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In writing (such as for statement of purpose in PhD application), how would you choose prep. in following or similar cases:

the department of A in/at/of School of B in/at/of University of C ....

Alternatively what do you usually write in such situation?

Thanks!

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about English Language Usage or English Language Learners SE. – scaaahu Dec 29 '13 at 6:10
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    Perhaps, the department of A at C University School of B. – Damkerng T. Dec 29 '13 at 10:26
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    I don't necessarily agree with the migration from Academia (I would have suggested a migration in other direction), but I'll provide an answer so the O.P. doesn't feel like a ping-pong ball. – J.R. Dec 29 '13 at 11:23
  • See also ELU, here and here. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 29 '13 at 14:44
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There are three entities in question. There is the name of the institution:

Yale University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
State University of New York – Stony Brook
John Abbott College
National University of Singapore

There is the name of the department:

Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Pure and Applied Science
Department of Chemistry
Department of Philosophy

There is the name of the school:

The McDonough School of Business
The Geisel School of Medicine
Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
School of Psychotherapy & Psychology
School of Pure and Applied Physics

Insofar as I understand it, there's a strong correlation between the departments of an institution, and their schools, and a professor might associate herself with a particular department, or a particular school, but not necessarily both.

Ann Haslett, School of Fine Arts, Quinnipiac University
Ann Haslett, Department of Music, Quinnipiac University

Moreover, I usually see such references listed using commas, not prepositions:

George McHarris, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
George McHarris, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Duke University

However, I suppose there might be exceptions to my one-but-not-both assertion:

Ann Haslett, School of Fine Arts, Department of Music, Quinnipiac University
George McHarris, Pratt School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Duke University

Now, getting back to the heart of your question, if I wanted to string this information together using prepositions, I would do it like this:

I worked for the Civil Engineering School in the Department of Engineering at the University of Suffolk.

In other words, I would say the school is in the department, and the department is at the school.

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    In your last lines, isn't a department in a school, instead of a school in a department, because a school hosts many departments? – Tim Dec 29 '13 at 16:23
  • @Tim - "school" in that context doesn't refer to the university (which is why I spent so much time on my preamble). An engineering department might have a School of Mechanical Engineering, a School of Electrical Engineering, and a School of Civil Engineering. – J.R. Dec 29 '13 at 18:08
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the Department of German in the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Montasota

or

The University of Montasota's Department of German in the College of Letters and Sciences


Note: I personally feel like X Department sounds better than Department of X, at least in this context.

Chemistry Department versus Department of Chemistry

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  • If the department is formally known as the Department of Chemistry, then I think it might be better to use lower-case when using that "X Department" form; in other words: the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington, vs. the Chemistry department at the University of Washington. – J.R. Dec 29 '13 at 12:11

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