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Suggested Guidelines for the Engineering School

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Using a consistent style gives readers the comfort of familiarity and inspires confidence in the Engineering School. They are not distracted by multiple spellings or references to the same term. They are not forced to reinterpret meanings. The Engineering School’s writing style is based on the stylebook of the Associated Press and the University of Virginia’s style guide.

The following are a few guidelines for text and design that should be used in marketing and development publications, alumni outreach pieces, articles and Web content:



    Governor, Senator, Representative
  • Abbreviate preceding a name, even on first reference. Gov. Timothy H. Kaine, Gov. Kaine. Sen. Warner. Rep. Smith.
  • When an abbreviation comes at the end of the sentence, it appears in place of the end-of-the-sentence period. The dean was welcomed by members of IEEE.
    United States
  • Spell out "United States" when used as a noun. Use "U.S." (no space) only as an adjective "U.S. workers."
    State Abbreviations
  • When mentioning a city, abbreviate the state.
  • Use a comma on either side of the state abbreviation unless it appears at the end of a sentence. Smith was born in Scottsville, Va., in 1950.
  • Do not include the state when mentioning a major city such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco. See AP Stylebook under "datelines," for more information.
  • Spell out state names if used alone. Students came from South Carolina and Wisconsin.
  • Use standard state abbreviations for states, not ZIP abbreviations (Va. not VA).
  • States that are never abbreviated are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
  • Use Postal Service two-letter abbreviations in full addresses.

Academic Degrees

  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor of Science degree, abbreviated as B.S.
  • bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science degree, abbreviated as M.S.
  • master’s degree
  • M.B.A, Ph.D., M.D., Dr. (used only for those who hold medical degrees; use M.D. on first reference and Dr. on subsequent references)

Academic Degrees — Engineering School

  • Aerospace Engineering degree (Aero)
  • Biomedical Engineering degree (BME)
  • Chemical Engineering degree (ChE)
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering degree (CE)
  • Computer Engineering degree (CpE)
  • Computer Science degree (CS)
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering degree (EE)
  • Engineering Science (Engr Sci)
  • Materials Science and Engineering degree (MSE)
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree (ME)
  • Nuclear Engineering (Nuc)
  • Systems and Information Engineering degree (SE)
  • Undeclared (Engr Undeclared)

Academic Departments — Engineering School

  • Lowercase informal references to departments but use initial caps for formal department name. The Department of Civil Engineering. The civil engineering department. Note that the abbreviation used for an engineering degree may differ from the corresponding department abbreviation.
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE)
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)
  • Department of Computer Science (CS)
  • Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Department of Engineering and Society (E&S)
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)
  • Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
  • Department of Systems and Information Engineering (SIE)

Academic Disciplines

  • Lowercase except for words that are proper nouns: She earned her degree in art history or He was an English major.


  • Spell out on first use with acronym in parenthesis. Use acronym on subsequent use. On first use, the initial letters of normally uncapitalized words should remain lowercase: His expertise is in directed vapor deposition (DVD). Not: Directed Vapor Deposition
  • Ampersand When used with an acronym, do not use a space on either side of an ampersand: R&D.
  • Capitalization Use standard capitalization rules and practices: RFP or request for proposal.
  • Possessive Add 's: NASA's team of scientists


  • Always use numerals, even if less than 10: a 6-year-old girl. He is 85 years old.

Alumnus, Alumna, Alumnae, Alumni

  • An alumnus is a singular male graduate; an alumna is a singular female graduate. Alumnae is the plural of alumna, referring to a group of female graduates. Alumni is the plural of alumnus, and can refer to either a group of male graduates or a group of graduates of mixed genders. Note that U.Va. tradition is to use one of these forms for anyone who has matriculated, whether a graduate or not.


Bachelor of Arts degree
  • Lowercase "degree"

Bachelor's degree

  • All lowercase

Book titles



  • Capitalize department names only when used in full. The Department of Chemical Engineering or the chemical engineering department. The names of departments are not always the same as the names of the degrees offered. See Academic Departments, Academic Degrees.
  • Capitalize titles only when used before a name. Professor Skalak spoke or Tom Skalak is a professor.
  • Always capitalize: the Engineering School Trustees.
  • Always capitalize Engineering School or School when referring to the Engineering School.
  • Always capitalize the University of Virginia or University when referring to the University of Virginia.
  • Formal Title - Denotes a scope of authority or professional or academic activity. Capitalize if used immediately before a name, otherwise lowercase: President John T. Casteen III but John Casteen, president of the University. Exception to this is governor. Abbreviate Gov. Sen. Rep. preceding a name, even on first reference.
  • Regions - Capitalize “East,” “South,” “North,” etc. when it refers to a portion of the country, not as a direction: The South lost the Civil War but They headed south for the warm weather.
  • Always capitalize Capstone.
  • Capitalize the name of specific academic courses. Assistant Professor McKay’s students in Aerospace Computing won the competition.
  • Capitalize names of trademarked products: Dumpster, Astro-Turf, Kleenex, etc. Use such names only if necessary; otherwise rewrite substituting a generic term: garbage collection bin, artificial turf, tissue.


