How to put degrees after names in letters

Updated April 17, 2017

In formal letters, it is often important to indicate a degree you or someone you're addressing or referring to has earned. With many degrees or professional distinctions, this is done by including the abbreviation of the degree after the person's name. Like other parts of formal letter writing, practice is governed by style and etiquette. Properly including the degrees in letters after a name can add professionalism, and in some cases a touch of flattery, to your correspondence.

Use the degree after a person's name if his or her academic or professional distinctions are directly relevant to what you're discussing. Don't include the degree both before and after the individual's name or use undergraduate degrees.

Write the abbreviation of the degree or certification with each letter or truncation --- for example, the "Ph" in "Ph.D." --- separated by a period.

Order the degrees by rank from lowest to highest. Academic degrees, such as M.A. or Ph.D., outrank professional degrees, such as M.B.A., M.D., or J.D., of the same level. Include only the highest degree earned in a given field.


If you are unsure about someone's degree, look for it on his or her business card or resume

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Michael Roberts has been writing professionally since 2010. He's written on a wide range of topics for different websites. His eHow articles cover topics in motorcycles, bicycles and other modes of alternative transportation. Michael received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan in 2009.