correct abbr. for bachelor of science; B.Sc. or BS ?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Dennis, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Dennis

    Dennis New Member

    I remember reading somewhere that British and Australian bachelor of science degrees are abbreviated as B.Sc. ; American ones, however, have the initials BS. My question: Is this distinction always kept?

  2. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I use BS and MS in the USA* and B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Europe.

    * The CSUDH catalog generally uses B.S. and M.S. in their faculty listings so I assume that is the correct listing (my APA publication manual is blank on this issue).
  3. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    I thought the general rule of thumb was to abbreviate it (and/or refer to it) in precisely the way(s) -- and no other(s) -- that the college/university which granted it instructs. Most are fairly clear about it.

    If the college/university which grants the degree refers to it as a "Bachelor of Science in Underwater Basketweaving," then it's wrong -- dishonest, even -- to shorten it to a "Bachlor of Underwater Basketweaving" because that's not the precise name given to the credential by its issuer; and that if the college/university that issued the degree calls it a "B.Sc. in Underwater Basketweaving" then it's not right -- whether proffering it on a resume in the US or in Europe -- to call it a "B.S. in Underwater Basketweaving" or a "BS in Underwater Basketweaving."

    I thought the question was always answered by how the issuing college/university refers to it; that that's, as a friend likes to say just to irritate me, "our onlyest and bestest" guide.

    No? :confused:
  4. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I generally agree with what you say, however in the UK the abreviation BS is British Standard and MS is Master of Surgery. I spell out my degrees in full when space permits (very few people I met know what an MAS is). But often just the abreviations are requested.
  5. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    Isn't the rule of thumb: refer to the degree exactly as the university awarding does (ie: Bachelor of Science in Underwater Basketweaving is different than a Bachelor of Underwaterbasketweaving) but; abbreviate according to accepted and understood local convention.

    In this way then, BS, BSc, and Bach. Sci. are the same degree -- there is nothing there that would imply an intent to mislead. What then of the SB or AB -- should holders who have a degree issued in Latin always use the Latin abbreviation?

    Just a thought...
  6. JamesK

    JamesK New Member

    Doing so may lead to confusion in Australia. Fred Bloggs AM is a Member of the Order of Australia, not a holder of a Master of Arts.

    Which leads to another point. Word order in Latin is somewhat flexible so Magister Artium is as valid as Artium Magister (admittedly poor Wikipedia reference) and "Magister Artium" returns many more results in a Google Search. If you permit replacing BS by BSc, then swapping words while retaining the same meaning (AM becomes MA, as opposed to Bachelor of Science in Underwater Basketweaving becomes Bachelor of Underwater Basketweaving in Science) should also be permissable.
  7. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    It would seem to me that:

    Bachelor of Science in Underwater Basketweaving would be a 120 hour degree split 50/50 or so amongst general education and underwater beasketweaving. A liberal arts degree with a major. Likely abbreviated as simply BS.

    Bachelor of Underwater Basketweaving would be a 120 hour degree split closer to 90 hours of underwater basketweaving material and only 30 hours of general education. An undergraduate professional degree. Possiblty abbreviated as BUB.

    In this way, the two are very different degrees.

    When using Bach. Sci., BS, B.S., S.B., ScB, BSc. to refer to Bachelor of Science, there is no change in meaning (providing the abbreviation is understood to be Bachelor of Science) no matter which abbreviation is selected.

    It seems to me though that BS would be the most common abbreviation within the United States.
  8. JamesK

    JamesK New Member

    The quote is taken out of context.

    I said

    Where swapping MA and AM is fine but the Underwater Basketweaving example is not ("as opposed to"). Perhaps I should have worded it more clearly.
  9. Dennis

    Dennis New Member

    It occurs to me that BS is also a common abbreviation for an expletive in English. So wouldn't it likely be misunderstood(or made fun of) if someone uses this term for a bachelor of science in Britain and Australia?