  • "cellphone" not "cell phone."


  • Use instead of chairman, chairwoman or chairperson. Use lowercase: He is the department chair. Department chair Bryan Smith was absent.

Cities and States


  • Lowercase "city of." Volunteers canvassed throughout the city of Charlottesville.
Class and Year
  • Use “first-year,” “second-year,” “third-year,” “fourth-year,” as opposed to freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.
  • Hyphenate in adjectival uses: She is a fourth-year student. Second-years had a tailgate party. But: She is in her fourth year at U.Va.
  • Set off an alumnus’ or alumna’s degree and year in parentheses after the name, preferably on first reference. John Q. Wahoo (CE ’78).
  • For degree titles see Academic Degrees-Engineering.
  • One word
  • The Engineering School colors are blue and orange.  See Colors in the graphic standards section.


Commonwealth and State
  • Capitalize “Commonwealth” when referring to the Commonwealth of Virginia: Voting took place in the Commonwealth today.
  • Lowercase the word state: The state of Virginia is blossoming.

Company Names

  • Lowercase the definitive article when it precedes the name of the organization
  • Do not use commas to set off "Inc." or "Ltd." or "LLC."

Composition Titles

  • Book, magazine and newspaper titles should be in italics. The Bible and the U.S. Constitution are not italicized.
  • Magazine articles, academic papers, book chapters, movie titles, song titles and other compositions that are a part of larger works should appear in quotation marks.

Course Names


  • One word

Courtesy titles




  • Abbreviate month when used for a specific date. Spell out if not a specific date. On Sept. 1, in September.
  • Do not use "th" with dates. The months March, April, May, June, and July are not abbreviated.
  • Do not include the year if the date is within the present calendar year, unless it is likely to cause confusion. The group is scheduled to meet in December 2009 and January 2010.
  • When citing a season and year, do not use "of." Correct: He traveled in spring 2007. Incorrect: He traveled in the spring of 2007.



Distance learning technology

  • Lowercase, no hyphen.

Doctor, Dr.

Double spaces

  • Eliminate all double spaces between sentences.



Em Dash


  • “email.” Do not hyphenate. Unless used at the beginning of a sentence or in a title, email should not be capitalized.


  • Cap, with space and hyphen. On first reference use U.Va. Engineering School E-News, second reference, E-News. Italicize when referring to the online publication.


  • Use after formal title. Professor Emeritus. If after name: professor emeritus. Professor Emeritus Emil Smith was introduced by Sheila Black, professor emeritus.
Endowed Professorships
  • Authority for establishing — Only the Board of Visitors can establish an endowed professorship. A donor may create a chair, fund a chair, endow a chair or make a chair possible.
  • Election to — A faculty member is elected to an endowed professorship by the Board of Visitors, not appointed.
  • Faculty member — When referring to a faculty member who holds an endowed chair, it is always preferable on first reference to put the full chair name after the faculty member’s name.
  • Use of term — Use either “endowed professorship” or “endowed chair.” Never use “chaired professorship.”
Engineering School
  • On first reference use U.Va. School of Engineering, on subsequent references you may use “Engineering School” or “School.” When referring to the Engineering School always capitalize the “E” and the “S.” When using the word “school” in reference to the School of Engineering, always capitalize the “S.” See Capitalization.

Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia

  • A program of the Engineering School. Refer to it as Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia or simply PRODUCED on second reference.



  • Uppercase "Fellow of _____", "funder name Fellow," "name Fellowship in" A Fellow of IEEE.

Final Exercises

  • Use instead of “graduation.”

Finals Weekend

  • Use instead of “graduation weekend.”



Formal title


Foundation, The

  • For first reference it is the University of Virginia Engineering Foundation. Second reference can be “UVEF,” “U.Va. Engineering Foundation” or “the Foundation.”


Full time

  • Two words, no hyphen, unless immediately preceding a noun: I need a full-time job but I'm worried about working full time.

Fundraising, fundraiser

  • Preferred use is without a hyphen or a space.


