Editorial Style Guide


The Division of Strategic Communications uses The Associated Press Stylebook as a guide for all copy the office produces, which includes journalistic and marketing pieces. For cases unique to The University of Alabama and other exceptions to AP style, as well as matters not addressed by AP, use the UA Editorial Style Guide that follows.

Visit the Graphics Standards for the University’s graphic standards.

Alphabetical Listing of Topics



Academic degrees

Avoid abbreviations. When lack of space makes abbreviations necessary, do not use periods. (e.g., BA, MS, MBA)

Formal names of degrees are capitalized, per AP style; informal names are not. Do not capitalize specializations or majors within degrees.

  • Master of Science but master’s degree
  • Bachelor of Arts but bachelor’s degree
  • Doctor of Nursing in geriatrics

Use apostrophes when writing bachelor’s and master’s degrees but do not use ’s with of constructions.

For the style rule on the use of Dr., doctorate and doctoral, see the entry under section D of this style guide.

For a list of UA degrees, please review Appendix C below.

academic divisions, UA

See divisions.

academic honors

Do not italicize cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude or with distinction.

ACT Card

Use ACT Card but Action Card Office.

addresses, campus

For all campus publications, give addresses for University of Alabama departments and offices as follows:

The University of Alabama
Office or department name
Office or department location
Box 870___ (campus box number, which is not a P.O. box number)
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0___ (campus box number)
205-348-____ or toll-free 800–___-____
Fax 205-348-____
Email address
Website address

The room number, building name, phone number, fax number and email address may be omitted as appropriate.
Include Hall or Building, as appropriate, for office or department locations (e.g., Rose Administration Building) and place room numbers first, omitting the word “room” (e.g., 801 Rose Administration Building).

Do not use the 1- before telephone or fax numbers.


Use adviser in news releases, except when advisor is part of an official name. For all other uses, advisor is acceptable. This is an exception to the AP Stylebook.

Alabama/state of Alabama

Acceptable as a second reference or short form of The University of Alabama. Take care to write so that the word cannot be confused with the state of Alabama.

Alabama experience, the

When writing about the Alabama experience, lowercase the and experience. Do not use quotation marks.

Alabamian, not Alabaman



The abbreviation Bama for The University of Alabama is too informal for some University publications, so use it with caution.

Bama Bound Orientation: The official name of orientation for undergraduates at the University. Acceptable second reference: Bama Bound.

board of trustees 

The full name of the University’s governing board is capitalized as follows:
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees

Short forms of the name are not capitalized:

  • The board of trustees met Monday.
  • The University’s board of trustees will meet Monday.

buildings, names of

Do not use a space between each letter-period pair in building names, such as B.B. Comer Hall.

Use Hall or Building on first reference and in addresses, particularly in publications intended for an off-campus audience.

See Appendix: Campus Building Names for a list of official campus building names.


Capstone, the

The Capstone is a nickname for The University of Alabama coined by former UA President G.H. Denny when he referred to the University as the “capstone of the public school system of the state” in 1912. Be aware that prospective students may not understand this meaning, although other audiences, such as alumni, may.

certificates and forms

The following guidelines apply to the titles of academic and professional certificates (as in Class AA Professional Certificate); visas; government forms; specialized forms, such as financial aid forms; and other documents referred to by name.
Terms that are generally descriptive — such as application for admission, declaration of intent, or application for admission to candidacy — should not be capitalized.

Capitalize the first word and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs in the title of the form:

  • Class AA Certificate, but Class AA certification
  • Class A Professional Certificate
  • the “A” Certification in School Psychometry
  • Form I-20AB Certificate of Eligibility
  • IAP-66 Certificate of Eligibility
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

When a number is part of a form’s title, use the numeral and omit any punctuation:

  • Incorrect: Form 1,040EZ
  • Correct: Form 1040EZ
  • Incorrect: Form Two-A
  • Correct: Form 2A

classification, student

Do not capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate, postgraduate, postdoctoral, non-degree or any similar designation unless it is part of a title, a headline or the official name of an organization.

Use freshman when writing of one first-year student, freshmen when writing of more than one. Use freshman as a modifier.

colleges and schools, UA

See divisions.

