The Drexel University Editorial Style Guide is a reference tool for campus communicators to use when preparing copy for print and electronic distribution. The University's editorial style generally adheres to The Associated Press Stylebook. The purpose of this style guide is to delineate Drexel’s exceptions to AP style and to ensure that Drexel colleges, campuses, programs, etc., are identified in a consistent manner using preferred nomenclature.
Drexel communicators are encouraged to purchase a recent edition of the AP stylebook or an online account at apstylebook.com. It is understood that some communicators working in specific functions may adhere to The Chicago Manual of Style guidelines as a matter of practicality or because of established professional standards.
This is an evolving document. Email questions or suggestions to Sonja Sherwood, executive director of publications, University Communications at email@example.com.
The official names of Drexel’s 16 colleges and schools and two centers are listed below. In formal communications, it may be preferable to include the full donor name of named colleges (e.g. Bennett S. LeBow College of Business.)
On first reference and in most cases, these names should be linked to the University’s. For instance, “Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences has created a new academic department.” This rule can be relaxed in school-specific publications, such as alumni magazines or internal publications, in which the connection to Drexel is clearly established.
On subsequent references, use “school” or “college” by themselves, in lowercase. For instance, “The school is pleased to announce its new dean.”
These acronyms and abbreviated names may be used on subsequent references in internal documents, though they should be used sparingly. Acronyms generally aren’t recommended for external publications.
Drexel is home to numerous research centers, community centers and affiliates that operate as their own entities within the wider structure of the University or the schools in which they are housed.
A partial list of these centers can be found below. To keep this guide updated and accurate, schools are encouraged to submit a complete list of their centers to Sonja Sherwood, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drexel University operates six campuses in the Philadelphia area and Sacramento. Here are the official names for each:
The official names of departments and offices, including the word “department” or “office” are capitalized. It is the responsibility of individual schools and colleges to ensure that academic departments and offices are listed consistently on websites.
Exhibit names are italicized.
Drexel will host an opening reception this Friday for the exhibition A Legacy of Art, Science & Industry: Highlights from the Collections of Drexel University.
Drexel’s various collections should be capitalized—including “The” for The Drexel Collection.
- the Academy’s Ornithology Collection
- The Drexel Collection
- the Drexel Historic Costume Collection
Use the shortest effective URL (without the www or http://) whenever possible.
- Drexel’s official URL: drexel.edu (not www.drexel.edu).
- If the URL must break on two lines, break at a slash. Avoid ending a sentence with a URL; rewrite to eliminate the period.
- Generally, URLs should be in lowercase, but it is acceptable to use sentence case for clarity or branding (for example: DrexelDragons.com).
- Awards, prizes, professorships: Capitalized. Words or phrases not part of the award’s name are lowercased (e.g. Nobel Prize-winning scientist).
- Course titles: Capitalized.
- Majors/minors/concentrations: Generally, lowercase unless in official lists.
- Colon: Capitalize the first word after a colon if it is a proper noun or the beginning of a complete sentence (with a subject, noun and verb).
Capitalize when used as a noun referring to the University’s graduation event, lowercase as an adjective.
Five hundred students attended Commencement in 2012 and two students spoke at the commencement ceremony.
Use “cooperative education” (no hyphen) and “co-op” (with hyphen) on second reference or when referring to the act of being on a co-op. It is acceptable to use “co-op” as a heading for design pieces where space is limited. When referring to the co-op program as a brand, use title case, for example: “the Drexel Co-op program.”
The Associated Press recommends avoiding the use of abbreviations of honorary degrees ‹ unless in a list of honorary degree holders (including the year the degree was granted is preferable in most cases; e.g. Bono, HD '92). When abbreviating an honorary degree in a list, use HD, without periods. Do not refer to an honorary degree holder with the courtesy title Dr. or Hon. When referring to someone who holds an honorary degree, make clear that the degree is honorary.
Correct: Bono, who holds a 1992 honorary degree of law from Drexel University, said...
