Avoid degree abbreviations after the name; instead use an explanatory phrase when possible. John Smith, who has a doctorate in psychology, will speak at the commencement ceremony.

Use abbreviations only when needed to distinguish the specific type of degree or when the use of full terms would be cumbersome.

When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas and periods are used between letters: Mildred Smith, B.A. Degrees with three or more capital letters, such as MBA, do not have periods between letters.

Always use the articles a or an when describing a degree. Avoid using personal pronouns such as his or hers: He earned a bachelor’s degree. She earned an associate degree.

Doctoral is an adjective
He earned a doctoral degree.

Doctorate is a noun
He earned a doctorate. 

Associate degree
Associate degree, no apostrophe. 

Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree
Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc., but do not use a possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. When referencing as bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, do not capitalize the name of the degree. Only capitalize when referencing the formal name: Bachelor of Arts in History.

It is preferred to say a person holds a doctorate. If listed after a name, use the abbreviated form: Ph.D.

Honorary degree
All references should specify that the degree was honorary. If a person's sole doctorate is honorary, do not use Dr.

Revised: February 27, 2020