I have encountered several sources now writing the 'B' or 'M' in lowercase, like...

A bachelor's degree is an undergraduate university degree.

...whereas in the past I more often read Bachelor's / Master's degree and also was told once that it should be capitalized.

Is this maybe just a matter of context?

It appears to me that most people write it in lowercase when writing about the topic in general. However, if you try to express something like...

I have received my Master's degree in Business Administration at...

...you are talking about your degree and I often see people capitalizing it then.

  • It's fairly confusing. For example, Cambridge Online Dictionary capitalises 'M' in their definition but then doesn't capitalise 'B' or 'D' in "bachelor’s degree and below a doctor’s degree". However, Master's degree is defined with a capital 'M'. This might be a case of evolving language. Historically, a degree may have been prestigious enough to merit capital letters but now it's commonplace enough that people treat it as a common noun.
    – urnonav
    Jan 15, 2019 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


There is no strict rule about the capitalisation of degree types, but the custom seems to be that they are lowercased.

The UK Guardian style guide says:

like this: my sons all got firsts, but I only got a second – although it was a 2:1 – and I did go on to a master’s

The BBC style guide likewise:

master’s degree

lower case, but Master of Arts or similar capped.

The BBC also says that e.g. "a doctorate in politics" is to be lowercased.

Crossing the Atlantic, the University of Hartford (Connecticut) says the same:

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. General references, such as bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, are not capitalized.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015.

Guardian Style Guide (degrees)
BBC Style Guide (master's degree)
Hartford University Style for Writing (academic degrees)

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