Every time a client asks me how to write a bio, or wants me to write a bio on their behalf, I find myself looking up how to handle discussion of their academic degrees in my trusty little Associated Press (A.P.) Stylebook.

While rules the A.P. Stylebook lists are more in-depth, here’s basically what I need to know — in the form of examples — to ensure I follow A.P. Style for degrees. (Note: other style books, such as Chicago Manual of Style, handle degrees differently. But I write for my clients in A.P. Style.)

A.P. Style: Degrees Examples

  • Jane Doe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Jane Doe holds a bachelor’s degree in music from University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Jane Doe holds a Master of Science in Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jane Doe holds a master’s degree in engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jane Doe holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics from Harvard University. (Rare. Opt for next example instead.)
  • Jane Doe holds a doctorate in physics from Harvard University.
  • Jane Doe holds an Associate in Arts from Harvard Extension School. (Rare. Opt for next example instead.)
  • Jane Doe holds an associate degree in arts from Harvard Extension School. (Note that “associate” is not possessive, as in “associate’s,” even though “bachelor’s” and “master’s” above are possessive.)

In the context of a bio, you’d spell out degrees, as shown above. Refer to the Associated Press Stylebook (affiliate link below) for how and when to use abbreviations for degrees. Some common degree abbreviations I come across are:

  • A.A. for Associate in Arts
  • B.A. for Bachelor of Arts
  • M.A. for Master of Arts
  • M.S. for Master of Science
  • M.B.A. for Master of Business Administration
  • M.F.A. for Master of Fine Arts
  • Ph.D. for Doctor of Philosophy


Melanie Lundheim, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from University of Wisconsin-Madison, freelance writes for global organizations from her home office in Minnetonka, Minn. Contact Melanie to discuss your project.