Degree Offerings

Degree Offerings

Proper Names and Abbreviation of Academic Degrees, fields of study, Penn State programs

Do not capitalize names of fields of study.

Capitalize the names of majors or minors when used as specific programs offered at Penn State.

Do not capitalize the words major, minor, option, or program—only the program name if appropriate.


  • He was studying nursing at Penn State.
    He majored in Nursing at Penn State.
  • The college offers the American Studies major.
  • The Accounting program has undergone changes.

When referring to specific degree programs at Penn State, capitalize the program name but not the degree.


  • Penn State offers a master of engineering degree program in Engineering Science.
  • The master of engineering degree in Environmental Engineering is a highly competitive degree program.

Academic Degrees

Spelled out: associate degree; baccalaureate degree, bachelor’s degree; master’s degree; doctoral degree, doctorate; bachelor of arts, master of science, doctor of philosophy

Abbreviate degrees with periods and without spaces: B.A.; M.S.; Ph.D.; M.Mus.; M.Eng.; D.Ed.; J.D.; M.D., etc.

Plural of B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and other abbreviations with periods—B.A.’s; M.A.’s; Ph.D.’s, etc

M.B.A.; unless used to describe the program, not the degree, then MBA; plural: M.B.A.’s/MBAs


  • Marisa Shala, B.S., M.B.A., will head the task force on improving MBA negotiating skills.
  • Two hundred MBAs attended the alumni workshop.

Use B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and other degree abbreviations primarily in listings, such as departmental faculty rosters.


  • Cheryl D. Myers, instructor in education; B.S., Elizabethtown College; M.S., Penn State

It’s more readable in regular text to spell the degrees out.


  • He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics.
  • She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.