Style Guide

The University of Tampa Style Guide provides guidelines for writers on campus. The purpose is to help produce consistency throughout the University's publications and website.

The guidelines are based on the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, Webster's New World Dictionary, and local usage. In cases of conflict, The University of Tampa Style Guide supersedes the AP Stylebook and AP supersedes Webster's. Entries address questions that may commonly arise when writing about the University, such as building and place names and proper reference to various University entities. Please consult the AP Stylebook or Webster's Dictionary for further reference.

Email questions or comments to the Office of Public Information at publicinfo@ut.edu.


abbreviations and acronyms
In general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms on first reference if the reader would not quickly recognize them. Some widely-used acronyms, such as ROTC or HTML, are acceptable on first reference. Refer to the AP Stylebook.

academic degrees
In text, use bachelor's degree or bachelor's rather than B.A. or B.S. ; master's degree or master's rather than M.A. or M.S. ; doctoral degree or doctorate rather than Ph.D. or Ed.D.: He has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's in translation, and a doctorate in comparative literature.

B.A. or B.S. (with periods); Ph.D. or Ed.D. (with periods), J.D. and R.N. (with periods); degrees with more than two letters do not take the periods such as MBA, MSN, BSN, MFA, MS-FIN, MS-MKT, BSBA, MABA, etc.; master's degree and bachelor’s degree (with apostrophes), but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

Use abbreviations such as B.A., M.A., LL.D., and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome.

academic titles
Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chairman, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere.

ampersand (&)
Use the word “and” unless the ampersand is found in the formal name of a company.

ACT, SAT
Do not spell out.

adviser
Not advisor, but don't change the spelling in formal titles of organization or offices.

alumna, alumnae (female); alumnus, alumni (male)
Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

a.m., p.m.
Lowercase, with periods.

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science
A bachelor's degree or bachelor's is acceptable in any reference.

Board of Counselors
Use Counselors after first reference.

Board of Fellows
Use Fellows after first reference.

Board of Trustees
Use Trustees after first reference.

campus buildings
Follow the spelling listed on the campus map in the University telephone directory. Capitalize proper names of buildings and subunits of buildings and shortened forms based on proper names. Do not capitalize generic names of facilities or abbreviations based on generic names.

capitalization

  • committees, commissions and boards. Capitalize full, formal names of committees, commissions, task forces and advisory boards. Strive for consistency.
  • distinguished titles. Capitalize only proper names in titles of named and distinguished professorships and endowed chairs.
  • divisions and affiliates of the university. Capitalize the names of schools, academic departments and divisions of the university when writing them as they appear in the telephone directory. Lowercase the names that are flopped or shortened:
Department of English, English department

Office of Admissions, admissions office

Capitalize College on second reference to any of the University's colleges (i.e. College of Natural and Health Sciences). Avoid using College when there could be confusion about which College is intended. In such instances, use CNHS, CAL, CSME or COB on second reference.  

chairman, chairwoman
Capitalize only as a formal title before a name: company Chairman John Doe, committee Chairwoman Jane Smith.

College of Arts and Letters, College of Natural and Health Sciences, College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education
(No ampersands - & - in any college names)

composition titles
On titles, we go with the Times/MLA style: italics for titles of books, plays, movies, collections, TV series; “quotation marks” for individual stories, poems, songs, episodes.

course numbers
Use Arabic numerals and capitalize the subject when used with a numeral: History 101 Philosophy 209. Do not use quotation marks. Do not place title in parentheses.

courtesy titles
Refer to both men and women by first and last name. Use the courtesy title only in direct quotations.

credit hours
For the purposes of the catalog, credit hours should be written with Arabic numerals (2, 3, 28).  

