Academic degrees and class year
office of university communications
Do not capitalize degree names.
bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, bachelor’s degree
master of arts, master’s degree
Not his or her bachelor’s degree/master’s degree or doctoral degree.
She received a bachelor’s degree.
He earned a master's degree.
The plural form of a degree is the same as the singular.
They received master’s degrees. She received a bachelor’s degree.
Cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude are not in italics or set off with commas.
Joann graduated summa cum laude from Boston College with a major in history.
Doctoral (adjective), doctorate (noun).
She received a doctoral degree. She was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Do not use a comma before a class year; Always use a space before a class year.
Sally Smith ’11
Joe Smith Jr. ’63 (no comma between name and Jr.)
Sally Smith III ’68 (no commas before or after III)
P ’03 (is parent of the 2011 student, space after P)
Sally Smith ’54, J.D. ’61
NC ’50 (is for a graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart, space after NC, no periods for NC)
Sally Smith, Ph.D. ’03 or M.S.W. ’95; use a space before class year when including degree (Sally Smith, M.A. ’03)
Degrees Use a comma between a name and the degree. Use commas to separate multiple degrees. Do not use a comma between the degree and class year.
Sally Smith, M.A., B.A. ’03
|Bachelor of Arts
|Bachelor of Sacred Theology||S.T.B.|
|Bachelor of Science
|Master of Arts
|Master of Arts in Teaching
|Master of Business Administration||M.B.A.|
|Master of Divinity||M.Div.|
|Master of Education||M.Ed.|
|Master of Law
|Master of Science
|Master of Science in Teaching
|Master of Social Work
|Master of Theological Studies||M.T.S.|
|Master of Theology||Th.M.|
|Certificate of Advanced
|Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies
|Licentiate in Sacred Theology||S.T.L.|
|Doctor of Philosophy||Ph.D.|
|Doctor of Law||J.D.|
|Doctor of Sacred Theology||S.T.D.|
See Fact Book 2008–2009 (page 91) for a list of honorary degrees granted by Boston College.
To designate a graduate degree, it is preferable to use the graduate degree instead of a school’s acronym before the class year. If the school acronym is used before class year, it may be confused with someone who attended, but did not graduate. If a student did graduate, use the degree before the class year (Sally Smith, M.A. ’03; not Sally Smith, GSAS ’03). Special case: For graduates of the Newton College of the Sacred Heart, use NC ’50.
Note: Schools such as the Law School may simply write Sally M. Smith ’95 in their own materials to designate a graduate of their school. This is acceptable, but it is preferable to include the degree, so that it’s not confused with an undergraduate degree. For example, write instead: Sally M. Smith, J.D. ’95.