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Is It “Masters” Degree or “Master’s” Degree?

Being a bachelor is not a requirement to receive a bachelor’s degree, but one does need to show mastery in order to obtain a master’s degree. In any case, you should be able to correctly spell the degree you have; spelling them as masters degree and bachelors degree is wrong. So when it comes to whether its masters degree or master’s degree: 

  • The proper way to spell master’s degree is by using an apostrophe.
  • The s at the end of master’s indicates a possessive (a master holds the degree).
  • When speaking about a specific degree, the M should be capitalized: Master of Music Performance.
  • All the above rules also apply to a bachelor’s degree.

Master’s Degree or Masters Degree

When someone earns a master’s degree, it is recognized that the person holds sufficient knowledge in a particular field of study to be considered a master of it. Therefore the proper way to spell master’s degree is with an apostrophe, to indicate that it is a degree of a master. So when hesitating whether its Masters Degree or Master’s Degree, just ask yourself – who holds the degree? A master.
Graphic illustrating the difference between masters degree and master's degree. The correct spelling is master's with an apostrophe. This indicates possession of the degree, and should be capitalized.
Example: Robert was awarded a master’s degree last Fall. 

When referring to a specific field, for example, the arts, drop the apostrophe and the s. Instead, capitalize both words:

Example: A final recital is required before being awarded a Master of Music Performance.

Degrees like Master of Arts and Master of Sciences are often abbreviated, and the style of abbreviations varies. Master of Arts can be abbreviated as M.A. or MA., and can even be seen in its Latin form AM or A.M. (Artium Magister).  

Bachelors Degree or Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree follows the same rules in terms of spelling as master’s degree. When referring to the degree in general (without specifying the field of study), it doesn’t need to be capitalized. It does, however, need an apostrophe to indicate it as a possessive and not a plural.  (A little aside – here is an article about the possession-indicating apostrophe that can sometime get away from us!)

Example: More and more people are opting to go to a four-year college to receive their bachelor’s degrees.

When you add the specific field of study, like with a master’s degree, you drop the possessive and capitalize the word bachelor and the field of study. 

Example: Her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University has served as a golden ticket in the job marketplace. 

Bachelor’s degree can be abbreviated in several ways. For example, a Bachelor of Science title can be BS, B.S. or BSc, as well as SB, S.B., and Sc. B for the Latin Scientiae Baccalaureus.  

Here is a list of Master’s degree abbreviations:

  • M.A. or A.M. – Master of Arts
  • M.Acc. or M.Acy. – Master of Accounting (or Accountancy)
  • M.Arch. – Master of Architecture
  • M.Aqua. – Master of Aquaculture
  • M.A.Ed. – Master of Arts in Education
  • M.A.L.S. or M.L.S. – Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • M.A.S. – Master of Advanced Study
  • M.A.Sc. or M.A.S. – Master of Applied Science
  • M.A.T. – Master of Arts in Teaching
  • M.Bus. – Master of Business
  • M.B.A. – Master of Business Administration
  • M.B.I. – Master of Business Informatics
  • M.Chem. – Master of Chemistry
  • M.Com. or M.Comm. – Master of Commerce
  • M.Crim. – Master of Criminology
  • M.C.A. – Master of Computer Applications
  • M.C.D. – Master of Communication Disorders
  • M.C.F. – Master of Computational Finance
  • M.C.J. – Master of Criminal Justice
  • M.C.P. – Master of City Planning
  • M.C.S. – Master of Computer Science
  • M.C.T. – Master of Creative Technologies
  • M.Des. or M.Design – Master of Design
  • M.E. – Master of Engineering
  • M.Econ. – Master of Economics
  • M.Ed. or Ed.M. – Master of Education
  • M.Ent. – Master of Enterprise
  • M.E.M. – Master of Engineering Management
  • M.Fin. – Master of Finance
  • M.Fstry. – Master of Forestry
  • M.F.A. – Master of Fine Arts
  • M.F.E. – Master of Financial Economics
  • M.H. – Master of Humanities
  • M.H.A. – Master of Health Administration
  • M.H.S. – Master of Health Science
  • M.I.Aff. – Master of International Affairs
  • M.I.B. – Master of International Business
  • M.I.L.R. – Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • M.I.S. – Master of International Studies
  • M.I.S.M. or M.S.I.M – Master of Information System Management
  • M.I.T. – Master of Information Technology
  • M.L.A. – Master of Liberal Arts
  • M.L.Arch. – Master of Landscape Architecture
  • M.L.I.S. – Master of Library and Information Studies
  • M.Litt. – Master of Letters (Magister Litterarum)
  • M.M. – Master of Management
  • M.Math. – Master of Mathematics
  • M.Mus. or M.M. – Master of Music
  • M.M.F. – Master of Mathematical Finance
  • M.O.T. – Master of Occupational Therapy
  • M.P.S. – Master of Political Science
  • M.Phil. – Master of Philosophy
  • M.Phys. – Master of Physics
  • M.P.A. – Master of Public Administration
  • M.P.Aff. – Master of Public Affairs
  • M.P.H. – Master of Public Health
  • M.P.M. – Master of Public Management
  • M.P.P. – Master of Public Policy
  • M.P.S. – Master of Professional Studies
  • M.Poli.Sci. or M.P.S. – Master of Political Science
  • M.Q.F. – Master of Quantitative Finance
  • M.R. or M.Sc.R. – Master of Research
  • M.R.E.D. – Master of Real Estate Development
  • M.S. or M.Sc. – Master of Science
  • M.S.C.J. – Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • M.S.C.S. – Master of Science in Computer Science
  • M.S.Chem. – Master of Science. in Chemistry
  • M.S.E. – Master of Science in Engineering
  • M.S.Ed. – Master of Science in Education
  • M.S.Fin. – Master of Science in Finance
  • M.S.F.S. – Master of Science in Forensic Science
  • M.S.H.R.D or H.R.D. – Master of Science in Human Resource Development
  • M.S.I.S. – Master of Science in Information Systems
  • M.S.I.T or M.Sc.I.T. – Master of Science in Information Technology
  • M.S.L. – Master of Studies in Leadership
  • M.S.M. – Master of Science in Management
  • M.S.M.I.S. or M.S.I.S.M- Master of Science in Information Systems Management
  • M.S.M.Sci. – Master of Science in Marine Science
  • M.S.Met. – Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering
  • M.S.P.M. – Master of Science in Project Management
  • M.S.S.C.M or S.C.M. – Master of Science in Supply Chain Management
  • M.S.Sc. – Master of Social Science
  • M.S.T. – Master of Science in Teaching
  • M.St. – Master of Studies
  • M.Sw.E – Master of Software Engineering
  • M.S.W. – Master of Social Work
  • M.U.P. – Master of Urban Planning
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By Audrey Horwitz

Audrey Horwitz holds a master's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in business administration. She has worked with numerous companies as a content editor including Speechly, Compusignal, and Wordflow. Audrey is a prolific content writer with hundreds of articles published for Medium, LinkedIn, Scoop.It, and Article Valley.

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