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Capitalization of Academic Degrees

Perhaps you’ve wondered if and when academic degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) should be capitalized.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) recommends writing academic degrees in lower case except when directly preceding or following a name.

Examples:
Orlando is pursuing a bachelor of science in civil engineering.
He introduced Jennifer Miller, Master of Fine Arts.
He introduced Master of Fine Arts Jennifer Miller.

The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) recommends no capitals when referring to degrees in general terms (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, associate degree) but always capitalizing specific degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science), whether or not they directly precede or follow a name.

Examples:
Orlando is thinking about getting a Bachelor of Science degree.
Orlando is thinking about getting a master’s degree.
He introduced Orlando Cruz, Bachelor of Science.

My recommendation is to pick your resource and then be consistent.

There is agreement, however, that abbreviations of academic degrees are to be capitalized. CMOS recommends omitting periods unless required for tradition or consistency (BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD), but AP prefers retaining the periods (B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph.D.).

 

Pop Quiz

  1. The keynote speaker tonight will be Juris Doctor/juris doctor Michael Abercrombie.
  2. The textbook was authored by Azizah Bakar, Master of Science/master of science.
  3. Eleanor is finally reaching the end of her studies for her Doctorate in History/doctorate in history.
  4. After studying hard for so many years, I definitely feel that I’ve earned my MS/M.S. in biology.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

  1. Juris Doctor
  2. Master of Science
  3. doctorate in history
  4. MS OR M.S.

Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009, at 6:16 pm


119 Comments

119 Responses to “Capitalization of Academic Degrees”

  1. Yvonne Condo says:

    I’m so confused; which is correct: I received a bachelor of arts in Criminal History or I received a bachelor of arts in criminal history?

    I was under the assumption that I should capitalize the course title according to “The Gregg Reference Manual”

    I love getting your weekly grammar quizzes –

    Thanks

    • Jane says:

      I agree that course or program names should be capitalized.

      • Kristin says:

        Wait, so are these all correct:
        1) He earned a bachelor or arts in Criminal History.
        2) He earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal History.
        3) He earned a BA in Criminal History.

        ???

      • Kim says:

        Thank you for providing this resource and continuing to answer questions. It’s very helpful.

        I am trying to create a style guide for a college catalog with some clear rules for capitalizing program names. Should one capitalize them in all cases when the specific program name is used or only when it is used in certain contexts?

        1. The School of Arts and Sciences awards associate degrees in liberal arts and sciences, chemical technology and computer science. (These are all names of degree programs, so should they be capitalized or not in this context?)
        2. Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics
        3. The Applied Math and Computer Science degree programs

        • Names of specific course titles should be capitalized, but general academic subjects are not. In your first example “liberal arts and sciences, chemical technology and computer science” are referred to generically, therefore do not capitalize. Names of academic degrees are not capitalized, however, specific program names are generally capitalized. Therefore, we recommend writing “bachelor of science degree in Applied Mathematics” and “The Applied Math and Computer Science degree programs.”

    • Lassy says:

      Bachelor of Arts in Criminal history

      • Jane says:

        Write academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title. Program names should be capitalized. Therefore, write bachelor of arts in Criminal History.

    • Lamar says:

      I have earned a Master’s Degree in Education, History Major and Political Science Minor.

      Please correct what I just wrote with an explanation.

      On a resume how would I style/abbreviate that?

      Lamar —–
      M. Ed. Hist & Pol Sci

      ???

      Lamar —–
      M. Ed. h & ps

      ????

      I’m confused.
      Thank you so much for your help.

      • The Chicago Manual of Style says, “Capitalize degrees on business cards, on diplomas, or when displayed in a directory or resume.” Otherwise, academic subjects are not capitalized. The abbreviation for master of education is EdM. We assume that your undergraduate degree was in history with a minor in political science. There is no one correct way to write this. A couple of possibilities might be:

        Lamar _____
        Master of Education, Bachelor of Arts (or bachelor of arts) in history with a minor in political science

        Lamar _____
        EdM; BA in history, minor in political science

  2. JAH says:

    When saying Bachelors of Art degree, is the word “degree” capitalized?