Cooperative Education Program, Co-op 

Co-op or Co-op Program is an acceptable second reference, but lowercase co-op when used as an adjective: the co-op experience

Core Curriculum, University of Alabama

Capitalize University of Alabama Core Curriculum, University Core Curriculum and UA Core Curriculum, but lowercase curriculum in other uses:

  • core curriculum (even when referring to the UA Core Curriculum)
  • undergraduate curriculum
  • graduate curriculum
  • business curriculum

course level

  • a 300-level course
  • a senior-level course
  • a course at the 400 level
  • a course at the freshman level

course load

Two words. Generally refers to the number of course hours recommended or allowable each semester.

Course numbers and titles

When a course number and title are given together, give the alpha symbol and number followed directly by the title. There is no intervening punctuation, and do not abbreviate words in the title.

  • ART 110 Drawing I
  • EE 350 Electromechanics
  • EN 398 Modernism I: The Cultural Context

When a course title is given without the course number, you may uppercase the course title as long as it is the complete title.
Do not use alpha symbols when speaking generally of a department or program’s courses or of an academic discipline.

  • Incorrect: Students may count up to 18 hours in SOC, FR or PSC toward the major.
  • Correct: Students may count up to 18 hours in sociology, French or political science toward the major.

When listing courses by number, repeat the alpha symbol with each number.

  • Incorrect: The required courses include EN 101, 205, and 209 or 210.
  • Correct: The required courses include EN 101, EN 205, and EN 209 or EN 210.

Use a colon to indicate lecture-and-laboratory combinations. The alpha symbol is not repeated: AY 101:102
Courses offered for both graduate and undergraduate credit — and thus having two numbers — may be listed as follows: EN 480/580. Do not repeat alpha symbol.

Any two distinct courses, no matter how closely linked, should be indicated by the word “and” instead of a colon.
Example: EN 101 and EN 102


One word. Generally refers to the courses taken for degree credit.

credit hours

See numbers.

Crimson Ride

Crimson Tide 

Commonly used to describe or name The University of Alabama’s football team, Crimson Tide is now often used to refer to other NCAA teams at The University of Alabama. Avoid overuse, particularly in non-sports contexts.

cum laude

See academic honors.


Never combine the symbol $ and the word dollars in the same context. The symbol replaces the word. Using both is redundant.

Correct: $10,000
Incorrect: $10,000 dollars



Colleges and Schools:

  • Capstone College of Nursing
  • College of Arts and Sciences, A&S
  • College of Communication and Information Sciences, C&IS
  • College of Community Health Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Environmental Sciences
  • Culverhouse College of Business
  • Honors College
  • New College (part of the College of Arts and Sciences)
  • School of Library and Information Studies, SLIS, (part of the College of Communication and Information Sciences)
  • School of Music (part of the College of Arts and Sciences)
  • School of Social Work
  • The University of Alabama School of Law

Administrative Divisions:

  • Division of Advancement
  • Division of Community Affairs
  • Division of Finance and Operations
  • Division of Opportunities, Connections and Success
  • Division of Strategic Communications
  • Division of Student Life
  • Office for Academic Affairs
  • Office for Research and Economic Development

degree programs

See programs, academic.

degrees, academic

See academic degrees.

Denny Chimes

The campanile on the Quadrangle was constructed in 1929 and named after UA President George H. Denny. When writing about the tower that contains the chimes, use singular verbs and do not use an article such as the if possible:

  • Denny Chimes stands on the main Quad.
  • A campus landmark, Denny Chimes was completed in 1929.

When writing about the chimes themselves, use the plural verb form and the when the structure of the sentence permits:
Every day, the Denny Chimes sound out the time.
Try to avoid sentences that mix the two references, such as the following:

  • Tricky: In the background stands Denny Chimes, which have been ringing the hours since 1929.
  • Better: In the background stands Denny Chimes; its bells have been ringing the hours since 1929.


Departments should be lowercased (as per AP Style).

disability accommodations and statements

See equal-opportunity statements.


Do not capitalize the names of academic disciplines or major or minor areas of study except those derived from proper nouns: English, but math.

Dr., doctorate and doctoral

UA style uses “Dr.” on first reference before the name of an individual who holds an earned doctorate (other than juris doctor). This is an exception to the AP stylebook.

