Editorial Style Guide
Many UConn departments produce marketing materials and publications, and it is important that messaging be cohesive in order to reinforce the UConn brand. Following the UConn Editorial Guidelines helps the University communicate to the public in a consistent and professional way.
UConn Style Guide
(exceptions to, and reminders of, oft-used or confusing AP Style, which is our style. If it’s not here, see AP Style)
For use in editorial such as UConn Today and UConn Magazine. Marketing and other publications should adhere whenever possible, but exceptions are often made for creative or other reasons. The primary goals should be clarity, consistency, and readability.
updated August 24, 2022
- Abbreviations for academic degrees should not include periods (Exceptions: Ph.D., Pharm.D.)
- When spelling out academic degrees, use lowercase and an apostrophe (Example: bachelor’s degree) Also: an associate degree (no possessive)
- Do not list honorary degrees
- See Alumni and Titles (people) entries below
See Titles (people) entry below
- On first reference, spell out full formal name of organization (or other entity), followed by the acronym in parentheses; use the acronym in subsequent references (Exceptions include acronyms such as FBI, DNA, CIA, where the acronym is better known than the full title and can be used at first reference without spelling it out); avoid using acronyms where possible, especially if there are three or fewer references to the organization in the article; do not use acronyms the reader would not easily recognize
Example: The School of Business has joined the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).
- Plural forms of acronyms do not require an apostrophe (Example: Ph.D.s, NGOs)
(also see Students entry)
- Alumni is a Latin noun, so the ending changes according to gender and singular/plural: alumnus (singular, male); alumna (singular, female); alumni (plural, male or both genders); alumnae (plural, female). When in doubt, use the abbreviation “alum” or “alums.”
- When a UConn alum is mentioned in a story, on first reference his/her name should be followed by:
- The alum’s year of graduation from UConn; a closing apostrophe (’) should precede the graduation year (e.g., ’98)
- His/her School or College (and graduate/professional degree, if applicable). Indicate an undergraduate degree in parentheses as a School/College acronym and a graduate/professional degree as an abbreviation of the degree, without parentheses. If more than one degree, place a comma between each degree. For dual degrees in two colleges use a comma between the two.
Peter LaPorta ’86 (CLAS) released his second book.
Kelly Hennigan ’97 (CLAS, BUS), ’98 MS is a financial analyst.
Karen Myrick ’89 (NUR), ’99 MS, ’10 DNP teaches in the doctoral program.
Kevin Clarke ’04 MD arrived in Malawi.
- Acronyms for Schools/Colleges that award undergraduate degrees should appear as follows:
- College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources – CAHNR
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – CLAS
- Neag School of Education – ED
- Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture – RHSA
- School of Business – BUS
- School of Engineering – ENG
- School of Fine Arts – SFA
- School of Nursing – NUR
- School of Pharmacy – PHARM
- School of Social Work - SSW
Other/Former Schools and Colleges:
- Center for Continuing Studies – BGS
- Honorary Degree – H
- School of Allied Health – SAH
- School of Child Development and Family Relations, School of Human Development and Family Studies – HDFS
- School of Family Studies – SFS
- School of Home Economics – Home Ec.
Abbreviations for graduate and professional degrees should appear as follows:
- Doctor of Audiology – Au.D.
- Doctor of Dental Medicine – DMD
- Doctor of Medicine – MD
- Doctor of Musical Arts – DMA
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – DNP
- Doctor of Pharmacy – Pharm.D.
- Doctor of Philosophy – Ph.D.
- Doctor of Physical Therapy – DPT
- Juris Doctor – JD
- Master of Arts – MA
- Master of Business Administration – MBA
- Master of Dental Science – MDS
- Master of Fine Arts – MFA
- Master of Music – MM
- Master of Professional Studies – MPS
- Master of Public Administration – MPA
- Master of Public Health – MPH
- Master of Public Policy – MPP
- Master of Science – MS
- Master of Science in Physical Therapy – MSPT
- Master of Social Work – MSW
- Sixth-Year Certificate – 6th Year
NOTE: Do not use periods in abbreviations for degrees that are all caps (MD, MSW); only use periods where there’s a mix of caps and lower case (Ph.D., Pharm.D.).
Use JD for law school grads, not LAW. Use H for Honorary Degree recipients.
