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Academic programs and degrees

Academic degrees

 

Use an abbreviation such as BA and PhD after a person’s name only when many individuals with their degrees spelled out on first reference would be cumbersome, such as on a list of administrators on the inside cover of a publication. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, never after just a last name.

Insert a comma and space after the person's last name and before the degree designation.

Omit periods in degree abbreviations. Note that this is a variance from AP Stylebook: BA, MS, PhD, not B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Note: It is assumed all ASU professors have doctoral degrees. Their names would not customarily be followed with PhD.

Use degree abbreviations only after a full name, not a last name alone.

Exception: In the ASU Academic Catalog only, abbreviate academic degrees on first reference and use the corresponding word in subsequent instances: associate degree (not associate’s), bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate or doctoral degree.

When referring to a bachelor’s or master’s degree, follow it with the degree or concentration (e.g., American history). Do not refer to a degree as simply a bachelor’s or master’s. Refer to a bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree) in American history.

  • ✅  bachelor's degree in English; Master of Science in chemistry
  • 🚫  Bachelor's in English; Master's in chemistry
  • Note: If choosing to use the formal Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Arts; these formal degrees must be capitalized as shown.

Punctuation

There is no apostrophe (') or "s" in associate degree. There is in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.

Omit periods in degree abbreviations. Note that this is a variance from AP Stylebook: BA, MS, PhD, not B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Use a slash in a dual-degree abbreviation. Do not abbreviate the area of concentration: MUEP/MA in sustainability.

Do not use a dash as a substitute for “to” in abbreviations for progressive degree programs: RN to BSN.

Refer to The Associated Press Stylebook for other uses and examples.

Capitalization

Concentrations, programs

Program and concentration areas (degree majors)  that follow the name of a degree are not capitalized unless they are proper nouns: Bachelor of Arts in Spanish.

Program and concentration areas are not abbreviated: 

  • Bachelor of Science in chemistry not BS in chemistry.

Degrees

Capitalize only the official diploma title; this includes words that are included in the official diploma title abbreviation:

  • Bachelor of Arts.
  • Bachelor of Science in nursing.
  • Bachelor of Science in design.

Use full wording on first reference. In subsequent mentions, use associate degree (Not: associate’s), bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate or doctoral degree.

Exception: The ASU Academic Catalog, where abbreviations are used in the first reference and the corresponding word — bachelor’s, etc. — follows in subsequent instances.

Examples:

  • Note the admission requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology (first reference).
  • Note the admission requirements for a bachelor’s degree in anthropology (subsequent reference).
  • She earned a Master of Communication with a concentration in broadcast journalism.
  • This program culminates in a Bachelor of Science in chemistry.
  • Not: She earned a BA in anthropology.
  • Not: His bachelor’s is in psychology.

Majors

The names of concentrations (degree majors) are not capitalized.

Exceptions are proper nouns: English, Spanish, American Indian.

The only official source for the names of majors is found in Degree Search: undergraduate degree search or graduate degree and certificate search.

  • Bachelor of Arts in dance.
  • Bachelor of Science with a minor in communication.
  • Jane Doe is a history major at ASU, not: Jane Doe is a History major at ASU.

Refer to The Associated Press Stylebook for other uses and examples.