    • Jane says:

      According to The Chicago Manual of Style, degrees should not be capitalized at all: “Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.” Yet this is on another page:
      BA Bachelor of Arts
      This is confusing, isn’t it? I recommend writing bachelor of arts degree.

  3. Lilly says:

    “Bachelor of Arts degree” would be the correct way of writing it, right?

  4. Gretchen says:

    When does one use an apostrophe in writing degree names? Do I write, “Carrie earned a master’s degree?” or “Carrie earned a masters degree?” What about, “I’m working on my masters/master’s degree?” I see it both ways. Is it plural or is the degree belonging to the master or master category.
    Thank you.

    • Jane says:

      I found contradictory answers on the AP Style Manual site:
      A. Keep the apostrophe in the plural forms: “The university offers bachelor’s degrees in ….” 2007-02-11 (Source: Ask the Editor, Singular/plural)
      A. No apostrophe for simple plurals: Ph.D.s or Ph.D. degrees. (Source: Ask the Editor, Spelling)

      I cannot find anything in The Chicago Manual of Style, at least not yet. Therefore, it seems that you can either use or not use the apostrophe according to your own “taste.”

      • Kristin says:

        If you choose to use the comma and it is plural, then wouldn’t it be, “the university offers masters’ degrees” with the apostrophe plural possessive position after the ‘s’?

        • Jane says:

          The word “master’s” is an adjective describing the degree as a “degree of a master.” It is only the word degree that is plural in your sentence, not the master, therefore, I recommend master’s degrees.

  5. Lea says:

    I am confused about whether to capitalize specific centuries.
    Fifth Century B.C. or fifth century B.C. I see it as a common noun, such as the eleventh hour. In that case, it would be written in lower case. However, I also see that it is a specific point in time, leaving me to believe that it should be capitalized. Please help. Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style says this:

      Particular centuries are spelled out and lowercased.
      the twenty-first century
      the eighth and ninth centuries
      from the ninth to the eleventh century
      the eighteen hundreds (the nineteenth century)

  6. sue sperber says:

    What should be capitalized?
    “She received her b.a. degree in art, with a concentration in painting and special studies in old masters’ reproductions” ?

    • Jane says:

      There are so many options regarding capitalization with degrees. Yours is correct; however, the most common method may be as follows:
      She received her BA degree in art, with a concentration in painting and special studies in Old Masters’ Reproductions.
      I capitalized the last bit because of its specificity.

      • Helen says:

        Isn’t it redundant to say “master’s of arts degree”? A master’s of arts is a degree; there should be no need to say ‘degree’ after it.

        • Jane says:

          Master of Arts is a phrasal adjective describing the word degree, so I do not consider it redundant. The use of “Master of Arts” without the word degree is just a shortened form. Either one is grammatically correct. On a resume, it would be preferred to write Master of Arts or master’s degree. Note that the apostrophe s is not used with Master of Arts or Bachelor of Arts, but is used with master’s degree and bachelor’s degree.

          • Richard says:

            Can “Master of Art” also be viewed as a noun phrase?

          • You could write “He is a master of art” meaning “He is an artist of great and exemplary skill.” The term “master of art” here is a noun phrase and is not capitalized. You could also write “master of arts” or “Master of Arts” without the word degree and it would be a noun phrase rather than an adjective. Example:

            He earned his master of arts (Master of Arts) at Northwestern.

  7. nicolas jorizzo says:

    do we capitalize things like academic titles …like chartered accountant?

    for example ….this report was written by Nicolas Jorizzo, Chartered Real Estate Broker…do i capitalize all words in my title?

    • Jane says:

      You may capitalize all words in your title since it is serving the same function as when a title precedes the name as long as “the” does not appear in front of the job title (see Rule 3 on the GrammarBook.com Web site).

      Example: Nicholas Jorizzo, Chartered Real Estate Broker
      Chairperson Miller
      Mr. Miller, the academic advisor

  8. kk says:

    I just love this stuff. My idea of pleasure reading. I’m an English teacher and always wonder about this stuff. It’s so fluid.

  9. Robin says:

    Thank you so very much for providing this information on the internet.

    Robin

  10. Hugh O. says:

    I just finished another program.

