Master’s Degree or Masters Degree: Which is Correct?

Master’s Degree or Masters Degree: Which is Correct?

If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge in a specific field after completing your undergraduate degree, pursuing a master’s degree is a great option. However, there may be confusion when it comes to the correct punctuation. Is it “a master’s degree” or “masters degree”? This blog will provide guidance on punctuating a master’s degree, whether to capitalize the “M” in master’s degree, and provide examples of using the term in a sentence.

What is a Master’s Degree?

Before discussing the punctuation, it’s important to understand the meaning of a master’s degree. A master’s degree is an academic qualification awarded at the postgraduate level, indicating a high level of expertise in a particular field of study. It signifies that the graduate has completed a program and has mastered a specific subject.

Awarding a master’s degree acknowledges that the individual possesses mastery in their chosen subject. Therefore, “a master’s degree” refers to the degree belonging to a master, requiring a possessive apostrophe.

Punctuating “Master’s Degree” vs. “Masters Degree”

The question often arises as to whether to include an apostrophe in “a master’s degree.” The correct form is “a master’s degree,” with an apostrophe. The term “master’s” is a possessive noun and should indicate ownership through the use of an apostrophe.

An apostrophe is used in a word to show that something belongs to somebody. Omitting the apostrophe and writing “masters degree” does not convey ownership, but rather functions as an adjective. Additionally, “masters” can also be a plural form of the word “master.” If referring to multiple individuals regarded as masters, they can be referred to as “masters.”

Examples of Using “Master’s Degree” in a Sentence

To provide examples of the correct punctuation, here are some sentences incorporating “master’s degree”:

– He received a master’s in computer science in 2022.
– John was awarded a master’s degree in physics after years of hard work.
– How long does it take to earn a Master of Computer Science degree?
– The university offers master’s degree programs in both arts and science.
– I had to complete a master’s thesis for my M.A. degree.
– After obtaining my Master of Political Science degree, I plan to pursue a doctorate in the same field.
– Andrew has been working towards his master’s degree for one year now.
– To be employed in this company, you will need a master’s in business, preferably in business management.
– She is an intelligent woman with a master’s degree in psychology.
– My colleague is taking a leave to pursue a master’s degree.
– They are masters at what they do.
– Submitting a nursing thesis is the final step before receiving a Master of Marine Technology degree.

Remember, when discussing a master’s degree, use the possessive form with an apostrophe to indicate ownership of the knowledge required to be awarded the degree.

Bachelor’s vs. Bachelor

Similar to the punctuation of “master’s degree,” the same guidelines apply to “bachelor’s degree.” A bachelor’s degree is the lowest level of education attained at the university level. After earning a bachelor’s degree, individuals can pursue further studies to obtain a master’s or doctorate.

If you have doubts about the punctuation of “master’s degree,” you may also have questions about “bachelor’s degree.” The key is to understand the context, referent, and usage.

The same rule for “master’s degree” applies to “bachelor’s degree” – it should be written with an apostrophe to indicate possession. For example:

– You need to study for four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
– If you don’t work hard in your studies, you won’t earn a bachelor’s degree.

When referring to multiple graduates, it remains possessive but not singular. For example:

– The entire class of bachelor’s degree graduates is ready for graduation.

When mentioning a specific area of study, omit the apostrophe and capitalize “bachelor” and the field. For example:

– She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from an international university.
– His Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Illinois University has helped him in his job search.

Abbreviations can be used for bachelor’s degrees, such as BEd, B.E, or B.Ed.

Correctly Writing “Master’s Degree”

It’s important to correctly spell the degree you have earned. A master’s degree is awarded to individuals who have achieved mastery in a specific area of study. Therefore, it should always be written with an apostrophe to indicate possession.

A “Master’s degree” without an apostrophe would refer to a type of academic achievement instead of ownership of the degree. For example, “a master of science.”

Capitalizing the “M” in “Master’s Degree”

“Master’s” is a common noun and does not require capitalization. For example:

– He received his master’s degree in 2019.
– I hope to earn a master’s degree in medicine one day.
– I hold a master’s degree in computer science.

However, when referring to a specific degree or course, it becomes a proper noun and should be capitalized using title case. This means capitalizing “Master” and the field of study. The word “master” does not require an apostrophe as it does not indicate possession but rather represents a category. For example:

– He received a Master of Planning degree in 2019.
– I hope to earn a Master of Physics degree one day.
– He earned a Master of Leadership from MIT.

When referring to someone who has earned a master’s degree, the same rule applies:

– She is a Master of Agriculture.
– You need to be a Master of Medicine to work there.
– He received a Master’s of Accounting degree in 2020.

Note that when discussing the degree title, “masters” should be capitalized. For example, “I hold a Master of Physics degree.” However, when speaking more generally about a master’s degree, such as “I earned a master’s in statistics,” it should not be capitalized as it is a common noun.

How to Write “Master’s Degree” on a Resume

When including your master’s degree on a resume, list your degrees in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. You can also use abbreviations. Here are some examples:

– Master of Engineering (M.Eng., M.E, MEng, ME)
– Master of Science (M.S, MSc, M.Sc. MS)
– Master of Arts (MA, M.A)
– Master of Education (MEd, M.Ed.)
– Master of Business Administration (MBA, M.B.A)

Consider the following tips when listing degrees on your resume:

– Create an education section on your resume.
– Place the education section before or after the experience section.
– List all your degrees in the education section, starting with the most recent.
– Include additional information about your degree, such as coursework or GPA.
– Maintain consistent formatting for your degree information.
– Only list a degree that has been completed – do not falsify your educational qualifications.

For recent graduates, include the degree, university, dates, and main achievements like extracurricular activities. For experienced candidates, list the most recent degrees in reverse chronological order. Avoid including unnecessary details – list only the degree name, school, and date.

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If you’re writing about a degree you hold and are unsure whether to use “a master’s degree” or “a master’s degree,” this blog has provided detailed explanations on how to punctuate a master’s degree. Review this guide for a better understanding of possessive apostrophes, particularly when writing a resume.