Grammar Is It Bachelors Degree or Bachelor’s Degree? |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Is It Bachelors Degree or Bachelor’s Degree?

One of the ironies of education is that many people receive four-year degrees in the U.S. each year but aren’t sure whether their achievement needs to be written with an apostrophe. Even if you did well in English and grammar courses earlier on, such a detail may not be something you address every day.

Do You Use an Apostrophe When Spelling Bachelor’s Degree?

The short answer is that bachelor’s degree—with an apostrophe—is correct.

The reason for this is simple: In former times, a bachelor’s degree was a degree awarded to a bachelor. In old English, this meant a young man (and possibly a knight) who had completed the lowest degree level at a university. Such a person was called a bachelor, so a bachelor’s degree was the academic designation ascribed to their educational level.

Should Bachelor’s Degree Be Capitalized?

If you had been wondering only whether bachelor’s degree takes an apostrophe, that would be the end of things. However, you might also be looking to include that term on a resume or other official document. With that in mind, you might want to know about capitalization as well.

Bachelor’s degree is typically not capitalized when being used as a regular noun (for example, in this sentence). That’s because in everyday speech and writing, it is expressed as a category. However, you may also often see it as part of a specific title. In those cases, it would usually be capitalized.

For example, you would capitalize it in the following sentence:

I have a Bachelor of Science degree.

In this case, it is being used as a proper noun so it needs to be capitalized. And of course, bachelor could also be capitalized if it’s part of a title or a headline or if it falls at the start of a sentence.

It’s also worth noting that the same guidelines apply to a master’s degree. You would normally use an apostrophe in the term, but you wouldn’t capitalize unless it was part of a formal title such as Master of Business Administration.

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8 responses to “Is It Bachelors Degree or Bachelor’s Degree?”

  1. Dominick says:

    That information was helpful, thank you.


    Thank you. I need to learn more English.

  3. Maseshin says:

    Is it Bachelor in Digital Media or bachelors in Digital Media?

  4. Randy says:

    I love reading your email each time it appears in my inbox. Thank you, thank you!

    I do want to ask if the word “their” should actually be replaced with the word “his” or “that” in this sentence:
    “Such a person was called a bachelor, so a bachelor’s degree was the academic designation ascribed to their educational level.”

    Since the rest of the paragraph talks about a bachelor man receiving a diploma, it seems the male pronoun should be used. Alternatively, to stay gender neutral, the word “that” would open up the meaning to be more inclusive. Using the plural form just seems weird. It does not agree in number with the rest of the sentence, or the rest of the paragraph, for that matter.

    Your thoughts?

    • says:

      Your use of “his” or “that” is grammatically correct; however, one of the dictionary definitions of their is as follows:
      his or her: HIS, HER, ITS—used with an indefinite third person singular antecedent
      anyone in their senses
      –W.H. Auden

      Therefore, our use of “their” with the indefinite third-person singular antecedent “person” is grammatically correct.

  5. Meg Kallina says:

    Can you please correct this?

    Her impressive educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UNK, a bachelor’s in nursing from Creighton University, and a master’s degree in Nursing Education from Methodist College, making her uniquely qualified to understand and address the needs of her community.

    • says:

      Your punctuation is fine; however, our post Capitalization of Academic Degrees explains that the two leading American English reference books have different rules for capitalization of degrees. They do agree that “nursing education” should be lowercase. We recommend that you pick a resource to follow and remain consistent. The rules in the area of capitalization of academic degrees of both style manuals are described in this post.

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