LoM – Capitalization & job-application letters

Like in Spanish the modern tendency in English is to try to capitalize/capitalise the least. But there is great confusion about capitalization, also among adults, and there’s the issue of the different countries and traditions…

Names of subjects, job titles,”university”…
The idea is that these should not capitalize if they are just used as ordinary nouns/names, and that they are capitalized the moment they are “promoted” to titles and official names of places and the like. Although the other day we read a text where university subjects were not capitalized, and I mentioned (traditionally) they were, I’ve been checking further and it seems today the most common option is not to capitalize them: subjects or subject areas (asignaturas) are considered common nouns, so they may not take a capital letter. Sorry about that. However, be careful, not “English” or “Spanish” because they capitalize because they are names of languages! So —

We capitalize/capitalise the first letter in disciplines and subject areas in official academic unit titles (School of Languages), on a diploma or certificate (degree in Biology; Master’s in Linguistics), and lists of official degree titles (Bachelor of Social Science; Master’s in Sociology). Capitalize formal titles only when they precede a name. Otherwise, use lowercase. [Notice how much confusion there is around this one!] After being away, Head of Department Mary Doe / Mary Doe, Head of Department, returned to class. Compare with: Mary Doe, the head of department, returned. I am interested in working as Marketing Manager at Company A. / I am interested in applying for the position of Marketing Manager at Name of Company…


At present I am working as a science* teacher. / Signature: Science Teacher Dolores Fernández. / I studied science* last year. / The Science class allows me to learn…

*If you don’t capitalize here, wouldn’t some teachers consider “science” wrong? (see next point too!) Well, it’s OLD!!

We don’t capitalize/capitalise (anymore):

  • New! Academic degrees (!): Do not capitalize the formal name of a degree, the major, concentration, area or field of study. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology. Now: what should we do when thinking about our present academic exams?
  • Academic studies & titles: Do not capitalize generic terms for fields of study unless they are formal titles or proper nouns.
    His sister, enrolled in the Women’s Studies Program, is delving into women’s studies as part of her bachelor of interdisciplinary studies degree program.

  • Academic units: Capitalize the formal name of an academic unit, such as centers, chairs, colleges, departments, institutes, offices and schools. Lowercase the rest. The University of Málaga, the/my university.

Complex, right? That’s the freedom of languages, always changing!!

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