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I'm writing a personal statement for graduate admissions, and I've a query regarding the use of capitalization in the midst of sentences. For example, is it correct/expected to capitalize the names of each (specialized) course I've undertaken (viz. should it be "One of my favorite subjects was Computational Geometry" or "One of my favorite subjects was computational geometry")? What about subsequent uses of the term - should I continue capitalizing it? Also, what about more generalized terms (such as "Electrical Engineering") - should they be capitalized as well?

All in all, I'm a bit confused, and afraid of committing a grammatical faux-pas in front of the admissions committee. Any suggestions (with proper reference, if any) would be greatly appreciated!

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My advice: Choke down your exuberant use of spaces. –  John Smithers Nov 20 '11 at 13:29
    
Ummm, sure - but did you read my actual question? –  TCSGrad Nov 20 '11 at 13:35

1 Answer 1

Capitals in English are used for proper nouns. Your two examples have slightly different shades of meaning.

  • One of my favorite subjects was Computational Geometry.

I read that as "One of my favorite subjects was Math 247, the specific course entitled 'Computational Geometry,' taught by Professor Angleton."

  • One of my favorite subjects was computational geometry.

I read that as "One of my favorite subjects was the general part of mathematics called computational geometry, where we used lots of math to figure out angles."

If "Computational Geometry" is a course given at your university, and no other course has that name, then capitalize it. If it's a branch of math (as you describe "electrical engineering" to be a branch of engineering), then don't capitalize it.

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