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Editorial Style Guide

Academic Terms and Usage

Academic Degrees
When referred to generically in normal prose, spell out and lowercase the names of degrees. Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s, etc. However, there is no apostrophe in an associate degree (no possessive). Students who plan to receive two bachelor’s degrees from Purchase College must … Jane Doe has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Susan Smith earned her master’s degree in biology at New York University. John Jones has a doctorate in psychology. (Do not use “doctorate degree.”)

In keeping with contemporary usage outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style, capitalize abbreviated degrees without periods and set off with commas when following a name in running text: John Doe, PhD, was the guest speaker. Also see Names: People and Human Groups under General Style Preferences. The word degree should not follow a degree abbreviation: he has a BA in history (not he has a BA degree in history).

The following list of degrees is excerpted from the Chicago Manual of Style, with some additions. Degrees offered by Purchase College are indicated in bold. When spelling out, capitalize the formal names of specific degrees: All major programs in the sciences lead to the Bachelor of Arts degree. The Bachelor of Science degree is also available in biology.

Note: The undergraduate degree in music offered by Purchase College is listed as a MusB (not BM) on the Inventory of Registered Programs maintained by the New York State Education Department.

ABArtium Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Arts)
AMArtium Magister (Master of Arts)
BABachelor of Arts
BBBachelor of Business Administration
BDBachelor of Divinity
BEBachelor of Engineering
BFABachelor of Fine Arts
BMBachelor of Music
BS or BScBachelor of Science
DBDivinitatis Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Divinity)
DCDoctor of Chiropractic
DDDivinitatis Doctor (Doctor of Divinity)
DDSDoctor of Dental Surgery
DLitt or DLitDoctor Litterarum (Doctor of Letters; Doctor of Literature)
DMADoctor of Musical Arts
DMDDentariae Medicinae Doctor (Doctor of Dental Medicine)
DMinDoctor of Ministry
DODoctor of Osteopathy or Osteopathic Physician
DVMDoctor of Veterinary Medicine
EdDEducationis Doctor (Doctor of Education)
EdMEducationis Magister (Master of Education)
JDJuris Doctor (Doctor of Law)
LHDLitterarum Humaniorum Doctor (Doctor of Humanities)
LittDLitterarum Doctor (Doctor of Letters)
LLBLegum Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Laws)
LLLegum Doctor (Doctor of Laws)
LLMLegum Magister (Master of Laws)
MAMaster of Arts
MBAMaster of Business Administration
MDMedicinae Doctor (Doctor of Medicine)
MDivMaster of Divinity
MEdMaster of Education
MFAMaster of Fine Arts
MLISMaster of Library and Information Science
MLSMaster of Library Science
MM or MMusMaster of Music
MPAMaster of Public Administration
MPhilMaster of Philosophy
MS, MSc, or MSciMaster of Science
MSISMaster of Science in Information Systems
MSNMaster of Science in Nursing
MSWMaster of Social Welfare or Master of Social Work
MTMaster of Teaching
MusBMusicae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Music)
PhBPhilosophiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Philosophy)
PhDPhilosophiae Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy)
PhGGraduate in Pharmacy
SBScientiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Science)
SM or ScMScientiae Magister (Master of Science)
STBSacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Sacred Theology)

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