AU places, titles and positions

Capitalisation   Definite article (the) versus indefinite article (a/an)   Acronyms and abbreviated names of units   A note on the names of the faculties


The names of institutions, departments, centres, sections, etc. should always be capitalised according to the rules of headline-style capitalisation, both in running text and listings.

You should capitalise all major words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) and lowercase minor words (articles, prepositions, conjunctions) as in the  examples below.

Correct example The employees at the Department of Aesthetics and Communication are…
Correct example At the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture they design….
Correct example The AU Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is...
Correct example Staff reductions at the Faculty of Science and Technology

See Capitalisation for more detailed guidelines.

 Definite article (the) vs indefinite article (a/an)

The correct use of articles in English can be tricky. When is a definite article (the) necessary and when is it not? This section offers simple guidelines on when and how to apply articles to positions, titles and places at Aarhus University. For more on articles in general, see sections 63-69 of Michael Swan, Practical English Usage.


 In Danish, we don’t use the indefinite article (en/et) when we describe people’s professions in a general sense. We do use the indefinite article in these situations in English.

Correct example Hun er bibliotekar.
Correct example Han er lektor.
Correct example Børge er ph.d.-studerende.
Correct example She is a professor. 
Correct example He is a librarian.
Correct example She is a PhD student.

But in English, as in Danish, the definite article (the) should be used when you’re referring to a particular person/particular persons identifiable to the listener/reader:

Correct example The PhD students were observed dissecting the sperm whale.
Correct example The rector is head of the university.
Correct example You should contact the new professor of English at the centre. 

Names of units at AU

In running text

When writing the names of departments, sections, centres, etc. in a sentence, you should always use the definite article (the).   

Correct example At the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, researchers participate in interdisciplinary research programmes.
Incorrect example At Department of Aesthetics and Communication, researchers participate in interdisciplinary research programmes.

Correct example He is the head of the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture.
Incorrect example He is the head of Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture.

Correct example He is behind the Sports Law Research Unit.
Incorrect example He is behind Sports Law Research Unit.

In lists

In lists of departments, centres, sections and so on, you can leave out the definite article (for example on conference programmes and business cards).

Correct example Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences
Correct example Michael Christensen, Associate Professor, Centre for XX, Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus BSS

Acronyms and abbreviated names of units

If the unit uses an acronym (a pronounceable name made up of initial letters or parts of words), like EFTA, NATO or UNESCO, the definite article is not necessary.

Correct example The researchers at ICOA
Correct example Unicef does charity work in Uganda.
Correct example The research centre CESAU

But if you write the name of the unit out in full, use a definite article.

Correct example The research conducted at iNANO
Correct example The research conducted at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center

Acronyms that cannot be pronounced – or where it could be confusing to pronounce them – take the definite article.

Correct example At the CSGB (Centre for Stochastic Geometry and Advanced Bioimaging), the researchers work to….
Correct example The World Health Organisation is often referred to as the WHO.
    (Here ‘WHO’ is pronounced as a three-syllable word: 'doubleyou – aitch – oh')
Correct example The problem was solved by the IT department. (‘the eye-tee department’)

When referring to departments and centres that use abbreviations, always write out the full name of the department or centre first, and then use the abbreviation afterwards.

Correct example The researchers at the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research (CRF)
Correct example The Faculty of Science and Technology (ST) is one of the four faculties at Aarhus University.

A note on the names of the faculties

In Danish, the full names of the faculties, for example the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science and Technology, are primarily used on legal documents such as diplomas or contracts. Normally, the short form of the name should be used, in this case ‘Arts’ and ‘Science and Technology’.

However, in some situations, it may be necessary to use the full names of the faculties in Danish, especially in situations where familiarity with AU's organisation cannot be assumed. It is particularly important to keep this in mind when communicating in English, as the short of the names of the faculties are likely to be perceived as overly informal in certain contexts.

Note: Aarhus BSS is the official abbreviation for "Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences". The abbreviation should be used in all internal documents and texts, and the faculty should only be referred to by its full name when the target group is not expected to know what the name "Aarhus BSS" refers to. 


"Researchers from Aarhus BSS (Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences) claim that..."



When referring to the four faculties, it is not always feasible to simply write ‘Arts’, ‘Health’ or ‘Aarhus BSS’ in English. In running text, it should first be established that ‘Arts’ refers to a faculty at an institution of higher education. This is particularly important in texts intended for an external or new audience (potential students, business partners, new employees).

Correct example The Faculty of Arts embraces... (And then in subsequent text it is ok to just refer to ‘Arts’ or ‘the faculty’.)
Incorrect example Arts embraces the humanistic, pedagogical and theological research and educational environments.
Correct example As a student at the Faculty of Arts… (Best solution in introductory lines of a text – in subsequent text use solution below.)
Correct example As a student at Arts...(Here it’s clear that you’re referring to a student studying at a specific institution.)
Incorrect example As an Arts student, you become part of a research and study environment. (The reader might think an Arts student is someone studying art.)

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