We all know that someone with a doctorate is called a Doctor (or abbreviated as Dr.), is there a formal title for someone with a Masters degree? I've never heard someone refer to a person with a masters as "Master". I've also heard that Esquire is sometimes used as a formal title for someone with a masters, is this correct or is there another title?

  • 4
    In Italy, from the bachelor's degree on, we are all doctors, just with a different qualifier, but those with a master's degree in engineering are commonly titled engineer, even if this title should be in principle reserved for those who have passed the exam to enter a professional society. So, for instance, I have a PhD but no one calls me doctor. Actually no one calls me engineer either. Luckily, because I hate titles. – Massimo Ortolano Oct 28 '15 at 20:00
  • 6
    I don't think "Master XX" is used in academia... Used in Star Wars though :) – yoyostein Oct 29 '15 at 9:46
  • In The Netherlands in Dutch, you would be Drs. – gerrit Oct 29 '15 at 10:53

In the United States there's no formal pre-nominal title held by individuals holding a Master's degree that I know of, so it's very unlike Dr. Xxxx that one holding a Ph.D., etc. might be addressed. In text, you would address such a person with a post-nominal suffix like M.A., MBA, etc. I'm sure the logic is different among specific types of degree, where Esq. for Esquire is a post-nominal suffix for those in the legal profession in the US. To give you an example, though: If I hold an M.Sc., you might refer to me as "Kendall, M.Sc." if you wanted to address me in an email or letter, but I would realistically expect Mr. Kendall or what have you face-to-face.

I should also add that courtesy titles like Esq. or Mr., and academic titles don't get used at the same time. Kendall, Esq. M.Sc. would be wrong, as would Mr. Kendall, M.Sc.!

  • 1
    at the same time ... In Germany, one can be addressed: Herr Professor Doktor Schmidt. And if he holds two doctorates, Herr Professor Doktor Doktor Schmidt – GEdgar Oct 29 '15 at 14:17
  • As a counterpoint, in Spanish speaking countries (or at the very least in Mexico) it is customary to use M. en C. (for Maestro/a en Ciencias), or its equivalent, as a pre-nominal title. – E.P. Jan 11 '16 at 20:13
  • 1
    As a counterpoint, in Québec, it is illegal to use the Dr. prefix for someone with a PhD. Only Doctor es medicine are allowed, PhD can still use Dr., but it must be after your name. – malavv Mar 28 '17 at 13:36

A somewhat archaic title someone holding a Masters degree is "Magister". Similar to Doctor, it comes from a Latin word for teacher.

In the English speaking world, this title has essentially disappeared though, so would be met with incomprehension. In many other places Magisters degrees are conferred, but tend to be equivalent to doctorate, thus making use of the term even more inadvisable (but a fun thing to know about).

  • 2
    whenever someone refers to me inappropriately I correct them thus: "that magister evil. I didn't go through 2 years of evil school for nothing." – emory Nov 12 '15 at 13:57

The official title is "Master of xxx" for someone who has attained a Master's degree in a given topic. I have also heard the phrase "Mistress of xxx" been used for a female; though I cannot speak to whether it is a traditional title. However, as others have said it is now customary to address someone with a master's or bachelor's degree with a post-nominal suffix rather than as a "master" or a "bachelor".

The merits of the title have evolved over time -- in the late middle ages, someone who had been granted the title of master was typically eligible to teach at a university. In addition, in those times it was considered more proper to refer to someone as a master if they had earned such a degree in a university. However, having a higher degree in those times was much less common than it is today.

It is worth noting that this question was asked on the English stack exchange board as well.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.