    Am I now a “B.A., J.D., CPht, M.S.”….are the degrees by chronological order or ranked by level of study accomplished?

    • Jane says:

      Grammatically speaking, there is no preferred order. In general, degrees are listed in the order in which they were earned which usually corresponds with increased academic level. In some cases it is customary to leave out earlier degrees, e.g., Marcus Welby, MD, and, in some cases people choose to omit lower level degrees, e.g., John Jones, PhD. It’s up to you.

  11. Claudia says:

    Wondering if there is a specific rule for referring to a masters (apostrophe or no) – as in earned her masters in nursing. Thanks for your help.

    • Jane says:

      According to the AP Stylebook, “Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.”

  12. Cathy says:

    What is the proper form for doctor’s degrees? Is their area of expertise capitalized? Please advise what should be caps in this paragraph: “He is board certified in Internal Medicine and board eligible in medical oncology. Dr. Doe practices general medical oncology and hematology, but has a particular clinical and research interest in lung cancer. Having helped establish and direct our multi-disiplinary lung cancer clinic.”
    Is there a website or other form of reference materiall I can refer to in the future.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Jane says:

      Since this is such a specialized area, I will defer to The Chicago Manual of Style which recommends, “The following paragraphs offer only the most general guidelines. Medical writers or editors should consult the AMA Manual of Style or Scientific Style and Format.

      Names of diseases, syndromes, diagnostic procedures, anatomical parts, and the like are lowercased, except for proper names forming part of the term. Acronyms and initialisms are capitalized.

      The full names of institutions, groups, and companies and the names of their departments, and often the shortened forms of such names (e.g., the Art Institute), are capitalized.”

      Regarding degrees, “Spelled-out terms, often capitalized in institutional settings (and on business cards and other promotional items), should be lowercased in normal prose.”

      You do not indicate whether this paragraph is for an institutional setting or normal prose. If it is normal prose, only the doctor’s name and the names of any specific departments would be capitalized. If this is for an institutional setting, the specializations could also be capitalized, but not the diseases.

  13. Anne says:

    Very interesting read. I am still confused though in some areas. For sentences that I would appreciate help on are:
    She has completed several programs that include computer analyst programmer and business adminstration.

    She holds a computer technology certificate and a masters certificate in project management.

    She is currently pursuing her master of business administration.

    She holds a bachelor of science degree and has completed programs related to information technology management.

    • Jane says:

      Since The Chicago Manual of Style recommends writing academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title, your sentences are correct without the capitalization. Also, master’s certificate should have an apostrophe and please note the spelling of administration.

  14. Catharine says:

    Hi Jane,

    Do I say: “I will pursue a Master of Science in International Politics” or “Master’s of Science…”

    And, how about: “I will work towards a Master of Philisophy/Doctor of Philosophy in War Studies” OR a “Master’s of Philosophy/Doctorate of Philosophy…”? (in the British system an MPhil is upgraded to a PhD).

    I’m writing applications and really need to make sure this is correct! Thanks!

    Catharine

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style says, “Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically:
      a master’s degree; a doctorate; a fellowship; master of business administration (MBA)” Therefore, “master of science” or “master’s degree in science” would be grammatically correct as well as “master of philosophy” or “masters in philosophy.”

      • Kristin says:

        So then when the discipline follows it, all remains lower case? As in, “he earned a master of science in biotechnology at the…”

        What about if it is a program title, then I can capitalize, right? For example, “He was accepted into the Master of Science in Biotechnology Program.”

        Thanks for your feedback. Great site!

        • Jane says:

          Yes, you are correct. A specific program or course title can be capitalized. The word “program” would be lowercased.
          He was accepted into the Master of Science in Biotechnology program.

  15. Katie says:

    Is the capitalization in this sentence correct? Even though I’ve read to not capitalize degree titles in AP style, it seems odd for them to be lowercase.

    Katie studied journalism at the University of Memphis and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts with emphasis in public relations.

    • Jane says:

      Degree titles are often capitalized in institutional settings (and on business cards and other promotional items); however, they should be in lower case in normal prose.

