Written by Anita R. Holtz, Marketing Proofreader
If you don’t know your B.A. from your B.F.A. or B.S.S.W., you’re not alone. Acronyms and abbreviations permeate the collegiate environment and confuse individuals—even college students. Before I take a ladle from the USA alphabet soup, a concise history of where those abbreviations come from is in order.
Our modern classification of academic degrees evolved from European medieval universities. After successful completion of study and examinations, an individual would be granted a Bachelor of Arts (from the Latin baccalaureus, a term to confirm a squire becoming a knight). Further study earned one the Master of Arts (from the Latin magister meaning teacher). The Ph.D., an abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, reflected the Renaissance belief that genuine knowledge derived from experience and observation.
Now, for the fun of the soup!
See whether you can guess what these degree abbreviations designate. Be sure to check your answers toward the bottom of the page.
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Answers: (1) Associate in Arts, (2) Bachelor of Applied Mathematics, (3) Bachelor of Fine Arts, (4) Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, (5) Bachelor of Science in Social Work, (6) Master of Arts in Teaching, (7) Master of Electrical Engineering, (8) Master of Real Estate Development, (9) Master of Public Health, (10) Master of Science in Criminal Justice, (11) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, (12) Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, (13) Master of Urban and Regional Planning, (14) Doctor of Education, (15) Doctor of Jurisprudence (Juris Doctor), (16) Doctor of Philosophy.
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