Incorrect: Bono, HD, said...
Incorrect: Bono, Hon., said...
Identifying degrees, alumni and students
When writing about a Drexel alumnus or alumna, include the individual’s degree and year of graduation. The preferred style is to include this information on the first reference, and to use the full program name with an abbreviated year.
John Smith, BS economics ’13.
Where space is tight, it may be necessary to include only the graduation year information or only a degree designation plus the graduation year.
John Smith ’13 OR John Smith, BS ’13.
For current students, as with alumni, it is important to note a student’s major and expected year of graduation. When referring to students, then, it is preferred that the same format used for alumni be applied here.
Troy Johnson, chemical engineering ’17.
Use an apostrophe to substitute the missing numerals, not a single quotation mark.
For mixed gender groups, default to the masculine plural (alumni).
- alumna (f., singular)
- alumnae (f., plural)
- alumnus (m., singular)
- alumni (m., plural)
Identifying degrees, official degree program names
When writing about official college degree offerings, generally uppercase official degree names listed with a degree rank (e.g. with Bachelor of Science/Art or BS/BA before it), but lowercase generic fields of study or degree subjects without any designating rank.
Correct: The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling. Also correct: The BS in Geoscience from the College of Arts & Sciences is available in three concentrations.
Incorrect: Drexel offers bachelor’s degrees in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering and Film and Video.
Incorrect: The College of Engineering offers a number of Architectural Engineering degrees.
It’s fine to uppercase the name of an overall program curriculum.
The College of Engineering offers a number of architectural engineering degrees in its Architectural Engineering program.
Drexel style is to write phone numbers with periods.
Incorrect: (215) 895-2000, 215/895-2000, 215-895-2000
For extensions, Drexel style uses: 215.895.2000, ext. 123
Note that Drexel departs from AP style in how it handles periodicals. Italicize the titles of all Drexel print publications, as well as all non-Drexel magazine, newspaper and journal titles. Lowercase the word “magazine” unless it is part of the publication’s official title (e.g. Time magazine, Golf Magazine).
The latest issue of Market Street, the official magazine of LeBow College ….
EXEL Magazine, the annual research magazine….
Read more in the latest issue of the College of Medicine’s monthly magazine, Pulse.
See section “Titles, works of composition” for rules on all other types of published works.
Sources, identifying in stories
Drexel University publications and online material should print or post the full names of sources whenever available except cases in which the source may be subjected to potential personal harm or victimization if identified. The determination of when a name is withheld should be discussed with the Office of University Communications and/or the Office of the General Counsel.
Titles, academic degrees
In text, the preferred style is to spell out degree names.
Write “bachelor’s degree” rather than “BA” or “BS,” or “master’s degree” instead of “MA” or “MS” and “doctoral degree” or “doctorate” instead of “PhD.” An exception can be made when using the abbreviated terms to identify a Drexel alumnus (see section “Alumni and students, designating degree”).
- Also acceptable: bachelor of science degree or master of arts degree, without an apostrophe.
- Drexel departs from AP style by not using periods with a degree abbreviation (correct: BA, PhD, etc).
- Drexel also departs from AP style when referring to an individual with a medical degree as “Dr.” The “Dr.” title is never used before names of either MDs or PhDs. Instead, include their degree after their name. Example: Daniel V. Schidlow, MD. Associate Professor David Becher, PhD.
- Because of the variety of degrees and certificates that proliferate in an academic setting, it is acceptable in some contexts to list only the most common advanced degrees: MD, PhD, EdD and JD.
Capitalize titles when they precede a name.
Senior Vice President of University Communications Lori Doyle…
Lowercase titles when they follow a name.
Lori Doyle, senior vice president of University Communications, announced….
Donna Murasko, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, led a tour of the college…
Capitalize the actual department unless it is being used casually (i.e. on second reference).
Formal: John Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, recently joined….
Informal: John Smith has worked in the psychology department for two years.