People who hold the JD, or juris doctor, are not called “Dr.” Those who hold the terminal degree in that field — the doctor of juridical science or JSD — are. Do not use “Dr.” before the name of a person who has received an honorary doctorate. Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster is the exception to this rule.

Doctoral is an adjective; doctorate is a noun. A doctorate or a doctoral degree, not a doctorate degree.

When listing UA faculty members in a table, cite only the highest degree attained, plus any relevant professional designation.

  • Jane Smith, PhD, RN
  • Mary Jones, MAcc, CPA

Avoid the use of PhD in body copy as a synonym for doctorate. In tables, PhD should be written without periods.


Emerita refers to a woman, emeritus to a man, emeriti to a mixed group or to a group of either sex. Place emerita, emeritus or emeriti after the formal title:

  • Professor Emeritus of English John Smith but John Smith, professor emeritus of English

Professor emeritus is a title awarded by the UA System Board of Trustees. Retired faculty members who have not had this title awarded to them should be referred to as former or retired faculty, not emeriti.

equal-opportunity statements

The University has a responsibility to clearly communicate its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment and to making its programs and services accessible to those with disabilities. For the most current disability statements and other information, go to the website of UA’s Equal Opportunity Programs.

ethnic background categories

For the optional ethnicity portion of applications to University programs, use the following categories:

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Asian
  • Black/Non-Hispanic
  • Hispanic
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • White/Non-Hispanic
  • Other______________


Federal Work-Study Program

Ferguson Theater

The Ferguson Theater is the proper name of the theater within The University of Alabama Student Center.


game day

Unless part of a formal name, game day should be two words, per AP style.

Correct: The campus is always full of energy on game day.
Incorrect: The campus is always full of energy on gameday.


in-state, out-of-state

Acceptable, but consider whether Alabama resident and nonresident would be more precise.

Interim program, Interim term

Interim is an acceptable short form for Interim program or Interim term, the academic term between spring and summer semesters.


magna cum laude

See academic honors.

major, minor

Avoid overusing major in place of student majoring in.


Mound, the

Historic, elevated area on the Quad created on the site of Franklin Hall, one of UA’s original dormitories.




For credit hours, use figures no matter how small the number:

  • 3-credit-hour course
  • 15 hours’ credit
  • Use figures for SAT, ACT and similar test scores. Use Arabic figures in constructions such as SAT-1. Do not add commas to SAT or other scores that reach into the thousands.

Use figures for grade point averages. Always include the decimal point and carry to at least one decimal place: 2.0. If several averages are cited in a table, carry all of them to the same place: 3.01, 2.18, 4.00, 1.80. The abbreviation GPA may follow the numbers if they are not described in the rest of the sentence: Sam earned a 3.98 GPA. Mary’s GPA was 3.89. His high school GPA was 3.1.

Use figures in tables and charts. In tables and charts that include a total at the bottom, align the decimal points in each column. In other tables and charts, decimal alignment is preferred, but it is acceptable to align all figures along the right margin, particularly if the numbers used are a mixture of percentages, straight figures or fractions.


off campus, off-campus, on campus, on-campus

Standard hyphenation rules apply.


Capitalize office only when it is part of an official name.


Do not capitalize when used in a general sense or on second reference. Capitalize only when part of the name of an event or program. The official name of orientation for undergraduates at the University is Bama Bound Orientation.


Presidential Village

When talking about the whole area, refer to it as Presidential Village. When referring to a specific residence hall, refer to them by name as either Presidential I or Presidential II.

programs, academic

In general, do not capitalize the names of academic programs. Capitalize names of programs in headings, subheadings, titles of works and tables of contents, as needed.

Avoid using program in place of major or departmentProgram often implies a separate administration or faculty.

When describing a student’s activities, it may be best to use department, major or degree program rather than simply program.

  • MFA program in creative writing
  • the doctoral program in applied statistics
  • University Honors Program
  • the doctoral program in mathematics
  • Multiple Abilities Program
  • women’s studies program


Quad, the Quadrangle

In either its short or long form, this term refers to the central open green space where Denny Chimes is located.  The phrase “old Quad” refers to Woods Quad.



