CLAIM: “Congratulations, Dr. Michelle Obama! Since her husband left the White House, and her children are out of the house, Mrs. Obama decided to complete her 'PHD in law.'”

Election 2020 Michelle Obama

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2019, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during an event for Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

THE FACTS: Social media users are posting Facebook photos of Michelle Obama and falsely congratulating her for supposedly completing a new law degree after leaving the White House in 2016.

The posts, many of which were made in May or June, have received thousands of shares on Facebook. Obama was already accomplished on this front, having earned a juris doctor from Harvard Law School in 1988, decades before her husband assumed the presidency in 2008. She earned that degree three years after finishing her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University.

A spokeswoman for Obama confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that she has not earned any new degrees since leaving the White House in 2016. Obama has received several honorary degrees from universities after giving commencement speeches, including honorary doctorate degrees from Oregon State University in 2012, Bowie State University in 2013 and Jackson State University in 2016.

Since the end of her time as first lady, Obama released a memoir, “Becoming,” in 2018 that was followed by a 34-city book tour that concluded last year, and a Netflix documentary was unveiled this year.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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