Common Writing Style Guidelines
Whichever style manual you follow, the most important thing is consistency.
Writing guidelines and style manuals may vary by academic discipline or writing purpose. You are encouraged to follow your unit’s designated or preferred style manual and writing guidelines.
Please note there are instances where print and web writing guidelines will differ.
Abbreviations / Acronyms
Spell out the full title the first time it is used. Do not include the acronym/abbreviation in parentheses behind the full title. Use the acronym on all subsequent references.
Spell out the full title the first time the acronym/abbreviation is used on every page. The exception to this is the mention of UND.
Spell out as much as possible, especially if the full name has keywords that audiences may search for (use Nistler College of Business & Public Administration vs. CoBPA).
Campus Postal Address Guidelines
All UND department address listings – including return addresses, mailing labels, website footers, business cards, letterheads and envelopes – must follow Campus Postal guidelines as listed:
Street Names: Abbreviate but do not include a full stop (period). Example: Ave, Blvd, St, Dr, Ln and Rd
Compass Points: Abbreviate but do not include a full stop (period). Example: N, E, W, SE and NW
States: Use U.S. Postal Service state abbreviations.
Division of Marketing & Communications
Twamley Hall Room 407
264 Centennial Dr Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Associated Press Style
When listing an address in a paragraph, follow The Associated Press style manual. In paragraph format, list an address as “the Division of Marketing & Communications, Twamley Hall, Room 407, 264 Centennial Drive, Stop 7144, Grand Forks, N.D. 58202.”
However, if you are using an address block, use the U.S. Postal Service style for states (two letters, no periods):
Division of Marketing & Communications
Twamley Hall, Room 407
264 Centennial Dr Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58201
- Do not place a comma between the street and the stop number. A comma may be placed between the hall and room number, the city and state.
- Do not abbreviate the word “building,” especially when it is part of the structure’s name (such as the Education Building).
- Other than Campus Postal, do not abbreviate alley, road, drive, terrace, circle.
- Always spell out and capitalize First through Ninth as part of a street name. Use figures for 10th and above.
- Follow AP style for state abbreviations in all cases but Campus Postal and U.S. Postal Service block addresses.
- Always use figures for an address number: 7 Morningside Circle.
Advisor / Adviser
Use advisor. This is an exception to the AP Stylebook.
And / &
For the sake of consistency, any UND unit with “and” in its name is encouraged to use the ampersand (&) in place of “and” in all instances. Do not use the ampersand (&) for unofficial names.
- Division of Finance & Operations
- Department of Microbiology & Immunology
- Join us at the College of Arts & Sciences for coffee and cookies.
- Tips and Tricks
- Capitalize standing UND units, both as formal names and shortened forms.
- Name or title of a person or entity, e.g. “Chief Executive Jane Smith,” “Ministry of Social Stability.”
- Acronyms and abbreviations, e.g. UNICEF.
- University always should be capitalized when used in reference to University of North Dakota.
- Proper names of all University units, including colleges, schools, departments and programs are capitalized.
Capitalization in “display” usages (publication covers, advertisements, invitations, etc.) is dictated by what seems appropriate and logical.
As a general rule, lowercase is preferred in modern web writing. Capitalize sparingly. Use capital letters only for the initial letter of a sentence and for headings which should all be in title case.
College / School Names
UND colleges and schools should be written as follows:
- School of Aerospace Sciences
- College of Arts & Sciences
- Nistler College of Business & Public Administration
- College of Education & Human Development
- College of Engineering & Mines
- School of Graduate Studies
- School of Law
- School of Medicine & Health Sciences
- College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines
Fields of Study
When used to describe a general subject area or generic field of interest, academic disciplines are not capitalized.
When referring to a specific degree, treat it like a proper name and capitalize. The context of your content determines whether you are referring to general/generic or specific/proper.
Proper terms such as English, Spanish, German, etc., always are capitalized.
Formal titles are capitalized when used before a name and lowercase when used after a name.
- Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Jane Doe
- Dr. Jane Doe, vice president for Student Affairs
Use chair, and not chairman, chairwoman or chairperson. It usually looks better to use this title after the name. This is a departure from the AP Stylebook.
Jane Jones, chair of the Biology Department, assigned...
Days / Months / Years
Do not abbreviate days of the week, except as necessary in charts, tables and calendars.
Months are abbreviated in text when a specific date is cited (e.g., Feb. 12, 2016.). In general, these months are not abbreviated unless necessary due to space: March, April, May, June and July (e.g., March 4, 2016).
Months are not abbreviated in text when no specific date is cited. No comma is used (e.g., February 2016).
Do not include “nd,” “rd” or “th” on day dates (such as 22nd, 23rd, 27th).
- Jan. 20, 1989
- April 1997
- October 2012
Use the apostrophe for the general references: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree.
Doctoral is an adjective, and doctorate is a noun.
Abbreviations are OK for the first reference of familiar degrees, or if they are in lists:
- B.A. = Bachelor of Arts
- M.S. = Master of Science
- Ph.D. = Doctor of Philosophy
Abbreviations for degrees use periods. Examples: B.A., B.S., M.A. Ph.D., Ed.D.
In the first reference, use Dr. before the name of only individuals who have earned degrees as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Osteopathy or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Do not use Dr. in subsequent references, except in direct quotes.
Do not use Dr. before the names of individuals with academic doctorates, except in direct quotes.
Do not use Dr. before the names of individuals who hold only honorary doctorates.
Capitalize all occurrences of UND in the email address to help the brand stand out.
UND.info@UND.edu or john.doe@UND.edu.
Do not capitalize any other letters.
When possible, keep official University names together. If a break is necessary, keep the lines balanced and do not end a line with a, an or the.
The school offers a degree
in mechanical engineering.
University of North
The school offers a
degree in mechanical engineering.
In text, use digits for all numbers 10 and above. Spell out numbers nine and below (except for the specific postal number in an address). For example: 7 First St. is correct.
Include commas in larger digits (e.g. 1,000 vs. 1000).
If the number is important to stress time periods, deadlines, dates or steps, consider using a cardinal number rather than text to call attention to the number.
Use periods in denotations of time (e.g., p.m. and a.m.).
Avoid exclamation points. If one is used, use only one to punctuate a sentence.
Periods go inside quotation marks.
Use one space after a period at the end of a sentence.
When listing a specific room in a building, capitalize Room and use a number.
- Room 27 in Gamble Hall
- Gamble Hall, Room 27
Season / Semester / Term
Lowercase, including uses with academic terms and commencement.
- Registration for the spring 2020 semester will open Nov. 21.
As stand-alone content in advertising and other designs, it is preferred to use periods for aesthetic purposes as they appear more modern and complement the formats of web and email addresses.
Use a.m. and p.m. in lowercase with periods. With even hours, there is no need to use the colon mark and 00.
- 10 a.m., 4 p.m.
- In schedules, the colon and 00 may be used if it helps the appearance or clarity.
University of North Dakota
The formal name of the University and its display in the logotype is University of North Dakota. The word “The” was removed from the formal name. “The” is not capitalized before “University of North Dakota,” except when it begins a sentence.
In external communications, University of North Dakota always should be spelled out as an identifier (usually accomplished through the primary UND or unit logotype) and in the first instance the University is referenced in body content.
Because it cannot be assumed that all audiences know the location of UND, it is recommended to include “Grand Forks” in the content of external communications (e.g., contact information, body content or on the spine or cover of a publication).
Web Addresses, UND
To help the UND brand stand out, write web addresses with an uppercase UND and lowercase subdomain. Do not use the “www,” and do not capitalize any letters after the backslash (/) in the web address.