A Guide to Editorial Style

A Guide to Editorial Style
at the University of California, Santa Cruz

This guide is composed of two main sections. The first deals primarily with usage related to this campus and the University of California. The second provides some rules for general usage (though it is not intended as a comprehensive guide). In addition, a list of editorial reference works is provided at the end.

Index to Section I: UC Santa Cruz and the University of California

addresses, telephone numbers, web site, campus
buildings, names of campus
California State Universities
chairman or chair
classes and graduates
Colleges Eight, Nine, Ten
comprehensive examination
course notations and grades
department, committee of studies, board of studies
disciplines, majors, and programs
divisions, Jack Baskin School of Engineering
field programs
financial aid
graduate programs
office names, administrative and academic
publications, campus
senior thesis, senior project
titles, academic and administrative
University of California campuses
University of California, Santa Cruz
years, academic

Index to Section II: General Usage

capitalization, italics, and quotation marks in titles of works
quotation marks
time of day
words, compound

Other Reference Sources


addresses, telephone numbers, web site, campus

University of California, Santa Cruz
(Department or office)
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(831) 459-0111 (campus information)
web site: www.ucsc.edu


Webster's first spelling-- adviser--is preferred at UCSC and is used in official campus publications (e.g., UCSC General Catalog, Schedules of Classes, Navigator). However, Webster's lists advisor as an acceptable second spelling.

buildings, name of campus

Capitalize full names:

  • Baskin Visual Arts Center
  • Jack Baskin Auditorium
  • Jack Baskin Engineering Building (formerly Applied Sciences Building)
  • Bay Tree Building
  • Center for Adaptive Optics
  • Center for Ocean Health
  • Classroom Units 1 and 2
  • East Field Center
  • East Field House
  • Engineering 2 Building
  • Graduate Student Commons
  • Hahn Student Services Building
  • Horticulture 1 and 2 Buildings
  • Humanities 1 and 2 Buildings
  • Interdisciplinary Sciences Building
  • McHenry Library
  • Merrill Library
  • Music Center
  • Music Center Recital Hall
  • Natural Sciences 2 Building
  • Physical Sciences Building
  • Quarry Plaza
  • Science & Engineering Library
  • Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory
  • Sinsheimer Laboratories
  • Social Sciences 1 and 2 Buildings
  • Student Union
  • Theater Arts Center (formerly Performing Arts Center) (the entire complex)
  • Theater Arts Mainstage
  • Theater Arts Second Stage
  • Thimann Laboratories
  • Thimann Lecture Hall
  • University Center
  • University Town Center

Lowercase library and theater when used alone or in plural form:

  • the theater
  • the campus libraries

Note the er form of theater.

Cite room numbers as follows:

  • His office is located at 102 Hahn Student Services Building.
California State Universities

Supply complete names for first reference. A shortened version may be used thereafter.

  • California Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime)
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo)
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly, Pomona)
  • California State University, Bakersfield (CSU Bakersfield)
  • California State University, Channel Islands (CSU Channel Islands)
  • California State University, Chico (CSU Chico)
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSU Dominguez Hills)
  • California State University, Fresno (CSU Fresno)
  • California State University, Fullerton (CSU Fullerton)
  • California State University, East Bay (CSU East Bay)
  • California State University, Long Beach (CSU Long Beach)
  • California State University, Los Angeles (CSU Los Angeles)
  • California State University, Monterey Bay (CSU Monterey Bay) (CSUMB)
  • California State University, Northridge (CSU Northridge)
  • California State University, Sacramento (CSU Sacramento)
  • California State University, San Bernardino (CSU San Bernardino)
  • California State University, San Marcos (CSU San Marcos)
  • California State University, Stanislaus (CSU Stanislaus)
  • Humboldt State University (Humboldt State)
  • San Diego State University (San Diego State)
  • San Francisco State University (San Francisco State)
  • San Jose State University (San Jose State)
  • Sonoma State University (Sonoma State)

Lowercase, even when used with Santa Cruz:

  • the campus
  • the Santa Cruz campus

To show possession, add apostrophe s:

  • the campus's reputation
chairman or chair.
See titles.
classes and graduates

Use lowercase:

  • freshman, sophomore, junior, senior
  • alumnus (a male), alumna (a female), alumni (two or more males or mixed males and females), alumnae (two or more females)

Note that either freshman or first-year student is acceptable. Frosh and alum(s) are acceptable in informal contexts.

For class years, use this style:

  • class of '78
  • Crown '97
  • Porter '02
  • Oakes '00
  • Graduate Studies '90

Capitalize full names or short forms:

  • Stevenson College
  • Stevenson

Rachel Carson College:

  • Rachel Carson College is the official name. Carson College is not an acceptable alternative.
  • Until September 2017, the college name should be referenced as "Rachel Carson College (formerly College Eight)".

