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Editorial Style Guide

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, except where exceptions are noted. The purpose of this style guide is to establish consistency across websites, print materials, social media and more.

Drexel communicators are encouraged to purchase a recent edition of the AP stylebook or an online account at 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.

Email questions or proposed updates to Sonja Sherwood, executive director of publications, University Marketing and Communications at

Associated Press style guide recommendations for race-related coverage

In 2020, the Associated Press announced new guidance for writers covering race-related topics and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The AP now capitalizes Black when used in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. Don't use BIPOC, BAME or POC unless necessary in a quote; if used in a quote, explain it. AP also capitalizes Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place.

In addition, in 2019, the AP announced it would drop the hyphen in dual heritage identifiers such as African American, Asian American and Filipino American when used to refer to an American person’s heritage.

The AP Stylebook includes more detailed recommendations in its "race-related" coverage guidance.

Associated Press Style Guide Recommendations for COVID-19

For additional information about writing about the new coronavirus disease called COVID-19 on your webpage, please visit the AP Style Guide recommendations.

This guide can be used to write passages or stories about the science of the disease that require sharper distinctions. Additional terms and their correct usage or distinctions (i.e. epidemic, pandemic, social distancing, socially distancing) are also listed.

COVID-19, which stands for "coronavirus disease 2019," is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. When referring specifically to the virus, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable. But, because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19.

Referring to simply the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference in stories about COVID-19. While the phrasing incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus, it is clear in this context. Also acceptable on first reference: the new coronavirus; the new virus; COVID-19.

In stories, do not refer simply to “coronavirus” without the article “the.” Not: She is concerned about coronavirus. Omitting “the” is acceptable in headlines and in uses such as: He said coronavirus concerns are increasing.

COVID-19 Virus Content Guidelines

For additional recommended content updates, please see the COVID-19 Virus Content Guide.

Version: 2.0
Last Updated: 7.12.22

  • 07.12.22 — Updated guidance on gender neutral language.
  • 11.11.21 — Added guidance on using “they/them” pronouns.
  • 7.6.20 — Added guidance on identifying race and covering race-related topics.
  • 3.30.20 — New section on COVID-19 added.
  • 1.21.20 — Preferred name and gender pronouns section added, and University statistics have been updated.
  • 7.2.15 — New section added on when to capitalize names of degree programs.
  • 4.24.14 — AP style rules on state abbreviations updated.
  • 11.5.13 — Updates made to University statistics, the list of research centers and section on Web addresses. Added standalone cities to guidance on addresses and states.

Drexel Names and Entities

Identifying the University

  • Official name: Drexel University.
  • Use the official name on first reference and “Drexel” or “University” alone on subsequent reference. For example: “The University is closed for the holidays.”
  • Capitalize “University” when referring specifically to Drexel. Lowercase it when referring to universities in general.
  • Every Drexel-produced publication must include the official logo of either Drexel University or the individual college or school. Refer to the University Visual Identity Style Guide ( for guidance on logo usage.

Colleges and schools

The official names of Drexel’s colleges and schools and centers are listed below.

College and schools named after a donor should use the donor’s full formal name on first reference in body copy (e.g. Bennett S. LeBow College of Business), and in a number of formal situations such as on building signage, stationery, website lockups, email signatures, business cards, and in college/school “About” sections in print or online.

An abbreviated name (see below) can be used on subsequent reference, in headlines and subdeks, and in situations where there are space, graphic or channel constraints. Communication platforms are always evolving, and naming conventions should adapt to the medium.

On first reference, these names should be linked to the University’s (e.g. Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences has created a new academic department). This rule can be relaxed in publications where the connection to Drexel is obvious.

Lowercase “school” or “college” when by itself. (e.g. The school is pleased to announce its new dean).

Official names

  • Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship*
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Computing & Informatics
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • College of Medicine
  • Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health
  • Goodwin College of Professional Studies
  • Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies
  • Thomas R. Kline School of Law*
  • Bennett S. LeBow College of Business*
  • C.R. "Chuck" and Annette Pennoni Honors College
  • School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
  • School of Economics
  • School of Education
  • Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design*

* Full formal donor name is required on first reference in body copy and in formal communications.