Always capitalize a named professorship, deanship or chair before or after an individual’s name.
Eric Zillmer, the Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology, recently announced…
The Christopher and Mary Stratakis Chair in Corporate Governance Ralph Walkling…
No comma before Jr., Sr. or II, III, etc.
Common Style Guidelines
For style questions not addressed here, refer to the AP Stylebook.
Academic calendar terms
Lowercase names of seasons unless part of a formal event name (e.g. the Spring Fling).
Correct: The fall 2014 quarter ends in December.
Incorrect: The Fall 2014 quarter ends in December.
Addresses and states
In 2014, AP Style editors changed a longstanding rule on state abbreviations. States should now be spelled out (rather than abbreviated) in the bodies of stories, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, military base, etc. Abbreviated state names are still acceptable in datelines, lists, tabular material, photo captions, credit lines, and in short-form identification of political party affiliation (e.g. D-Ala., R-Mont).
Correct: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is the state capital; Hartford, Connecticut. (Note that state names are offset by commas.)
Incorrect: Harrisburg, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the state capital.
Exception: Use postal code state abbreviations when the address is part of mailing address with a ZIP code (e.g. directory listings, mailings).
Below are the proper abbreviations for each state, with postal code abbreviations in parenthesis.
Ala. (AL), Fla. (FL), Md. (MD), Neb. (NE), N.D. (ND), Tenn. (TN)
Ariz. (AZ), Ga. (GA), Mass. (MA), Nev. (NV), Okla. (OK), Vt. (VT)
Ark. (AR), Ill. (IL), Mich. (MI), N.H. (NH), Ore. (OR), Va. (VA)
Calif. (CA), Ind. (IN), Minn. (MN), N.J. (NJ), Pa. (PA), Wash. (WA)
Colo. (CO), Kan. (KS), Miss. (MS), N.M. (NM), R.I. (RI), W.Va. (WV)
Conn. (CT), Ky. (KY), Mo. (MO), N.Y. (NY), S.C. (SC), Wis. (WI)
Del. (DE), La. (LA), Mont. (MT), N.C. (NC), S.D. (SD), Wyo. (WY)
NEVER abbreviate Alaska (AK), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Iowa (IA), Maine (ME), Ohio (OH), Utah (UT), Texas (TX). Also: District of Columbia (DC).
Unless used as part of a full mailing address, the following cities can stand alone (without a state) in a dateline. They may also stand alone in the body of a story if they are the same as the dateline or as long as no confusion would result: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinatti, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington.
Lowercase “s” when naming two streets, as in 32nd and Chestnut streets.
“And” v. ampersand
Use “&” only for official names of organizations and companies or at the request of a donor. Two notable exceptions at Drexel are Westphal College of Arts & Design and the College of Computing & Informatics.
All bulleted items should be styled consistently. If it is a complete sentence, the bullet should have a period. If one bullet ends with a period, all bullets in the series should end with a period.
When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. but not March, April, May, June and July.
- Spell out the month when using alone, or with a year alone.
- When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas.
- When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.
January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 1987, was the target date. She testified that it was Friday, Dec. 3, when the accident occurred. The storm arrived on Saturday, March 5, 1972.
Although the day of the month is actually an ordinal number (and pronounced that way in speaking), the correct way is to write it as a cardinal number.
Correct: On May 11, we visited Drexel.
Incorrect: On May 11th, we visited Drexel.
Lowercase and spell out the term “fiscal year” in most cases. It’s acceptable to use an abbreviation, without a space, in graphics, tight-spaced headlines and financial documents (for example: FY13).
Hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
Key: (for Windows)
Hyphen - The keyboard key located between the 0 and delete.
En dash – Press Ctrl + hyphen.
Em dash — Press Ctrl + Alt + hyphen.
Key: (for Macs)
Hyphen - The keyboard key located between the 0 and delete.
En dash – Press Option + hyphen.
Em dash — Press Shift + Option + hyphen.
