AP Style Organizations and Institutions

AP Style rules hold that you should capitalize the full names of organizations and institutions. For example,

  • the American Red Cross
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • Yale University Theological School
  • the Procrastinators Club
  • the Society of Professional Journalists

Retain capitalization if “Co.,” “Corp.,” or a similar word is deleted from the full proper name. For example,

  • General Motors Corp.
  • General Motors

See also AP Style Company, Companies, AP Style Corporation, and AP Style Incorporated.


Capitalize the names of major subdivisions. For example,

  • The Chevy Motor Division of General Motors.

Internal Elements

Use lowercase for internal elements of an organization when they have names that are widely used generic terms. For example,

  • the board of directors of General Motors
  • the board of trustees of the University of Michigan
  • the history department of Yale University
  • the sport department of the Daily Citizen-Leader

Capitalize internal elements of an organization when they have names that are not widely used generic terms. For example,

  • the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches
  • the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association
  • the House of Bishops and House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church

Flip-Flopped Names

Retain capital letters when commonly accepted practice flops a name to delete the word “of.” For example,

  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine


  • Harvard Dental School

Do not, however, flop formal names that are known to the public with the word “of.” For example,

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • Massachusetts Technology Institute.

Abbreviation and Acronyms

Some organizations and institutions hare widely recognized by their abbreviations. For example,

  • Alcoa, GOP, NAACP, NATO.

For guidelines on when such abbreviations may be used, see the individual listings and the AP Style Abbreviations page for further guidance.


Leave a Comment