Abbreviated names

The shortened names may be used, sparingly, on subsequent references in internal documents. Acronyms generally aren’t recommended for external publications.

  • Center for Sport Management: CSM
  • Center for Food & Hospitality Management: CFHM
  • Close School of Entrepreneurship: Close or Close School
  • College of Arts and Sciences: CoAS
  • College of Computing & Informatics: CCI
  • College of Engineering: CoE
  • College of Nursing and Health Professions: CNHP
  • Dornsife School of Public Health: Dornsife or Dornsife School
  • Drexel University College of Medicine: CoM
  • Drexel University Online: DUO
  • Thomas R. Kline School of Law: Kline School of Law
  • Goodwin College of Professional Studies: Goodwin or Goodwin College
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies: [none]
  • LeBow College of Business: LeBow or LeBow College
  • Pennoni Honors College: Pennoni or Pennoni College
  • School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems: BIOMED
  • School of Economics: Econ
  • School of Education: SoE
  • Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design: Westphal or Westphal College

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

  • Official name: the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
  • Only capitalize the word “the” if it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
  • On second reference, use the Academy of Natural Sciences or the Academy (or ANS, used sparingly). One can also refer to the Academy as “the institution” or “the museum” but these uses should not be capitalized.

Drexel University Online

  • Official name: Drexel University Online.
  • On second reference, “Drexel Online.”
  • It is not permissible to use such descriptors as “the University” or “the school” when referring to Drexel Online, as it is neither.

Drexel research/community centers and international affiliates

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,

Research Centers and Institutes

  • A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute (DNI)
  • C. & J. Nyheim Plasma Institute (NPI)
  • Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners' Nanotechnology Institute
  • Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE)
  • Center for Corporate Governance
  • Center for Functional Fabrics
  • Center for High Pressure Plasma Energy, Agriculture and Biomedical Technologies (C-PEAB)
  • Drexel Solutions Institute
  • Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe)

Community Resources

  • Office of University & Community Partnerships
  • Lindy Center for Civic Engagement
  • Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (second reference: the Dornsife Center)
  • Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University (second reference: the Lindy Institute)
  • Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center (this is the name of the physical building only; the practice itself should be referred to simply as 11th Street Family Health Services)

International Partners

Some style rules for research centers, community centers and affiliates:

  • Use the official name on first reference. In formal contexts, it may be preferable to include donors’ names (e.g. the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships).
  • On subsequent references, shortened names can be used. For instance, “the Lindy Center.”
  • Additionally, “institute” or “center” can be used on subsequent references, uncapitalized.
  • Finally, acronyms can be used for those centers or initiatives that have an established, recognized acronym. These acronyms should be introduced by first placing them in parentheses after an official reference of the center or institute.


Drexel University operates five campuses in the Philadelphia area. Here are the official names for each:

  • University City Campus
  • Center City Campus
  • Queen Lane Campus
  • LeBow College of Business Malvern Campus
  • Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health

Some style rules for campus names are as follows:

  • Do not refer to the University City Campus as the “Main Campus.”
  • Do not refer to the Queen Lane Campus as the “Medical School Campus.”
  • On first reference, the official campus names should be used, and if necessary, linked to Drexel. For instance, in external publications, it may be wise to refer to “Drexel’s University City Campus” on first reference.
  • On subsequent references, and when it is clear which campus is being referred to, one can simply use “the campus.”

Building Names

Building names are updated on the University's campus maps:

Departments and Offices

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.


  • Department of Biology
  • Office of Research & Innovation


Capitalize titles of programs and workshops. Do not capitalize “the” or the words “program” or “workshop.”


  • the WorkReady Internship program
  • the weServe program at Drexel
  • Drexel’s Liberty Scholars program
  • the Academy’s Women In Natural Sciences program (note that the “In” is capitalized; this is unique to the Academy and this 30-year program)
  • the Drexel Co-op program


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
  • Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection

Web addresses

Use the shortest effective URL (without the www or http://) whenever possible.

