Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials or post-nominal titles or designatory letters are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. Post-nominal letters are one of the main types of name suffix.
Examples of post-nominal letters:
- A Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire is authorised to use the post-nominal KBE.
- A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects is authorised to used the post-nominal FAIA.
- An elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh is authorised to use the post-nominal FRSE.
- A Doctor of Philosophy is authorised to use the post-nominal PhD (or, in some cases, DPhil).
- A Franciscan friar (the Order of Friars Minor) uses the post-nominal OFM and a Jesuit (Society of Jesus) uses SJ.
- A professional municipal manager or administrator who has been designated as a "Credentialed Manager" by the International City/County Management Association is authorized to use the post-nominal ICMA-CM.
- A Member of the British Association of Social Workers uses the post-nominal MBASW.
- Graduates from university can add post-nominal letters to their name to indicate which university they studied at. For example, a graduate of the Open University can use (Open) after their name, Queen's University (SQ), Durham University can use Dunelm., University of Cambridge can add Cantab. after their name, and a graduate of the University of Oxford can add Oxon.; all will usually be added after specifying the type of degree: For example, John Smith BA (Cantab) or Peter Pan BSc (Open).
The order in which post-nominal letters are listed after a person's name is dictated by standard practice which may vary by region. In the UK, the Ministry of Justice recommends the following ordering:
- Bt/Bart or Esq.
- Decorations and honours and decorations (in descending order of precedence)
- Appointments (for example, QC for Queen's Counsel, MP for member of parliament)
- University degrees
- Religious orders (for example, SSF) and medical qualifications
- Fellowship or membership of learned societies, academies or professional institutions (for example, RA, FRCP)
- Membership of the Armed Forces
According to the University of Oxford, university degrees should be listed in ascending order: bachelor's degrees first, followed by master's degrees, then doctorates. Awards from the same faculty replace lower-ranking degrees (for example, John Smith, MA rather than John Smith, BA MA) However, when the awarding institutions are listed and the degrees are from different universities, lower degrees are included (such as John Smith, BA Wales MA London; but Jane Doe, MA Virginia rather than Jane Doe, BA Virginia MA Virginia).
- List of post-nominal letters
- Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom
- Pre-nominal letters
- Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
- Roman Catholic religious order
- ^ "Honours and Decorations". Ministry of Justice. 2008-12-04. http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/foa-hons-and-decs.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- ^ "Oxford University Calendar: Notes on style". University of Oxford Gazette. 2011-03-17. http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwoxacuk/localsites/gazette/documents/universitycalendar/style--current_for_2011.pdf. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
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