Use the hyphen to separate numbers such as social security numbers. The hyphen is also used for compound words.
Use the en dash to connect continuing or spans of numbers, such as dates and times. Do not use any spaces between the words or numbers and the dash.
Anthony Drexel (1826–1893)
In narrative text, it is also correct to spell out the meaning of the en dash in words.
from May 2003 to July 2008
between noon and 3:30 p.m.
There are many uses for the em dash, but just a few of the most common uses are illustrated below. There should be a space between the words and the dash.
Use an em dash to indicate a sudden break or pause in a sentence.
Going home — that was the only thing the soon-to-be graduates cared about.
Use an em dash to add an element that defines or expands on an element mentioned in the sentence.
Anthony Drexel — who started his career as a banker — died just two short years after the University’s founding.
Use a hyphen for compound adjectives before the noun: a well-known actor, full-time job, 20-year sentence.
Numbers in text
Whole numbers one through nine are spelled out. For any other numbers, use numerals.
The six new classrooms create space for more than 1,000 new students.
More than 30 faculty members have signed up for the workshop.
Use numerals for ages, except when starting a sentence.
The ages of the volunteers are 12, 22, 25 and 65.
Three-year-old Jackie Jones had her photo taken at the dragon statue.
Hyphenate the age when it precedes the name as an adjective or when it serves as a substitute for a noun.
The 6-year-old girl said she loved Mario the Magnificent.
Drexel’s freshman student body is mostly made up of 18-year-olds.
Use numerals for measurements, and write out the units.
He is 5 feet 6 inches tall. The fossil is 3 inches long.
Hyphenate the measurement when it precedes the noun as an adjective.
The 5-foot-6 [“inch” is understood] man… The 4-inch bug…
5’6” is only used in very technical examples.
Write out the number if the grade is between first and ninth. For example, “She is in eighth grade, but her brother is in 10th grade.” Use a hyphen when using as an adjective: “She is entering her seventh-grade year.”
The word century is lowercase (21st century) unless part of a proper name. It is hyphenated when used as an adjective (it’s a 21st-century trend all over the country).
Do not combine spelled-out numbers with abbreviations.
Correct: 23 lbs., 12 ft.
Incorrect: twenty-three lbs., twelve ft.
Commas in numerals
Always include commas in numbers in the thousands.
Numbers used in counting (2, 27, 345, etc.) are called cardinal numbers. Numbers used to indicate order (first, 10th, 23rd, etc.) are called ordinal numbers. Spell out one through nine for cardinal numbers and first through ninth for ordinal numbers. Do not use superscript with ordinal numbers.
Correct: ninth, 10th
Incorrect: 9th, 9th, 10th
Do not use zeros for the cents place in a monetary amount. Use only when the amount is a number other than $.00.
The Barnes & Noble Bookstore made $320.25 on Tuesday, $199 on Wednesday and $212.45 on Thursday.
Use numerals when indicating course credits (e.g. 6 credits).
Use only one space between sentences, everywhere, always.
Serial (Oxford) comma
In general it is recommended that communicators adhere to AP style, which does not use serial commas, except when separating a series of complex phrases (see second example below).
Correct: The flag’s colors are red, white and blue.
Also correct: The program explores mammals, reptiles, insects, domestic and exotic fishes, and books on adaptation.
Incorrect: The flag’s colors are red, white, and blue.
Time of day
Correct: 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 9 a.m., noon, midnight (as well as 12 p.m. and 12 a.m.)
Incorrect: 2 PM, 2 pm, 2pm., 2p.m., 2 P.M., 2:00 PM, 2:00 pm, 2:00pm, 2:00 P.M.
Never use 12 noon, 12 midnight, 12:00 noon, or 12:00 midnight.
If you are designating a range of time that is within the a.m. or p.m. period, use the a.m. or p.m. just once. If you are designating a range of time that spans between a.m. and p.m., use both.
Correct: 8 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., 4 to 5 p.m., 4–5 p.m.