Governor, Senator, Representative

  • Lowercase when appearing after name; capitalize immediately preceding a name, but abbreviate as "Gov.": Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, spoke after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also: Sen. Warner. Rep. Smith.

Grounds, The

  • Refers to the land upon which the University is built; would be called “campus” at other schools. Always capitalize the G. Activities on Grounds were restricted. The Grounds were snow-covered. 




  • Do not set these off with commas.


  • Use no space between initials in a name. Professor Hayden N.G. Wadley. B.F. Goodrich

Internet, Web, Web site



J-Term/ January term

  • Spell out month "January" on first reference; "J-Term" on subsequent references or in contexts in which the full expression isn't deemed necessary.

Jefferson Scholar and Fellowship

  • Capitalize “S,” and “F”

Jr., Sr., III, etc.


  • Class/year Use "third-year." Hyphenated in adjectival usage. See Class And Year
  • Jr., Sr. Set off name suffixes with commas. See Titles



  • Designation for kindergarten through high school.


Lawn, The

  • Always capitalize the L. The long, near-rectangular swath of greensward at the center of Thomas Jefferson’s original Academical Village, between the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall. It also refers to the student rooms — “Lawn rooms” — arrayed alongside the greensward, interspersed between the pavilions used by faculty members. Ceremonies were moved to the Lawn.


  • One word, no hyphen.

Life span

  • Two words.

Lists of donor/alumni names


  • Always use the horizontal Engineering School logo. The exception to this is use of the Thornton Society logo on materials that relate to the Thornton Society. See Logos.


Magazine article titles

Master of Science degree

  • Use "degree" and cap; abbreviate as "M.S."; casual reference: master's degree in science.

Master's degree

  • Note lowercase and apostrophe, but capitalize Master of Science degree.

M.B.A. degree

  • Use "degree" and periods.

Middle initials

  • If there are two, don't use a space between. Hayden N.G. Wadley. B.F. Goodrich


  • Some months should be abbreviated when used with dates, but don't abbreviate when just month and year: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Jan. 1, 2010; January 2006


Named Scholarships

  • Always capitalize. Rhodes Scholar. Jefferson Scholar.

Names of companies/organizations

Consult Web to obtain the formal name of the company.
  • Capitalization Lowercase the secondary letters in all-capital-letter company names unless each letter is pronounced separately: NYSE but Nasdaq. For organization names where the first letter is lowercased, it can remain so unless it's the first word in a sentence, then it must be capped. "We shop on eBay" but "EBay offers discounts"
  • Commas Do not use commas to set off "Inc." or "Ltd." or "LLC."
  • Definite article Lowercase the definite article when it precedes the name of an organization except when the name is part of an address (or the formal name of the company as is The Design Group Inc., The New York Times).

Name suffixes

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Note “s.” This central agency consists of multiple agencies.

Native American

  • Use American Indian

Next-generation technology

  • Hyphen.


Spell out numbers one through nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and above:

  • ordinal numbers Don't use "th" with dates; if used, don't use superscript: Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance.
  • percentages Always use numerals for percentages and write out "percentage" instead of using "%." For example, "the project is 50 percent complete."


On Grounds/on-Grounds (adj.)

  • Note that the first use is a phrase, and left open: He visited friends on Grounds; the second use is hyphenated: She preferred on-Grounds housing.


  • One word.

Ordinal numbers

  • Don't use "th" with dates; if used, don't use superscript: Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance.



  • Originally designed as faculty residences and classroom spaces, these 10 buildings also flank the Lawn. Most are still in use by faculty, as originally intended. Individual pavilions are designated by Roman numerals: Pavilion I, Pavilion II, etc. Capitalize the P when naming a specific pavilion: The furniture in Pavilion IV was recently restored. Visitors toured the pavilion.


  • Originally designed as faculty residences and classroom spaces, these 10 buildings also flank the Lawn. Most are still in use by faculty, as originally intended. Individual pavilions are designated by Roman numerals: Pavilion I, Pavilion II, etc. Capitalize the P when naming a specific pavilion: The furniture in Pavilion IV was recently restored. Visitors toured the pavilion.



