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Bachelor Degree Or Bachelor's Degree
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2014/02/13
12:45pm
therapistjohn
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2014/02/13
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Hello all!
 
I have a big problem with the way we write and pronounce academic degrees in the English Language.  
 
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctor’s Degree.  
 
I tend to believe these are all wrong. As I am currently attending Chatham in pursuit of a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology. Where did this Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees come from? Who are these Bachelors and Masters that we are taking degrees from?  
 
Instances: In American  martial arts, when you reach 1st dan, you become a ‘Master of Basics’, when you reach  4th dan, you become a ‘Master Sensei’. You get a master black belt, not a Master’s Black belt.
 
I have heard people mistake a similar term, they would say “I have a Sniper’s Rifle” Rather than: ” I have a Sniper Rifle”, the first implying that you have a rifle belonging to a person who is a Sniper. Versus, You have a rifle that is used for Sniping.  
I would tend to think the same is applied for degrees, you have a Master’s degree, implying you took a degree from a master.  
 
This has driven me up the wall. I believe, the correct way to say the degrees are “I have a Master degree, I have a bachelor degree, I have a Doctor Degree or Doctorate.  
 
Can you guys help me out with this one?
2014/02/13
7:47pm
Dick
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I think the idea is that the degree belongs to the person who earned it, therefore it is a bachelor’s degree, etc. because the person who currently owns it is a bachelor.   The rifle would be treated similarly if the person who acquired it and now owns it is a sniper.   If it was acquired for a collection or some other purpose, perhaps sniper rifle would be more appropriate.   I would be quicker to criticize the terminology of martial arts except that I personally believe that either terminology would be correct.

2014/02/13
7:48pm
tromboniator
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I think you’re taking the “possessiveness” of the possessive form too narrowly. When you earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree you are not taking it away from anyone, it’s yours. You become the bachelor or master who holds it, so it’s your master’s degree, the degree of a master. A sniper’s rifle is one designed for a sniper. Not necessarily a particular sniper, any old one will do. If a shirt is designed for a woman we don’t call it a woman shirt, it’s a woman’s shirt, whether or not a woman owns it.

The conventions of martial arts may very well be different from academic usages, so if you receive a master black belt it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to receive a master’s degree. Language and traditions vary.

 

Edit: Hi, Dick, you nosed me out!

2014/02/14
7:00am
polistra
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Interesting question.   If we’re thinking of the genitive as denoting possession, the ending is on the wrong word.   We say John has a doctor’s degree, but in fact the degree belongs to John.   It is John’s degree.   John didn’t borrow it from some unnamed doctor who really owns it!

 

The phrase must come from a loose adjectival sense of the genitive, not a possessive sense.   John has a degree typical OF a doctor or a degree expected OF a doctor.

2014/02/20
2:19am
deaconB
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I would contend that both “Bachelor’s degree” and “Bachelor degree” are incorrect.

If the college issues you a certificate declaring you a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor

of Arts, then what you have is a Baccalaureate degree.

2014/02/20
6:25am
Dick
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deaconB said
 what you have is a Baccalaureate degree.

I believe “Baccalaureate degree” is redundant.   A Baccalaureate is a degree.   Bachelor’s degree is another way of saying Baccalaureate.

2014/02/20
8:09am
Ron Draney
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Dick said
A Baccalaureate is a degree.   Bachelor’s degree is another way of saying Baccalaureate.

If you have a B.A., you have a Baccalaureate.
If you have a Ph.D., you have a Doctorate.
But if you have an M.A., do you have a Magistrate?
(I don’t even want to think about two-year degrees, like A.A.)

2014/02/20
9:50am
Dick
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Ron Draney said

If you have a B.A., you have a Baccalaureate.
If you have a Ph.D., you have a Doctorate.
But if you have an M.A., do you have a Magistrate?
(I don’t even want to think about two-year degrees, like A.A.)

I’m not sure, Ron, are you confirming what I said?   I only ask because I’m not 100% sure and I appreciate both confirmation and correction.

2014/02/20
5:53pm
deaconB
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Dick said

deaconB said
what you have is a Baccalaureate degree.

I believe “Baccalaureate degree” is redundant.   A Baccalaureate is a degree.   Bachelor’s degree is another way of saying Baccalaureate.

 

Hmmm. Many preachers would argue that a sermon directed at new graduates is a Baccalaureate – and so is the service at which the sermon is delivered. And a Baccalaure is also a battery of tests taken to gain admission to many universities around the world.

There are many kinds if baccalaureate degrees, The University of Dayton offers a BChE, a Bacholor of Chemical Engineering as opposed to the more common BSChE, which they contend is a sctence degree, not an engineering one. There are Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs, and probably Bachelor of Applied Arts and Bachelor of Technology programs.

Is there actually such thing as a Bachelor’s Degree? I’ve never seen a diploma that simply said “Bachelor” without qualofication.

 

 

2014/02/20
9:14pm
Ron Draney
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I wasn’t really agreeing or disagreeing earlier, but since you ask, I don’t agree that “Baccalaureate degree” is redundant. While the first few online dictionaries I checked claim “baccalaureate” is a noun, it feels more like an adjective to me because it also occurs in phrases like “baccalaureate studies”, “baccalaureate program”, “baccalaureate ceremony”, etc. “Doctorate” appears to partake in all of these constructions as well as others.

I’m willing to concede that these words may technically be nouns, but in practice they seem to be used attributively more often than not.

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