The use of "semester hours" is not permitted. "Credit hours" and "total credit hours" are the style. 

dashes
We use em dashes instead of en dashes or hyphens, with a space on either side.
(Ex. Leon has traveled a long road toward the election for State Attorney — one marked with many potholes.)

database
One word, in keeping with widespread usage. The collection of all data used and produced by a computer program.

days of the week
Capitalize them. Do not abbreviate, except when needed in tabular format: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (three letters, without periods, to facilitate tabular composition).

dean
Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name: Dean John Doe, Deans John Doe and Jane Smith. Lowercase in other uses: John Doe, dean of the college; the dean.

dean's list
Lowercase in all uses: He is on the dean's list. She is a dean's list student.

department
Department of History, history department, departments of English and history.

Dr.
Use Dr. preceding the name of anyone with a medical degree, but only on first reference. Not for use for with other doctoral degrees. 

doctoral degree, doctorate
Doctoral is the adjective, doctorate the noun. Doctoral degree and doctorate are interchangeable. Do not use doctorate degree.

dormitory
Use residence halls, not dormitories.

email
Short form of electronic mail. 

extensions
Use a comma after the main number in phone number with extension. Use an x followed by a number with no space (ex. x3333 or (813) 253-3333, x6200).

emeritus
This word often is added to formal titles to denote that individuals who have retired retain their rank or title.

When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with general practice: Professor Emeritus John Doe, Dean Emeritus Jane Smith. Or: John Doe, professor emeritus; Jane Smith, dean emeritus.

FAQ
Acronym for frequently asked questions, a format often used to summarize information on the Internet. FAQ is acceptable for use on page titles. Spell it out in copy.

grade-point average, GPA
Use GPA on first reference when used with figures: a 2.5 GPA is required.

honorary degrees
All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary.

Do not use Dr. before the name of an individual whose only doctorate is honorary.

international students
Not foreign students.  

major and minors
Majors and minors, like subjects, should be lowercase unless a proper noun (i.e. English, American history).

multi, not multi-
The prefix “multi” should not be hyphenated in most cases: multicultural, not multi-cultural, multimedia, not multi-media.

organizations and institutions

Capitalize the full name of organizations and institutions: the American Medical Association; First Presbyterian Church; General Motors Corp.; Harvard University.

percent
Spell out instead of using % sign.

Reserve Officers' Training Corps
The s' is military practice. ROTC is acceptable in all references.

When the service is specified, use Army ROTC, Navy ROTC or Air Force ROTC, not AROTC, NROTC or AFROTC .

SAT, ACT
Do not spell out.

Scarfone/Hartley Gallery
Formerly Scarfone/Hartley Galleries.

Seasons
Capitalize Fall or Spring if it is in conjunction with the particular year, such as “the Fall 2012 semester.” But, lowercase, “he studied piano during the fall semester...” or ...The team practiced in fall.” 

serial comma
In a series of items, we do not use the last comma before the “and” (the serial comma), unless the last item or next to last item contains the word “and” (to avoid confusion).

state names
We always use postal abbreviations, such as FL instead of Fla.

Sykes College of Business
On first reference. College of Business on second reference.

The University of Tampa
Use uppercase The when using full name. On second reference, UT or the University is acceptable.

theater
Used only to generically refer to a venue for performance. Theatre majors often secure production internships at theaters around the country.Also Reeves Theater.

theatre
All majors/minors, courses, reference to department and/or discipline. Examples include Falk Theatre; Department of Speech, Theatre and Dance; Bachelor of Arts in Theatre;  Minor in Dance, Theatre; Survey of World Theatre II. Students majoring in this Bachelor of Arts degree program receive training and experience in theatre. Auditions are required for admissions to the performing arts and theatre majors.
 
UT

No periods. UT is acceptable on first reference in headlines or page titles, but The University of Tampa is preferable for first reference in copy.

verandah
Lowercase verandah. East Verandah and West Verandah are proper nouns and should be capitalized.

website
AP style. Also: webcast, webcam, World Wide Web, the Web, and Web page.

years
Use complete figures to reference a span of years, such as 2010-2011, not 2010-11.