How to Write Master's Degree and Bachelor's Degree

The Quick Answer
How do you write master's degree and bachelor's degree?

The terms master's degree and bachelor's degree are written in lowercase and with an apostrophe before s.

How Do You Write Master's Degree and Bachelor's Degree?

When used generically (and not part of a title as above), the terms master's degree and bachelor's degree are written in lowercase and with an apostrophe before the s (showing singular possession). For example:
  • John has a master's degree.
  • Peter has completed his master's degree in Law.
  • (Note: Academic subjects (here, Law) are written with capital letters.)
  • My bachelor's degree is in English Literature.

Why Is the Apostrophe before the s in Master's Degree and Bachelor's Degree?

The apostrophe is before the s in master's and bachelor's because the degree is considered a degree of a master (i.e., one master) or a degree of a bachelor (i.e., one bachelor). Similarly, cow's milk (which is clearly not from a single cow) is considered milk of a cow. Therefore:
  • master's degree , masters' degree , masters degree
  • bachelor's degree , bachelor's degree , bachelor's degree
Read more about apostrophe placement with possessive nouns.

Why Are Master's Degree and Bachelor's Degree Written in Lowercase?

The terms master's degree and bachelor's degree are common nouns. A common noun is a word used for a class of person, place, or thing (e.g., policeman, city, dog). A common noun is written with a lowercase letter. A common noun contrasts with a proper noun, which is the name used for a specific person, place, or thing (e.g., Simon, London, Rover). A proper noun is written with an uppercase letter.

Read more about lowercase and uppercase letters with common and proper nouns.

Degrees As Titles

When referring to a degree by its name or describing a person as a master or bachelor, the term is written in title case. This applies when referring to the faculty (e.g., Arts, Science) or the field (e.g., Engineering, Physics). When referenced in this way, the degree is considered a proper noun (which is why it is capitalized). For example:
  • I am on the Master of Arts course.
  • The Bachelor of Chemistry curriculum looks tough.
  • He is a Master of Engineering.
  • She claimed to be a Bachelor of Physics.

See Also

Apostrophes to show possession The apostrophe error with plurals Apostrophes in time (temporal) expressions Apostrophes replace letters Apostrophes to show the plural of abbreviations