  • Drexel’s official URL: (not
  • 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:

Drexel-Specific Styles


  • 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.

Cooperative education

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.”

Honorary degrees

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 ’24.

Use an apostrophe to substitute the missing numerals, not a single quotation mark.


Correct: ’24.

Incorrect: ‘24.

For mixed gender groups, default to the masculine plural (alumni).

  • alumna (f., singular)
  • alumnae (f., plural)
  • alumnus (m., singular)
  • alumni (m., plural)
  • alum (s., gender neutral) for an individual who self-identifies as gender-neutral.

When writing about Drexel University College of Medicine alumni, note that the college is the successor institution of some older medical colleges that no longer exist. They are Hahnemann University (HU), Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP), Woman's Medical College (WMC), and for a time, MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine (MCPHU). Indicate these legacy institutions with an acronym:


John Smith, MD, HU ’86
John Smith, MD, MCP '94
Janet Smith, MD, WMC '69
Janet Smith, MD, MCPHU ’96

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.

Phone numbers

Drexel style is to write phone numbers with periods.


Correct: 215.895.2000

Incorrect: (215) 895-2000, 215/895-2000, 215-895-2000

For extensions, Drexel style uses: 215.895.2000, ext. 123

Gender pronouns and language

Preferred Name

Effective 2018-2019, students have the option of identifying a first name that is different from their legal name and of indicating their personal pronouns and gender identification on their Personal Information pages. Students who want to indicate a preferred name or their pronouns should initiate this process in DrexelOne.

The University will be developing and implementing a phased approach to the use of personal pronouns and gender identification. All students are welcome to update both information points, with the understanding that Drexel will not start utilizing this information until a later date.

More information about the University's full policy and process can be found on Drexel Central.

Email Signatures

Faculty and staff may elect to include their personal pronouns in their Drexel email signatures. Samples can be viewed on the Drexel Identity site.

Gender Pronouns

This guidance for writers differs from the AP Styleguide. Drexel’s policy was drafted with three principles in mind:

  • Honor individuals’ pronouns.
  • Respect the audience’s need for clarity.
  • Refrain from drawing unnecessary attention to anyone’s pronouns, cisgender or otherwise.

The stylebook of the Association of LGBT Journalists advises: Journalists should use their judgment on whether a passage can be recast for clarity, whether use of the pronoun creates more confusion than it solves, and whether it makes sense to explain the pronoun in the story.

When making decisions about whether to include or reword sentences with pronouns, defer to the person’s wishes as much as possible, within the above framework.

Writers can avoid misgendering people by asking for pronouns while verifying details such as graduation year and field of study, by asking sources to review manuscripts prior to publication, and/or by correcting instances where a third party has misgendered or “deadnamed” someone.

If a person shares a transgender or gender-nonconforming identity on record, ask which pronouns they want published.

Use plural verbs with singular they/them/their/themself pronouns, e.g., Nat is at the store, they are expected home at noon. Stories can usually be smoothly worded to avoid sentence constructions that leave it unclear whether an individual or a group is being discussed.

Examples of gender-neutral sentence construction:

If a source uses an uncommon pronoun such as xe, ze, or sie, include a brief, appositive explanation (e.g. Nat, who uses xe pronouns…). Instead of referring to anyone’s pronouns as “preferred” or “chosen," write the pronouns they use, whose pronouns are, who uses the pronouns, etc.

Drexel content is distributed to many audiences across many platforms; therefore, make no assumptions about how familiar a “typical” reader is with gender neutral pronouns.

Sex v Gender

Sex A set of biological traits that include reproductive anatomy, chromosomes and the presence or absence of certain hormones. Male, female and intersex are the most common sexes.

Gender Refers to internal and social identity, including behavior and appearance, that may or may not correspond to sex and often exists on a spectrum.

Cisgender (adj.) Cisgender men and women present a gender that matches the sex they were assigned at birth. "Cis-" is a Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as."

Assigned at birth / biological sex It is rarely necessary to identify someone’s sex assigned at birth, but if it is relevant to the story, use the term assigned male/female at birth, not biological man/woman.

