Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey has received his high school diploma and a doctorate degree in the same week.

Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on the TV series, didn’t finish high school but he was given his diploma this week ahead of being awarded his doctorate.

He explained, “I dropped out of high school in my senior year to run away with the circus, basically. I really did. I never got my high school diploma.

“So St. Dom's, which is the school I went to in Maine, found out that I was getting the doctorate, so they figured I should probably have my high school diploma.”

The star was awarded a special distinction from Bowdoin College to honour his support of cancer research and treatment in his native state of Maine.

“I earned an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College; it’s a doctorate of humanities. I actually used to have a house outside of there and Shepherd is a graduate from there too, so I wear the Bowdoin College t-shirt on the show all the time.”