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Capitalization, names, and titles

WSU Editorial Style Guide

Referring to the University

  • When describing the university, use Washington State University as the first reference in the text. Subsequent references should be the university, WSU, Washington State.
  • When describing a WSU campus, use the full name on first reference: Washington State University Tri-Cities.
  • Subsequent references should be WSU plus campus. Note that there is no hyphen between WSU and the campus name.
    • WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Health Sciences Spokane, WSU Global Campus, WSU Vancouver, WSU Pullman, WSU Everett

Unit names

Capitalize the first reference and lowercase the second if not using the proper noun.

  • College of Veterinary Medicine; the college
  • Department of Biology; the department, the biology department
  • Holland Library; the library
  • Bohler Gym; the gym

For named colleges and units, the following short forms are accepted: Murrow College, Carson College, Voiland College

  • Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (not a school of medicine or medical school)
  • WSU Athletics (not Cougar Athletics)
  • Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (“for” rather than “of”)

Titles

Use lowercase except when preceding a name or when used in a mailing address.

  • President Kirk Schulz; Kirk Schulz, president of Washington State University; the president
  • Dean Mary Koithan; Mary Koithan, dean of the College of Nursing; the dean
  • Assistant Professor John Dahl; John Dahl, assistant professor of molecular biosciences; the assistant professor

Capitalize for endowed chairs and professors

  • Regents Professor Jill McCluskey, the Regents Professor
  • The Taco Bell Distinguished Professor

Do not use “Dr.” to precede the name of a faculty member with a doctoral degree.


Academic year and class standings

Lowercase all references.

  • fall semester, spring semester, summer session, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior

Academic degrees

Lowercase when spelled out.

  • baccalaureate degree, bachelor’s degree, bachelor of arts; master’s degree, master of science; doctoral degree, doctorate, doctor of philosophy, etc.
    • Note the plural forms: bachelor’s degrees; master’s degrees; doctoral degrees.

Abbreviations should be avoided. It is better to spell out the degree, as above, except if following a name in a signature (President Kirk Schulz, PhD).

  • If a degree is abbreviated, the proper forms without periods are:
  • BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD, DEd, MD, MBA, DVM, etc.
  • Plural forms: BAs, BSs, MAs, MSs, PhDs, DEds

Majors, minors, concentrations, and programs

Names are lowercase, unless it contains a proper noun or begins a sentence.

  • veterinary medicine (“Veterinary medicine is a popular program. I took veterinary medicine classes.”)
  • Asian studies (“My second degree is in Asian studies.”)
  • education (“Her major is education.”)
  • fermentation studies (“I took a class in fermentation studies.”)

“Email” and “fax” in text: In listings, lowercase when the word follows the number; uppercase it when it precedes the address or number.

  • Email: jonesm@wsu.edu; send email to jonesm@wsu.edu
  • Fax: 509-335-8568; 509-335-8568 is the fax number

Website addresses

Unless it’s necessary, the “http://” or “https://” should be left off a URL/website address in text.

Typically, “www.” can be left off the address as well.

  • wsu.edu
  • medicine.wsu.edu
  • seattletimes.com

State names

Capitalize “state” if it follows the name, but lowercase if it precedes the name. It’s best to avoid use of “state” if possible.

  • Idaho State; the state of Idaho
  • EXCEPTION: To avoid confusion with WSU, use Washington state

Compass directions and regions

Lowercase compass directions when they are not part of a proper name.

Capitalize in reference to a proper name or region.

  • north, south, east, and west, northern, southern, eastern, western
  • The Pacific Northwest, but northwestern. The West Coast, but western Washington.