Initial Caps

Alumni Association

Caps in the Times

Board of Governors

Cap B and G when referring to McMaster's Board of Governors. Cap B on second reference:
The Board's decision will affect the outcome.


The McMaster University Bookstore. Cap B on second reference when referring to the University Bookstore.

Departments (history or History?)

Initial caps when the reference is expressed as it would be in the Undergraduate Calendar: Department of History, Department of Chemical Engineering. Lower-case when the reference is informal: history department, chemical engineering department, and when referring to more than one department: "The departments of biology and bio-chemistry present …."

Disciplines other than English, Latin, French, Spanish, etc., do not take an initial cap: "completion of her degree in chemical engineering," "history professor Dr. John Weaver."

Faculty or faculty?

Initial cap when referring to the academic divisions, e.g., Faculty of Science; "the Faculty secretaries attended a conference"; "each Faculty presented a strategic plan."
Lower-case when referring to academic staff: "the faculty appealed the pension decision"; "there will be many faculty positions available in the late 1990s."


No initial cap unless it's the formal name of a government: the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario. Otherwise: the federal government; the provincial government; the Ontario government; government funding; etc.

Human Resources

Cap on Human Resources when we mean McMaster's administrative department, in order not to confuse it with the generic term.
”A memo was circulated by Human Resources describing pension benefits.”

Humanities or humanities

As with departments, the Faculty names take an initial cap in their proper reference with “Faculty,” e.g., “the
Faculty of Engineering,” but not in informal constructions, e.g., “Dr. Mo Elbestawi, dean of engineering.”


No initial cap. It doesn’t matter what Wired magazine says about this! There’s no way anyone is confusing the
internet with an intranet or LAN.


Cap L on Level when referring to the year of a program: "She is in Level II of the history program."


Cap L when referring to the McMaster Library: "The collection in Mills is part of the University's Library."


When "McMaster" is in upper case for stylistic reasons, the "c" remains lower-case.

north, south, east, west

Lower-case unless part of a street address.


No initial cap unless part of the formal governmental title: "the Province of Ontario." Otherwise, "province" and "provincial" take the lower-case.


All the names of religions are proper names and take an initial cap: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Baha'i, etc.

seasons of the year

Do not put initial caps on seasons of the year unless they are in a formal reference, such as "the Fall 1991 issue of the Times"


Cap S when referring to the McMaster Senate.

titles of papers

Use upper- and lower-case: "War and Peace in Bertrand Russell's Thought." Capitalize all words in a title except articles (a, an, the), prepositions, and conjunctions of fewer than four letters. Capitalize even these short words when they are the first or last word in a title or when they fall after a colon or semi-colon. Always capitalize the prefix or first word in a hyphenated word within a title. Capitalize the second word only if it is a noun or an adjective or is as important as the first word.
"How to Apply Stage Make-up"
Through the Looking-Glass

titles of people

Titles of address:
Initial cap when the title precedes the name as a form of address; lower-case when it follows the name as a
Dr. James Street, but Stuart MacLeod, doctor of medicine
Dean McDonald, but Samantha Jones, dean of graduate studies
Professor Lomas, but Graham Petrie, professor of English

President, Vice-Chancellor, Chancellor, Chair of the Board of Governors:
These four titles always have an initial cap when they refer to the McMaster offices and officers, including
former Presidents and Chancellors. Lower-case when referring to university presidents in general: “The presidents
of all Ontario universities discussed funding.” Other offices and titles are lower-case all the time.

Third World

Use "developing world."


Cap U when we mean McMaster; lower-case when referring to universities in general or anything not McMaster-specific.

World Wide Web

Capital W three times. Use Web when www is meant.


Upper-case (CP)