Does Gary Null have a PhD?

Gary Null is a controversial figure in the world of alternative medicine and health. He hosts a popular radio show and has authored numerous books promoting alternative health practices and critiquing mainstream medicine. One aspect of Null’s background that often draws scrutiny is his education credentials, specifically whether or not he has earned a PhD degree.

Claims About Null’s Education

On his website and in his book bios, Null is typically described as having “PhDs in nutrition and naturopathy.” However, there is debate around whether these PhDs are from accredited institutions or self-awarded credentials.

Here are some key facts about Null’s education background:

  • He attended New York University and University of Houston, but does not appear to have earned any degrees from those institutions.
  • He claims to have earned a PhD in human nutrition and public health sciences from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH in 1980.
  • He also claims a PhD in nutrition from Century University in New Mexico, an unaccredited correspondence school that was shut down by the state in the early 1980s.

So while Null does have a PhD from an accredited university (Union Institute & University), he also cites a supposed degree from an unaccredited institution that is widely considered illegitimate.

Scrutiny of Null’s Credentials

Null’s credentials, particularly his PhD claims, have drawn significant scrutiny over the years. Here are some examples:

  • In 1987, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé challenging Century University’s accreditation status and questioning the validity of degrees issued by the school.
  • In a 2002 piece in Salon, reporter Katharine Mieszkowski fact-checked Null’s credentials and uncovered the issues around his PhD from Century University.
  • Quackwatch founder Stephen Barrett has repeatedly investigated and called into question Null’s education background.
  • In 2018, McGill University Office for Science and Society Director Joe Schwarcz also raised concerns about the Century University PhD specifically.

So while Null does have a legitimate PhD, he undermines his credibility by also claiming a supposed degree from an unaccredited institution.

Why a PhD Matters

For someone like Null who gives medical and health advice, having legitimate academic credentials is important for establishing trust and authority with the public. A PhD from an accredited university signifies extensive study and research under scholarly supervision.

However, just having “PhD” in a title does not automatically make someone’s opinions valid. The source of the PhD and the quality of the research behind it are critical for evaluating someone’s expertise.

Content of Null’s Work and Ideas

Beyond just credentials, the content and messages in Null’s books, radio shows, and other work should also be examined closely when determining how much weight to give his opinions.

Some key aspects of Null’s work that have drawn criticism and debate include:

  • Promotion of alternative medicine: Null frequently touts alternative practices like homeopathy, detoxes, and vitamin megadosing while criticizing mainstream medicine like vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Rejection of evidence-based standards: Critics argue Null relies heavily on anecdotal evidence while dismissing high-quality clinical studies that contradict his claims.
  • COVID-19 misinformation: During the pandemic, Null has downplayed the risks of COVID-19 and promoted unproven treatments like vitamin C infusions.

These factors and more have led many experts in medicine, nutrition, and public health to conclude that Null regularly promotes pseudoscience and misinformation, regardless of his degrees.

Lawsuits Involving Null

Null has been involved in several major lawsuits related to some of his health claims and products over the years:

  • In 1987, Null was sued by the Attorney General of New York for claiming his Perfect Food Formula could cure AIDS. Null settled and paid $40,000 in penalties.
  • In 2003, Null was sued for claiming his supplements could treat certain diseases. He settled and paid $250,000 in consumer refunds.
  • In 2020, Null was sued after his own product branding him as a “PhD” was contaminated with high levels of vitamin D leading to health issues.

These legal issues further call into question Null’s credentials and the validity of some of his supplement marketing claims.

Should Null Be Considered a PhD?

Pro Con
Credential claims Null did earn a PhD from an accredited university (Union Institute & University) He undermines his own credibility by also claiming a supposed degree from Century University, an unaccredited institution
Quality of work Null has authored multiple books and has a long-running radio show His work regularly promotes questionable medical advice and has been criticized for ignoring scientific standards
Legal issues Null has faced legal penalties related to illegal health claims about his products, showing flaws in his expertise


Based on an objective analysis of his credentials and record, Gary Null does technically have a legitimate PhD from an accredited university, but he loses credibility and trust by also claiming a supposed degree from an unaccredited source. More importantly, the content and quality of Null’s work promoting questionable medical advice raises significant concerns about his expertise, regardless of his degrees on paper. When evaluating the validity of Null’s writings and opinions, the source of his ideas and claims deserves far more scrutiny than just the “PhD” title itself.

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