Grammar: Degrees and Dates

Academic degrees

The word degree should follow the degree abbreviation. This is a UA Little Rock house rule that deviates from AP Style.

Capitalize the formal names of academic degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy

For general reference, use lowercase and appropriate possessive apostrophe:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Associate degree
  • Doctorate or doctoral degree

In lists and other forms of communication when the full name or general reference might be cumbersome, it is permissible to use the abbreviations of formal degrees, but the full name or general reference is preferred.

  • B.S. degree
  • B.A. degree
  • M.A. degree
  • Ph.D. degree
  • MBA degree

If included, the field of study should be lowercase, unless it is a proper noun:

  • Lowercase: Bachelor of Science degree in nursing
  • Uppercase: B.A. degree in English or bachelor’s degree in English

Dates and times

Use figures only for the days of the month, omitting st, nd, rd or th:

  • Correct: May 1
  • Incorrect: May 1st

When the month, day, and year are included, place a comma between the date and the year. However, it’s generally not necessary to include the year. When using a specific date that includes a day, month, and year, place a comma after the year if the year isn’t the end of a sentence.

EXAMPLE: Spring Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Do not abbreviate or use a comma if the month stands alone or with the year only.

EXAMPLE: The December 2010 Commencement will be live streamed on

Month abbreviations

If the day is included, abbreviate the following months as such:

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.

If the day is not included, spell out the month. Never abbreviate the shorter months: March, April, May, June, and July.


When expressing time, use a.m. or p.m. and figures only. Use noon or midnight rather than 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.

EXAMPLE: 8:30 a.m., 7 p.m., noon, and midnight

If the beginning and ending time are both in the a.m. or p.m., use the time stamp only after the second figure.

EXAMPLE: 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., noon to 3 p.m.

When used in copy, include the time, day, and date in that respective order, spelling out the weekday.


… at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in the ….

… from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the ….


Spell out numbers one through nine (except in a headline) and general numbers (dozens, a thousand); use figures for 10 and above and for ages. If a number is the first word of a sentence, spell it out.

EXAMPLE: The organization’s founders included four faculty members and 21 students, but the group recruited hundreds more. Fifty first-time entering freshmen joined the organization.

Percentages are expressed as figures, and spell out the word “percent.”

EXAMPLE: The assignment was 5 percent of the final grade, and 90 percent of the class passed.

For very large sums of money, use figures with a dollar sign; spell out million or billion.

EXAMPLE: UA Little Rock received a $2.7 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education to expand its Reading Recovery program.