  16. marlene harper says:

    Actually I have a question is grammatically speaking using in a sentence : His “son” might come by tonight. vs. His “Son” might come by tonight. I know the later “Son” denotes Diety (Jesus the Son) but does “son”.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Isn’t it redundant to follow up many of these terms with “degree?” I would prefer to see “I earned a bachelor of science” to “I earned a bachelor of science degree,” but which is correct?

    • Jane says:

      Bachelor of science is a phrasal adjective describing the word degree, so I do not consider it redundant. The use of “bachelor of science” without the word degree is just a shortened form. Either one is grammatically correct.

  18. Arah Pinson says:

    Are items in a series capitalized in a chart if those items are being emphasized?

  19. brenda Komater says:

    For new hires–are their degrees capitalized in the body of the announcement? Or, if everything lowercase?

    Thank you,

    • Jane says:

      Our blog “Capitalization of Academic Degrees” addresses this by citing other authoritative references. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) recommends writing academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title. The Associated Press Stylebook recommends using lower case when referring to degrees in general but capitalizing when they follow a name. My recommendation is to pick your resource and then be consistent.

      Juan Perez, bachelor of science OR
      Juan Perez, Bachelor of Science

      CMS advises that academic degrees be capitalized when used in lists

      Our new marketing team includes:

      Lane Bridges, Bachelor of Science
      Carol Hudson, Bachelor of Arts
      Juan Perez, Bachelor of Science
      Justin Weber, Master of Business Administration

  20. Katherine says:

    Quick question – if all surrounding text is in caps, would you cap all the letters of Ph.D. or not?

    JANE DOE, PH.D. OR JANE DOE, Ph.D.

    • Jane says:

      It is not grammatically correct for text to be in all caps unless it is a military, police, Coast Guard, National Weather Service bulletin or you are sending a telegram. By definition “all caps” means all capital letters.

  21. Leslie says:

    We have a question about whether certain medical terms or words should be capitalized. Such as Diabetes Mellitus, rotator cuff tear or repair, cardiac arrhythmia, etc.

    • Jane says:

      Generally, medical terms are lowercased, except for proper names forming part of the term, such as Alzheimer disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  22. Willie says:

    hi… I have a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineer and a Masters degree in Environmental Management but I’m not really sure how to specify my titles when writing my name?

    should it be: Eng…Name…… MEM ?

    or

    Name……, Eng. MEM

    please help.

    • Jane says:

      Our blog “Capitalization of Academic Degrees” addresses this. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends writing academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title. The Associated Press Stylebook recommends using lower case when referring to degrees in general but capitalizing when they follow a name. They agree that abbreviations of academic degrees are to be capitalized. Also, they would be capitalized if appearing on a resume or in a list. My recommendation is to pick your resource and then be consistent.

      Willie Smith, BS, MS
      Willie Smith, BS, Industrial Engineering; MS, Environmental Management
      Willie Smith, bachelor of science in industrial engineering; master of science in environmental management OR
      Willie Smith, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering; Master of Science in Environmental Management

  23. Bill M. says:

    There is no right answer. These are rules made up by people like you and I. Write how you want and be happy!

    • Jane says:

      For formal writing, I advise people to follow the rules of proper grammar and punctuation, rules which have been well established but do evolve over time and become recognized by such leading reference authorities as The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook and which I reflect on my website and in The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.

  24. Suresh G says:

    I am confused about this usage, How the order of academic degree should be written with a person’s name?

    Dr. Bill B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

    or

    Dr. Bill Ph.D., M.S., B.S.

    Which usage is correct ?

    • Jane says:

      Grammatically speaking, there is no preferred order. Usually, degrees are listed in the order in which they were earned, which generally corresponds with increased academic level. Some people choose to omit earlier degrees.

      Dr. Bill, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

  25. Susan says:

    she received her BA in politics at Hendrix College
    or
    she received her BA in Politics at… ??

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style says, “Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.”

      She received her BA in politics at Hendrix College.

  26. L.G. says:

    The position title is capitalized within the body of a job announcement. If I apply the ego rule, repeat its “error,” and capitalize the job position in my cover letter, how do treat the other job titles I mention later in the same letter (previous positions held)? It’s my inclination to leave those titles lowercase in running text, but I’m concerned about consistency.

