Brand Toolkit

Editorial Guide

Essential Standards

A writer’s reference for use of TU’s most typical terminology.

How to accurately apply the most common words and academic titles found in campus communications. Follow these guidelines for consistent and correct application of language in all written university materials.

Editorial Guidelines

Referring to TU

There are three acceptable ways to refer to the university by name. They include: Towson University, TU or Towson U.  Avoid using “Towson” as this is meant to denote the town.

When writing, it’s best to spell out Towson University in first reference. In subsequent references, TU or “the university” are equally acceptable forms of abbreviation.

For references to Towson University’s athletics programs, Towson Tigers and Tigers are acceptable forms.

Editing

Towson University follows the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook for all decisions on punctuation and grammar. TU defers to the Chicago Manual of Style for issues not ruled upon by AP.

Glossary of Terms

ACADEMIC TERMS

Use term (not semester) when referring to academic periods at TU. Use Minimester when referring to the January academic term. Use summer session when referring to the summer term.

  • Examples: The course is offered in the spring and fall terms.The study abroad program will take place during Minimester.

ALUMNUS, ALUMNI, ALUMNA, ALUMNAE

Alumnus is singular for a male graduate. Alumni is plural for a combination of male and female graduates or male graduates. Alumna is singular for a female graduate; alumnae is the plural when referring to only female graduates.

AND, &

Use the ampersand (&) when it is part of a formal name or composition title. The ampersand should not otherwise be used in place of and.

BUILDINGS

Don’t abbreviate. Capitalize proper names of buildings, including the word building if it is an integral part of the proper name.

  • Examples: The Help Center is located in Cook Library. The President’s Office is located in the Administration Building.

CHAIR

Always chair (never chairman, chairwoman or chairperson).

CORE CURRICULUM

Use Core Curriculum in first and subsequent reference (never University Core or Core Requirements).

Avoid referring to individual Core Curriculum categories by their number; instead refer to them by content area. However, when space is a concern, the Core Curriculum number is acceptable.

  • Examples: This history course satisfies the Core Curriculum Global Perspectives requirement. The department offers programs that satisfy Core Curriculum categories 2, 4, 9 and 14.

DATES/YEARS

Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone.

  • Examples: The conference will be held on Jan. 1.
    The project will be complete in January 2019.
    Let’s meet May 1.
    We will reevaluate in October.

Do not use suffixes with dates.
Correct: Oct. 14
Incorrect: Oct. 14th

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.
Days of the week are never abbreviated when used in conjunction with a date. If the date is used in a tabular format, an abbreviation is okay.
Correct: The meeting is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19, 2019.
Incorrect: The party is set for Fri., Oct. 19, 2019.

DEGREES

Omit academic degrees from names; the academic degree should not be used as a title. If the mention of a degree is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, avoid abbreviation unless space is a concern.

  • Example: He expects to graduate next spring with a bachelor’s degree in history.
    Professor White, who earned a doctorate in chemistry, will be the keynote speaker.

Capitalize official designations of academic degrees when used as official designations such as Bachelor of Science.

  • Example:  Students in the major may pursue the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

Common-noun variations of degree names: associate degree (no apostrophe), bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate.

When abbreviation is required, academic degrees are always punctuated with periods except the Master of Business Administration, which receives no punctuation.

  • Examples: B.A., M.S., MBA, M.F.A., Ph.D.

DEPARTMENTS

Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns and adjectives:

  • Examples: The Department of History or the history department; The Department of English or the English department

Use lowercase letters for informal and shortened versions of all such names.

  • Examples: The College of Liberal Arts has more than 2,500 undergraduates. The college has more than 2,500 undergraduates.

EMAIL

Email is one word with no hyphen.

MAJORS

Do not capitalize majors, programs, specializations or concentrations of study when they are not part of an official department name or title. Exception: English and foreign languages.

  • Examples: She received a bachelor’s degree in history. He is pursuing a major in English.

NAMES

In first reference, include first and last names. In second and subsequent reference, include the last name only.

  • Examples: Marge Mead is an assistant professor of anthropology. Mead’s latest ethnography will be in bookstores this fall.

OFFLINE

Offline is one word, no hyphen, and lowercase. This rule also applies to online.

SEASONS AND TERMS

TU has replaced “semester” in favor of “term” in all official publications. Do not capitalize seasons or term unless part of a formal name.

  • Example: Towson University will hold the first annual Winter Olympics this January.

TITLES

Use the abbreviated title of Dr. only to identify a medical doctor; omit when referring to a non-medical degree, such as a Ph.D. Instead, identify faculty and staff members by academic rank or position. Omit all courtesy titles (e.g., Mr., Ms., Mrs.).

  • Example: Professor Jones will teach three classes this fall.

Capitalize formal titles used directly before an individual’s name.

  • Example:  Towson University President Kim Schatzel will host the reception.

Lowercase and spell out titles that follow a name, they should be set off by commas or appear without a name.

  • Examples: Adam Smith, associate professor of economics, will deliver the lecture. She is an assistant director in the Office of Student Affairs.

There is no style standard that dictates whether a title should appear before or after an individual’s name. Editorial context and consistency should guide these choices.

The titles of specific courses should be capitalized but not italicized or set in quotation marks.

  • Example: Students in the Theatre Studies Track will need to take at least one course in performance creation (either Playwriting or Ensemble Theatre Laboratory).

UNITS

Units (not credits, hours, credit hours, or unit hours) should be used when referring to the measure of course work at TU. Credit may only be used as a general term.

  • Examples: To be eligible for graduation, students must complete at least 120 units. Students can earn course credit for completing the internship.

Credit is the appropriate term when referring to the specific measure of course work earned outside of TU.

  • Example: She transferred to TU after completing 30 credits at community college.

UNIVERSITY

Do not capitalize the word university when it stands alone.

  • Example: The university is highly regarded.

WEBSITE, WEBPAGE

Website is one word, with a lowercase “w.” Webpage is one word, with a lowercase “w.”

Boilerplate Writing Style