  • Always place inside the closing quotation mark

Philanthropy Report

  • Names are listed alum first and then spouse in all sections except Thornton Society.
  • In Thornton Society listing, names are listed woman first and then man and no Mr. or Mrs.
  • The * and + and ∞ designate, respectively, deceased, contributor for five or more years consecutively, and contributor for 10 or more years consecutively.
  • Do not use Dr. or include Ph.D. after names. Other titles (e.g. M.D., Esq.) are acceptable.
  • Judges: precede name with "The Honorable": The Honorable Anita K. Jones
  • Active duty military: abbreviate rank, followed by name, followed by abbreviated branch of service: Lt. Col. Richard Smith, USAF
  • Retired military: abbreviate rank (if provided), followed by name, followed by abbreviate branch of service (no periods), followed by (Ret.): Robert D. Provost, USN (Ret.)
  • Religious titles: title (abbreviate Rev. only), followed by name: The Rev. Macon Deeds. Sister Mary Agnes Smith. Bishop Martin DeWitt.
  • Do not break names up on a line if it is possible to avoid. If item has two names and both can't fit on one line begin second line with "&" followed by second name. Indent second line.
  • Do not begin a new section at the bottom of a column.


  • One word, no hyphen.


  • Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia or simply PRODUCED on second reference.


  • Spell out, do not abbreviate.



  • Commas
    • Do not use to set off Inc., Ltd. or LLC, but do use to set off Jr. or Sr. following a person's name.
      Commas always appear inside quotation marks
      Use to separate elements in a series but not before "and" or "or" in a simple series: They bought books, computers and whiteboards. But: They were billed for tuition, room and board, and student fees.
  • Company Titles
    • Do not use commas to set off Inc., Ltd. and LLC
  • Ellipsis ( … )
    • Used to indicate a deletion of text. It should be treated as a three-letter word, consisting of a space, three periods (created with one keystroke using the Option key plus the semicolon key), and another space. If the sentence preceding the ellipsis is a complete sentence, end it with a period (or question mark) followed by a space and then the ellipsis.
  • Em Dashes
    • Use an em dash to denote an interjection or abrupt change in thought. Insert a space before and after the em dash. In most text programs, if you type two hyphens and do not include a space before the hyphens, then an em dash (—) is created. Don't use an em dash if a colon will suffice
  • En Dashes
    • Use an en dash in place of "to" between figures or words. The en dash (the keystroke is Option+hyphen) is longer than a hyphen and shorter than an em dash. Examples: 1855–1901; the Charlottesville–D.C. train; Chapter 5–15. If you use the word "from," don't use the en dash in place of "to." Correct: He was president from 2000 to 2008, or He was president 2000–08. Incorrect: He was president from 2000–08.
  • Names
    • Do use commas to set off Jr. or Sr. following a person's name. Phillip R. Blevins, Sr.
  • Serial commas
    • Use commas to separate elements in a series but not before "and" or "or" in a simple series: They bought books, computers and whiteboards. But: They were billed for tuition, room and board, and student fees.
  •  Telephone numbers
    • Use periods to separate numbers in phone numbers: 434.924.1383.


Question marks

  • Question marks can appear inside or outside quotation marks, depending on the meaning: Who wrote the play “Our Town”? He asked, “How long will it take?”

Quotation marks

  • Use typographer’s marks (“smart” or “curly” quotation marks and apostrophes). When an apostrophe is used to indicate that something preceding has been deleted, take care to make sure the apostrophe points toward what was deleted and away from the element that is left: (CE ’80).


Range, The

  • The student rooms immediately beyond the pavilion gardens. Note caps: “East Rangeor West Range.”

Rector and Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia

  • Formal name of the governing body of the University; first reference is Rector and Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia; on second reference, “Board of Visitors” is acceptable; on subsequent references, “BOV” or “Board” is acceptable.



  • Use "the" before the title, abbreviated "Rev."

Rotunda, The

  • The large domed building at the head of the Academical Village, designed by Thomas Jefferson and modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Note cap on “Rotunda.”



  • In general, the past tense is used in newspaper writing to describe the act of having spoken, as it is the literal truth: "I have settled in Virginia," John Smith said. However, in magazine writing (and other forms), writers use the present tense to give their writing more immediacy: "We welcome diversity," John Blackburn says.


  • Note caps “Rhodes Scholar,” “Fulbright Scholar,” “Jefferson Scholar”


  • School of Architecture (first reference); Architecture School (second reference on; note that it is uppercase).
  • The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In publications for a University audience, it is acceptable to use simply “the College” on first reference when mentioning the College of Arts & Sciences. The ampersand is the style Arts & Sciences has adopted for its own publications. Use it in all development communications writing except for presidential correspondence (in which case the “and” is spelled out).
  • Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy (first reference); Batten School (second reference on). Do not use ampersand.
  • Curry School of Education (first reference); Curry School (second reference on).
  • Darden School of Business (first reference); Darden School (second reference on). [Note: In publications for a University audience, it is acceptable to use simply “the Darden School” on first reference.]
  • McIntire School of Commerce (first reference); McIntire School (second reference on).
  • School of Engineering (first reference); Engineering School, School (second reference on); do not use ampersand.
  • School of Law (first reference, or sometimes just University of Virginia Law School, depending on context); Law School (second reference).
  • School of Medicine (all references).
  • School of Nursing (first reference); Nursing School (second reference on).



