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Capitalization Guide

Academic Courses

Capitalize specific titles of Montgomery College courses, but lowercase general programs of study.

  • Principles of Accounting, ACCT 201
  • Wrong: She is an Accounting major.

Academic Degrees

Capitalize the abbreviation and omit the word “degree” or spell out using lowercase.

  • A.A., A.A.S., A.S., or associate’s degree, associate of applied science, associate of science
  • B.A., B.S., or bachelor’s degree, bachelor’s
  • M.A., M.S., or master of arts, master of science, master’s degree, master’s
  • M.B.A., M.F.A., or master of business administration, master of fine arts
  • Ed.D., Ph.D., or doctoral degree, doctorate
  • Professor Smith has a Ph.D. in history.
  • Wrong: He also has a B.A. degree in philosophy.
  • Plural: bachelors of science, masters of arts, M.A.s, and Ph.D.s
  • Exception: Periods in degrees are not used in MC website copy.

Academic Subjects

Use lower case for an academic subject unless it is the name of a language.

  • He took biology and English.

Academic Titles

When including an academic degree or credential with a person’s name, omit the courtesy title (also called social title) in the same reference.

  • Sanjay Rai, Ph.D.
  • President Jermaine F. Williams, Ph.D.
  • Exception: President Jermaine F. Williams, Ph.D. (both)

board, campus, center, department, foundation, institute, office, program

Only capitalize any of these nouns when they are part of a proper name or specific entity.

  • Montgomery College Board of Trustees, Alumni Association Board of Governors
  • The board will consider the proposal at the next meeting.
  • Artwalk takes place at the Rockville Campus each spring.
  • Students at all three campuses ride the shuttle for free.
  • the Learning Center, the center (on second reference)
  • Art Department, the department (on second reference)
  • the Montgomery College Foundation; The foundation will meet in November.
  • The Macklin Business Institute; The institute will accept applications in February for the fall semester.
  • the Honors Program, but the radiologic technology program
  • Wrong: The Board met to discuss the MC 2025 plan.
  • Wrong: Dr. Williams lauded the Foundation for a successful scholarship event.


Use lowercase for generic references.

  • He received a certificate in technical writing.

College, collegewide

Capitalize “college” only when referring to Montgomery College. This is an exception to the rule on using lowercase for second and other subsequent references. The term collegewide remains lowercase (no hyphen), except in a headline or title.

  • The College opened in September 1946.
  • The president will send a collegewide memo.

compounds (in titles)

Generally, capitalize both parts of the compound in titles or headlines. Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor).

  • Medium-Sized T-shirts
  • Setting Up Your Email Account
  • A Two-Thirds Reduction
  • Anti-intellectual Activities (exception because the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could not stand by itself as a word (anti, pre, etc.)


Use lowercase.

  • behavioral and social sciences distribution


Use lowercase, except when used in a heading or title.

  • federal government, but Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loan Program

Headlines and Subtitles

Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize articles (the, a, an) or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title. Use lowercase for the infinitive “to.”

  • Setting Up Your Email Account
  • College Gets More than $1 Million Grant for Cybersecurity
  • Luncheon Honors, Introduces Scholarship Donors and Recipients


For generic locations that precede a name or stand alone, use lowercase (when the full campus name is not required). For specific locations, generally use capitalization.

  • cafeteria, bookstore, library, county, commonwealth of Virginia
  • Maryland State, state of Maryland
  • Wrong: State of Maryland

Professional Titles

Capitalize a person’s professional title when it precedes the name; use lowercase when it follows the name, regardless of rank or executive level.

  • Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams will be the keynote speaker.
  • President and CEO John Smith will attend the conference.
  • Jermaine F. Williams, president, will visit the campus on Tuesday.
  • Wrong: Montgomery College President Dr. Jermaine F. Williams
  • Exception: In promotional or other formal contexts (e.g., a displayed list of donors in an annual report or honored guests at commencement), titles are usually capitalized when following a personal name.

State Names

Capitalize state names, but lowercase “state” if it precedes the proper noun.

  • commonwealth of Virginia, state of Maryland, Maryland state
  • Wrong: State of Maryland