Queen’s follows the CP approach of a modified down style, meaning uppercase is used sparingly in text.

CP’s basic rule:

Capitalize all proper names, the names of departments and agencies of national and provincial governments, trade names, names of associations, companies, clubs, religions, languages, races, places, addresses. Otherwise, lowercase is favoured where a reasonable option exists.

The modified down approach creates a cleaner, more comprehensible text. Leaders in writing style standards note that it is easy to get lost in a sea of capitals when too many words are capitalized; in the end, those capitalized words lose their importance and don’t attract the reader’s attention. It is also understood that a down style does not diminish a person’s stature or academic position.

Please refer to the Visual Identity typography guidelines for direction on capitalization in branded applications and marketing materials, which differs from the general writing style.

General Rule

Avoid capitalizing whole words for emphasis.

Capitalize common nouns when they represent the full version of a formal name and use lowercase when the partial or informal versions of a name appear.

  • Queen’s University; the university
  • City of Kingston; the city
  • Government of Ontario; the Ontario government; the government
  • Board of Trustees; the board
  • University Council; the council

Job Titles and Positions

Capitalize an individual’s title when their position precedes their name.

  • Dean Jane Philpott; Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane; Professor Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry)

Capitalize an individual’s title when it directly follows their name, separated by a comma.

  • Karen Bertrand, Vice-Principal (Advancement); Mark Asberg, Vice-Provost and University Librarian

Lowercase a title when it appears on its own, separated from the individual’s name.

  • The dean expects results by 2022; Karen Bertrand was appointed vice-principal of advancement in 2018.

Faculties, Academic Programs, Departments, and Groups/Units

Capitalize the full name of the faculty or department; capitalize when it's clear the reference is to a faculty or department rather than a field or discipline; lowercase the partial or informal version.

  • Faculty of Arts and Science; Arts and Science; the faculty
  • Cultural Studies Program; the program
  • Bachelor of Fine Art Program; Fine Art; the fine art program; the program
  • Department of Chemistry; Chemistry; the chemistry department; the department
  • Groundwater Group; the group

Do not capitalize faculties, schools, departments, or offices when referring to more than one.

  • Department of English, Department of Sociology; Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law


  • the departments of English and sociology; the faculties of education and law

Building and Site Names

Capitalize the full formal name; lowercase the partial version.

  • Stauffer Library; the library
  • Nixon Field; the field; the rugby field

Academic Degrees

Capitalize full degree names; lowercase general references.

  • Bachelor of Education; bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science; master’s degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy; doctorate
  • Certificate for International Education Professionals; the certificate

Honorary Degrees

  • Doctor of Laws; honorary doctorate; LLD
  • Doctor of Science; honorary doctorate; DSc
  • Doctor of Divinity; honorary doctorate; DDiv

See a full list of degree citations visit Degrees.

Awards and Distinctions

Lowercase common references to grants, bursaries, awards, prizes, and medals when they stand alone. Capitalize names of full awards and honours.

  • The award was presented at a ceremony in Grant Hall.


  • The Steve Cutway Accessibility Award was presented at a ceremony in Grant Hall.

Headlines and Article Titles

Use sentence case, with only the first word capitalized.

  • Global health a focus at Queen’s summer institute


  • Global Health a Focus at Queen’s Summer Institute.

Certain publications, however, will use title case, with the majority of words capitalized, due to their design platforms.