live Q&A that she's been admitted to the University of California, Berkeley, as a Ph.D. student in public policy.

"I have decided to take the next step in my academic journey," Judd said. "Sometimes I'm really excited, sometimes I'm like, 'What have I gotten myself into?!' I'm very esteemed and honored that they accepted me."

Judd explained that the program at Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy only accepts two or three candidates per year.

"It was ultra-competitive and I know that talented and virtuous, well-meaning, smart people from all over the world applied," she said.

"So I really intend to make the very best of my time at Berkeley and do some good thinking, some rigorous research and fill it with my typical heart and soul and see how I can continue to do my little part to make the world a better place."

The "Big Stone Gap" actress, who has an undergraduate degree in French from the University of Kentucky, earned her Masters in public administration with emphasis on gender equality, from Harvard in 2010.

At Berkeley, Judd plans to continue her studies in gender equality, particularly as it pertains to to human trafficking, which the actress called "at the top of my list."

"Within human trafficking adheres all of the injustices of gender inequality," she said. "You can look at the whole of our striving toward gender equality within the dynamic of ending human trafficking. So it's the big and the little picture all at once and it's definitely at the top of my list."

Whatever she ends up studying, Judd plans to apply it in her work as a U.N. Goodwill ambassador and global health activist.

"Of course I love theory, but my work is applied. It's got to be real, it's got to help people now," said the professed "perennial" student.

Along with her coursework, the star will also juggle her work as an actress, including publicity for her upcoming film "Barry," about Barack Obama's college days in New York City, which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

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