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What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

I am helping a former intern ready their resume for distribution. The candidate used an abbreviation I was unfamiliar with:

B.S.s in Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics

I am familiar with the student's educational background so after a moment of thought realized "B.S.s" was their attempt to indicate multiple bachelor of science degrees. That said I can see those unfamiliar with the student's background being confused. Unfortunately, I do not know how to provide the correct punctuation to indicate the correct grammatical number for multiple degrees in the same discipline.

What is the correct plural form for multiple bachelor degrees? Additionally, are there variations for other degree levels: associates, masters, Ph.D, etc.? In addition to the abbreviation what's the correct way to indicate plurality for the unabbreviated form?

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marked as duplicate by coleopterist, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Robusto Jan 22 '13 at 1:31

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@coleopterist I am interested in the long form as well. Have added that to the question. –  ahsteele Jan 21 '13 at 16:35
I assume you're not in the UK as over here a Bachelor of Science degree is a BSc. Personally I'd spell them all out: BSc in Physics, BSc in Computer Science and BSc in Mathematics. It assures no ambiguity. –  spiceyokooko Jan 21 '13 at 16:54
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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think this may be one of the rare cases where 's is used to denote plurality:


This seems to be supported by a bunch of places:

and many more.

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Agreed - the use of an apostrophe indicating a missing 'e' seems common. –  Rory Alsop Jan 21 '13 at 16:34
What about long form? –  ahsteele Jan 21 '13 at 16:34
For the long form, you'd say "Bachelor of Science degrees". –  Hellion Jan 21 '13 at 16:57
B point S point apostrophe s seems so ugly though doesn't it? Do you not use open punctuation? BS's? Trouble is that can be construed as B*llsh*ters so perhaps not! –  spiceyokooko Jan 21 '13 at 17:28
The Chicago Manual of Style (chicagomanualofstyle.org) actually allows for both forms, I think. Although, I think that, in the US, B.S. is more common. I don't know why. –  thang Jan 21 '13 at 17:31
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