    Thanks for a very helpful Web site!

    • Jane says:

      I agree it would be more consistent to capitalize your previous positions held. If you use lowercase, the people reading your cover letter might interpret your previous positions as less important than the one they have announced. Will they look favorably on that or not? It is your call.

  27. Heidi says:

    I have a question regarding how to write degrees for a wedding announcement. Should it read he received both an Associates and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He also received a Master of Science in Nursing and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing.

    • Jane says:

      Unless the groom is insisting on listing his entire academic history, generally the highest degree earned is sufficient, especially since his degrees are all in the same field of study. Since you are not using the degrees as part of a title, do not capitalize:

      He received a master of science degree in nursing and is currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing.

  28. Ashley says:

    Hi Jane,

    I’m writing my resume and wanted to stick with AP Style.

    When using my degree as a title, is it okay to capitalize degrees in AP Style?

    For example, “Dual Bachelors of Arts, public relations & journalism”

    • Jane says:

      Yes, AP Style does say to capitalize academic degrees. Do not capitalize the word dual unless it is the first word of a sentence. Also, use the word and rather than the & symbol in formal writing, especially on a resume.

      dual Bachelors of Arts, public relations and journalism

  29. Ashley says:

    I also can’t find anything that truely clears up communication and communications…

    The company I want to apply for adds “S”. But in a resume and using AP Style, what is correct?

    Objective:

    Pursuing an opportunity with (ABC Company) to build strong relationships with external and internal audiences through the marketing communication (company used communication(s))specialist position

    Education:

    Associates Degree, communication(or communication(s))
    or
    Associates Degree, Communication(s)

    • Jane says:

      AP Stylebook says, ” The AP spelling would be guided by the specific college degree, business name or professional title. So the word could be singular for some cases, plural for others.” I recommend using the s if the company uses it and listing your degree the way your college spells it. You can either write Associate of Arts or associate degree. I think Associate of Arts looks better on a resume. The major or program name should be lowercase.

      Associate of Arts, communication(s)

  30. Jason says:

    I’m making a survey of sorts and asking people about their academic degrees. However, I’ve found somewhat conflicting information about the grammar. Are associate and doctorate followed by “degree” or not? Should they have an apostrophe or not?

    Academic Degrees (check all that apply)
    Associate Degree (Ex. AA, AS)
    Bachelor’s Degree (Ex. BA, BS, AB)
    Master’s Degree (Ex. MA, MS, MEd, MPH)
    Doctorate Degree (Ex. PhD, EdD, MD, JD)

    • Jane says:

      The word degree does not follow doctorate. It can in the case of the three others. Associate degree and doctorate have no apostrophes. Both bachelor’s degree and master’s degree do. Also, since they are used generically, you do not need to capitalize the words, just the abbreviations.

      academic degrees (check all that apply)
      associate degree (Ex. AA, AS)
      bachelor’s degree (Ex. BA, BS, AB)
      master’s degree (Ex. MA, MS, MEd, MPH)
      doctorate (Ex. PhD, EdD, MD, JD)

  31. Gulmira says:

    hello, can you please tell me , if in my degree written as my name first and my dad’s name second and my surname is last, is it the acceptable way in my further education? as in the most of the way it supposed be written as first surname and first name, then father’s name…i am so confused

    • Jane says:

      I am guessing that you are writing from a country outside of the United States. In the U.S., our standard or most common naming convention is to have first and middle names that may or may not have any relationship to our parents’ names followed by our surname which is our family name. Generally, high schools and universities in the U.S. will issue your diploma using the name that you used when registering or will ask you how you want your name to be printed on your diploma. I hope this answer is helpful to you. If not, please write back including a specific example or two illustrating your question.

  32. Suzanne says:

    When referring to a specific university in a sentence, Boston University for example would the sentence say: “While at the University golf course you were found in violation of speeding on a golf cart.” Or would university be lower case?

    • Jane says:

      Our blog “Capitalization of Governmental Words” addresses this dilemma. The rule says, “When you refer back to a proper noun using a shortened version of the original name, you may capitalize it.”

  33. Deborah says:

    I was wondering if the following is correct when capitalizing certain words (degrees and kindergarten teacher). Here is the beginning of my letter of intent for an elementary teacher position.