Incorrect: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Titles, works of composition
Apply AP style by putting quotation marks around the titles of books, computer games, movies, operas, plays, poems, albums, songs, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art. However, Drexel departs from AP style by italicizing titles of periodicals. See “Publications” section for magazine, newspaper and journal titles.
Exceptions: The Bible and books that are primarily reference materials such as catalogs, almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around software titles such as Photoshop or Windows.
Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
Capitalize an article — the, a, an — or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
Animals and plants
Capitalize the specific name of an animal or plant only when it begins a sentence or begins with a proper noun or geographical location. Otherwise, use lowercase.
The harlequin duck is one of the smallest sea ducks. The star of Bethlehem orchid is a breathtaking flower. North American cardinal. California barracuda. Amazon water lily. The baobab tree.
Likewise, always use lowercase when referring to a general term for an animal or for the plural use of the general term for an animal or plant.
The life of a sea turtle is difficult. When grizzly bears attack…
Family, genus and species
Always italicize scientific names of plants and animals. Scientific names can follow commas, or be placed in parentheses. Capitalize ONLY the first letter of the genus, not the species. Subspecies, if included, is lowercased.
The chestnut-sided warbler, or Dendroica pensylvanica, is commonly found in…; The chestnut-sided warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica) is commonly found in…
The family name is capitalized, but not italicized.
Fruit bats are of the family Pteropodidae.
When only the genus name is available (ex: Leptonectes sp.) the “sp.,” which is the stand-in character for an unknown species, is NOT italicized, but the genus name is.
Updated annually every November.
- Drexel has more than 80 full-time undergraduate programs.
- 16,896 undergraduate students.
- 9,463 graduate students.
- 5,284 online students.
- 1,524 professional students.
- 18 Division I sports teams.
- Students from more than 100 countries.
- More than 300 student groups.
The Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness publishes the University Factbook, which should be consulted for additional official University statistics.
Academic Degrees, Majors/Minors and Graduate Programs
Drexel’s current offerings of degrees and programs are regularly updated on these pages:
Glossary of Drexel-Specific Terms
- LIVE IT. (Never use trademark or copyright symbol.)
- The Smart Set Drexel’s online magazine (formerly Dragonfire).
- History and Politics Department
- MBA LeBow does not talk about specific MBA options in marketing materials, just MBA
- Dual Degree program (no hyphen)
- Still-Deciding Students® (no parentheses or italics)
- MIS Always abbreviate Management Information Systems (no periods)
- Drexel Co-op
- Film and Video program (NOT Film & Video Production)
- Graduate Co-op Formerly Career Integrated Education or CIE
- Community-Based Master’s Project (School of Public Health)
- Evidence-Based Practice (not -based)
- Distance Learning (no hyphen)
- Sport Management
- Office of Student Conduct Note that conduct procedures should not be referred to as judicial processes
- Student Life Student Life shouldn't be referred to as an office, division or department
- Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery
- Office of the Bursar (no longer Student Financial Services)
- Nonmatriculated (no hyphen). Note: nonmatriculated students are now referred to as non-degree enrollment.
- Residence hall Use in place of "dorm" in reference to on-campus housing.
- Tuition deposit (formerly matriculation fee)
- Winter Entry program (use caps)
- Early Decision (caps), “regular decision” (no caps). Never use "ED/RD" or any variation thereof.
- Fraternity and sorority life Use in place of "Greek life." Students may be referred to as Greeks but it is preferable to cal them fraternity/sorority members or fraternities/sororities. Don't use the term frat unless necessary for a tight headline (specific organization letters or full names are better).
Glossary of Athletic Terms
The official name of the athletics department is the Drexel Athletics Department. On second reference, Drexel Athletics.