Bacteria, genus, species
Italicize references to bacteria, genus names, and species names; species names should be lowercase. (Example: “His research focuses on Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite carried by the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa that causes sleeping sickness.”)
Black(s), white(s) (n.)
Do not use either term as a singular noun.
Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.
NOTE: See AP Stylebook for full updated entries under “Race-related coverage.”
Do not capitalize. Refer to regional campuses as “UConn Avery Point,” for example, never “UConn’s Avery Point campus.”
- Avoid all caps where possible; use upper and lowercase instead: “Big East,” “UConn 2000.”
- Do not use all-capital-letter names unless the letters are pronounced (Example: BMW, Ikea not IKEA. Exception: UConn is always UConn.)
Centers and Institutes
For the formal names of the UConn and UConn Health’s recognized centers and institutes, refer to the following webpages for the most current lists:
- Academic centers and institutes: https://provost.uconn.edu/administrators-and-leadership/centers-and-institutes/
- Clinical and basic science departments and centers at UConn Health: https://research.uconn.edu/our-research/centers-and-institutes/
Per AP Style, use the term COVID-19 when referring specifically to the disease: COVID-19 treatments, COVID-19 patients, COVID-19 deaths, recovering from COVID-19. See AP Stylebook “Coronaviruses” entry for further information.
Degrees and Majors
- Use lowercase for majors except proper nouns (NOTE: Exceptions may be made on University websites and marketing collateral when detailing specific academic programs; the formal program name can be capitalized)
- For the most current list of UConn’s academic degrees, majors, and minors, please refer to the following resources, which are posted online around the start of each academic year:
- Undergraduate Course Catalog: http://www.catalog.uconn.edu/
- Graduate Course Catalog: http://catalog.grad.uconn.edu/
See Schools/Colleges entry below
Refer to a Ph.D. as a “doctorate” (noun) or a “doctoral” (adj.) degree; do not use Ph.D. in apposition to a name, as in “Mary Smith, Ph.D., is a professor of genetics.”
Exception: UConn Health uses Ph.D. in apposition to names to differentiate medical doctors from those with doctoral degrees.
Emeritus is a Latin adjective, so the ending changes according to gender and singular/plural: emeritus (singular, male); emerita (singular, female); emeriti (plural, male or both genders); emeritae (plural, female).
Capitalize “Fiscal Year” only when associated with a specific year; also, do not use periods in the abbreviation (Examples: “Fiscal Year 2012,” “FY 2012,” and “this fiscal year”)
- Capitalize the first letter of all words in headlines, with the exception of prepositions, articles, and conjunctions that are less than four letters long, such as for, but, and, or, nor, a, an, to, and the. Always capitalize the first and last word in the headline, regardless of word length. Examples:
- Improving Security for Information Transmitted Online
- Sounds of Music Rise in Phoenix Museum
- The Joy of Artistic Expression
- Use single quotes in headlines (Example: ‘Arms Race’ Targets MRSA)
- Resource: Capitalizemytitle.com allows you to plug in your headline, choose your style guide, and gives you the proper capitalization
Capitalize this term used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. (Per AP)
- Generally, spell out one through nine; use numerals for the rest. Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence. (Examples: “He wrote five books.” or “She sold 15 manuscripts this year.” or “Twenty-five students attended the dinner.”)
- Exceptions to these rules include the following, in which numerals should always be used:
- Days of the month
- Serial numbers
- Degrees of temperature
- Sums of money
- House numerals
- Time of day
- K-12 grades
- Time of races
See AP Stylebook “Numerals” entry for details.
Use hyphens (Example: 860-486-3530)
Use hyphens (Example: Jane Doe, a professor-in-residence in the Department of English …)
- Use serial comma in lists NOTE: this is an exception to AP Style.
- One space after periods
- One space on either end of an em dash
- One space on either end of ellipses (Example: “We have fewer than 20 students … these are important numbers for future students.”)
- No space around en dashes in dates (Example: May 15–26, 2011)
- Initials: Use periods, but no space, when an individual or organization uses initials instead of a full name (Example: “the A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities”)
- Brackets: Use [ ] for material added to quotes. Example: “She said Coach [Geno Auriemma] was responsible for her success.”
- Quotation marks: Single quotes for a quote within a quote; single quotes for a quote within a headline or caption. NOTE: otherwise use regular quotes!
