General Information


Use Webster’s Tenth Collegiate Dictionary and the Chicago Manual (fourteenth edition or higher) to check on capitalization of non-University-related words. Consult the “Marywood University Information” section of this guide for the capitalization of University-related words. Whether to cap a word depends on many factors, including the word’s position in a sentence and the word’s function.

Armed forces/military titles

Full names of armies, navies, air forces, etc., are capitalized (U.S. Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, the British Navy, Army Corps of Engineers). The words army, navy, etc., are lowercased when not part of an official title.

See academic and administrative titles in the “Marywood University Information” section for guidelines on capitalizing titles with names. The same rules apply for military titles, with two exceptions: General of the Army and Fleet Admiral, which are capped to avoid ambiguity.

Astronomical terms

Capitalize the names of stars, satellites, planets, etc. Capitalize Earth when it is used as the planet name; lowercase when it is used to mean soil or when it is used in a phrase such as the earth sciences.

Brand names, registered trademarks

Brand names and registered trademarks are capitalized: Band-Aid; Kleenex; Xerox; Styrofoam; Frisbee; Velcro. But whenever possible, use the generic term, such as adhesive bandage, tissue, photocopy.

Buildings, other structure names

Names of buildings, thoroughfares, monuments, etc., are capitalized: the White House; the Capitol (when referring to the U.S. Capitol building. All names of buildings on campus are capitalized.


Lowercase, even in campus names: Lehigh Valley campus, Alvernia campus.

Cardinal directions

north, south, east, west, central, southeastern, northwestern, central, northeastern Pennsylvania; but the Northeast, the South, the Far East, the West Coast, the Eastern Seaboard. See the Chicago Manual for details.

College names within the University

Uppercase College when used as part of the proper name of a college; lowercase when used with the unofficial name of a college. Lowercase when used alone, whether it refers to a specific college or not.

  • The Department of Religious Studies is housed in the Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Mark thought he would apply to the liberal arts college.
  • Academic disciplines were reorganized into one of four colleges at Marywood University in 2003.


The word commencement is lowercased when used in a general sense and in news release format. In formal University documents or publications, however, we capitalize the specific event and its related activities.

  • General: The commencement activities will include a social for families of graduating students.
  • Formal:
    • Following the procession, Commencement begins at 1:30 p.m.
    • The Commencement Weekend schedule is posted on Marywood University's web page.

Committee names

In general, committee names are not capped. However, if lowercasing a committee name confuses readers, cap it.

Dean's List

Always capitalize Dean’s List. It is a formal academic document.


Lowercase, unless it’s the first word in a contact line:

  • Tom considered his fax machine a good investment.
  • Contact Dr. Anderson at:
    Phone: 123-555-6789
    Fax: 123-555-2468

Federal, state

These terms are lowercase.

The program is awaiting state and federal funding.

G.I. Bill

Caps, periods on G. I., no space; cap Bill.

Musical notes and keys

For musical notes and keys, use Roman caps for major and Roman lowercase for minor. For clarity, use the words major and minor with the letters when naming keys.

  • One of Mozart’s best-known symphonies is in g minor.
  • middle C; key of G major; the D triad

Also, the music references op. and opus are lowercase.


Much like Commencement, the actual event or related events are capitalized in formal University publications, however, use lowercase for general references and news release format.

  • General: The orientation schedule may be revised this year.
  • Formal: Mary will be a student leader at this year’s Orientation Weekend.

Program names

See fields of study, Marywood University programs in the "Marywood University Information" section.

Scientific and medical terms

See sections 7.101-7.124 of the Chicago Manual for guidelines on capping scientific and medical terms.

Seasons of the year; semesters; holidays

The four seasons are lowercased. Semesters are lowercased. Religious holidays are capitalized, as are most secular holidays.

Titles of departments and administrative areas

On first mention, use the full name of the department or administrative area and capitalize all words except prepositions. On subsequent reference, when only a partial name is used, lowercase.

  • The Department of Communication Arts assisted with video production.
  • The communication arts department often assists with media needs of the University.

Titles of works

Cap all words except prepositions, unless the writer did otherwise or the style guide requires otherwise. See the Chicago Manual for a more complete listing of capitalization rules for titles.