The Best Pokémon Professors From All Main Games (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Every game has them, but few people actually think about what these guys represent.
I mean, their presence alone is proof of a functioning academia and science industry in the Pokémon world.
Is there physics? Chemistry? Could we potentially see a Pokémon nuclear holocaust?
The sky’s the limit, people!
And I’m ranking all of the main Pokémon professors from all the games right here in one easy-to-read list. So you’re not going to find any of those pseudo-science hacks like Colress here.
It’s just the good old-fashioned family of tree-inspired nerds.
9. Professor Elm
The only thing more tragic than Professor Elm’s forgettability is his ever-receding hairline.
I mean, this dude has a forehead that would make my girlfriend’s look small.
It might be just me because I was never much of a Johto guy.
But Elm is the only professor out of all nine that I can’t remember anything about.
I actually remember Mr. Pokémon more than I remember Elm, and that really shouldn’t be the case.
Plus he studies Pokémon evolution and breeding.
Now I don’t know about you, but the idea of this dude observing Pokémon mating, taking notes, and then watching that offspring grow and evolve is deeply unsettling to me.
So, maybe it’s not a case of not remembering Elm. Rather, my brain is just trying to block out the trauma.
8. Professor Magnolia
Magnolia is a bit of a nonfactor, let’s be honest here.
The whole point of her in the game is so that her protégé can force her into early retirement.
It’s not like she studies anything interesting or cool, either. Because all she specializes in is the Dynamax phenomenon, something that’s exclusive to Galar.
Thinking about it, it’s a bit tragic that Magnolia is forced to retire with a totally non-transferable skillset.
We see Oak in different regions, giving seminars, assisting research and whatnot, but Magnolia has nothing to offer the scientific community outside of Galar.
Her entire life’s work has been (dare I say) pointless.
7. Professor Sycamore
Professor Sycamore’s body proportions make me very uncomfortable.
I mean, it’s not like there’s anything weird about them; he’s just tall and thin.
However, it just so happens that I’m small and round, so that appearance is alien to me.
I know I gave Magnolia slack for specializing in Dynamax, but I’m a hypocrite.
I say that because Sycamore specializes in mega evolutions, which are infinitely cooler than Dynamax Pokémon.
Having said that, this guy sends his two children assistants into the villain’s hideout to try and uncover their plans.
That’s pretty unethical if you ask me, but evidently, Kalos doesn’t have any labor protection laws.
6. Professor Birch
Professor Birch is my guy!
There’s an uncanny resemblance between him and me, even if I’d never be caught dead wearing shorts and sandals.
Out of all the Pokémon professors in the series, Birch might be the most legitimate given that he studies habitats.
That’s an actual science. Not any of this Pokémon evolution or Dynamax nonsense (I’m not a creationist, I’m just saying that real evolution does NOT work like that).
Not only is Birch a great scientist, but he’s also an incredible family man.
He often brings his child out (your rival) to observe and capture Pokémon, all the while his wife is worried sick at home. Isn’t that great?
5. Professor Kukui
Professor Kukui has no right looking like that.
The dude has abs. That’s not okay.
If that isn’t enough, he’s also a masked professional wrestler.
He’s like if Jushin Thunder Liger went and got a degree in physics.
Not only all of that, but Kukui is also a visionary.
He’s the founder of the Alolan Pokémon League and also happens to be the first champion.
In other words, Kukui’s resume looks something like this:
- A pro wrestler
- A qualified professor
- The founder of the Alolan Pokémon League
- The first Alolan champion
- Has abs
4. Professor Rowan
If I age as well as Professor Rowan, I’ll be a very happy old man.
To be completely honest, one of my main reasons for ranking Rowan so highly is because I’m so excited that we finally got a Gen IV remake.
Chibi art style aside, you can’t tell me that the idea of going back to Sinnoh didn’t make you giddy as a schoolgirl.
If I do some mental gymnastics, that means I’m also excited to revisit Rowan. So he gets brownie points on my list, even if all he does is study Pokémon evolutions (and he’s way better and less creepy than Elm).
3. Professor Sonia
It doesn’t feel right to call Sonia a professor, but here we are.
She only gets the title at the end of SWSH, and she doesn’t complete any sort of Doctorate for it.
So the title of Dr. in the Pokémon world seems to be a bit too easy to acquire…
But she’s less of a scientist and more of a historian, and I LOVE that.
Not just because the history of Pokémon has been ignored for far too long, but it’s about time we started seeing other educational disciplines featuring heavily in the games.
For Gen IX I want the professor to be an English Lit. professor. And I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get that.
2. Professor Juniper
Technically, Juniper was the first historian to make a splash, not Sonia.
However, she studies the origins of Pokémon. So it’s not exactly the same thing.
I’ll admit that Juniper being so high up is completely personal bias.
Gen V is my favorite as of SWSH, and… well… let’s just say Juniper scratches a particular itch of mine. Hey, don’t judge! Let me have this.
1. Professor Oak
Let’s be honest:
There was no other Pokémon professor that could have taken this spot.
Not just because he’s the OG, or because of the nostalgia, or because he keeps popping up in other games, no that’s just minor stuff.
It’s really because he has a seriously impressive sense of style.
Oak is renowned around the world for his research into Pokémon/human relations, which is just ethics… and given that Pokémon are trained for combat as a sport, I’d imagine his research is going horribly.
But he also comes from a distinguished family of scientists.
He has a cousin (who I’m not convinced isn’t just Oak in disguise) that studies in Alola, although he takes a backseat to the force of nature that is Kukui.
Take all of those factors together and you can see why Professor Oak is so iconic.
I could probably even write total gibberish for this entry, and it would still justify Oak being number one.
And he presumably smashed Ash’s mom.
That alone is far more impressive than anything the others have done.