2

What's correct and what's not?

  1. Master's Degree Program starting in the fall semester.
  2. Master's Degree Program starting the fall semester.

I found both "starting in the fall semester" and "starting the fall semester" on Google.

1

I think either is fine. Using in is more common, but you can omit the preposition when you use phrases like the following:

starting this Winter
starting next month
starting tomorrow
starting immediately
-2

"Master's Degree Program starting the fall semester" is grammatically incorrect.

Start is a transitive verb and a noun immediately following a transitive verb indicates its direct object. Thus the present participle "starting"'s direct object is 'the fall semester'. That sentence indicates that the Master's Degree Program is the one which causes the fall semester to start. That's not the intended meaning.

By adding the preposition in, the phrase following starting clearly indicates the time when the Master's Degree Program starts.

Now, there are other constructions that indicate time when. Adverbs like tomorrow or later can indicate when. Adverbial phrases like 'next week' or 'this month' can as well. "The fall semester", however, is not clearly an adverbial phrase (and not a direct object).

  • I find nothing wrong with starting the fall semester, nor starting fall semester, but start is intransitive in all these variants; the transitive form would be something like I am starting a master's degree program fall 2016, and program would be the direct object. – choster Aug 22 '16 at 21:37

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