Preferred Name at JHU

Johns Hopkins University offers students, faculty, and staff the option of using a preferred first name within select university systems.

A preferred or chosen name is the use of a first name that is different from a person’s legal name. There are many reasons why someone would use a preferred name, such as a reflection of gender identity, as a nickname, or as a westernized or Americanized name.

JHU reserves the right to remove a preferred name for any reason, including misrepresentation or the use of inappropriate, offensive or derogatory language.

This information applies to all schools and campuses at JHU, except where indicated.

For more information, read the university’s statement on supporting preferred names.

Specifying Your Preferred Name in JHU Systems

Some systems are automatically updated by the Preferred First Name specified in myJH while other systems require a manual update. The myJH portal also supports a Preferred Full name, which is more limited in use.

Learn more about specifying your preferred name.

Systems Supporting Preferred Name

These systems support a separate preferred name value or allow updating a first name.

myJH portal/JHEDAll schoolsStudents, faculty and staffSpecified via Preferred First Name and Preferred Full Name. Searchable via portal. Learn about the two fields in myJH.

Systems Automatically Updated

Outlook and Office 365All schoolsStudents, faculty and staffName set from Preferred First Name or Preferred Full Name in myJH. Learn about the two fields in myJH.
All schools except School of MedicineStudents and facultyPreferred Name set from Preferred First Name in myJH. Student names: Used in class rosters and for advising. Faculty names: Used in class rosters, class information and syllabi (varies by school).
Degree AuditAll schools except School of Nursing and School of MedicineStudentsPreferred Name set from Preferred First Name in myJH
All schools except Bloomberg School of Public Health
Students and faculty
First Name set from Preferred First Name in myJH if specified. Otherwise, First Name set from First Name in myJH.
CoursePlusBloomberg School of Public HealthStudents and facultyPreferred Name set from Preferred First Name in myJH. Used any place name appears.
Housing Portal (StarRez)Krieger and Whiting UndergraduateStudentsPreferred Name set from Preferred First Name in myJH
Homewood Rec CenterAll schoolsStudentsGoes By name set from Preferred First Name in myJH
eIRB2Research AreasStudents, faculty and staffPreferred Name used in place of First Name for user account
myLearningAll of JHUFaculty and staffPreferred Name will display on learning plans, history and certificates

Systems Requiring Direct Update

J-CardAll schoolsStudents, faculty and staffCard can be changed on request to display preferred name. Click here for information on obtaining a new J-Card.
ID Badges for East BaltimoreBloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of NursingStudents, faculty and staffCard can be changed on request to display preferred name. Click here for information on obtaining a new ID badge or check with your department for the process to follow.
NameCoachAll schoolsStudentsStudents update First Name as well as the field with name for announcement
Hopkins GroupsMostly Krieger and WhitingStudentsStudents update First Name
B-InvolvedCareyStudentsStudents update First Name
Zoom for StudentsAll schoolsStudentsStudents update Display Name in their profile
Zoom for Faculty and StaffAll schoolsFaculty and staffFaculty and staff update Display Name in their profile
Interlibrary LoanAll schools using the Sheridan LibraryStudents, faculty and staffContact Library Support staff to change First Name
Homewood Disability ServicesKrieger and Whiting Undergraduate and Graduate, PeabodyStudentsPreferred Name entered during first visit. Name specified should match myJH.
Student CounselingKrieger and Whiting Undergraduate, Peabody StudentsPreferred Name entered during first visit
Homewood Student Health and Wellness CenterKrieger and Whiting Undergraduate, PeabodyStudentsPreferred Name entered during first visit
Athletic Team RostersAll schoolsStudent AthletesStaff can update preferred name/nickname
HandshakeAll schoolsStudents and alumniPreferred Name set initially from SIS. Student/alumni enter subsequent changes.
Alumni RelationsAll schoolsAlumniStaff can update Nickname

Documents & Systems Requiring Legal Name

These documents and systems are among those that require your legal name.

  • Diplomas
  • Official Transcripts
  • Enrollment and Degree Verification
  • Teacher Certification (School of Education)
  • Student Accounts and Student Billing
  • Immigration Documents, SEVIS and iHopkins
  • Financial Aid
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Insurance and Benefits
  • Payroll

Preferred Name Guidelines for Faculty & Staff

For faculty and staff, using appropriate names is an important way of establishing norms of respect with the students you work with. For everyone, using appropriate names signals your willingness to be inclusive to everyone.

  • Wherever possible, use someone’s preferred name. This includes casual conversation, email communication, and formal settings.
  • A student can change their preferred name at any time. As faculty, periodically check your class roster for current preferred names.
  • If you are creating a registration/signup form, allow the use of preferred name only, unless there is some specific reason you need access to someone’s legal name.
  • Depending on which platforms you use, you may have access to a student or colleague’s legal name. Treat this as confidential data and do not employ it unless there is a specific need for it to be used.
  • There may be circumstances (e.g. when conducting a background check, dealing with financial records, or sending postal mail) when a legal name is required. Limit the use of that name to those circumstances.
  • There may be times (e.g. when contacting family members or writing letters of recommendation) when someone may not want the preferred name used. If you are hesitant about a particular context, you can ask privately if there is an exception to using the preferred name.
  • In most circumstances, someone’s JHED (e.g. jhopkin1) will stay static, so you can reliably use that to identify a record in SIS or other platforms even if the preferred name is not visible/searchable.


Direct questions about preferred name usage and support to one of the following groups: