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MA/MSc etc

Which does one earn?

Master's Degree
Masters Degree


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
To my shame I didn't know and had to google. The obviously grammatical answer is Master's (it is the degree of a Master it is a Master's degree). However, I very rarely see it written like that. That is the correct answer though.
Jan. 6th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the comment - it's faintly reassuring as to the degree to which "Masters" is in common usage.

(Actual context, editing: I'm looking at an article, for a magazine which I do not edit, which spells it "Masters" throughout and was trying to decide how important it was to suggest correcting it.)
Jan. 7th, 2013 06:36 am (UTC)
That's what threw me. Grammatically "Master's" made more sense, but I couldn't remember ever seeing it written that way so assumed I was wrong (again, the resolution: Have more faith in myself).
Jan. 6th, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
Master's. I am a singular Master, not a plurality.
Jan. 6th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
You don't contain worlds? I am disappointed.
Jan. 8th, 2013 03:54 am (UTC)
Buddhist cosmology, then, points towards using Masters. We're all just bags of karma and skandhas, and not a unitary being at all.

(And therefore my stance is consistent. Hurray!)
Jan. 7th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
Oops, guess I got that wrong then!
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
My sense is that since "Master" as a title is still gendered as male, some people don't see it as a "degree that certifies that you are a master" and so choose the second option "masters". Definitely getting more popular in common usage.
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:48 am (UTC)
It really depends, I suppose, on whether it is seen as personal i.e. becoming a master, in which case it is a Master's Degree, or joining a group of/called Masters, in which case it could be either a Masters' Degree (if the degree is regarded as being owned or possessed by the group called 'Masters') or a Masters Degree if it is a simple label.

Apologies for adding a third possibility.
Jan. 7th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
Yes, rightly or otherwise I visualize it as a matter of accession to a club of superbeings - masters of the universe (or science, arts, etc.).
Jan. 7th, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
I think I've usually seen it without the apostrophe, so your suggestion that "Masters" is being regarded as a label makes sense.

I usually ponder it for a moment, then give up and write MA, MSc or MEd. Though that leads to a mental debate about whether to use fullstops in the abbreviation or not. :)
Jan. 7th, 2013 10:13 am (UTC)
I've never been able to figure out the rules for whether you use a period in initials and abbreviations (and there is an abbreviation in MSc, for instance) or not. This hit me full tilt recently when reading some stories (both pro and fan) where the author put a period at the end of Mr, Mrs and Miss (Mr. Mrs. Miss.) which throws me completely, but I would be shocked to see M.(for Monsieur) without it. Does it come down to 'use for pure initials' which would make M.A. right but M.Sc. wrong? Are Mr. and Mrs. wrong because they both end with the last letter of the abbreviated word? (Mister and Missus/Mistress.) Or do you just throw up your hands in despair and consult the style book of whatever publication you happen to be writing for?

Jan. 7th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
With apostrophes I work on the principle that if one leaves them out one is less likely to be hit by the Punctuation Police (and I suspect that the author of your article feels the same way).
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
I figured out my response by consulting my thesis to see what I did.

In it I consistently use "Master's degree" (in that in the only instance I use that form;), but I use the term "Masters" as short for Master's degree (ie "he had a Masters in Accounting"). Also I'm inconsistent about whether it is "Master's studies" or "Masters studies", I used both once and I went with "Masters student" in the only usage of that phrase. Hope this helps clarify the issue.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )