Degrees, Departments and Titles

Academic titles and department names can be a sensitive topic.  The Office of Communications strives to balance multiple goals of accuracy, respect and readability with the following practices.

Academic Degrees

Abbreviated references to degrees are obscure to some readers, especially in the case of academic work in highly specialized areas. To ensure that communications are understandable to audiences on and off campus, spell out the name of the subject or discipline in which the degree was earned: bachelor’s in journalism, master’s in social work, doctorate in chemistry. These degree names are generally in lowercase. Degrees involving languages are an exception:

  • Right: He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
  • Wrong: He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering.
  • Right: He received his master’s degree in English.

When degree abbreviations are necessary, the University renders them without periods in an exception to Associated Press style.

References to honorary degrees must specify that the degree was honorary.

It is appropriate to use strings of academic abbreviations and certifications after a name (i.e.,  Joe Jones, PhD, JD, MBA) only when a publication bears many such names and the shorthand degree references keep the list from becoming any longer than necessary.

It is appropriate to use the word Dr. as a first reference before the full name of a person who has earned a doctoral degree in any subject. In subsequent references, use the scholar's last name without the title.

  • Right: Dr. Harrison Potter is president of Alchemy Corp.
  • Wrong: Dr. Harrison Potter, PhD, is president of the Alchemy Corp.

Do not use the title Dr. before the names of those who hold honorary degrees.

Academic Departments

Capitalize when it is a formal name and use lowercase otherwise.

  • Right: The Department of Computer Science
  • Wrong: The history department

Capitalization of Titles

Capitalize a person’s formal title before his or her name.  Use lowercase when the title comes afterward.

Right:  U.S. President George Washington explained the new policy.
Right:  George Washington, the U.S. president, explained the new policy.
Wrong:  George Washington, the U.S. President, explained the new policy.

Consistency is important. Within a given text, if one person's title appears in caps before his name, it is generally best to follow suit with the other names and titles in the story. 

 Formal titles are capitalized when used directly before an individual’s name.

  • Right: President George Washington delivered the speech.

Use lowercase and spell out titles when not used with an individual’s name.

  • Right: The provost delivered the speech.

But be wary of placing very long titles before names. The longer they are, the more difficult they are to read. Recasting a sentence can help avoid long strings of proper nouns:

Hard to read: Assistant Dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences Jane Doe welcomed the donor's gift.
Better: The donor's gift went to Jane Doe, the assistant dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Listing Hierarchy

Listing hierarchy for UT Dallas programs, administrative offices, departments, schools and centers follows standard postal convention. The main subject should appear on top—program, center, person—with the school, department or office that it is a part of below it, followed by The University of Texas at Dallas.

This convention is used on stationery and Web pages. This content is presented in FF Din Pro where possible, with Arial being the default font.

Department Executive Education
School Naveen Jindal School of Management
University The University of Texas at Dallas
 
Facility Callier Center
School School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
University The University of Texas at Dallas
 
Department Office of the Assistant Vice President, Multicultural Affairs
Office Office of Diversity and Community Engagement
University The University of Texas at Dallas
 
Title Assistant Dean
Department Office of Assessment
School Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
University The University of Texas at Dallas
 
Primary Font FF DIN Pro
Secondary Font Arial