Frequently Used Terms
When describing the University, use Washington State University as the first reference in text or in speaking. Subsequent references should be the University, Washington State, or WSU.
When describing one of the WSU urban campuses, use the full name on first reference, for example, Washington State University Tri-Cities. Subsequent references should be WSU Tri-Cities.
- University Graduates
- alumna = singular, feminine
- alumnus = singular, masculine or non-specific gender
- alumnae = plural, feminine
- alumni = plural, masculine or mixed masculine and feminine
- Graduate/graduates are good alternatives for non-specific gender uses.
- fall semester, spring semester (not capitalized)
- The Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (first mention); Allen School (second mention).
- African American, African American history
- email; internet; online; password; username; website
- fall, winter, spring, summer (seasons)
When there are three or more items in a series, put a comma before the “and” or “or” that precedes the last item. In the case of a series within a series, use semicolons to separate the outer series.
- I want eggs, ham, and toast for breakfast.
- I want eggs, ham, and toast for breakfast; soup, salad, and a sandwich for lunch; and a tofu stir-fry, rice, and fresh fruit for dinner.
Use periods in a.m./p.m.; do not repeat in ranges.
Use noon, not 12 p.m. Use midnight, not 12 a.m.
Designate ranges with an en dash OR “from/to.” Do not combine methods.
- The afternoon presentation is 9–11:30 a.m.
- Lunch is at noon. Doors will be open from 5:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- September 8, 2014
- September 2014
Spell out numbers below 10 in non-scientific text. The exceptions are percents, semester hours, and grade point averages: 9 percent, 5 semester hours, 3.5 grade point average.
Spell out a number that begins a sentence.
Use Arabic numerals for numbers 10 and above.
- We noticed a 1 percent difference in the number of students enrolled for fewer than 5 semester hours. Those students earned a 3.5 grade point average.
- Twelve students signed up for the seminar.
- The department ordered 122 pencils.
Spell out directions, street names, and states, but use postal state abbreviations when followed by a zip code.
Professional titles are lowercased in running text.
- Samantha Wilson is senior vice president of administration for FutureTech Corporation.
Avoid acronyms except in an organization’s official or preferred name: IABC, OGRD.
Omit “http://” and “www.” unless required for functionality. Use end punctuation if the URL is part of a sentence.
- You can find information about the undergraduate program in biology at sbs.wsu.edu/undergrad/index.html.
Avoid breaking a URL between lines. If unavoidable, do not hyphenate; do break after a period, underscore, or slash.
Use degrees for WSU alumni only. List degrees in chronological order. No periods. A single space between degree and year. Make sure the apostrophe is curled away from the year. Use four digits for years 100 or more years ago; use two digits for years less than 100 years ago.
Academic degrees are lowercase when spelled out: bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctoral degree (plural and singular forms are the same: bachelor's, master's, doctoral). Degrees are abbreviated with periods and closed up: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph.D., D.Ed., M.D., etc. Plural form: B.A.'s, B.S.'s, M.A.'s, M.S.'s, Ph.D.'s, D.Ed.'s.
- William Patterson, B.A. ’42, M.S. ’44, Ph.D. ’48, received the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Juliann Winters, B.S. 1910, Ph.D. ’17, discovered the cure for hepatitis.
- Susan earned a master’s degree. John earned a bachelor of arts degree. Stephanie has a B.S. and two Ph.D.'s.
Faculty Academic Titles
Lowercase an individual's title except when it precedes his or her name or is used in a mailing address.
- Dean Candis Claiborn; Candis Claiborn, dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture; the dean.
- John Doe is an associate professor in the Department of History.
- Mary Jones, assistant professor of physics, the Fernando Tatis Institute.
University Administrative Titles
Lowercase an individual’s title except when it precedes his or her name. Lowercase titles when used in place of a name.
- President Elson S. Floyd; Elson S. Floyd, president of Washington State University; the president
- Provost Bernardo described his vision for the University.
- The associate vice president for economic development recently addressed the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
Academic Department and Administrative Unit Names
Capitalize formal, official references and lowercase subsequent, alternative references. College of Veterinary Medicine; the college. Department of Biology; the department, the biology department. Holland Library; the library. Bohler Gym; the gym. The exception to this rule: Washington State University; the University.
Use of both “and” and “&” is allowed in compound names of academic and administrative units, though use of the ampersand generally should be limited to instances in which space considerations make it a better solution.
- The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
- Department of Finance and Management Science
Department of Finance & Management Science