  • Use to separate items in a series that have internal commas: She loved to eat seafood: shrimp; crabs; lobster tails, if there was plenty of drawn butter; and squid.


Sentence spacing

  • Use a single space between sentences.


  • "smartphone" not "smart phone," for advanced phones with capabilities including web browsing, email, downloaded apps.

“Smart quotes”



Span of years

  • Use full year for the second year in a span. "2009–2010"; the years should be separated by an en dash (keystroke is Option+hyphen).

State abbreviations

State and Commonwealth


Telephone numbers

  • Use periods to separate numbers in phone numbers: 434.924.1383.


  • See Class and Year


  • Use figures except for "noon" and "midnight." Use periods and no space for a.m and p.m: The conference runs from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Avoid overcapitalization. See the following guidelines:

  • Commas Use commas to set off a long title after a name: “Susan A. Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer.”
  • Courtesy titles. Mr./Ms. Use from second reference on. Do not use “Mrs.” or “Miss” unless this is likely to be the preference of the woman to whom you are referring.
  • Degrees If mentioning someone’s degree is necessary to establish credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase describing the degree: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology.
  • Doctor Use “M.D.” after the person’s name on first reference. Then use “Dr.” from second reference on as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathy, doctor of podiatric medicine degree or veterinary degree.
  • Endowed professorships See Endowed Professorships.
  • Formal titles Denotes a scope of authority or professional or academic activity. Capitalize if used immediately before a name, otherwise lowercase. The exception to this is governor which is always abbreviated even on first use.
  • Honorable Use “the” before the title.
  • Modifiers. Lowercase modifiers such as “department”: department Chair Jerome Wiesner.
  • Name suffixes. U.Va. uses seniority to alphabetize names that are identical except for their name suffixes: order in donor list would be Frank K. Jones, Sr.; Frank K. Jones, Jr.; Frank K. Jones III. Do set off name suffixes with commas (Jr., Sr.). Do not use commas before II, III, IV, etc.
  • Professor Spell out, do not abbreviate.
  • Reverend Use “the” before the title, abbreviate “the Rev.”
  • Journal titles in italics; titles of papers in quotes.


University of Virginia

  • Proper first reference; on subsequent references, it may be abbreviated as "U.Va." (note periods). It may also be referred to as "the University" in contexts in which it would be clear to do so and would not be confused with other institutions.


  • Note hyphen.


  • A URL should appear in text in italics; watch out for automatic hyperlinks in a document and remove them in text that is to be printed. Do not use the "http://" part of the URL.


  • Spell out "United States" when used as a noun. Use "U.S."(no space) only as an adjective: "U.S. workers."

U.S. News & World Report

  • Ampersand is part of legal name. As publication name, italicize it.


Vice chair/vice president

  • Use space, no hyphen.


Washington, D.C.

  • Set off "D.C." on both sides with commas: He lived in Washington, D.C., before moving to Virginia.

Web Terms

  • Web and Internet Always capitalize Web and Internet when referring to the World Wide Web. "Visit us on the Web, on the Internet." "Online" is one word, adjective or noun form: The text is online. Go online to the URL.
  • Web site and Web page are two words (never website, Website, webpage, etc.) "For more information, visit our Web site."
  • Hyphenate "e-mail."  Unless used at the beginning of a sentence or in a title, e-mail should not be capitalized.  If you must capitalize, do not capitalize the "m" (E-Mail is incorrect).
  • E-mail addresses and URL Italicize e-mail addresses and URLs in all publications and press releases.



  • Beginning sentence Years are the exception to the rule that numerals are not used to start a sentence: 1976 was a very good year. It is preferable to rework a sentence to avoid starting it with a year, however.
  • Commas When in month, day, year format, always set year off on each side with comma: May 24, 1980, was warm and muggy.
  • Decades Just add "s" unless the possessive is specifically to be implied: 1990s, 1890s but 1920s' music.
  • Spans Use full form of the second year: 2007–2008. Use en dash to separate years.


  • Dictionary
  • AP Ask the Editor
  • American Heritage® Reference Collection
  • University of Virginia Style Guide Draft 2009