See Campus entry above
Don’t use the symbol; do capitalize the name (Examples: Kleenex; AstroTurf)
Use “says” not “said” in running copy; use past tense “said” when it’s tied to a particular time or event (Example: “At a press conference at the Capitol, the Governor said the budget was dire.”)
- Capitalize “School” and “College” when referring to one of UConn’s 14 academic Schools/Colleges (Example: “…says Indrajeet Chaubey, dean of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.”)
- When a shortened form of a UConn School/College is used on second reference, capitalize the word “School” or “College”
Example: LaFlamme’s multimillion dollar bequest is the largest gift in the history of the School of Pharmacy.
“I realized there was an opportunity here for me to do something really special, really spectacular, and help the School move forward,” he says.
- When relevant (in terms of content) and possible (in terms of story length), try to identify the Schools and Colleges in which specialties reside.
Example: “a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Science”
- When listing multiple schools or colleges, lowercase "school" but capitalize the other nouns
Example: She holds a dual appointment in the schools of Pharmacy and Nursing.
- For a complete list of UConn’s Schools and Colleges, refer to uconn.edu.
Department, Division, School, and College references:
For departments, divisions, schools, and colleges within UConn, use uppercase when referring to the formal name (Examples: “the School of Law,” “the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,” “the Division of Athletics”)
Use lowercase in other instances, except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives (Examples: “the English department,” “UConn’s linguistics department”)
- 3D – Per AP, a recent change from 3-D
- African American – Per AP, do not hyphenate as a noun and adjective. This is not interchangeable with Black (see Black entry above; read AP Stylebook’s in-depth “race-related coverage” entry)
- Bioscience Connecticut
- commencement (lowercase)
- Downtown Storrs (no longer “Storrs Center”)
- health care – Spell as two words (Example: “… can elevate the quality of health care” or “… to improve health care delivery”) except when it is listed as one word in the name of a company or publication (Example: “The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is located in Maryland.” or “He is publisher of Hearing Healthcare News.”)
- internet, lowercase
- IPB – When referring to the Innovation Partnership Building. Tech Park for the foreseeable future will consist of one building – IPB – and as such we should focus our reference on the building rather than the larger park concept.
- Jonathan – When referring to Jonathan the (live) husky dog in copy, use Roman numerals (not Arabic) after his name to indicate which dog is being referenced. NOTE: The current husky (since 2014) is Jonathan XIV. The mascot is Jonathan (no numbers)
- Neag School of Education – Do not use all caps for the Neag School of Education.
- orthopaedic – for academics and research; orthopedic – for clinical, patient-facing use cases or for broad, general readerships
- Tech Park – See IPB entry above
- theater – Spell with an “er” in generic references to a theater; for proper names of specific theaters, follow the spelling for the official name of the theater (Exceptions to “theater” spelling for on-campus venues: Student Union Theatre; Nafe Katter Theatre; Connecticut Repertory Theatre; Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre)
- UConn Magazine – The title of the University’s alumni magazine will appear as UConn Magazine in running copy (all italics, with the word “magazine” capitalized only when it appears as part of the publication’s title)
- U.S. – Follow AP style, which accepts the abbreviation as a noun or adjective for “United States.” Unlike AP style, keep the periods in headlines, too.
- Washington, D.C.
- website, “the web,” lowercase
- For other questions regarding spelling, refer to the most recent version of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
(currently in its 11th edition, available online at www.M-W.com)
Follow AP Style: spell out all
For STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), spell out on first or second reference. STEAM (adds "art"), spell out on first reference (not as familiar to audiences).
- When a current UConn undergraduate student is mentioned in a story, on first reference specify the student’s anticipated year of graduation (e.g., ’14), followed by the acronym for his/her School or College, in parentheses (See Alumni entry for style). If possible, specify the student’s major(s) as well. Example: “John Smith ’14 (CLAS) is a psychology major who …”
- When a current UConn graduate/doctoral student is mentioned in a story, if possible specify the type of degree and the student’s field of study. Year of graduation is typically omitted for graduate/doctoral students, unless they are in their final semester and know they will graduate.
