I am finishing my Master of Healthcare Administration and my husband is a Master Plumber. I would like to refer to us correctly in an email as "The Masters Ourlastname" but I'm not sure if it is Masters or Masters' or just Master's. Can someone please tell me what is correct? Thank you!

  • Obviously this is all in fun and to announce my accomplishment. It is not as if I will be using this in day to day interactions. And a Master Plumber does involve the completion of classes, experience, and various levels of testing, so also an accomplishment. Thank you Janus for understanding the spirit if my question!
    – user63421
    Jan 25, 2014 at 16:47
  • If you have a master's degree and therefore think of yourself as a master (see Janus Bahs Jacquet's answer), then you need "masters" for the plural. "master's" (and its plural "masters'") is possessive in "master's degree" because it is the degree of a master.
    – nxx
    Mar 23, 2014 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


A master’s degree is so called because it is a degree held by someone who is a master (a person qualified to teach in university).

The word was subsequently used synecdochically to refer to the degree itself, so rather than saying only that someone is a Master of/in Arts, people also started saying that he has a Master(’s degree) of/in Arts.

The original usage, however, is still perfectly valid, as is obvious from the string of titles often appended to names in acadaemia: Hov1015, M.H.A. says specifically (if the abbreviation is correct, at least) that Hov1015 is a Master of Healthcare Administration.

So The Masters Hov1015son would be perfectly fine for your purposes.

  • 2
    +1 I can't wait to use "synecdochically" in a sentence. I'd better practice at home, though.
    – rajah9
    Jan 23, 2014 at 17:37
  • After I got mine, I tried to get my family to call me "master". That didn't go over real well.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 23, 2014 at 18:12
  • Not only "Master" but "Doctor" just isn't used unless it is a medical doctor. Even in university you call them Professor more often.
    – Oldcat
    Jan 23, 2014 at 19:31
  • 1
    @Oldcat: some decades ago, a coworker who had been at a midwest state U and then MIT commented that at the state U if you addressed somebody who was both a professor and a doctor, you called him doctor because it was more distinguished-there were many non-PhD professors at the time (probably 50s or 60s). But at MIT you called somebody who was both professor because everybody around was a PhD Jan 23, 2014 at 22:38
  • 1
    And most lawyers have J.D.s (Juris Doctor or Doctor of Laws). No one calls lawyers Doctor. What they do call lawyers can't be printed on this family oriented site.
    – bib
    Jan 25, 2014 at 19:37

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