    What about North America? Somebody know of incidences of conscious misinterpretation?

    I'm asking this, because I myself live in Europe and am unfamiliar with how it might be perceived in English speaking countries.

  10. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    In .ca I only see B.Sc. / M.Sc. or B.A. / M.A. being used; BS / MS I first saw in the US.
  11. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Yes, BS refers to an expletive in US English, too.
  12. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Both "B.A." and "B.S." have alternative meanings in English.

    Among the faculty listings at U.S. colleges and universities, you will find all of the titles referred to in this post (and several others). Most faculty I know who list their degree as B.Sc. received the degree at a non-U.S. institution. The listing of a bachelor of science degree as either B.S., B.Sc., S.B., Sc.B., etc. is non-controversial at colleges or unviersities. The same goes for bachelors and doctoral degrees (e.g. B.A./A.B., M.A./A.M., M.Ed./Ed.M., Ed.D./D.Ed, Ph.D./D.Phil., etc.).
  13. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    I know this is silly, but when I see Sc.B. or S.B. I feel the degree is more pretigious than a B.S. or B.Sc. I think it may be that reversing the words is usually done for degrees written in latin, and my brain is tricked into believing that if its in latin it must be better than a degree writting in English. So, I might be tempted to list my degree on my resume as:

    Sc.B. in Computer Science

    Of course, I believe ethically you should list your degree with precisely the same abbreviations used by the awarding institution to prevent any confusion. Also, as a long time employee for Sage Software where some of our HRMS products offer applicant management, if you are looking for a job in the US, you are really better off listing your degree (if you are not hung up by any ethics involved) as either BS or B.S. Too many resume scanning products or web searches may not be sophisticated enough to include all variations of this degree. So, your degree may be ignored :( if it is not recognized.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2006
  14. kkcheng

    kkcheng Member

    What about the concentration? MSXXX?

    In addition to the difference between BS and BSc or MS and MSc, I believe there are a number of other "undocumented general practices" too in the way people write out their degrees. For example, I can find lots of people writing BSEE/MSEE (Bachelor/Master of Science in Electrical/Electronics Engineering) but relatively few when referring to, say, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Admin as MSCJA. People simply put MS instead or write out the whole thing... any ideas why this is so?

    Happy New Year to everyone at!

  15. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Re: What about the concentration? MSXXX?

    I would venture to guess it is because an MSCJA is not a traditional academic a MSCJ or BSCJ...which is generally understood to indicate the Master of Science in Criminal Justice while the "A" at the end of it would cause some to scratch their heads and say "what's the 'A' for?"

    Kind of like getting a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management....I've seen it listed, just not as an MAOM....whereas a MSM (Master of Science in Management) is much more common. I believe it applies to the commonality of the degree.
  16. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    I've never noticed anyone refer to their BAE (Bachelor of Arts in English) or BSB (Bachelor of Science in Biology) but we do tend to refer to some degrees with a full abbreviation set such as the BSCJ (Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice).

    I'm wondering then, should the "in XYZ" be included in the abbreviated form of a BA/BS/MA/MS?

    Would we end up with an MAH (Master of Arts in History) or an MAM (Master of Arts in Music)? Aren't these more properly simply BA/BS/MA/MS with the subject in parenthesis if deemed needed?

    Now, this is different than the way we abbreviate the professional degrees such as BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) or MPH (Master of Public Health) or BME (Bachelor of Music Education).

    It seems to me that some try to extend the traditional liberal arts degrees (BA/BS) and make them appear to be the professional equivalent by appending an abbreviation representing the major. This might be a trend to be discouraged.

    Should we have BSBA or BS (Bus. Admin.) or simply BS[/I]? Should we abbreviate only the degree title line on the diploma and use that as the guide?

    An example: is an Excelsior Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies more clearly abbreviated as BS or BSLS?

    Is PhDG (Doctor of Philosophy in Geology) coming next?

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