Do I Capitalize Professor?
AP Style holds that you should never abbreviate the title “professor.”
Lowercase professor when it appears before a name.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.