Capitalization

Academic Degrees

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


Academic Departments

Capitalize the names of departments except when used in a person’s title.

Right: She is a senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Right: The Department of Art and Art History redesigned its website.

Right: The director of admissions is pleased with the number of applicants.

Use lowercase for the word “department” when it stands alone.

Right: She’s been with the department for three years.

Right: The Department of Astronomy hosts weekly viewing nights on university telescopes.

Capitalize the field when it’s used to mean the department. Use lowercase for the field when it’s used in a general sense.

Right: She’s a professor in the Department of Physics.

Right: She’s a professor in the Physics Department.

Right: She majored in physics.


Academic Majors

Use lowercase for majors with the exception of languages, which are proper nouns.

Right: Her major is physics.

Right: He’s an English major.


Addresses

Capitalize formal street names, but use lowercase when used with more than one street name in text. Use lowercase when nonspecific street words stand alone.

Right: Walter Webb Hall is on Guadalupe Street.

Right: Meet me at the corner of 25th and Guadalupe streets.

Right: The avenue is a dangerous street to cross.


Administrative Offices

Capitalize the names of departments, divisions and offices. Use lowercase for the words “department,” “division” or “office” when they stand alone. Capitalize the field when it’s used to mean the department, division or office specifically. Do not capitalize the field when it’s used in general.

Right: He works in the Registrar’s Office.

Right: She works in student affairs. (the field)

Right: She works in the Student Affairs Office. (the university office)

Right: He works in Campus Planning. (the university office)

Wrong: The Division will release its report.


a.m. / p.m.

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


Board of Regents

Upon first reference, use The University of Texas Board of Regents. 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 University of Texas Board of Regents.

Right: The board met at 9 a.m.

Right: Regent Patrick Oxford addressed the issue.

Right: She is a regent.

Wrong: The board of regents will meet tomorrow.

Right: The Board of Regents will meet tomorrow.


Buildings

All proper names of buildings, such as Texas Union, should be capitalized. Special building projects, such as the Tower Garden Project, should be capitalized. Terms such as “north wing” and “new residence hall” should not be capitalized, unless they are used in the title.


Centers and Institutes

The formal names of centers, such as the Center for Space Research or the Institute of Latin American Studies, should be capitalized, but “center” by itself should be in lowercase. The same rules apply to institutes. Upon second reference, it is not necessary to use the complete proper name.

Right: The Institute for Learning and Technology hosts seminars.

Right: The institute will welcome dozens of affiliates.

Right: The Recreational Sports Center opened in 1996.

Right: The center has an exercise lounge and conditioning rooms.


Cities and Towns

Use lowercase for general sections of the city, but capitalize widely recognized names for city regions.

Right: The meetings will be downtown.

Right: Let’s go to a restaurant in South Austin.


Classes and Courses

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

Right: I had a class in engineering management.

Right: I’m taking Engineering Management 380.

Right: I’m taking biology, Advanced Shakespeare and calculus.


Commencement

Use lowercase for “commencement” in text.   


Committees

Capitalize the formal names of groups and committees, such as Faculty Council, Long-Range Planning Committee, President’s Student Advisory Council. Use lowercase for the words “committee” or “council” when they stand alone.


Dean’s List

Always use lowercase: the dean’s list.


Forty Acres

Capitalize and spell out Forty Acres when referring to the university’s original tract of land and when the name is used as a proper noun.

Right: The original campus was on the Forty Acres surrounding the Main Building and Tower.

Right: The students will attend Forty Acres Fest.

Wrong: 40 Acres

Wrong: The original forty acres were bounded by 24th, Speedway, 21st and Guadalupe streets.


Homecoming

Use lowercase for “homecoming” unless it’s used as a title.


Honors

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


Hyphenated Words in Titles

A general rule of thumb is to 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 Nineteenth Century Europe”

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”


Government

Use lowercase when the word “federal” is an adjective: federal court, the federal government.


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 Texas

Right: the West Coast, the Midwest

Right: the east coast of Florida, the midwestern United States

Right: South Texas, West Texas, the Panhandle, the Valley, the Hill Country


Rooms

Capitalize only when used with a number, letter or name. In combination with a building name, use the number only.

Right: We’ll be in Room 100.

Right: We’ll be in the training room.

Right: The movie is in Batts 110.


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 1989.

Right: The Spring Fling will be repeated this year.


Semesters

Do not capitalize semesters in text.

Right: Spring Carnival takes place during the spring semester; homecoming occurs in the fall semester.


Social Security

Use lowercase when referring to social security number. Only 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.


Texas Exes

The university’s alumni are commonly known as Texas Exes. Also, the university’s alumni association prefers to be known as the Texas Exes.


Titles

A person’s title is capitalized only when used before the 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 Fenves.

Right: The president will speak at the dinner.

Right: Vice President for Student Affairs Gage Paine issued the memo.

Right: Our speaker will be artist William Cooper.

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

Right: The president of The University of Texas at Austin will address the group.

Right: Gregory Vincent, vice president, will host the reception.

Capitalize the official names of honorary chaired and university professorships. For those titles that are not honorary or for references after the name of the professor, use lowercase.

Right: Sanford Levinson, the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, donated his collection to the School of Law.

Right: She earned the rank of university professor.


The University of Texas at Austin

Capitalize “The” when using the full university name.

Right: They graduated from The University of Texas at Austin.

Wrong: They graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.