Fact Check: Bill Gates Does NOT Have A Doctorate In Immunology, Virology And Toxicology

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Bill Gates Does NOT Have A Doctorate In Immunology, Virology And Toxicology Funds Others

Does Bill Gates have a doctorate degree in immunology, virology and toxicology? No, that's not true: Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft and does not have a conventional degree. He does, however, have honorary degrees in medicine and law. Through the $47 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he funds projects in immunology, virology and toxicology.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published by Facebook on September 19, 2020. It read:

BILL GATES HAS A DOCTORATE IN IMMUNOLOGY, VIROLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY

LETS SEE IF THIS GETS FACT CHECKED

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Sep 21 14:29:09 2020 UTC)

Gates famously dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to focus on Microsoft. More than 30 years later, in 2007, he returned to pick up an honorary law degree. Gates said at the time:

I'll be changing my job next year, and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.

Gates was referring to his then-upcoming move into philanthropy. You can watch his speech at Harvard here:

In addition to Harvard, he holds honorary degrees from Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Waseda University in Japan, Tsinghua University in China, Karolinska Institute, also in Sweden, University of Cambridge in England and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

Gates's honorary degree from Karolinska Institute is in medicine, but not specifically in immunology, virology and toxicology. However, through his health and education work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he funds work in those fields, as can be seen here, here, and here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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