Lowercase college when used alone, as a general term, or in the plural, even when referring to UCSC colleges:

  • the college
  • the college system
  • the ten UCSC colleges

Uppercase college when used in the plural following more than one name:

  • Kresge and Porter Colleges
Colleges Nine and Ten

Do not use figures (IX or 9):

  • College Nine
  • College Ten opened in fall 2002.

Acceptable short form once the college has been identified:

  • Nine, Ten
comprehensive examination

Use lowercase.

course notations and grades

Capitalize course notations and grades:

  • Pass, No Pass, Incomplete, In Progress, Withdrawal; P, NP, I, IP, W; A, B, C, D, F

Enclose in quotation marks only as necessary for clarity. Do not underline or use all capitals:

  • The notation "In Progress" is reserved for a single course extending over two or three quarters of an academic year.
    To receive an "I" you must. . . .

Use the word notation rather than grade unless you are referring to letter grades.


The full names of courses are capitalized. In text, the discipline and course number should be set in roman (not italic) type and the course title should be italicized:

  • She received a poor evaluation for Politics 20, Democracy and Liberalism in American Politics.

In a sequence of courses with a single title and course description, either of the following styles is acceptable:

  • Chemistry 112A-B-C
  • Chemistry 112A, Chemistry 112B, Chemistry 112C

In a sequence with the same number but different titles and separate course descriptions, the number should be repeated with each letter:

  • American Studies 107A and 107B

Capitalize degrees when they follow a name:

  • John Smith, Doctor of Law

Capitalize abbreviations and insert periods:

  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Lowercase short forms and degrees referred to in general terms:

  • bachelor of arts degree
  • master's
  • doctorate
  • graduate certificate
department, committee of studies, board of studies

Capitalize full name or shortened form:

  • Department of Anthropology
  • Anthropology Department

Lowercase department when used alone:

  • The Women's Studies Department includes faculty from a number of areas. The department offers a range of courses.
  • a department
  • departments
  • committees of studies

Note: The term board of studies should only be used in a historical context. As of July 1, 1997, all boards became departments. Use of the term committee of studies is unchanged.

See also disciplines, majors, and programs.

disciplines, majors, and programs

Lowercase the names of disciplines, majors, and undergraduate and graduate programs:

  • astronomy and astrophysics program
  • biology
  • courses in sociology
  • Earth sciences courses
  • history of consciousness program
  • legal studies
  • literature major
  • master's program in chemistry and biochemistry
  • M.S. program in applied economics and finance

Capitalize disciplines when part of the department name:

  • Department of Sociology
  • Sociology Department

Capitalize disciplines when used to indicate a course:

  • Anthropology 101

Capitalize proper names within the names of majors and disciplines:

  • American studies
  • French literature
  • Latin American and Latino studies major

Capitalize the formal names of other campus programs:

  • Science Communication Program
  • Writing Program

Do not abbreviate the name of a program unless you have already given it in full:

  • Education Abroad Program
  • EAP
divisions, Jack Baskin School of Engineering

Capitalize full names and short forms:

  • Division of Social Sciences
  • Social Sciences Division
  • Social Sciences and Arts Divisions
  • Division of Graduate Studies

Lowercase general terms:

  • humanities courses
  • natural sciences breadth requirement

Lowercase division when used alone:

  • The division is housed. . . .

Use the following:

  • Jack Baskin School of Engineering
  • Baskin School of Engineering
  • Baskin School
evaluation system

(Please use the terms Narrative Evaluation System and narrative evalutions in a historical context only.)

See also course notations and grades.

Capitalize names of specific university fees in charts and headings:

  • Registration Fee
  • Nonresident Tuition

Lowercase general terms and names of fees in text:

  • UCSC registration fees are . . . and the nonresident tuition was . . . in 1996-97.

Lowercase fellow when referring to faculty members of a college:

  • Elizabeth Bennett, a fellow of Kresge College
field programs.
See disciplines, majors, and programs.
financial aid

Capitalize the names of specific grants, scholarships, and loans:

  • Regents Scholarships
  • Regents Fellowships
  • University Loans
  • Pell Grants

Capitalize the full names of forms:

  • Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships
  • Request for Graduate Application Fee Waiver

Lowercase shortened or general forms:

  • admission application
  • fee waiver form
See classes and graduates.
See course notations and grades.
graduate programs.
See disciplines, majors, and programs.
See classes and graduates.
See buildings.
See disciplines, majors, and programs.
office names, administrative and academic

Capitalize full names of offices and their shortened forms:

  • Office of the Department of Theater Arts
  • Theater Arts Department Office
  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Chancellor's Office

Note that the Office of the Registrar prefers that its complete name be used, as does the Office of Admissions.

