Unlock the Mystery of Master’s Abbreviations: Decoding masters degrees titles

Masters degrees are some of the most complex abbreviations and titles associated with these degrees can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the field of higher education.

Even though the general rules are:

To abbreviate a master’s degree, start with “M” for “Master,” then add key term initials, like “A” for “Arts” (MA) or “S” for “Science” (MS). In some cases, use multiple letters from a term or combine initials of multiple terms for clarity, e.g., MEng, MPA, or MSN.

Deciphering the various masters degrees can be an extensive task for a student or even parents who aid the child in selecting the courses.

My master’s degree is in chemistry and the abbreviation is MChem. The abbreviation helped me know what I was actually applying for, and I was able to contrast that and a typical Masters of Science (MSc).

This article will unlock the mystery of master’s abbreviations by decoding the different titles bestowed upon students.

Whether it’s an MSc, MA, or MPhil, understanding what each one means and what qualifications they bring can be an important factor in determining the right course for you or your child.

How do you abbreviate a “master’s degree” title?

The common abbreviation for master’s degree is “M.A.” or “M.S.”. Both abbreviations refer to a type of graduate degree that requires an individual to have completed a bachelor’s degree program. “M.A.” stands for “Master of Arts” and is typically used for degrees related to humanities, social sciences or communication disciplines.

There are a few general rules and patterns for creating abbreviations for master’s degree programs:

  1. Most abbreviations start with the letter “M,” which stands for “Master.”
  2. The subsequent letters typically represent words or phrases within the full degree name. For example, “A” for “Arts,” “S” for “Science,” “B” for “Business,” and “F” for “Fine.”
  3. In some cases, abbreviations use two or more letters from a single word to create a clearer distinction. For instance, “Eng” for “Engineering” (MEng) or “Stat” for “Statistics” (MStat).
  4. When a degree name has multiple key terms, the abbreviation often includes the first letter of each term. For example, “Master of Public Administration” is abbreviated as “MPA” and “Master of Science in Nursing” as “MSN.”
  5. In a few cases, the abbreviation uses a combination of the first letters of key terms and one or more additional letters from a term for better clarity. For instance, “Master of Science in Real Estate Development” is abbreviated as “MSRED.”

While these rules and patterns can be helpful in creating abbreviations for master’s degrees, it is essential to remember that not all abbreviations follow these exact guidelines. Always consult official sources or professional organizations to ensure the accuracy of abbreviations for specific degree programs.

Is the “M” in masters capitalised?

When referring to a master’s degree in a sentence, there is no need to capitalize the “m” in masters. This is because the word “master’s” is not a proper noun, but rather a common noun.

Proper nouns refer to specific names of people, places, or things, while common nouns refer to general categories or concepts.

Therefore, the word “master’s” falls into the latter category and should not be capitalized unless it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

However, when using the abbreviated form you should capitalize the “M” in master’s degree abbreviations.

Capitalizing the “M” in master’s degree abbreviations is necessary because abbreviations are typically written in uppercase letters to maintain consistency and clarity across academic and professional settings.

Uppercase letters in abbreviations help differentiate them from regular words and clearly signify that they represent a shortened form of a longer term or title.

Especially if you are using them at the end of your name in a professional setting.

Do you use a period when writing a degree abbreviation?

It is generally accepted to use a period when writing a degree abbreviation.

This convention ensures clarity and consistency in written communication, preventing any confusion or misinterpretation of the degree abbreviation.

For example, the abbreviation for Bachelor of Science is “B.S.” while the abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy is “Ph.D.”

The use of a period after each letter of the abbreviation helps to distinguish it from a word or acronym.

There are some exceptions to this rule, particularly regarding more specialized degrees or professional certifications.

It is always best to follow the specific formatting guidelines provided by the academic institution, university or organization.

Should You Include Your Master’s Abbreviation After Your Name? How to use the abbreviations. 

Including a Master’s degree abbreviation after your name is entirely up to personal preference and depends on the situation.

Personally, I do not like to include any of my qualifications after my name unless I am performing professional duties.

For example, I would include my MChem and PhD if:

  • I was applying for a grant
  • I was giving a talk and they needed a bio
  • I was acting on behalf of my supervisor or department

I generally didn’t use them in emails or other everyday communications.

In academic and professional settings, it is encouraged to do so because it shows your level of education and expertise in a particular field.

It can also be useful for networking purposes or when applying for jobs that require advanced degrees.

Common masters abbreviations

Here are some common masters abbreviations that may help you if you are looking for specific examples.

AbbreviationDegree Name
MAMaster of Arts
MSMaster of Science
MScMaster of Science
MBAMaster of Business Administration
MFAMaster of Fine Arts
MEdMaster of Education
MPAMaster of Public Administration
MEngMaster of Engineering
MPPMaster of Public Policy
MSWMaster of Social Work
MLISMaster of Library and Information Science
MPHMaster of Public Health
MMMaster of Music
MDivMaster of Divinity
MFTMaster of Fine Teaching
MATMaster of Arts in Teaching
MSEEMaster of Science in Electrical Engineering
MArchMaster of Architecture
MURPMaster of Urban and Regional Planning
MIMMaster of Information Management
MFinMaster of Finance
MStatMaster of Statistics
MPharmMaster of Pharmacy
MIStMaster of Information Studies
MHMMaster of Hospitality Management
MISMMaster of Information Systems Management
MSTMMaster of Science in Technology Management
MTaxMaster of Taxation
MSAMaster of Science in Accounting
MISMaster of Information Systems
MPMMaster of Project Management
MCRPMaster of Community and Regional Planning
MSNMaster of Science in Nursing
MAccMaster of Accounting
MMgtMaster of Management
MHRMMaster of Human Resource Management
MCMMaster of Construction Management
MEconMaster of Economics
MISTMaster of Information Science and Technology
MSITMaster of Science in Information Technology
MDesMaster of Design
MCMScMaster of Clinical Medicine (Science)
MPASMaster of Physician Assistant Studies
MSLMaster of Studies in Law
MPAffMaster of Public Affairs
MTMMaster of Technology Management
MREMaster of Real Estate
MSREDMaster of Science in Real Estate Development

Wrapping up

Understanding the abbreviations for various master’s degrees is essential for students and professionals alike.

These abbreviations provide clarity about the specific field of study and the level of expertise one has achieved.

As you navigate through the world of higher education, keep these general rules for abbreviating master’s degrees in mind, and remember that capitalizing the “M” in abbreviations is necessary for consistency and clarity across settings.

Key takeaways:

  • Master’s degree abbreviations usually start with “M” for “Master” and use key term initials.
  • Capitalize the “M” in master’s degree abbreviations.
  • Abbreviations help differentiate between various degree programs and specializations.
  • Always consult official sources to confirm the accuracy of abbreviations for specific degree programs.
  • Including your master’s abbreviation after your name in professional settings showcases your level of expertise.
The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.