Examples: “Sue Smith, who is pursuing a master’s degree in history…”; “… says John Ngunjiri, now a Ph.D. candidate in molecular and cell biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences …”
Don’t use superscript with numerals (Example: 9th grade)
Use this spelling unless the proper name is Theatre. At UConn:
- Connecticut Repertory Theatre (not a place; the producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts)
- Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre (a smaller theater at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts)
- Nafe Katter Theatre
- Student Union Theatre
- Use the word “to” in copy, not a hyphen or an en dash: “from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.;” only use an en dash in abbreviated copy, such as a calendar item or an invitation: “11 a.m.–2 p.m.”
- Use “noon” and “midnight,” not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
- 9 a.m. (not 9:00 a.m.)
- Titles (books, films, TV shows, lectures): The general guidelines, followed by some examples:
- Italicize titles of journals and magazines
- Use quotation marks around titles of books, TV shows, films, songs and albums, etc. (Examples: the NBC-TV “Today” program; a performance in the Broadway debut of “South Pacific”)
- Use quotation marks around titles of journal articles and unpublished dissertations
- Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters (Example: “Gone With the Wind”)
- Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words fewer than four letters only if it is the first or last word in a title (Example: “The Star-Spangled Banner”)
- Use “titled” or “called” rather than “entitled.” (Examples: “A presentation titled ‘Alliteration in Chaucer’s manuscripts,’” or “a book called ‘Moo.’”)
- Titles (people):
- Capitalize a title preceding a name only if it is used as a form of address (Examples: “Professor John Smith;” “accounting professor Jane Smith;” “assistant professor of management Joe Brown”)
- Capitalize the title of an endowed chair (Example: “Joe Smith, the Pratt & Whitney Chair of Engineering”)
- Capitalize the title of professors with the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors designation (Example: “Joseph Renzulli, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of educational psychology”)
- On subsequent references, use the person’s last name only, unless included as part of a quotation
- Whether or not you choose to use the full name of an endowed chair is an editorial choice dependent on content and length. For example, in short stories or captions where the endowed chair title is relevant, last name and “Chair in [blank]” can be used. (Example: instead of “James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History,” OK to use “Draper Chair in American History”)
- Do not use “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or other courtesy titles, unless included as part of a quotation
Exception: Use “Dr.” before a full name only for physicians and dentists, on first reference only; do not add “MD” or “DMD” after the name.
- In cases where it is important to distinguish between DMDs/MDs/DOs and Ph.D.s, use Ph.D. in apposition to the name. Typically, however, Ph.D.s are identified as professors or by specialty (i.e. biologist John Smith). See also Doctorate entry
- If the physician or dentist is a UConn alum, follow the style outlined in the Alumni entry above.
- Titles (UConn courses): Capitalize the main words in the name of the course and do not use quotation marks. (Example: Introduction to LGBT Literature)
- Capitalize names of all universities (Examples: University of Connecticut, Tulane University, University of Cincinnati), but lowercase universities when several are grouped together: (Example: the universities of Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania)
- Capitalize “University” by itself when referring to the University of Connecticut (Example: “Pratt & Whitney will work with UConn on fundamental and applied research initiatives. The University’s primary focus will be research in…”); also capitalize University for UConn when it is used as an adjective: (Example: the University community; University-wide)
- Lowercase “university” when referring to universities in general (Example: “UConn has created one of the best human rights teaching and research programs at a public university anywhere in the world …”)
Style for Alumni News & Notes (Specific to UConn Magazine only)
- Follow AP style for decades (Example: 1940s)
- Use commas properly when writing about people and their spouses or children. It keeps things from getting tangled up when you read. (Example: “Kevin M. Flood ’96 MS and his wife, Suzanna, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Jack Francis Flood, on June 8, 2002.”)
- List alum by name, followed by graduation year, followed by School/College (listed in parentheses for undergraduate degree); and/or by degree abbreviation (without parentheses for graduate/professional degrees).
- Bold the name of alum as well as School/College/degree and graduation year(s). A closing apostrophe (’) should precede the graduation year. If more than one degree, place a comma between each degree.
Peter LaPorta ’86 (CLAS) released his second book …
Kelly Hennigan ’97 (CLAS), ’98 MS is a financial analyst …
- Maiden name appears in parentheses (Example: “Christine (Thiele) Hoeffner ’73 (CLAS) is a specialist.”)
- See Alumni entry above for School, College, and graduate degree abbreviations for Alumni News & Notes