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We are often asked why Duke awards an AB degree rather than a BA. The AB form has been used here since about 1858. AB stands for the Latin Artium Baccalaureus, Bachelor of Arts. Our usage of it reflects the long tradition of using Latin in scholastic matters. However, the text on the diploma has been in English since 1933. Latin had long ceased being the common language of scholars and -- as one member of the faculty back then put it -- “more than nine tenths of the students cannot read their own diplomas.”


People holding a(n) A.B. degree:
PersonDegreeGraduated fromGraduated in year
AlexA.B.Duke University1999