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Do You Capitalize The Word "Psychology" When Writing?

Do You Capitalize The Word "Psychology" When Writing?

Perhaps you've taken a course in college or are writing a paper that includes the word "psychology" in it, describing the science that studies human behavior (and cognitive processing). Still, you want to know in which cases one is supposed to capitalize the word. This article will explore the cases where it is proper to capitalize the word "psychology."

According to the general rules of English grammar, all academic subjects such as astronomy, psychology, history, social studies, and math are not written in capital letters unless they are proper nouns.

As with most things in life, there are exceptions to these rules. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the capitalization of the word, examples, and more.

psychology neon sign

Exceptions In Capitalization

When capitalizing, there are exceptions, these include:

  • If they are a language (English, Swedish, Chinese, Mongolian, Swahili, Italian).
  • If they are a culture (Aztec, Latin, American, Maya, Hindi, Malay, Singaporean, Japanese).
  • If they are a religion (Christian, Buddhism, Muslim, Judaism).

For example:

  • Dani's and Carmen's favorite language is Portuguese, although speaking it is unusual for them.
  • I feel prepared for my next English morning lesson; I reviewed all of yesterday's notes.
  • Chinese, of course, is considered a top language for commercial activities.

In the above examples, the terms are used as language and class subjects. It is appropriate to capitalize these words since they are already official languages, but they could also refer to academic subjects.

For example:

  • I fell in love with the Malay relaxed yet productive way of living.
  • Japanese discipline has shocked more than one individual; their precision is incredible!
  • Latin culture is known for hosting big meals and motivating dancing.

These examples refer to a specific culture that belongs to a particular country. Therefore, one should write them in capital letters.

For example:

  • Christianity is among the main religions worldwide.
  • I've heard the "enlightened" state; it is part of what Buddhism prophesies.
  • Judaism is represented by a crossed star symbol inside a circle; colors like gold, black, blue, orange, and purple are mostly used to identify the religion rapidly.

According to the general rules of English grammar, all academic subjects such as astronomy, psychology, history, social studies, and math are not written in capital letters unless they are a language (English, Swedish, Chinese, Mongolian, Swahili, Italian), culture (Aztec, Latin, American, Maya, Hindi, Malaysian, Singaporean, Japanese), or religion (Christian, Buddhism, Muslim, Judaism).

Capitalizing the term "Psychology"

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychology is the branch of science that studies the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior and emotions. The study of psychology supports itself by statistics and experiences that explain how human beings interact. These statistics and symptoms are found in the Diagnostic & Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Although the term "psychology" refers to a science field – a branch of studies that deals with human cognitive processing, it is referred to as an overall noun and a common one, so it is written in lowercase.

Examples

  • Aaron disagrees with his brother's idea of studying psychology.
  • Meredith decided to apply inverse psychology when training her puppy.
  • Whenever there is a group of people, one can identify psychology principles in action.

However, just like any other grammar rule, when capitalizing, there are exceptions. In the following sections, we discuss edge cases. These are occasions where one should write the term "psychology" in capital letters.

Whenever writing essays, articles, homework, letters, emails, it is best to understand that there are style references that establish those words that one must write in capital letters and under which circumstances.

These guide references like APA, MLA, AP have had changes in time. Before starting a written work, make sure you are up to date with those changes; they could be additions or rules that have become obsolete.

Exceptions Edge Cases

Listed below are the occasions where one is supposed to capitalize subjects in academic contexts. Overall there are four prominent edge cases. If you want to deliver a good quality paper, take into account these exceptions, as well as their possible updates.

  1. A) When the sentence refers to a specific academic unit title, you should capitalize the word "psychology."

Examples:

  • School of Psychology 
  • Department of Psychology and Culture Sciences
  • Psychology Committee
  • Educational Psychology Seminary

On the other hand, when academic studies work as nouns, they are not supposed to be uppercased. The reason for this is that the noun takes the role of describing rather than directly addressing or granting a title to someone. In these cases, the term should be in lowercase.