    I am interested in applying for the elementary teacher position at ______ Elementary School. Your opening for an elementary school teacher relates directly to my experience teaching K-6 grade school level in the ____ Elementary School District. I am highly qualified having earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with CLAD and a Supplementary Subject Matter credential in Introductory English K-9. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and a Master of Arts in Education from Azusa Pacific University.

    For the 2011-2012 school year, I was a temporary contracted kindergarten teacher at _______ Elementary.

    Thank you for your help!

    • Jane says:

      Our blog Capitalization of Academic Degrees says, “The Chicago Manual of Style recommends writing academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title.” Also, I agree with lower case for “kindergarten teacher.”

  34. Stella says:

    Hi there,

    I’m currently formatting my resume, and I’m wondering how to list my degree and majors according to Chicago style. I double majored like one of the other posters above, and I’m struggling to find the best/most accurate way to convey this information.

    I started with
    Bachelor of Arts, English and history, May XXXX

    Then I switched to
    Bachelor of Arts, English and History, May XXXX

    I fret that the first example looks odd and/or inconsistent because of the lowercased “history,” and might draw attention to itself for the wrong reasons. But the second example kind of looks like I majored in a singular field of study called “English and History.”

    Would you be so kind as to help me out with this one? Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 8.84 says, “Academic subjects are not capitalized unless they form part of a department name or an official course name or are themselves proper nouns (e.g., English, Latin).” CMS does advise that academic degrees be capitalized when used in lists or when displayed on a resume, however, CMS does not specifically address academic majors on lists or resumes. In the case of a resume, you could interpret “academic degree” as including the major and capitalize both the degree and the major on a resume.

      Other possibilities for listing your degrees could be:
      Bachelor of Arts, English, May XXXX
      Bachelor of Arts, History, May XXXX
      OR
      Bachelor of Arts in both English and History, May XXXX

  35. Damon says:

    Just wondering how to handle degree abbreviations when the name appears in ALL CAPS, as would be the case if a name appears in a section title or book title. Specifically I’m wondering which of the following is the best option:

    JOHN DOE, PHD
    JOHN DOE, PH.D
    JOHN DOE, PhD
    JOHN DOE, Ph.D

  36. Rex Carlos says:

    Would it be correct to write Doctorate’s Degree for one with a PhD?

  37. Birdie says:

    This is an argument I find myself in all the time. I cannot seem to understand what AP suggests. In the following sentence, I don’t think corporate communications and management should be capitalized because they are just concentrations, not the title of the degree. Or maybe they are and should be capitalized? So confusing!!!

    She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2008 with a BA in English for corporate communications and management.

    • Jane says:

      Since you specifically asked about the Associated Press Stylebook’s rule, their advice reads,”The specialty is lowercase unless it’s a proper noun: bachelor’s degree in French history, master’s degree in natural resources, doctorate in English literature.”

      She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2008 with a BA in English in corporate communications and management.

  38. Bebby says:

    I frequently have to write descriptive bios for young professionals who want to emphasize their academic honors. Is it correct to write: “She earned her BS, magna cum laude, in history…”? Or perhaps, “She earned her BS in history, magna cum laude,…” Or is there another, better way to express this? I have searched high and low and cannot find a recommendation on this in any of my reference books. Thanks.

  39. Amy says:

    Should I capitalize anything here (aside from the first word and the names of the schools?

    She received her art education certification from State University and her yoga teaching certification from Yoga University.

  40. Mary Wogec says:

    I’m looking for information not on academic degrees but on certificates and licenses issued by the State of California. This is for state regulations, but unfortunately the State offers no guidelines. We issue various certificates (Certified Phelbotomy Technician I and II, Medical Laboratory Technician, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, etc.) Should these titles be capitalized? Below are two examples:

    1. (b) To be certified as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician I, a person shall meet the following requirements:

    2. (i) Under the supervision of a physician and surgeon licensed under Chapter 5, physician assistant licensed under Chapter 7.7, clinical laboratory bioanalyst or clinical laboratory scientist licensed under Chapter 3, registered nurse licensed under Chapter 6, or certified phlebotomy technician with three years of experience in the previous five years;

    I would like to capitalize in the first example, but not in the second, but I need firm grammatical ground on which to stand. Could you offer any?

