People and titles

General titles

Specific job titles should be capitalised, but generic job titles do not require capitalisation.

For example:

  • Sarah Porter Waterbury was appointed Vice-President (Advancement) in 2015.
  • In his research, Professor Kim Christensen, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial, explores why we are more likely to develop an abnormal heartbeat with age.
  • As Head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Professor Peter Childs has overall responsibility for the discipline of Engineering Design at Imperial.
  • Students who register with the Careers Service can meet careers advisors to discuss their applications.
  • The College’s research media officers can help you communicate your research more effectively.

The first time a member of academic staff is mentioned, their title, forename and surname should be used. Thereafter, title and surname only should generally be used. Forename only may be used in certain less formal contexts, as long as the full title and name is used in the first instance, and use of the forename only is consistent throughout the piece of writing.

For example:

  • (External-facing news item) Professor Chris Toumazou was awarded the Regius Professorship in October 2013. Professor Toumazou is a pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering.
  • (Current staff- or student-oriented news item) Professor Maggie Dallman is one of the leaders of the Reach Out CPD programme. In 2014, Maggie returned to her former primary school to see the initiative in action.

 When referring to a student or a member of professional staff (without an academic title), forename and surname should be used at the first mention, and generally forename only thereafter. In a formal context, title, forename and surname should be used at first mention, with title and surname used thereafter.

For example:

  • (General use) Tom Wheeler was elected President of the Students’ Union in 2014. Tom holds a BSc in Physics from Imperial.
  • (Award citation) Mrs Karen Tweddle was recognised for her work to enhance teaching quality in the Business School. Mrs Tweddle is Head of Teaching and Quality at the School.

Note the spelling of the following Imperial-specific titles:

  • Vice-President
  • Vice-Provost
  • Associate Provost

Formal titles

When addressing or referring to a person holding the title of Lord/Lady/Sir/Dame etc, it is advisable in the first instance to try and ascertain how he or she prefers to be addressed, and to follow that convention.

The Debretts website is a useful resource for guidance on addressing members of the peerage.

Below are some general notes and examples of common titles and forms of address.


Use title, forename and surname at first mention, and title and forename thereafter.

For example:

  • Sir Philip Dilley is Chair of Imperial’s Council. Sir Philip graduated from Imperial with a First in Civil Engineering in 1976.
  • Dame Ellen Macarthur visited Imperial in 2013 to discuss how civil and environmental engineering can contribute to the circular economy. Dame Ellen is renowned for her sailing accomplishments and her work with business and education.


The title of ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’ may be used by many types of peer (e.g., Earl, Baron, Baroness), so check the status of the person you wish to address.

Generally, the title and surname should be used. For a life peer, forename and surname should be followed by the name they chose when ennobled.

  • Ernst Ronald Oxburgh, Baron Oxburgh of Liverpool, is a former Rector of Imperial College London. During his time at the College, Lord Oxburgh oversaw the mergers that created the Faculty of Medicine.
  • Eliza Manningham-Buller, Baroness Manningham-Buller of Northampton, was Chair of Council at Imperial between 2009 and 2015. Baroness Manningham-Buller moved to a new position as Chair of the Wellcome Trust in 2015.

Combining titles

For a person with an academic title and another title, the academic title should generally precede the other title.

 For example:

  • Professor Sir John Pendry (subsequent mentions: Professor Pendry)
  • Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham (subsequent mentions: Professor Darzi)


In general, if an individual holds the memberships, awards, or honours listed below, the corresponding postnominals should be used the first time he or she is referred to. Other postnominals should be included only on a discretionary basis, and/or if requested by the individual.

An exception to this rule is in press releases and news stories, when postnominals should generally not be used.

The list below reflects the order in which postnominals should appear. Each postnominal should be separated by a space, without a comma.

  • Civil honours (e.g., Knight/Dame, CBE, OBE, MBE)
  • Military honours (e.g., VC, GC, GBE(Mil))
  • Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS); Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng); Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci)

For example:

  • Professor David Philips CBE
  • Professor Molly Stevens FREng


When referring to an alumnus of Imperial College London, the degree award, degree name and year of graduation should be included in parentheses after the individual’s full name, with each element separated by a space. This information can also be conveyed in prose where appropriate.

For example:

  • Kathryn Campbell (MSc Environmental Technology 1982)
  • Dr Matt Taylor (PhD Space Plasma Physics 2000)
  • Tony Hollingsworth, who graduated from Imperial in 1980 with an MSc in Management Science, played a key role in establishing Glastonbury as the globally-renowned music festival we know today.