Lowercase office when used alone:

  • the department office
  • the office
See disciplines, majors, and programs.
publications, campus

The full or abridged titles of published books, pamphlets, and periodicals should be capitalized and italicized:

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, General Catalog, 2004-06
  • Annual Report of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation & Honor Roll of Donors, 2003-04
  • UCSC General Catalog
  • UCSC Annual Report
  • Fall 2004 Schedule of Classes

General and descriptive titles should be lowercased and set in roman (not italic) type:

  • catalog
  • fall schedule

Note that the names of unpublished works such as master's theses and dissertations should be enclosed in quotation marks in roman type:

  • Her dissertation was titled "Women in Early America."

See also capitalization, italics, and quotation marks in titles of works.



  • winter quarter

No comma between quarter and year:

  • spring quarter 2005

In general, use quarter instead of term, though the latter may be necessary with references that include UC Berkeley.


In campus publications, correspondence, and memos, capitalize as follows:

  • the Board of Regents of the University of California
  • the Board of Regents
  • the Regents
  • Alumni Regent
  • Student Regent

See also financial aid.

See classes and graduates.
senior thesis, senior project
Use lowercase.
See classes and graduates.
See buildings.
titles, academic and administrative

In text, titles following a personal name or used alone in place of a name should be lowercased:

  • Ann Draper, interim director of financial aid
  • The chancellor has agreed. . . .
  • the dean of the Division of Graduate Studies
  • the provost of Crown
  • professor, lecturer, coordinator, emeriti faculty

These titles are exceptions: Regents' Lecturer, Regents' Professor, University Professor

Capitalize titles directly preceding a personal name:

  • UC President Robert C. Dynes
  • Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal
  • Chancellor Emeritus Karl S. Pister
  • Professor Emerita Audrey Stanley
  • Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele decided. . . .
  • Professor Olga Najera-Ramirez lectured. . . .

However, note the following:

  • The Academic Senate listened to a report by dean of humanities Van Den Abbeele.
  • The senate made a recommendation based on a report by professor of anthropology Najera-Ramirez.
  • UCSC anthropology professor Olga Najera-Ramirez. . . .

Titles used in lists may be capitalized, even when they follow a name:

  • Olga Najera-Ramirez, Professor
  • Ann Draper, Interim Director of Financial Aid

Lowercase occupational or descriptive titles:

  • novelist Toni Morrison
  • historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (note that Jr. is not set off by commas)

Use chair instead of chairman:

  • the department chair

Chairwoman or chairman may be used with a name:

  • Chairwoman Alison Galloway

Lowercase when referring either to the University of California as a larger entity or to UCSC specifically:

  • the university faculty
  • the policies of the university
University of California campuses

For other UC campuses, the following short forms are acceptable:

  • UC Berkeley, UCB
  • UC Davis, UCD
  • UC Irvine, UCI
  • UCLA
  • UC Merced, UCM
  • UC Riverside, UCR
  • UC San Diego, UCSD
  • UC San Francisco, UCSF
  • UC Santa Barbara, UCSB
University of California, Santa Cruz

Do not use at between the main elements. Instead, use this style (note the comma after Santa Cruz):

  • The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965.

Abbreviations do not take commas or periods:

  • UC, UCSC
  • UC Santa Cruz

Use shortened forms only after the full name of the campus has been given. Never use SC as an abbreviation.

years, academic

Use the following:

  • 1996-97
  • 1999-2000
  • 2000-01
  • 2004-05

Do not use 1996-1997, 1996/97, 1996/1997, 96-97, 96/97.

See also classes and graduates.



The current trend is not to use periods in abbreviations:


Here are some exceptions:

  • B.A., Ph.D., U.S., D.C., L.A., M.D., Mrs., etc., St., Co., pp.

Note that you should insert a letterspace between the initials in a proper name:

  • E. B. White

Note, however, an exception to this rule: M.R.C. Greenwood (no spaces between initials).


To show possession, add an apostrophe s to singular words, even if they end in s or z:

  • campus's
  • Liz's
  • Dickens's

To plurals ending in s, add an apostrophe only:

  • nine dogs' tails

Be careful not to confuse possessive adjectives, which do not take apostrophes, with contractions, which do:

  • The tree lost its leaves.
  • It's time to go.

