Academic Degrees

Do not capitalize the names of degrees.

  • Examples: He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English. She will graduate with a master of science in nursing. He received a doctor of philosophy degree in history.

Use bachelor of, master of, and doctor of when using the name of a degree as a noun (see examples above). Use bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctorate when the degree name isn't specified or when the level of degree is used as an adjective.

  • Examples: His bachelor's degree helped him get the job. Her master's thesis took nine months to write. A doctorate is required in order to teach. Incorrect: She's working on a master's of architecture.

The University of Colorado does not award associate degrees; however, employees may still need to reference this level of education. NOTE: Associate degree is never plural (associates) or possessive (associate's).
Abbreviating degree names is encouraged; use periods if fewer than three letters are abbreviated: B.A., BFA, M.A., Ph.D., M.D., etc.

  • Example: He earned a Ph.D. in immunology.

Areas of study (e.g. music, genetics, physical therapy, electrical engineering) are not capitalized unless used as part of a proper name.

  • Examples: He's studying toxicology on the University of Colorado Boulder. She has an internship in the theater department.