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I'm trying to write a cover letter for a fairly prestigious job, and I'm aiming for (arguably too much) perfection in my cover letter. I don't want to be turned away only because the hiring people though I was too careless with my punctuation and capitalization.

My sentence goes as follows:

I hope to one day go on to complete a Masters degree in Computer Science with a focus in Applied Cryptography.

I've never been great with the technical rules of the English language, despite being a native speaker.

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It is a proper noun, as is Computer Science, so yes I would say that you should capitalize. –  Sam Jun 20 '13 at 23:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To quote the relevant sections of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS):

8.28 Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.

8.84 Academic subjects are not capitalized unless they form part of a department name or an official course name or are themselves proper nouns (e.g., English, Latin).

So if you were to follow CMoS, you would write:

I hope to one day go on to complete a master's degree in computer science, with a focus in applied cryptography.

CMoS notes in 8.85 that "official names of courses of study are capitalized." So if you wanted to highlight that you "took Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography 420 course," capitalizing "applied cryptography" would be appropriate in that case.

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CMoS for "cover letter for a fairly prestigious job"? –  Kris Jun 21 '13 at 11:33

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