AP Style Professor

Do I Capitalize Professor?

AP Style holds that you should never abbreviate the title “professor.”

Lowercase professor when it appears before a name.

For example,

  • The award was given to professor John Rubadeau.
  • I am studying economics under professor Milton Friedman.
  • After professor Williams introduces himself, you can continue studying.

When the word professor appears in a conferred title, it should be capitalized before a name.

For example,

  • The award was given to Professor Emeritus John Rubadeau.

Other examples of conferred titles are professorships and endowed chairs, which should be capitalized when they appear before a name.

For example,

  • The college congratulated University Distinguished Professor John Rubadeau.
  • The college congratulated Alumni Distinguished Professor John Rubadeau.

Only capitalize such things as they are a part of formal titles.

Following other AP Style conventions, you would not capitalize such a title when it is set of by commas.

For example,

  • Walter Williams, university distinguished professor, gave a lecture.

Just as you do not for other titles set off by commas,

  • Mike Pence, the vice president, gave a speech.

Also,

  • John Rubadeau holds the University Distinguished Professorship of Literature.

In this example, you are referring to the formal title of a specific professorship, the University Distinguished Professorship of Literature, so you capitalize it.

Do not include these titles in second reference unless it is part of a quotation.

See also AP Style Academic Titles.

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