Athletic Name and Affiliates
- Drexel Dragons
- Drexel University Recreational Athletics
Common Athletic Associations and Athletic Terms
- Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta (Dad Vail for short)
- All-Colonial Athletic Association (All-CAA)
- Buckley Courts at the Armory (33rd and Cuthbert streets)
- Buckley Field (43rd Street and Powelton Avenue)
- Buckley Green (33rd Street between Market and Arch streets)
- Buckley Recreational Field (33rd and Cuthbert streets)
- City Six
- Collegiate Squash Association (CSA)
- Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
- Daskalakis Athletic Center (DAC)
- DAC Pack
- Delaware Investments Squash U.S. Open
- Division I (D-1 or DI)
- Division II (D-2 or DII)
- Division III (D-3 or DIII)
- Drexel Recreation Center
- Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association
- Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA)
- Elite Eight
- Final Four
- First Team
- Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA)
- John & Mary Semanik Award
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- National Invitation Tournament (NIT)
- NCAA championship
- NCAA tournament
- Philadelphia Soccer Six (PS6)
- Second Team
- Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)
- Sweet Sixteen
- Third Team
- Vidas Athletic Complex
- Vidas Field
- Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT)
Glossary of Tricky Words
- 3-D (not 3D)
- adviser (not advisor)
- African American (n.) African-American (adj.)
- Ambiance AP stories favor ambiance, a spelling permitted by Webster’s (ambience is the dictionary’s first choice).
- cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation
- compliment v. complement In most cases, you’ll want to use “complement,” as in a Drexel program complements an exhibit. “Compliment” means an admiring remark.
- Earth Capitalized only when referred to as a specific body in the solar system. For example, “The two astronauts will leave Mars and return to Earth,” but “earth-friendly recycling programs.”
- ensure, insure, assure Use ensure to mean guarantee: Steps were taken to ensure accuracy. Use insure for references to insurance: The policy insures his life. Use assure to mean to make sure or give confidence: She assured us the statement was accurate.
- firsthand one word
- first annual It is inaccurate to use “first annual” because until the event has occurred twice it isn't actually being held annually. It is correct to use second annual, third annual, etc.
- fundraiser (one word, the person or event that raises funds)
- fundraising (one word)
- gray (not grey)
- groundbreaking (one word)
- health care Always two words unless part of a proper name.
- kickoff (n.), kick-off (adj.), kick off (v.)
- -long do not hyphenate daylong, weeklong, lifelong when used as an adjective (senior director of lifelong learning, lifelong friends, a weeklong trip)
- nonprofit (one word)
- Off-campus (adj.); off campus (n.)
- percent Use a figure and always write out (5 percent discount); ads are exceptions.
- postgraduate (one word)
- pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary
- orthopedic v. orthopaedic Use orthopedic except when orthopaedic is used in a proper name.
- rollerblading, rollerblades
- trailblazing (adj., one word)
- X-ray (n., v., adj.)
- underway AP recently ruled this is one word.
- ZIP code
Glossary of Tech/Internet Terms
- app (acceptable on first reference, but explanation should be offered)
- blog (lower case)
- CAD computer-assisted design
- database (one word)
- download (one word)
- drop-down menu
- email (e-mail only on stationery, University standard)
- FAQ (capitalize)
- google (v.)
- HTML (capitalize, but lower case in Web addresses)
- HTTP (capitalize, but lower case in Web addresses)
- homepage (no hyphen)
- hyperlink (no hyphen)
- Internet (capitalize)
- iPod, iPad, etc. can begin a sentence with a lower-case letter.
- JPG (no E)
- keyword (one word)
- listserv (one word)
- login (n.); log in (v.)
- multimedia (one word)
- online (no hyphen)
- spreadsheet (one word)
- startup (one word, in context of business or computer)
- Twitter; tweet
- URLs (use shortest form possible: drexel.edu/coas not http://www.drexel.edu/coas/)
- username (one word)
- webcam (no hyphen)
- webcast (one word, lower case)
- Web feed
- webmaster (one word)
- website (one word, lower case)
- the Web (capitalized)
- Web page (always two words)
- World Wide Web
- www (whenever possible, omit “http://” and “www” in website addresses)