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.


AB Artium Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Arts)
AM Artium Magister (Master of Arts)
BA Bachelor of Arts
BB Bachelor of Business Administration
BD Bachelor of Divinity
BE Bachelor of Engineering
BFA Bachelor of Fine Arts
BM Bachelor of Music
BS or BSc Bachelor of Science
DB Divinitatis Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Divinity)
DC Doctor of Chiropractic
DD Divinitatis Doctor (Doctor of Divinity)
DDS Doctor of Dental Surgery
DLitt or DLit Doctor Litterarum (Doctor of Letters; Doctor of Literature)
DMA Doctor of Musical Arts
DMD Dentariae Medicinae Doctor (Doctor of Dental Medicine)
DMin Doctor of Ministry
DO Doctor of Osteopathy or Osteopathic Physician
DVM Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
EdD Educationis Doctor (Doctor of Education)
EdM Educationis Magister (Master of Education)
JD Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law)
LHD Litterarum Humaniorum Doctor (Doctor of Humanities)
LittD Litterarum Doctor (Doctor of Letters)
LLB Legum Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Laws)
LL Legum Doctor (Doctor of Laws)
LLM Legum Magister (Master of Laws)
MA Master of Arts
MBA Master of Business Administration
MD Medicinae Doctor (Doctor of Medicine)
MDiv Master of Divinity
MEd Master of Education
MFA Master of Fine Arts
MLIS Master of Library and Information Science
MLS Master of Library Science
MM or MMus Master of Music
MPA Master of Public Administration
MPhil Master of Philosophy
MS, MSc, or MSci Master of Science
MSIS Master of Science in Information Systems
MSN Master of Science in Nursing
MSW Master of Social Welfare or Master of Social Work
MT Master of Teaching
MusB Musicae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Music)
PhB Philosophiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Philosophy)
PhD Philosophiae Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy)
PhG Graduate in Pharmacy
SB Scientiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Science)
SM or ScM Scientiae Magister (Master of Science)
STB Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Sacred Theology)