Masters or Master’s Degree?

In University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Are you writing up an important document like a CV, and aren’t sure how to properly state your qualifications? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. It’s important to declare your qualifications correctly and professionally. With so many terms, it’s hard to know which ones to use and how to write them.

A master’s degree (sometimes shortened to master’s) is always written with an apostrophe. The apostrophe is there because it is possessive, indicating that the degree belongs to the master of the subject (in any case, the graduate). This is also the same for a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re still confused on exactly what terms to use, then don’t worry! Keep reading this article to find out how to write about a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree or doctoral degree.

Is master’s degree with an apostrophe?

The correct way to write “master’s degree” is with an apostrophe. The reason for this is: the degree belongs to a master of the subject (i.e., the graduate who has earned the master’s degree).

Similarly, if a graduate had earned more than one master’s degree, degree would be pluralised to become “master’s degrees”.

Like bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees are split into Master of Arts and Master of Science. This is why it is written as “master’s degree”, because the graduate is seen as having mastered either the Arts or Science.

To find out more about apostrophes associated with this term, check out this page from Grammarly.

Should master’s degree be capitalised?

If you are simply mentioning that you have a master’s degree, then master’s degree should be written in lowercase. However, if the master’s degree is attached to a specific field of study, then it should be capitalised.

For example, if you had earned a master’s degree in History, you would write “Master of Arts in History”.

If you are including a master’s degree in a document such as a CV, you can abbreviate it to M.A. or M.S. (alternatively, a master’s degree in a scientific field can be written as MSc).

To discover what a master’s degree actually is, check out this article from Think Student.

Bachelor degree or bachelor’s degree?

As with the term “master’s degree”, a bachelor’s degree should also have an apostrophe. The reasoning for this is the same as with master’s; the apostrophe indicates that the degree belongs to the bachelor (aka the graduate who has earned the degree).

BA and BSc vs bachelor’s degree

You may have seen a bachelor’s degree being written as “BA” or “BSc”. These terms mean Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science respectively. They are another way of writing bachelor’s degree that specifies which field you earned your degree in.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science should be written without an apostrophe. Both ways of writing bachelor’s degree are considered formal, so it doesn’t matter which you decide to include in your writing.

However, if you need to specify the field you achieved your degree in, it’s better to write BA/BSc.

Associate degree and doctoral degree

Grammar rules change once you arrive at an associate degree or a doctoral degree. These shouldn’t be capitalised and should not have an apostrophe.

Doctoral degree is a general term used for anything above a master’s degree. However, if you are talking about a specific field, you would refer to the degree as a “doctorate in [subject]”.

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