Capitalisation

As a general rule, we prefer to use capitals sparingly. We capitalise titles and offices when they are used immediately in front of a person’s name. Otherwise, we lowercase titles.

Correct example  Rector Brian B. Nielsen (title)
Correct example  the rector of Aarhus University (description)
Correct example Centre Director Jens Jensen (title)
Correct example Jens Jensen, director of the Centre for xxx (description)

More examples of situations in which we don’t capitalise

Correct example The dean announced a new initiative.
Correct example The department offers a variety of degree programmes.
Correct example A new centre has been established.
Correct example The university was founded in 1930.
Correct example The head of department at AU Herning attended the meeting.


More examples of situations in which we do capitalise

Correct example After finishing their cinnamon buns, Rector Brian Bech Nielsen and Pro-Rector Berit Eika announced a new initiative.
Correct example In 1930, Aarhus University was founded.
Correct example Only Department Head Johannes Mortensen attended the meeting.

Institutions, places and units

Proper names

Capitalise the names of institutions and places, including academic departments and centres.

Correct example The Centre for Economic and Business Research at the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University


Generic references

Only capitalise words like university, department and centre when used as part of the title of a unit. Do not capitalise them when making generic references or when referring to a unit without using its full name.

Correct example The university has approved several new initiatives.
Incorrect example The University has approved several new initiatives.

Correct example The Department of Capitalisation is expanding. Three new degree programmes have been established at the department.
Incorrect example The Department of Capitalisation is expanding. Three new degree programmes have been established at the Department.

Titles and job functions

When to capitalise

Capitalise people’s titles in running text and when displayed on a resume, business card, diploma or alumni directory, or in other official/formal contexts.

Correct example Rector Jens Jensen
Correct example Deputy Director Signe Signesen


When not to capitalise

Do not capitalise job descriptions or generic references to job functions in running text or when referring to a person by his/her title only.

Correct example On Wednesday, the rector will visit the employer panel. (description)
Incorrect example On Wednesday, the Rector will visit the employer panel. 

Correct example On Wednesday, Rector Jens Jensen visited the employer panel. (title)
Incorrect example On Wednesday, rector Jens Jensen visited the employer panel.

Correct example On Wednesday, Jens Jensen, rector of Capitalisation University, will visit the employer panel. (description)
Incorrect example On Wednesday, Jens Jensen, Rector of Capitalisation University, will visit the employer panel.

Correct example Professor MSO John Smith of the Department of Capitalisation will speak today. (title)
Correct example John Smith is a professor with special responsibilities (MSO) at the Department of … (description)

Academic subjects and degrees

Names of degrees

Capitalise the important words in the names of degrees in AU texts.

Correct example Master’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, PhD degree
Incorrect example master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, ph.d. degree
Correct example Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, Bachelor of Science


Note

The official English names of the degrees awarded to graduates of Danish Master’s degree programmes (candidatus) are laid down in an appendix to the University Programme Order (Uddannelsesbekendtgørelsen), where they are capitalised. Consult the University Programme Order (Uddannelsesbekendtgørelsen). See also AU Studies Administration’s page Sprog, gradsbetegnelser og uddannelsesnavne (in Danish).

Example

Kandidatuddannelsen giver ret til betegnelsen cand.comm. (candidatus/candidata communicationis). På engelsk: Master of Arts (MA) in Communication Studies.


Names of degree programmes 

Capitalise the names of specific degree programmes, for example when names of degree programmes are displayed on a resume, business card, diploma or alumni directory, or in other official/formal contexts.

Correct example The Master’s Degree Programme in Political Science
Correct example The Erasmus Mundus Master in Lifelong Learning


Do not capitalise generic references to degree programmes or subjects.

Correct example Aarhus University offers a Master’s degree programme in political science.
Incorrect example Aarhus University offers a Master’s Degree Programme in Political Science.

Do not capitalise the names of academic subjects unless (of course) the name of the subject is a language or country.

Correct example I’m studying English.
Correct example I’m applying to the Brazilian studies programme.
Incorrect example I’m applying to the Brazilian Studies Programme.

Correct example He studied nanotechnology at Aarhus University.
Incorrect example He studied Nanotechnology at Aarhus University.


Exception

In internal communication, it is acceptable to use the names of subjects and degree programmes as shorthand proper names. Ex: He’s a professor at Musicology. This exception also applies to the names of the main academic areas (He’s studying at Business and Social Sciences).

Titles of books, articles etc.

There are two schools of thought:

  1. Only capitalise the first letter in the title, as in a newspaper headline (sentence case)
  2. Capitalise all the major words (title case).

When writing for AU:

  • use sentence case for the names of AU publications and online (headings and subheadings on au.dk)
  • When referring to books, journals and articles in your text, follow the capitalisation used in the reference itself. This means checking book titles.

Examples of book titles in title case:

  • The Beliefs of Politicians: Ideology, Conflict and Democracy in Britain and Italy
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Capitalise

  • the names of newspapers and magazines (using title case for works in English)
  • the titles of books, plays, songs, games, films etc. (using title case for works in English)

Follow these guidelines when using title case capitalisation of book and journal titles

  • Verbs are always capitalised, even if fewer than five letters.
  • Nouns are always capitalised, even if fewer than five letters.
  • Unless they are the first or last words of a title, these are never capitalised:  
    • articles: a, an, the
    • conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, as
    • prepositions that are fewer than five letters long: at, by, for, from, in, into, of, off, on, onto, out, over, up, with
    • infinitives: to

Note that English book titles and the names of journals (NatureThe LancetThe Journal of Early Modern History) are normally also italicised

Correct example The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (book title)
Incorrect example The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Headings

Only capitalise the first word of headlines and headings in texts published on au.dk and in other AU publications (sentence case capitalisation). However, do remember to capitalise any elements in the headline that should be capitalised under any circumstances (people’s titles, etc.)

Exception: lists of titles and degree programmes


Titles of published articles

When capitalising journal articles, follow the format used by the author (the journal you are citing).          

Words of wisdom from The Economist’s style guide

A balance has to be struck between so many capitals that the eyes dance and so few that the reader is diverted more by our style than by our substance. The general rule is to dignify with capital letters organisations and institutions, but not people…If in doubt use lower case unless it looks absurd. And remember that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


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