Jane Goodall

4 Min Read

When discussing the most influential figures in primatology and conservation, the name of Dame Jane Goodall inevitably comes up. Known for her groundbreaking research on wild chimpanzees, many wonder about Goodall’s educational journey, specifically, where did Jane Goodall go to college?

Jane Goodall’s Early Education

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England. From an early age, she showed a deep fascination for animals and the natural world, which paved the way for her future career.

Where Did Jane Goodall Go to College?

Jane Goodall’s path to her renowned career was somewhat unconventional. Goodall did not initially attend college after finishing high school. Instead, she worked odd jobs and saved money to fund a dream trip to Africa. In 1957, Goodall finally embarked on this journey, which proved to be a turning point in her life.

Studying Under Louis Leakey

In Africa, Goodall met the anthropologist Louis Leakey, who recognized her passion for wildlife and hired her as his secretary. Impressed by her dedication, Leakey suggested Goodall study wild chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanganyika (now Tanzania). While Goodall didn’t have a formal university degree, Leakey’s support helped her enroll in a Ph.D. program at the University of Cambridge, bypassing the usual bachelor’s degree requirement.

University of Cambridge

So, in terms of where Jane Goodall went to college, it was the University of Cambridge where she received her higher education. Under the guidance of Robert Hinde, she began studying Ethology in 1962, becoming one of the few people to be admitted to a Ph.D. program without first obtaining a BA or BSc. Her pioneering research on chimpanzees earned her a Ph.D. in Ethology in 1965.

The Influence of Cambridge on Goodall’s Career

Jane’s time at Cambridge was instrumental in shaping her scientific methodology and approach to research. Her focus on animal emotions, individuality, and social dynamics were revolutionary at the time and have since influenced how scientists study animal behavior.


While Jane Goodall’s educational path was unconventional, her dedication to understanding animal behavior led to significant strides in primatology. Her journey answers the question of where Jane Goodall went to college and shows that unconventional paths can lead to extraordinary results.


1. Where did Jane Goodall go to college?

Jane Goodall went to the University of Cambridge for her Ph.D. program in Ethology.

2. What did Jane Goodall study?

Jane Goodall studied Ethology, focusing on animal behavior, especially that of chimpanzees.

3. Did Jane Goodall have a formal college education before Cambridge?

No, Jane Goodall did not have a formal college education before attending Cambridge. She was admitted to a Ph.D. program without a bachelor’s degree, thanks to her passion for wildlife and support from Louis Leakey.

4. What was Jane Goodall’s contribution to science?

Jane Goodall’s research on wild chimpanzees revolutionized our understanding of primates, challenging conventional scientific wisdom, and reshaping our knowledge of animal behavior, social structures, and emotions.

5. How did Jane Goodall’s time at Cambridge influence her career?

Her time at Cambridge allowed her to develop a groundbreaking scientific methodology focusing on animal emotions, individuality, and social structures. This approach was revolutionary at the time and has greatly influenced the study of animal behavior.