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When someone states "I have a Masters in Computer Science" should the word masters have a capital M? I've seen arguments for both and can't determine which is correct.

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General reference: master's degree. –  Robusto Dec 12 '12 at 16:32
    
Good question. A couple of resources that don't quite answer it: data.grammarbook.com/blog/capitalization/… grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/… –  Waggers Dec 12 '12 at 16:36
    
Wonder if academia.stackexchange.com could answer. Unfortunately, the usage of the OP's is inconsistent: Master's, master's, and even Masters. –  rajah9 Dec 12 '12 at 17:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The word "master's degree", used generically, means the degree attained by a master. For example, using it in this sentence is correct:

I received my master's degree from the university last January.

The capitalised form is usually used to refer to a specific master's degree by name:

I received my Master['s] of Science degree from the University of Waterloo last January.

Universities may use any of "Master", "Master's" or "Masters" when naming their specific master's degree, and you should use the same one.

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While "master's" could refer to different things, every "Master('s) of Science" is a degree, so your second example is also one of redundant writing. –  LaBarrister Dec 12 at 23:34
    
@LaBarrister Do you complain when someone says, "I like the color red"? –  Asad Dec 13 at 15:08
    
You're a fucking idiot, dude. I wish I could hear you say something like that to me in real life. –  LaBarrister Dec 16 at 3:11

I do not agree with the specific name example. The 'D' in "Master of Science Degree" needs to be capitalized for it to be a name, and capitalization in this syntax is optional but not recommended. Only proper names need to be capitalized. Titles on the other hand are always capitalized, so the title "University of Waterloo Master of Science Degree" gets capitalized throughout. It's a finicky rule but so are many other rules of English grammar.

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can you cite something for this? –  virmaior Feb 6 at 3:29
    
"Degree" should be capitalized in a title, not simply referring to one. Be careful to not conflate the two. –  LaBarrister Dec 12 at 23:38

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