Writing about COVID-19

Our preference is to use 'COVID-19' when writing about the coronavirus, rather than 'Covid-19' or 'covid-19'.

This is consistent with the World Health Organization's use of the abbreviation and its use in scientific papers.

At Imperial

Council, Court, Senate

Imperial’s main governance bodies – the Council, the Court and the Senate – should always be capitalised.

Faculties, departments, schools, institutes, centres and groups

The formal name of a unit within the College should be capitalised. For general use, or when talking about more than one unit, do not capitalise.

For example:

  • The Applied Modelling and Computation Group is based within the Department of Earth Science and Engineering.
  • There are over 100 research centres and groups at Imperial.


Imperial’s professional and support services are organised into divisions. The name of the division should be capitalised, the word ‘division’ should generally not be used in communication for an external audience. A division is generally singular.

For example:

  • Communications and Public Affairs includes Communications and Digital and Creative Media.
  • Estates Facilities manages the College’s land and buildings.
  • The Student Hub team provide information and support for students.

Buildings and places

Imperial’s building names should generally be capitalised and used in full. Acronyms used internally (for example, SAF, RSM) should not be used in written communication that is likely to be read by an external audience.

For example:

  • Beit Hall is one of Imperial’s 14 halls of residence.
  • The Sir Alexander Fleming Building is located at South Kensington Campus.
  • A public lecture held in the Commonwealth Building was well attended.


Winter, spring, summer and autumn should not be capitalised, including when used in relation to the academic year.

For example:

  • The summer term runs from 25 April to 26 June 2015.


For title of webpages, articles and sections within an article, sentence case should be used. This means that only the first letter of the title and proper nouns are capitalised.

For example:

  • (on a webpage) Support for partners and business
  • (in a publication) Find out more

For books, films, songs, games, television programmes etc, capitalise the first word of the title and all other words except articles, prepositions and conjunctions.

For example:

  • The Theory of Everything
  • A Brief History of Time
  • The Sky at Night

Sentence case should be used for headlines and the titles of articles, chapters and lectures.

For example:

  • (Advertisement for lecture) Dennis Anderson Lecture this Friday: UK energy policy – full steam ahead, but to where?
  • (News article) Professor Mary Morrell recently published an article entitled ‘The impact of sleep and hypoxia on the brain: potential mechanisms for the effects of obstructive sleep apnea’.
  • (News headline) New app developed at Imperial helps sickle cell anaemia patients keep medical records

When referring to the names of conferences or lecture series, title case should be used.

For example:

  • The Our Common Future under Climate Change conference took place in April 2015 in Paris.
  • The Grantham Annual Lecture took place in June.

Find out more

See the sections on People, Titles, Punctuation and Italics.