The correct way to spell master’s degree is with the apostrophe.
The s in master’s indicates a possessive (the degree of a master), not a plural.
If you’re speaking of a specific degree, you should capitalize master and avoid creating a possessive: Master of Science.
The same rules apply to a bachelor’s degree.
You don’t have to be a bachelor to get a bachelor’s degree, but you do need to demonstrate mastery to get a master’s degree. Either way, you should know how to correctly spell the degree you have; avoid misspelling them as masters degree and bachelors degree.
Master’s Degree vs. Masters Degree
When someone is awarded a master’s degree, they are recognized as having sufficient knowledge in a field of study to be called a master of it. That’s why the correct way to spell master’s degree is with an apostrophe—it’s the degree of a master:
Jane enrolled in a university to get a master’s degree.
If you’re referring to a degree in a specific field, like the arts or sciences, leave out the apostrophe and the s. Instead, capitalize both the word “master” and the field:
Writing a thesis is the last step before being awarded a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics.
Often enough, terms like Master of Arts and Master of Sciences are abbreviated, and the rules on how to do it vary from one university and style guide to another. The academic title Master of Arts can be abbreviated as MA or M.A., and if the university in question is keen on Latin phrases, it may be abbreviated as AM or A.M., from the Latin Artium Magister.
Bachelor’s Degree or Bachelors Degree
Bachelor’s degree follows the same spelling rules as master’s degree. When talking about the degree in general, it doesn’t need to be capitalized, the bachelor’s is written as a possessive, not a plural:
If you don’t study hard, you’ll never get a bachelor’s degree.
When speaking about a specific degree, you drop the possessive and capitalize both the word bachelor and the field of study:
He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from a prestigious college.
Abbreviations for bachelor’s degree can be styled in several ways. A Bachelor of Science title can be abbreviated as BS, B.S., or BSc, but also as SB, S.B., and Sc.B. for the Latin Scientiae Baccalaureus.
Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree: Examples
For the second year in a row, Western Illinois University has been ranked second in the nation among institutions that offer a master’s degree in physics as its highest degree.
Western Illinois University News
Graduates will receive both a Master of Arts Administration degree from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies from the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Australian National University.
IU Bloomington Newsroom
The correlation between advanced degrees — anything above a bachelor’s degree — and Clinton vote (and vice versa with Trump vote) is striking.
The Washington Post
Students studying a Bachelor of Science can opt into advanced versions of each unit.
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