Use this spelling (with accents) to mean a curriculum vitae and to distinguish it from resume (to begin again after an interruption).

room numbers and names

Usually, it is acceptable to drop the word room from addresses, as long as you do so consistently throughout the publication:
Our office is in 122 Rose Administration Building.
Capitalize room and similar words when part of a proper or well-known name:

  • the President’s Lounge
  • the Birmingham Room

If a room number includes a letter, put one hyphen between the letter and number. In those rare instances where there are two or more letters in a room number, use a hyphen only between the first letter or group of letters and the adjacent number.

  • C-212 Clark Hall
  • 210-A Reese Phifer Hall
  • B-129G H.M. Comer Hall



Do not capitalize the common names of semesters, terms, academic sessions or periods (e.g., fall semester, registration, orientation, schedule pickup). If a semester or term is followed by a specific year, use capitalization (e.g., Fall Semester 2003). The special Interim term should be capitalized.

Strip, the

Anentertainment district which includes restaurants, bars and specialty shops on University Boulevard that stretches from roughly Wallace Wade Avenue to Reed Street.

summa cum laude

See academic honors.

Supe Store

Use as a second reference or informal reference for the University Supply Store, particularly when writing for on-campus audiences.


Tapping on the Mound

UA’s annual ceremony in which members of several honor societies are inducted as the culmination of Honors Week in April.

titles of works

Italicize magazine and journal names, which is an exception to the AP Stylebook.



University Core Curriculum

See Core Curriculum, University of Alabama.

University Honors Program, UHP

UHP is acceptable in all contexts as a second reference for University Honors Program.

University of Alabama, The

Always capitalize our proper name as follows: The University of Alabama.

  • The University of Alabama
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • The University of Alabama System

Capitalize University when it takes the place of our full name.
UA is an acceptable short form or second reference for The University of Alabama, noun and adjective forms. Never use U of A.


University Recreation. UREC is acceptable on second reference. Rec is acceptable on second reference for Outdoor Rec, Student Recreation Center, recreation fields, etc.


Where Legends Are Made

  • Capitalize Are
  • Do not enclose in quotation marks (AP style exception)

work-study student

Appendix A: Campus Buildings

Updated: June 2024

Following is a list of many UA and UA-related buildings, facilities and landmarks. For more information, visit the campus map.

Parking Decks and Garages

  • Capstone Parking Deck
  • Magnolia Parking Deck
  • North ten Hoor Parking Deck
  • Presidential Village II Parking Garage
  • Ridgecrest Under Deck
  • Riverside Parking Deck
  • Stadium Drive Parking Deck
  • Student Center Parking Deck
  • Transportation Hub Deck
  • Tutwiler Parking Deck

Landmarks and Outdoor Locations

  • 1893 Park
  • Autherine Lucy Clock Tower
  • Cemetery
  • Crimson Promenade
  • Denny Chimes
  • Malone-Hood Plaza
  • Manderson Landing, the Park at
  • Marr’s Spring Park
  • Mound, the
  • Moundville Archaeological Park
  • Peter Bryce Preserve
  • Quad, the
  • Round House
  • Shelby Engineering and Science Quad
  • Student Center Lawn
  • Tuska Plaza
  • UA Arboretum
  • Walk of Champions
  • Walk of Fame
  • Woods Quad Sculpture Garden

Athletics Facilities

  • Aquatic Center
  • Boathouse at Manderson Landing
  • Bryant-Denny Stadium
  • Coleman Coliseum
  • Foster Auditorium
  • Hank Crisp Indoor Facility
  • Harry Pritchett Running Park
  • Jerry Pate Golf Center
  • John and Ann Rhoads Softball Stadium
  • Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility
  • Ol’ Colony Golf Course
  • Parker-Haun Tennis Facility
  • Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility
  • Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium
  • Sewell-Thomas Stadium
  • Stran-Hardin Arena
  • The University of Alabama Soccer Stadium
  • Strength and Conditioning Facility
  • The University of Alabama Tennis Stadium

Residence Halls and Dining Facilities

  • Blount Hall (home to Blount Undergraduate Initiative Living-Learning Community)
  • Bryant Hall
  • Burke Hall, East and West
  • Fresh Food Company, the
  • John H. England Jr. Hall
  • Julia Tutwiler Hall
  • Lakeside Dining Hall
  • Lakeside East and West
  • Parham Hall
  • Paty Hall
  • Ridgecrest East, South and West
  • Riverside East, North and West

