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I understand that I have to use apostrophes with bachelor's degree and *master's degree. Here is a good reference https://wmich.edu/writing/rules/degrees

However, after talking with native English speaker, I'm not sure what happens when I have both degrees in the same sentence:

I know this is correct: "He earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree from ...". However, can I have a shorter form as "He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from ..."? Note the apostrophes 's and plural for degree.

Is it the same thing if the other degree is doctoral, for example "He earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from ..."

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  • It is not a duplicate. I know there is apostrophe in master's degree, and there is no apostrophe in doctoral degree. However, I'm not sure if there are apostrophes in formulation "bachelor's and master's degrees", or it should be "bachelor and master degrees".
    – user191885
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 11:27
  • Ah; your title is incorrect. I'll correct it. // << bachelor's and master's degrees>> or << bachelors and masters degrees >> depending on whether you prefer to use the apostrophised version or not. Compare << John's and Jane's bikes >> (for the apostrophised form). Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 11:30
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    The fact that you are mentioning two kinds of degree in one sentence makes no difference. You wouldn't spell 'apples' differently because you are writing 'apples and pears'; the same applies to punctuation. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 12:06

2 Answers 2

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If you say John and Mary's car, it means one car, which belongs to both John and Mary.

Similarly, if you say bachelor and master's degree, it would refer to one degree which is both a bachelor's and master's, and pluralizing degree would refer two many such degrees. Since we're talking about two degrees, we need two apostrophes.

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  • Peter, please revisit the first sentence of your second paragraph. Thank you. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 18:55
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Yes you can. However, if you are concerned with how your examples look and read using multiple apostrophes, consider using baccalaureate degree instead of bachelor's degree.

Thus,

"He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from ..."

becomes, "He earned his baccalaureate and master's degrees from ...."

and

"He earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from ..."

becomes, "He earned his baccalaureate and doctoral degrees from ..."

Ultimately, it is your choice of style and word choice, not a matter of which form is "correct."