Transgender (adj.) Other people might fall into other categories that include transgender, genderfluid, gender-nonconforming or nonbinary. The term “transgendered” is not generally used. Only use terms that the individual uses to explain their gender.

The stylebook of the Association of LGBT Journalists advises: In news coverage, identify people as transgender only when relevant to the subject matter and only if they are widely known or describe themselves as such. Otherwise, describe trans men as men and trans women as women.

For a more complete discussion of terms, visit or the AP Stylebook.


Male and female are adjectives, man and woman are nouns.

Incorrect: The male stood before the class of women students. Correct: The women chose male research subjects for the study.

"His or Her"

Avoid “his or her” sentence constructions in publications, as well as in manuals and official office documents: e.g. Each employee is responsible for securing his or her laptop can be rewritten as Employees are responsible for securing their laptops.


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 Honor Bound Magazine, the official magazine of the Pennoni Honors College …. EXEL magazine, Drexel’s research publication.

See section “Titles, works of composition” for rules on all other types of published works.


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, or in cases of confidentiality related to University business interests. The determination of when a name is withheld should be discussed with Strategic Communications in University Marketing and 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: Charles Cairns, 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.

Titles, professional

Capitalize titles when they precede a name.


Senior Vice President of University Marketing and Communications Tracy Powell…

Lowercase titles when they follow a name.


Tracy Powell, senior vice president of University Marketing and Communications, announced….

David S. Brown, 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 2020 quarter ends in December.

Incorrect: The Fall 2020 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.

Bulleted lists

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.

Fiscal year

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.


full-time job

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.


September–December 2013

1–3 p.m.

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.

Compound adjectives

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 first-year 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.

Cardinal/ordinal numbers

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).

Race identifiers (per AP’s stylebook on “race-related coverage”) 

American Indians, Native Americans

Acceptable terms in general references for those in the U.S. when referring to two or more people of different tribal affiliations. For individuals, use the name of the tribe; if that information is not immediately available, try to obtain it. Tribe: Refers to a sovereign political entity, communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language, and a social group of linked families who may be part of an ethnic group. Capitalize the word tribe when part of a formal name of sovereign political entities, or communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language. Identify tribes by the political identity specified by the tribe, nation or community: the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation. The term ethnic group is preferred when referring to ethnicity or ethnic violence.


Asian is the acceptable term for an inhabitant of East Asian nations and their peoples.

biracial, multiracial

Acceptable, when clearly relevant, to describe people with more than one racial heritage. Usually more useful when describing large, diverse groups of people than individuals. Avoid mixed-race, which can carry negative connotations, unless a story subject prefers the term. Be specific if possible, and then use biracial for people of two heritages or multiracial for those of two or more on subsequent references if needed.

Black, white (n.)

Do not use either term as a singular or plural noun. Instead, use phrasing such as Black people.

Black (adj.)

Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.

dual heritage identifiers

As of 2019, AP doesn’t use a hyphen in designating dual heritage, e.g. Black American, Italian American, Mexican American.


A term that Mexican Americans in the U.S. Southwest sometimes use to describe their heritage. Use only if it is a person's preference.


A person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino, Latina or Latinx are sometimes preferred. Follow the person's preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican American.

Indigenous (adj.)

Capitalize this term when used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. Bolivia's Indigenous peoples represent 62 percent of the population.

Latino, Latina

Latino is often the preferred noun or adjective for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Some prefer the recently coined gender-neutral term Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation. E.g. Hernandez prefers the gender-neutral term Latinx. For groups of females, use the plural Latinas; for groups of males or of mixed gender, use the plural Latinos. Hispanics is also generally acceptable for those in the U.S. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican American.

people of color, racial minority

The term is acceptable when necessary in broad references to multiple races other than white: We will hire more people of color. Nine playwrights of color collaborated on the script.

Be aware, however, that many people of various races object to the term for various reasons, including that it lumps together into one monolithic group anyone who isn't white.

Do not use person of color for an individual.

Be specific whenever possible by referring to, for instance, Black Americans, Chinese Americans or members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida

In some cases, other wording may be appropriate. Examples: people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds; diverse groups; various heritages; different cultures.