Other Buildings A-Z


  • Adams Hall
  • AIME Building
  • Alston Hall
  • Alumni Hall
  • Ancillary Services Building
  • Autherine Lucy Hall
  • B.B. Comer Hall
  • Barnwell Hall
  • Bevill Building
  • Bidgood Hall
  • Bruno Business Library
  • Bryant Academic Center
  • Bryant Conference Center
  • Bryant Hall Annex
  • Bryant Museum
  • Bryant-Jordan Hall
  • Bryce Main
  • Bureau of Mines Buildings 1, 3, 4, 5


  • Capital Hall
  • Capstone College of Nursing
  • Capstone Village
  • Carmichael Hall
  • Catherine and Pettus Randall Welcome Center, second reference: Randall Welcome Center
  • Clark Hall
  • Cyber Hall
  • Doster Hall


  • East Annex
  • East Campus Storm Shelter
  • Employee Resource Center
  • English Building
  • Facilities Administration Building
  • Farrah Hall


  • Gallalee Hall
  • Garland Hall (houses the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art)
  • Geological Survey of Alabama / Oil and Gas Board Core Repository Facility
  • Gordon Palmer Hall
  • Gorgas House
  • Gorgas Library
  • Greek Assembly Hall
  • H.M. Comer Hall
  • Hardaway Hall
  • Hardaway Hall Annex
  • Hewson Hall
  • Hillel Student Activity Center
  • Honors Hall
  • Honors Hall Annex
  • Houser Hall
  • Human Resources Administration Building
  • Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility


  • Intramural Complex
  • Judy Bonner Child Development Center
  • Little Hall
  • Lloyd Hall


  • Mary Harmon Bryant Hall (houses the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library)
  • Math and Science Education Building
  • Maxwell Hall
  • McLure Library
  • McMillan Building
  • Moody Music Building
  • National Water Center
  • North Engineering Research Center (NERC)
  • North Lawn Hall
  • Northeast Medical Building


  • Oliver-Barnard Hall
  • Presidents Hall
  • President’s Mansion
  • Printing and Mail Services Facility


  • Reese Phifer Hall
  • Rodgers Library
  • Rose Administration Building
  • Rowand-Johnson Hall
  • Russell Hall


  • Science and Engineering Complex (SEC)
  • School of Medicine*
  • Shelby Hall
  • Sid McDonald Hall
  • Smart Communities and Innovation Building (SCIB)
  • Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts
  • Smith Hall (houses the Alabama Museum of Natural History)
  • South Engineering Research Center (SERC)
  • South Lawn Office Building
  • Stallings Center
  • Student Health Center and Pharmacy (SHC)*
  • Student Recreation Center
  • Student Services Center
  • ten Hoor Hall
  • The Bryce House
  • The Corner Store
  • The School of Law
  • The University of Alabama Student Center: Acceptable second reference – UA Student Center may be used when spacing is limited or on any reference as long as University of Alabama has been spelled out before it.
  • Tom Barnes Hall
  • Tuomey Hall


  • University Club, the
  • University Hall
  • University Medical Center (UMC)*
  • University Services Campus Community Safe Room
  • University Police Center
  • Jones Hall (Oil and Gas)
  • Wade Hall
  • Witt Activity Center
  • Woods Hall (houses the Sella-Granata Art Gallery)

*Housed within the same building but treated as separate

Appendix B: Recommended Reading List

UA Editorial Style Guide – for exceptions to the Associated Press Stylebook and entries unique to The University of Alabama

The Associated Press Stylebook, latest edition — for everything else besides the UA Style Guide.  (Available online by subscription and through UA Libraries)

Chicago Manual of Style, latest edition

Merriam-Webster, latest edition

National Geographic Atlas of the World, latest edition

The Elements of Style, latest edition

Appendix C: Degree Description

Source: UA Registrar
Updated May 2023

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Information Sciences
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Geology
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Musical Audio Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Musical Arts
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Social Work
  • Educational Specialist
  • Juris Doctor
  • Juris Masters
  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Library & Information Studies
  • Master of Music
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Science
  • Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
  • Master of Science in Athletic Training
  • Master of Science in Business Analytics
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Chemistry
  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Tax Accounting

Appendix D: Accessibility Rubric

Accessibility Rubric (PDF)

Accessibility Rubric (DOCX)