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do you capitalize majors in college

do you capitalize majors in college

do you capitalize majors in college

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In addition to the first word in a sentence, the following are generally the only words which should be capitalized.

Proper nouns—a specific individual name: Kalamazoo.

Proper adjectives—an adjective derived from a proper noun: Romance languages (derived from the proper noun Roman).

Common nouns only when used as part of a specific name: Kanley Chapel, Waldo Library (otherwise lowercase chapel, library).

Common adjectives only when used as part of a specific name: Brown and Gold Room (otherwise lowercase brown and gold).

do you capitalize majors in college
do you capitalize majors in college


The following are the only common nouns which should be capitalized in publications and correspondence of Western Michigan University.

Alumni Association—Capitalize only when it refers to the WMU Alumni Association.

Board of Trustees—Capitalize only when it refers to the WMU Board of Trustees.

University—Capitalize only when it refers exclusively to Western Michigan University.


Used in text—In text, titles are capitalized only if they precede the name of the individual. A title following the name of an individual or a title by itself is not capitalized.

Capitalize: …President Edward Montgomery spoke at the…

Do not capitalize: …Edward Montgomery, president, spoke at the… The president spoke at the…

In text, it is preferable for the title to follow the name and, therefore, the title would not be capitalized. This is especially true of titles consisting of more than one word. For example, it is acceptable to use either “President Edward Montgomery” or “Edward Montgomery, president.” However, “John Doe, director of alumni services,” should be used in text rather than “Director of Alumni Services John Doe.”

Some words identifying occupations or professions are pseudo titles and should not be capitalized even if they precede the name. Do not capitalize “attorney Jane Doe” or “pianist John Doe.”

Titles are not capitalized when used in conjunction with the name of an office, department or program. Do not capitalize the title in “Jane Doe, dean of the College of Fine Arts” or “Jane Doe, College of Fine Arts dean.”

do you capitalize majors in college
do you capitalize majors in college

Used in a list—When used in a directory listing or other similar situations, the title is capitalized whether it precedes the name, follows the name, or appears in tabular form.

Used in an address—When used as part of an address, the title is capitalized, whether it appears in text or block address form. See addresses.


The names of offices and departments at WMU are capitalized only when the full, official name is used.


  • Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • School of Music
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Division of Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Light Center for Chinese Studies

Do not capitalize

  • provost’s office, academic affairs, the office
  • biological sciences, the department
  • the school, music school
  • health and human services, the college
  • intercollegiate athletics, athletics, the division
  • the center, the institute

Some names of offices, departments, scholarships or programs contain proper nouns and are always capitalized when the proper noun is included. The full name of the alumni center is the Harold A. and Beulah J. McKee Alumni Center. You should also capitalize McKee Alumni Center, because it contains the proper noun McKee. However, alumni center, by itself, is not capitalized.


Except for languages, such as English, French and Japanese, the names of academic disciplines, majors, minors, programs and courses of study are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized. Example: She majored in integrated supply management and German.

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Social Work. General references, such as bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, are not capitalized. Use an apostrophe (possessive) with bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, but not in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Do not use an apostrophe with associate degree or doctoral degree. Do not capitalize the major specialty.

Examples (all correct)

  • Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health sciences, M.S. in computer science, B.A. in English
  • integrated supply management program, English program
  • Bachelor of Science in mathematics, Bachelor of Arts in English
  • bachelor’s degree in business administration, master’s degree in English, doctoral degree in chemistry, doctorate in chemistry



The word “program” is part of relatively few official names at the University. The word program is not capitalized simply because it is preceded by a proper noun. Example: Medallion Scholarship program.

do you capitalize majors in college
do you capitalize majors in college


Form letters are addressed to groups. The salutation should, therefore, be plural. Capitalize key words, lower case articles and conjunctions, and end with a colon. Example: “Dear Parents and Family Members:”


  • administration, the administration, administrator
  • alumna, alumnus, alumnae, alumni
  • board, the board
  • chair, the chair
  • committee, the committee, our committee
  • college, the college, our college
  • department, the department, our department
  • director, directors, the directors
  • emerita, emeritus, emeritae, emeriti
  • faculty, faculty member(s), member(s) of the faculty
  • student, students, student body
  • trustee, trustees, the trustees

Do You Capitalize Fields Of Study And Majors In College?

In the English language there are some specific rules for capitalization. One of them has to do with whether or not you should capitalize fields of study.

Do you capitalize fields of study? The simple answer to this is that academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used (e.g. Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science). When you’re discussing the subject matter, the field of study in an informal way, you do not capitalize it.

Using Apostrophes in Regards to Fields of Study

An apostrophe is a punctuation mark that is used to indicate possession. When you’re mentioning that something is either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree you’ll want to use this punctuation mark in your writing. However, when you’re writing out the full name of the degree (e.g. Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts) you don’t need to use an apostrophe. You also should never use an apostrophe when making reference to either an associate or a doctoral degree.

do you capitalize majors in college
do you capitalize majors in college

Capitalization of Academic Degrees

Perhaps you’ve wondered if and when academic degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) should be capitalized.

If you read through our Capitalization rules, you will notice that capitalization is sometimes a thorny area. We do not always have hard-and-fast rules to rely on; some areas are open to interpretation. This is evident in the area of capitalization of academic degrees as you will see from the different approaches of two of the leading American English reference books:

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) recommends that names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically, but to capitalize the name of a degree when it is displayed on a resume, business card, diploma, alumni directory, or anywhere it looks like a title rather than a description. Proper nouns, of course, should still be capitalized.

Orlando is pursuing a bachelor of science in civil engineering.
Orlando is pursuing a bachelor of arts in English.
He introduced Jennifer Miller, Master of Fine Arts.
He introduced Master of Fine Arts Jennifer Miller.

The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) recommends no capitals when referring to degrees in general terms (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, associate degree) but always capitalizing specific degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science). AP is in agreement with CMOS that the field of study be written in lower case except when it contains a proper noun.


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