For example:

  • He is an English minor, while his sister is a psychology major.
  • Dr. Elliot is the best option to enroll with for the psychology seminar on building A.
  • Paige told me she would learn twenty major psychology principles by the end of summer.
  • You can pick up your report from the psychology office.

"The psychology office" doesn't include the institution where the office belongs to or its location, nor the country. Since it lacks specificity, it is considered a common noun.

Furthermore, the writer must not capitalize fields of study, minors, or majors unless they are written next to a proper noun. For example, if the term "psychology" appears in a sentence as a college course, the writer should capitalize it. The reason for this is due to the specificity of the study class.

For example:

  • Arantza, Matthew, and Tai will enroll in Psychology 102 next semester.
  • Mr. McAllister has uploaded the lesson for our Systemic Bias and Psychology course.
  • Awesome! There's space for one more student in Psychology and Living Interactions – 02.
  • Georgina and Toulouse are visitors to our Human Consciousness and Psychology class.
  • Sadly, Adelaide failed her Introduction to Psychology pop quiz.

Alternatively, suppose the term appears in the sentence as a generic noun. In that case, the writer should not write it in uppercase since it would be the same as referring to any place, thing, or idea – general words without an identifier.

The following are other examples where the term "psychology" is used as a common noun:

  • I didn't know about the possibilities our college office in Canada offers for studying psychology.
  • Her whole family took courses in psychology to polish their career skills.
  • Jen took a test that revealed her active listening would make her an excellent teacher in psychology.
  • Both her aunt and best friend decided to register for next month's psychology education congress.
  • Dani and Andre received materials for their monthly psychology workshop.

The word "psychology" should also be capitalized if it appears on awards of completion, certificates, or diplomas.

siluettes of the human mind

Additional Exceptions

The below listed are other exceptions where the term "psychology" should be in capital letters.

  1. A) When the term "psychology" appears on a diploma or certificate

Examples:

  • Eliza Berringer just finished her Master's in Psychology.
  • Junior Mattel excelled in his Honours Bachelor in Psychology.
  • Last year our group won an award in First Aid Psychology.  
  • Victoria Then appeared in a newspaper article for winning first place in the international Mind Games Psychology Contest.
  1. B) When the term is in a list of official degree titles

For example:

  • The Department of Applied Humanities offers these degrees: Doctorate in General Psychology, Senior Psychology Associate, and Bachelor of Psychology. 
  • Her academia has enabled these degrees for those interested in taking them: Educational Psychology Educator, Master's in Communicative Psychology, Doctorate in Distance Learning, and Psychology. 
  • Boston College announced their scholarship for the following degrees: Professor in Cultural Psychology, Psychology Major Associate, and Psychology Bachelor of Science. 

The examples at the top describe titles that people and interested students would want to achieve. In an academic context, a person must invest extra time and effort to earn labels that will later benefit the chosen professional career. These titles would enhance any curriculum.

  1. C) At the beginning of a sentence

This edge case responds to the English rule once learned in first grade, where one should write all words at the beginning of any complete thought in capital letters.

The following are examples where the term "psychology" introduces a written thought.

  • Psychology tries to establish patterns of behavior, but cases vary from person to person.
  • Psychology was my first choice as a major, but I later went for interior design.
  • Psychology and reflexive principles have been in public debates lately.
  • Psychology has helped my aunt, as she has assisted therapy.

Conclusion

"Psychology" is the name used to describe the science that deals with human behavior and its interactions with emotions. As a general rule, the term should not be capitalized. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions for capitalizing "psychology."

These are: for specific academic unit titles, at the beginning of a sentence, when the term appears on a diploma or certificate, and when it appears on a list of official degrees.

If you are writing materials of various types that include the term, make sure you keep up with the style and grammar guidelines the English language has. Since these serve as a reference, some terms could be altered, removed, or added to these rules.

The result of remembering these capitalization principles is that your material will have correct word punctuation. If it's homework, those authorized to grade it will positively review it. But also, the readers will get to know the rules by seeing the writer apply them.