KU Style Guide

Academic degrees

If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: Fatima Kader, who has a doctorate in psychology.

Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. An associate degree (no possessive).

Use such abbreviations as B.A., B.S., M.A., MBA, M.S., M.Ed., LL.D., Ed.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name – never after just a last name.

When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas: John Snow, Ph.D., spoke.

Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviations for the degree in the same reference.


— B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)
— B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts)
— B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
— B.S.B.A. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration)
— B.S.W. (Bachelor of Social Work)
— M.A. (Master of Arts)
— MBA no periods (Master of Business Administration)
— M.Ed. (Master of Education)
— M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts)
— M.L.S. (Master of Library Science)
— M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration)
— M.S. (Master of Science)
— M.S.W. (Master of Social Work)
— Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)
— D.S.W. (Doctor of Social Work)