Actor Josh Duhamel is proud to announce he finally has a bachelor's degree - 13 years after he began studying for it.

The LAS VEGAS star, boyfriend of BLACK EYED PEAS singer Fergie, began attending Minot State University in his native North Dakota in 1992, but only completed his studies in the summer (05), after taking up internet classes.

He says, "I left one credit short. I did it sort of on purpose, 'cause I wanted to go to dental school and I'd already taken organic chemistry like twice, and there were a couple of classes that I needed to take over in case I needed to improve my (grad point average) in order to get into school.

"I knew I wasn't gonna get in with a 3.1 or a 3.2, so I was gonna have to retake classes and I decided to drop the introduction to art class, which is one credit and then I was just gonna go back and take it whenever I needed to. And it took me until 2005 to take that one credit!"

After informing ELLEN DeGENERES of his delayed achievement on her talk show yesterday (03OCT05), the comedienne surprised him with the graduation ceremony he didn't get to have - complete with a cap and gown.

As he faked tears, she told him, "If they gave out diplomas for being a hunk you'd have graduated long ago."