Whether they’re studying for exams, receiving yearbooks or planning graduation celebrations, there is no denying that the end of the school year is an important and exciting time in the lives of students. For some, the school year’s culmination is only a temporary reprieve from homework and the constant fear of pop quizzes. But for others, it means crossing over one stage of life and into another — literally and figuratively.

We’ve complied a list of AP style rules and terms to keep in mind for your graduation coverage.

General academic degrees:
• Use an apostrophe in “bachelor’s degree,” “a master’s,” etc. Remember, there is no possessive in “Bachelor of Arts” or “Master of Science.”
• Also note, an “associate degree” is not a possessive.
• Academic degrees are not capitalized unless they contain a proper noun: “She received a Master of Science in information technology,” or “He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English composition.”
• Academic degree distinctions “cum laude,” “magna cum laude” and “summa cum laude” are all lowercase.

Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration:
• Abbreviated “M.A.,” “M.S.,” but “MBA.”
• A “master’s degree” or a “master’s” is acceptable in any reference.
• In reference to a specific school’s graduation, the c is usually capitalized: Harvard University’s Class of 2016.

Academic departments:
• Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives: “the department of history,” “the history department,” “the department of English,” “the English department,” or when “department” is part of the official and formal name: “University of Nebraska Department of Economics.”

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