Blog/Grammar tips
5 December 2023
3 min read

Bachelor or Bachelor's Degree: Understanding the Correct Usage

When it comes to academic degrees, every detail counts, including the apostrophe. The debate between 'bachelor' and 'bachelor's' might seem trivial, but it's a crucial aspect of academic accuracy. Let's dive into the nuances of these terms, ensuring you're armed with the right knowledge to use them correctly.

Understanding the Basics: Bachelor

The term 'bachelor' refers to an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon the completion of a course of study. It's a noun that represents both the degree and the individual holding it.

The Root of 'Bachelor'

Historically, 'bachelor' has been used to denote a young knight and, by extension, a novice in a field. In academia, it signifies the first level of degree one can achieve in higher education, like a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.).

Usage in Formal Contexts

In formal contexts, 'bachelor' is used to describe the type of degree. For example, "I am pursuing a bachelor in engineering." This usage is straightforward and focuses on the degree program itself.

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The Possessive Form: Bachelor's

'Bachelor's', on the other hand, is the possessive form of 'bachelor'. It implies ownership or completion of the degree.

When to Use 'Bachelor's'

This form is used when referring to someone's degree in a possessive manner. For example, "I have earned my bachelor's in biology." Here, the apostrophe and 's' indicate that the degree has been obtained and belongs to the individual.

The Subtlety of the Apostrophe

The apostrophe in 'bachelor's' plays a crucial role. It changes the term from a general reference to a specific achievement. It's a small but mighty symbol that makes a significant difference in meaning.

Choosing the Right Term

The choice between 'bachelor' and 'bachelor's' depends on the context of your sentence. If you're talking about the degree in general terms, 'bachelor' is appropriate. When referring to the possession of the degree, 'bachelor's' is the correct choice.

Consistency Matters

In academic writing and professional communication, consistency in using these terms is key. It reflects attention to detail and a deep understanding of academic nuances.


Whether it's 'bachelor' or 'bachelor's', the correct usage of these terms is a testament to your academic diligence. Understanding the difference not only clarifies communication but also showcases your respect for academic achievements. Remember, it's not just about the degree; it's about how you present it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can 'bachelor' and 'bachelor's' be used interchangeably?

No, 'bachelor' and 'bachelor's' have different meanings and should be used based on the context of your sentence.

Is 'bachelor's' only used in possessive form?

Yes, 'bachelor's' is used in a possessive context, indicating that someone has obtained the degree.

How do I use 'bachelor' in a sentence?

You can use 'bachelor' when referring to the type of degree, like "I am studying for a bachelor in history."

Does the apostrophe in 'bachelor's' always indicate possession?

Yes, the apostrophe in 'bachelor's' indicates possession or completion of the degree.

Is the term 'bachelor' gender-specific?

No, the term 'bachelor' in academic degrees is not gender-specific. It is used universally for all graduates.

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