General Rules

Proper nouns and official names are capitalized.

Common nouns and informal forms of official names are not capitalized.

Academic and Nonacademic Units and Bodies

Capitalize only the official and complete names of colleges, schools, departments, divisions, offices and official bodies.

Do not capitalize informal and shortened versions of schools, colleges, departments, divisions, offices and official bodies.

  • Examples: developmental biology department; education policy analysis center; admissions office; school of education; regents 

Committees, Groups, Centers, Programs, Initiatives and Institutes

Avoid capitalizing a committee, center, group, program, institute or initiative unless it is officially recognized and formally named.

  • Examples: search committee, admissions committee, doctoral review committee

Capitalize the official, proper names of long-standing committees and groups and formally developed programs and initiatives.

  • Examples: Blue Ribbon Commission, Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly

Course Titles

When referring to official course titles, use initial caps. Do not use quotation marks, italics or any other formatting with course titles.

  • Example: She was required to take Fundamentals of Nursing during her first year.

When referring to a course using the course title and course number, use commas to set off the course title.

  • Example: Six students who registered for CMMU 4760, Computer Mediated Communication, were placed on a waiting list because the course was full.

Degrees / Programs of Study

Do not capitalize degree names when spelled out.

  • Example: She earned a bachelor of science degree from UCCS.

Capitalize degree abbreviations.

  • Example: He has a Ph.D. in toxicology.

Do not capitalize major names, minor names or programs of study.

  • Example: He studies biology and math, but his minor is music.

Job Titles

Capitalize a job title if it immediately precedes a name.

  • Examples: Professor Ann Jones; Dean and Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Richard Krugman

Do not capitalize titles that follow names or stand alone.

  • Examples: John Smith, professor in biology; the chancellor of the university

Placing the title after the name, lower case, is preferred.

Publication and Presentation Titles

Which words should not be capitalized in a title?

  • Articles: a, an, & the.
  • Coordinate conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet & so (FANBOYS).
  • Prepositions, such as at, around, by, after, along, for, from, of, on, to, with & without. (According to the Chicago Manual of Style, all prepositions should be uncapitalized in a title.  NIVA and I recommend capitalizing prepositions 5+ letters long).

Which words should be capitalized in a title?

  • The first and last words should always be capitalized, even if they’re in the above list.
  • All nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs should be capitalized.
  • Subordinate conjunctions, such as after, as, because, how, who, if, than, what, why, that, when, where, whether & while.
  • Commonly missed words: it (pronoun), is (verb), be (verb) and their/our/my (adjective) should all be capitalized.

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Schools and Colleges / Department Names

Capitalize only the official and complete names of colleges, schools, departments, divisions and offices.

  • Examples: Department of Biology, School of Dental Medicine

Do not capitalize informal or general references.

  • Examples: biology department, dental school

Seasons and Semesters

Do not capitalize semester names or seasons.

  • Examples: spring semester, spring 2008, fall commencement

Structures and Places

Capitalize the full, official names of buildings and places on campus. Examples: Old Main, North Classroom, University Center

University References

Do not capitalize university unless using the complete proper name of the university. See university references for a list of proper names.

  • Examples: He is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder. There are more than 70,000 university alumni in the Denver area.

NOTE: This rule also applies to schools, colleges, departments, centers, institutes, etc.