    Thanks,

    Mary

    • Jane says:

      The style manuals do not specifically address certificates and licenses.The Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 8.28 says, “Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.” However, they do state in their Q&A section, “Cap a degree on a résumé, business card, or diploma, in an alumni directory, or wherever it looks like a title rather than a description of what degree you have. Lowercase it in running text. You can’t go too far wrong with this if you’re consistent within a given document.” Since certified phlebotomy technician, medical laboratory technician, and clinical laboratory scientist look more like titles and the printed certificates might be considered similar to diplomas, you could have an argument to capitalize them. The most important thing is to be consistent.

  41. Mary Wogec says:

    Thanks so much for the references. And thanks for a great website!

  42. Leo says:

    I find a contradiction in the following two examples:

    He introduced Jennifer Miller, master of fine arts.

    He introduced Orlando Cruz, Bachelor of Science.

    Could you please clarify? Thank you.

    Leo.

    • Jane says:

      Your first example sentence is given in regard to the statement “The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) recommends writing academic degrees in lower case, except when using the degree as a title.”

      He introduced Jennifer Miller, master of fine arts.

      The second example sentence pertains to “The Associated Press Stylebook recommends using lower case when referring to degrees in general but capitalizing when they follow a name.”

      He introduced Orlando Cruz, Bachelor of Science.

      The style manuals have different rules. As I stated above, my recommendation is to pick your resource and then be consistent.

  43. Ed Case says:

    I like German. All nouns are capitalized. Simple and end of discussion. It’s too bad English didn’t adopt this methodology.

  44. Amy Rittenhouse says:

    I am still a little confused on capitalization. Would this grammar be correct? I am not sure if subject matter should be capitalized or not.
    Ms. Rittenhouse holds a bachelor of science degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Studies from Michigan State University and a master of public administration degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas-Austin.

  45. April says:

    Is there any usage of associate’s degree or associates degree that is correct or are these just a frequent errors people make?

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style recommends either “associate degree” or “associate’s degree.” Educational institutions are inconsistent regarding this term and both are widely used.

  46. Melissa Bailey says:

    LOVE this page! Thanks so much for providing this reference.

    I am working on job descriptions, and we start out the Education section with something like this:
    “Bachelor degree/Technical School”

    Should I use “Bachelor’s” instead?
    Also, should the words “Technical School” be capitalized or should they be lower-case?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Jane says:

      Thank you for the compliment. The grammatically correct term is bachelor’s degree. Since the terms bachelor’s degree and technical school are not part of a name or a list, they do not need to be capitalized, however, such terms are often capitalized in institutional settings, especially in promotional materials.

  47. Tifa says:

    How about the capitalization of Degrees and Name in plaque??

    Should I capitalize all of the name including the degrees??
    such ASSOC. PROF. GIRRA MARTINDA, M.B.A or Assoc. Prof. GIRRA MARTINDA, M.B.A.

    Thanks in advance for your help??

    • The Chicago Manual of Style says, “Display items like plaques support a number of treatments, none of which is the only correct choice. You should make your decision and strive for consistency within the plaque.”

  48. Corbin says:

    This has been very helpful! Perhaps you can help me understand how to properly punctuate the credentials for a board-certified physician assistant. Would the correct punctuation be:

    CMOS Style –> PA-C
    AP Style –> P.A.-C

    • Yes, that is correct. The Chicago Manual of Style advises against the use of periods with abbreviations that appear in full capitals and AP Stylebook recommends using periods in most two-letter abbreviations.

  49. Diane says:

    Do I capitalize nursing in the following sentences:

    I intend to major in nursing.
    I have chosen nursing as a major.

  50. Terrance Keller says:

    In earlier posts I read that both the following were correct.

    He has a B.A. in Criminal History.
    She earned her BS in history.

    Why is one upper case and the other lower.

    My particular situation applies to a translation I’m doing where the person holds a B.A. in visual and media arts, which I have left in lower case because in my view it is not part of the title. This would be different if it were Bachelor of Fine Arts. What is your thinking on this?

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