Academic Degrees

Use lower case when using bachelor’s, master’s or doctor’s degree. Use lower case 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 Political Science.
Right: The Department of English redesigned its website.
Right: The director of admissions is pleased with the number of applicants.

Use lower case 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 lower case 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’s a physics professor.
Right: She majored in physics.

Academic Majors

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

Right: Her major is physics.
Right: He’s an English major.


Capitalize formal street names, but use lower case when used with more than one street name in text. Use lower case when non-specific street words stand alone.

Right: Dahlberg Hall is on Courtland Street.
Right: Meet me at the corner of Gilmer and Courtland streets.
Right: The avenue is a dangerous street to cross.

Administrative Offices

Capitalize the names of departments, divisions and offices. Use lower case 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 lower case 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.


All proper names of buildings, such as Student Center, should be capitalized. Special building projects, such as University Commons, should be capitalized. Terms such as “north wing” and “new residence hall” should not be capitalized, unless they are used in the title. Refer to the campus map for official building and location names.

Centers and Institutes

The formal names of centers, such as the Fiscal Research Center or the Institute of Public Health, should be capitalized, but “center” by itself should be in lower case. The same rules apply to institutes. Upon second reference, it is not necessary to use the complete proper name.

Right: The Institute of Public Health hosts seminars.
Right: The institute will welcome dozens of affiliates.
Right: The Student Recreation Center opened in 1996.
Right: The center has an exercise lounge and conditioning rooms.

Cities and Towns

Use lower case 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 Buckhead.

Classes and Courses

Use lower case 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 English 1101.
Right: I’m taking biology, Advanced Shakespeare and calculus.


Use lower case for “commencement” in text.


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

Dean’s List

Always use lower case: the dean’s list.


The suggested way to use this word in a sentence is in lower case. If you’re providing a fax number on your business card or in a listing, it’s okay to use an initial capital.

Right: Call or fax me with the information.
Right: Georgia State University

College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 404-413-5114

Fax: 404-413-5117


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


Use lower case 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” “City-States in Nineteenth-Century Europe” “Non-Christian Religions in North America”

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

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


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


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


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
Right: the east coast of Florida, the midwestern United States
Right: North Georgia, West Georgia, the Piedmont, Middle Georgia


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 Sparks 110.


Capitalize only when used in a title or as part of a formal name. Use lower case 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.


Do not capitalize semesters in text.

Right: Spring Carnival 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-mester.

Social Security

Capitalize Social Security, but lower case 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.


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 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 lower case. Use lower case when a title is used alone.

Right: The president of Georgia State University will address the group.
Right: Timothy Renick, associate provost and chief enrollment officer, will host the reception.

For professors, only capitalize “professor” when beginning a sentence, not before the person’s name. 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 or associate professor.

Right: Professor Jennifer McCoy is a full professor of political science.
Right: … said 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: Kenneth Bernhardt, the Taylor E. Little Jr. Professor of Marketing, is a sought-after expert.
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 35 colleges and universities.