The term “minority” or “racial minority” is acceptable as an adjective in broad references to multiple races other than white in the United States: We will hire more members of minority groups.

Be sure the term is accurate in each circumstance, since what constitutes a racial minority varies by location.

Be specific whenever possible by referring to, for instance, Black Americans, Chinese Americans or members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Do not use minority as a noun in the singular. The plural minorities is acceptable when needed for reasons of space or sentence construction. But phrasing such as minority students or minority communities is preferable.

Don't use acronyms to indicate Black, Indigenous and people of color. Instead, refer to guidance under the people of color, racial minority heading.

Sentence spacing

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.


Scientific Names

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.


University Statistics

Official University stats (e.g. the number of student groups, sports teams and club sports, undergraduate programs, and undergraduate, graduate, online, professional, and international students) are maintained on this About page and updated each November in the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness' University Factbook.


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

  • Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery Located in the Main Building
  • Community-Based Master’s Project (School of Public Health)
  • Distance Learning (no hyphen)
  • Drexel Co-op
  • Dual Degree program (no hyphen)
  • Early Decision (caps), “regular decision” (no caps). Never use "ED/RD" or any variation thereof
  • eBill
  • Evidence-Based Practice (not -based)
  • Film and Video program (NOT Film & Video Production)
  • First-year, second-year, third-year, fourth-year, fifth-year Use instead of freshman, sophomore, junior, senior
  • Fraternity and sorority life Use in place of "Greek life." Students may be referred to as Greeks but it is preferable to call 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)
  • Graduate Co-op Formerly Career Integrated Education or CIE
  • History and Politics Department
  • MBA LeBow does not talk about specific MBA options in marketing materials, just MBA
  • MIS Always abbreviate Management Information Systems (no periods)
  • Nonmatriculated (no hyphen). Note: nonmatriculated students are now referred to as non-degree enrollment
  • Office of the Bursar (no longer Student Financial Services)
  • Office of Student Conduct Note that conduct procedures should not be referred to as judicial processes
  • Professional Staff The term used to describe all non-faculty employees of Drexel (i.e. not "staff")
  • The Smart Set Drexel’s online magazine (formerly Dragonfire)
  • Sport Management
  • Still-Deciding Students® (no parentheses or italics)
  • Student Life Student Life shouldn't be referred to as an office, division or department
  • Residence hall Use in place of "dorm" in reference to on-campus housing
  • Tuition deposit (formerly matriculation fee)
  • Winter Entry program (use caps)


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


  • Dragons
  • Mario the Dragon

Common Athletic Associations and Athletic Terms

  • Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta (Dad Vail for short)
  • All-American
  • All-Colonial Athletic Association (All-CAA)
  • All-Dragon
  • All-Mario
  • All-Rookie
  • The Bubble at the Vidas Athletic Complex (seasonal)
  • Buckley Bubble at Buckley Recreational Field (seasonal)
  • 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
  • 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, per an AP Stylebook revision in 2018)
  • 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).
  • Archaeology
  • cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation
  • co-curricular
  • 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.
  • data AP typically treats the word as singular when writing for general audiences, but as plural in scientific and academic writing. Use databank and database, but data processing (n. and adj.) and data center.
  • 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.)
  • lifestyle
  • -long do not hyphenate daylong, weeklong, lifelong when used as an adjective (senior director of lifelong learning, lifelong friends, a weeklong trip)
  • nonmatriculated
  • 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)
  • prehospital
  • pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary
  • preprofessional
  • orthopedic v. orthopaedic Use orthopedic except when orthopaedic is used in a proper name.
  • résumé
  • rollerblading, rollerblades
  • trailblazing (adj., one word)
  • work-study
  • 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
  • e-commerce
  • email (e-mail only on stationery, University standard)
  • FAQ (capitalize)
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • 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)
  • Intranet
  • 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)
  • newsgroup
  • online (no hyphen)
  • spreadsheet (one word)
  • startup (one word, in context of business or computer)
  • Twitter; tweet
  • URLs (use shortest form possible: not
  • 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)
  • voicemail