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Capitalization

Make all capitalization consistent with the rules of convention outlined in the American Heritage Dictionary.

DO capitalize:

  • The first word and any proper nouns in a title, heading, or subheading.
  • Proper nouns, months, days of the week, but not the seasons.
  • All words, except articles (the, a, an), conjunctions (and, or, for, nor), and short prepositions (of, in, on) in the titles of books, plays, lectures, musical compositions, etc., including "A" and "The" if at the beginning of a title.
  • The official names of departments when used in text. Do not capitalize the informal name.

Example: He enrolled in the Department of Accounting.
Example: He enrolled in the accounting department.

  • All conferred and traditional, educational, occupational, and business titles when used specifically in front of the name. Do not capitalize these titles when they follow the name.

Example: The award was given to Chancellor Brady.
Example: Dr. Linda P. Brady is the chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

  • The following words when used as part of a title: association, building, center, club, conference, department, division, hall, office, program, senate, street, etc., ; thereafter, do not capitalize the words when used alone to refer to that specific place or group.

Example: the Department of Accounting; thereafter, the department
Example: the Center for Legislative Studies; thereafter, the center
Example: the MFA Writing Program; thereafter, the program

  • The following words when referring to more than one: schools, offices, colleges, and departments.

Example: Schools of Music and Nursing

  • Board of Trustees; thereafter, the board.
  • A specific course or subject.

Example: CHE 104 Chemistry

  • Entire geographic names.

Examples: Piedmont Triad; Cape Fear River; Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Geographical regions of the country but not points of the compass (direction or locality).

Examples: the Middle West or the Midwest (but middle western); East Coast; in the Southeast or Northern Hemisphere (but northern Atlantic)

  • The word "Southern" when referring to a cultural or geographical distinction.

Examples: Southern cooking; the Southern way of life

  • The words "figures" and "tables" and their abbreviations when used in text to designate a specific insert.

Example: Figure 1 shows the building layout.
Example: The building layout (Fig. 1) shows where each office is located.

  • Names of all races and nationalities.

Example: African-American (not black), Caucasian (not white), Swedish, Chinese, Russian

  • The word "room" when used to designate a particular room.

Example: The office is located in Room 235 of the Bryan Building.

  • Official college degrees when spelled out.

Example: Bachelor of Science (not bachelor's degree); Master of Library and Information Science (not master's degree).

  • The major when it appears as part of the degree. However, write the major in lowercase when it follows the word degree.

Example: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Example: She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education.

  • Headlines, subheads, and publication titles; when one part of a hyphenated compound adjective is capitalized, both parts should be capitalized. Fractions and compounds containing a prefix are exceptions.

Examples: Implement Better Profit-Producing Strategies; Re-enter the Workforce with Confidence

DO NOT capitalize:

  • Titles standing alone or in apposition.

Example: The chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro made a speech.
Example: Give your form to the director of the department.

  • Names of school or college studies, fields of study, options, curricula, major areas, or major subjects, except languages, unless referring to a specific course.

Example: He is studying philosophy and English.
Example: Each student must meet core requirements in biological sciences and liberal arts.
Example: UNCG offers a curriculum in music education.

  • The unofficial or informal names of departments.

Example: He enrolled in the civil engineering department.

  • Organized groups or classes of students in a university or high school, or the words freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate. However, when referring to a class according to its year of graduation, capitalize Class.

Example: John Smith is a junior in the School of Education.
Example: The senior class will conduct its annual election tomorrow.
Example: The program was made possible by a gift from the Class of 1988.

  • Unofficial titles preceding a name.

Example: actor Robert Redford

  • The following words or abbreviations: a.m., p.m., baccalaureate, federal, state, government, honors, page, paragraph.
  • Common names of plants and animals except proper nouns and adjectives.

Example: Queen Anne's lace; Canada thistle; dandelion; vampire bat

  • Names of seasons, including references to semesters.