Avoid the unnecessary use of capitals. Capitals are most commonly used for proper nouns and the first word in a sentence.


Capitals may also be used for:

  1. Popular Names: Places and events that do not have officially designated proper names but have popular names that are the equivalent: North Dallas, Deep Ellum.
  2. Derivatives: Words that are derived from a proper noun and still depend upon it for their meaning: American, English, Orwellian.
  3. Compositions: Capitalize the principal words in the names of books, magazines, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and television programs, works of art, etc.

    •  The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, is a classic American novel.
    •  “I Sing the Body Electric,” by Walt Whitman, is a famous American poem.
    •  “Portrait of the Artist’s Father,” by Paul Cezanne, is a fine example of his early work.

Academic Majors

Use lowercase for majors with the exception of languages.

  • Right: She is a physics major.
  • Right: He is an English major.
  • Wrong: She is a Biology major.

Administrative Offices

The names of departments, divisions and offices should be capitalized. Use lowercase for the words department, division or office when they stand alone.

  • Right: He works in the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis.
  • Right: She works in strategic planning and analysis.


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


The proper name of buildings and halls should be capitalized: Green Center, Hoblitzelle Hall, Founders North.

Centers and Institutes

The formal names of centers should be capitalized, but “center” used alone should be lowercase.

  • Right: The Center for Quantum Physics has been honored.
  • Right: The center has been granted funds for additional research.
  • Wrong: The Institute is noted for cutting-edge development in that field.

Classes and Courses

Classes and courses should be lowercase unless you use the specific title or the name carries a proper noun or numeral.

  • Right: I had a class in marketing.
  • Right: I am taking Research Applications in Marketing.


Capitalize the formal names of groups, commissions or committees (Jordan Commission, Strategic Enrollment Task Force and Long Range Campus Planning Committee).

Compositions and Creative Works

The following rules regarding capitalization, spelling, punctuation, italics and quotation marks apply to titles mentioned in text.

  • Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or) and most prepositions are lowercase unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle.
  • Titles and subtitles of published books, pamphlets, periodicals and newspapers are written in italics when they are mentioned in the text: The Dallas Morning News.
  • Titles of articles, features in newspapers, chapter titles, titles of short stories and selections in books are enclosed in quotation marks. They are not italicized.
  • Titles of dissertations, theses, manuscripts, lectures and papers read at meetings are enclosed in quotation marks. They are not italicized.
  • Titles of motion pictures are italicized, as are titles of television and radio programs if they are part of a continuing series.
  • In regular title capitalization (also known as headline style), the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinating conjunctions (because, if, that) are capitalized.


Capitalize a department when it is an actual proper name.  Lowercase otherwise.


Use lowercase for cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude. For Nobel laureate, capitalize Nobel but not laureate.


See the Degrees, Departments and Titles for guidance.

Seasons and Semesters

Do not capitalize seasons, semesters or terms in text.

  • Right: He will begin classes during the fall semester.


The proper names of schools within UT Dallas should be capitalized as follows:

  • Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication
  • School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
  • School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Naveen Jindal School of Management
  • School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Student Classifications

Do not capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior or senior unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence or in a headline.


Capitalize the word university in the full name of an institution of higher education. It should be capitalized when it stands alone only in reference to UT Dallas.  Also see the UT Dallas, UTD entry on the Abbreviations page.

  • Right: The University of Texas at Dallas excels in many types of research.
  • Right: Our University is at the forefront of nanotechnology.
  • Wrong: The University in Austin offers chess scholarships.

Additionally, the word The should be capitalized when used in the full name of the University.

  • Right: She attended The University of Texas at Dallas.