capitalization

Capitalization

Academic Degrees

Use lowercase when using associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctor’s degree. Use lowercase for doctorate or doctoral program.

Academic Departments

See Departments, Divisions and Offices.

a.m. / p.m.

Use lowercase and periods for “a.m.” and “p.m.”

Board of Regents

Upon first reference, use “The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.” Use lowercase when “board” and “regents” are used separately. Capitalize a regent’s title only when used before the name.

Right: He is a member of The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Right: The board met at 9 a.m.
Right: Regent James Jolly addressed the issue.
Right: She is a regent.
Right: The Board of Regents will meet tomorrow.
Wrong: The board of regents will meet tomorrow.

Classes and Courses

Use lowercase when you refer to classes and courses unless you use the specific (and complete) title or the name itself contains a proper noun or numeral.

Right: I had a class in engineering management.
Right: I’m taking English 1101.
Right: I’m taking biology, Advanced Shakespeare, and calculus.

Commencement

Use lowercase for “commencement” when used generically in text. You may capitalize it when it’s used in a title to refer to a specific event, such as the “100th Commencement” or “2015 Spring Commencement.”

Committees

Capitalize the formal names of groups and committees, such as Administrative Council, Planning & Development Committee, and Staff Council. Use lowercase for the words “committee” or “council” when they stand alone.

Dean’s List

Always use lowercase: the dean’s list.

Districts and Neighborhoods

Use lowercase for general sections of a city, but capitalize proper names of neighborhoods.

Right: The meetings will be downtown.
Right: Hell’s Kitchen has undergone extensive gentrification since the early 1990s.
Right: The university is expanding into Old Fourth Ward and Summerhill.
Right: Let’s go to a restaurant in Buckhead.

Fax

Use lowercase when the word “fax” appears in a sentence. If you’re providing a fax number on your business card or in a listing, it’s okay to use an initial capital.

Right: Email or fax me the information.
Right: Georgia State University
College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: 404-413-5114
Fax: 404-413-5117

Federal Government

Use lowercase when the word “federal” is an adjective and not does appear in the proper name of a government agency: federal court, the federal government, the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Homecoming

Use lowercase for “homecoming” when used generically in text. You may capitalize it when it’s used in a title to refer to a specific event.

Honors

Use lowercase and italicize “cum laude,” “magna cum laude” and “summa cum laude.”

Hyphenated Words in Titles

In general, always capitalize the first unit, and capitalize the second unit if it’s a noun or adjective or if it has equal balance with the first unit.

Right: “Twentieth-Century Poets in South America”
Right: “City-States in 19th-Century Europe”
Right: “Non-Christian Religions in North America”

The second unit should be in lowercase if it’s a participle modifying the first unit or if both units constitute a single word.

Right: “English-speaking People throughout Asia”
Right: “Medium-sized Companies with Unions”
Right: “E-flat Minor Melody”
Right: “Re-establishing a Youthful Outlook”
Right: “Self-fulfilling Prophecies in Small-Town America”

Race

Capitalize names of races (African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Native American), but do not capitalize “black” or “white” when referring to race.

Regions

Region names are capitalized when they stand alone and are widely understood to designate a specific geographic area.

Right: western Georgia
Right: the West Coast, the Midwest, the South
Right: the east coast of Florida, the midwestern United States, southern Tennessee
Right: North Georgia, West Georgia, the Piedmont, Middle Georgia

Seasons

Capitalize only when used in a title or as part of a formal name. Use lowercase when these words stand alone.

Right: fall semester, summer program
Right: The program started in fall 2012.
Right: The Spring Fling will be repeated this year.

Semesters

Do not capitalize semesters in text.

Right: Pantherpalooza takes place during the spring semester. Homecoming occurs in the fall semester.

Georgia State uses these semester titles: fall, spring, summer, Maymester (always capitalize) and mini-semester.

Social Security

Capitalize “Social Security,” but lowercase “number.” Capitalize references to the Social Security Administration.

Right: Fill in your name and Social Security number.
Right: The forms will be forwarded to Social Security.

Student Classifications

Do not capitalize “freshman,” “sophomore,” “junior,” “senior,” “postdoctoral
fellow” or “graduate student.” But do capitalize as a class designation or formal title.

Right: He’s a senior engineering major.
Right: The Senior Class gift was the clock.

Titles

A person’s title is capitalized only when used before his or her name. When using a capitalized title immediately before the name, try to keep it short. Do not capitalize an occupational designation, only a true title.

Right: We met President Becker.
Right: The president will speak at the dinner.
Right: Vice President for Student Affairs Douglass Covey issued the memo.
Right: Our speaker will be primatologist Jane Goodall.

Titles following a person’s name should appear in lowercase. Use lowercase when a title is used alone.

Right: The president of Georgia State University will address the group.
Right: Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president of enrollment management and student success, will host the reception.

Do not capitalize “professor,” “associate professor” or “assistant professor,” whether used alone or before a person’s name, unless they are the first words in a sentence. In titles, the term “professor” is used very specifically. The word should be used only in references to those who have official status as full professors. Otherwise, use the correct title of “assistant professor” or “associate professor.”

Right: Professor Jennifer McCoy is a professor of political science.
Right: Contact professor Jennifer McCoy in the Department of Political
Science.
Right: His years of hard work were acknowledged when he earned the
rank of university professor.

Capitalize the official names of honorary chaired and university professorships. Use “the” to introduce named professorships.

Right: Renowned public finance and education policy expert Ross Rubenstein joined the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in 2015 to assume the Dan E. Sweat Distinguished Chair in Educational and Community Policy.
Right: Regents’ Professor Teryl Frey has received a Fulbright Scholarship.

University System of Georgia

Capitalize “University System of Georgia.”

Right: The University System of Georgia comprises 29 colleges and universities.