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Capitalization

Job, educational, position, and business titles

In running text, capitalize formal job titles only when they appear directly in front of a name and are not set off by a comma. Use lower case in other instances.

  • University of Hartford President Walter Harrison
  • Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford
  • Sociology Professor James Smith
  • James Smith, professor of sociology
  • Tom Anderson, professor of English (English capitalized as proper noun)
  • Chief Executive Officer Mary Jones
  • Mary Jones, chief executive officer

offices and departments

The names of offices and departments at the University of Hartford are capitalized only when the full, official name is used.

Capitalize
Office of the Provost 
Office of Institutional Advancement
Department of Athletics

Do not capitalize
provost’s office
institutional advancement
athletics department

DEGREES, MAJORS, and ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

Except for languages such as English and Spanish, the names of academic disciplines, majors, and minors are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized. 

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Engineering. General references, such as bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, are not capitalized. Use an apostrophe (possessive) with bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, but not in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Do not use an apostrophe with associate degree or doctoral degree. Do not capitalize the major or academic discipline.

  • Bachelor of Arts in communication, Bachelor of Science in biology

  • bachelor's degree in communication, master's degree in English

Capitalize proper nouns, days of the week, and months

  • BUT Do not capitalize the seasons:
  • I am enrolled in three classes for the spring semester. 

Capitalize Hawktober Weekend, Commencement, Orientation etc., when referring to an official University of Hartford event.

Capitalize the words “association,” “building,” “center,” “conference,” etc., when used as part of a full title.

Do not capitalize them when used alone:

  • the Center for Professional Development; thereafter, the center
  • University of Hartford Board of Regents; thereafter, the board or the regents
  • BUT: Always capitalize “University” when referring to the University of Hartford: University regent. 

Also capitalize:

A specific course title:

  • BIO 260 Ecology (no punctuation between course number and title) 

Entire geographical names:

  • the Pioneer Valley
  • the Greater Hartford area 

Names of all races and nationalities:

  • Caucasian, Irish, Chinese, Native American BUT Do not capitalize “black” or “white” when referring to African Americans or Caucasians. 

The word “class” when referring to a graduation year:

  • This year’s reunion is for the Class of 1957.

Do Not Capitalize:

The word “room” when designating a particular space:

  • The math lab is in room 204 in Dana Hall. 

Names of fields of study, programs, major areas or major subjects, unless they are proper nouns.

  • She is majoring in Spanish and economics.
  • Each student must satisfy requirements in the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences.  

Classes of students at the University:

  • First-year students are required to take a writing course.
  • My sister is a junior majoring in finance. 

Unofficial or descriptive titles preceding a name:

  • poet Michael Waters, faculty member Tom Bradley

Titles of officers of a class, social organization, etc.:

  • She is the senior class president.
  • He is treasurer of the Student Government Association.

The abbreviations a.m. and p.m.:

  • The reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 8 p.m. 

Seasons of the year or semester designations:

  • We had a very chilly spring this year.
  • He plans to change his major in the spring semester. 

Honorary terms:

  • cum laude, summa cum laude, magna cum laude

Headings and Titles

In a heading or title, capitalize all the elements except articles (aan, and the), prepositions of three letters or fewer (atbyforinofoffonoutto, and up), and conjunctions of three letters or fewer (andasbutifor, and nor). 

use this helpful online tool for your specific headline or title (select "AP" on the top bar)

Hyphenated words in headlines and titles:

1. Always capitalize the first element.

2. Capitalize any subsequent elements unless they are articles, prepositions of three letters or fewer, or coordinating conjunctions such as and, orbutfor, or nor, or such modifiers as flat or sharp following musical key symbols.

3. If the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could not stand by itself as a word (antipre, etc.), do not capitalize the second element unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective.

4. Capitalize the second element in a hyphenated spelled-out number (twenty-one or twenty-first, etc.) or hyphenated simple fraction (two-thirds in two-thirds majority). 

The examples that follow demonstrate the numbered rules (all the examples demonstrate the first rule; the numbers in parentheses refer to rules 2–4).

Under-the-Counter Transactions and Out-of-Fashion Initiatives (2)

Bed-and-Breakfast Options in Upstate New York (2)

Record-Breaking Borrowings From Medium-Sized Libraries (2)

Cross-Stitching for Beginners (2)

A History of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital (2; “In” functions as an adverb, not a preposition)

The E-flat Concerto (2)

Self-Sustaining Reactions (2)

Anti-intellectual Pursuits (3)

Does E-mail Alter Thinking Patterns? (3)

A Two-Thirds Majority of Non-English-Speaking Representatives (3, 4)

Ninety-Fifth Avenue Blues (4)

Atari’s Twenty-First-Century Adherents (4)