Omit the apostrophe from plurals:

  • 1990s
  • POWs
  • M.A.s and Ph.D.s

These examples can serve as general guides to capitalization:

  • state of California
  • state Department of Health
  • U.S. Department of State
  • New York State
  • The state is experiencing a surplus.
  • central Africa
  • Central Coast
  • Central Valley
  • city of Santa Cruz
  • county of Los Angeles
  • Earth (planet)
  • East Coast
  • Eastern philosophy
  • eastern U.S.
  • Los Angeles County
  • Monterey Bay Area
  • North Africa
  • the North Atlantic
  • Sacramento Valley
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • San Joaquin Valley
  • Silicon Valley
  • the South
  • the South Bronx
  • Southeast Asia
  • southern California
  • Southern Hemisphere
  • south Georgia
  • western Asia
  • We walked east
  • African American
  • American Indian
  • Asian American
  • Mexican American
  • Native American
  • European American
  • Hispanic
  • Chicano/Chicana
  • Latino/Latina
  • black
  • white

Note also the adjectival forms:

  • African American student
  • European American heritage
  • Italian American neighborhood
  • Bush administration
  • federal
  • U.S. government
  • Santa Cruz City Council; the city council
capitalization, italics, and quotation marks in titles of works

Note that the following rules apply to text only and are not necessarily correct bibliographic form.

Articles, prepositions, and coordinate conjunctions should be lowercase in titles unless they are the first or last words; lowercase the to in infinitives.

  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • A Rage to Live

In addition to published books, pamphlets, newspapers, and periodicals, the titles of long poems, plays, major musical works, paintings, records, compact discs, audio- and videocassettes, radio and television programs, and movies are capitalized and set in italics:

  • a story in the San Jose Mercury News
  • an article in Foreign Affairs
  • Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
  • the film Monster's Ball
  • the television program West Wing
  • the radio program All Things Considered
  • Don Giovanni by Mozart
  • El Greco's View of Toledo
  • Tom Jones by Fielding

Exception: musical titles identifying musical form and/or key are set accordingly:

  • Fantasy in C Minor
  • Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12
  • William Tell Overture
  • Emperor Concerto

The titles of articles, songs, short poems, and parts of books are capitalized, set in roman type, and enclosed in quotation marks:

  • "Silent Night"
  • "The Raven"
  • Professor Thackeray's article is titled "Which Way Is Up?"

Note that commas and periods are set inside of quotation marks; colons and semicolons are placed outside of quotation marks (unless they are part of the matter quoted).

  • His thesis, "Man and His World," was. . . .
  • Do you like the song "Frere Jacques"?

See also publications, campus (Section I).


For dates and times, use the following guidelines:

  • April 1, 1950, was. . . .
  • April 1950 was. . . .
  • The program was scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 12, 2000.

A word, phrase, or clause that is in apposition to a noun and that is parenthetical is set off by commas:

  • Washington, D.C., is. . . .
  • My wife, Amanda, works. . . .
  • I live in Santa Cruz, which I enjoy very much.

If, however, the word, phrase, or clause is restrictive (identifies or restricts the meaning of the noun), commas should not be used:

  • My sister Ellen works. . . .(the speaker has more than one sister)
  • Milton's work Paradise Lost was. . . .
  • The book that I received for Christmas . . . (use that, not which, in restrictive clauses).

In a series, use a comma before the conjunction:

  • Cowell, Merrill, and Oakes

Use a comma before a conjunction connecting two independent clauses:

  • Course 20 is required for the major, and students should complete it by the end of their junior year.

As a general rule, do not use a comma before a conjunction connecting a compound predicate:

  • Joe bought two books and looked at the magazines.
See commas.

Copy intended to apply to both sexes should be written so that no gender bias is suggested.

Avoid man, mankind, and words ending in - man. Substitute:

  • humanity, people, worker, firefighter, etc.

Avoid singular pronouns (he, she, his, hers) when referring to both sexes. Substitute they or you:

  • Students pay their fees. . . .
  • You should pay your fees. . . .

If absolutely necessary, both pronouns can be used with or. Do not use he/she or his/her:

  • A student should pay his or her fees. . . .

See also classes and graduates; titles, academic and administrative (Section I).

See words, compound.
See capitalization, italics, and quotation marks in titles of works.

Spell out numbers up to and including nine, and use figures for 10 and over:

  • one, eight, nine
  • 10, 21, 105, 2,436

Note: numbers are mixed in the same sentence or paragraph:

  • UCSC had two administrators and 11 faculty giving reports. Eleven journalists, three legislators, and 146 community members voiced their opinions.

Use the same rules for ordinal numbers:

  • second, ninth, 10th, 25th, 169th
  • UCSC's five tennis players ranked first, third, 10th, l6th, and 23rd in the men's singles competition.

Exceptions: College Ten, College Eleven, College Twelve

Spell out numbers that begin a sentence or the title of a course.

Spell out numbers one through nine if they occur with century, and use figures for 10 and over. However, remember to spell out the numeral if it appears at the beginning of the course title:

  • Twentieth-Century Chinese Art
  • French History: The 19th Century
  • Classical Chinese Culture and Literature: Sixth Century through 16th Century
  • Professor Nicole Paiement specializes in 20th-century French music.
  • Twentieth-century African American culture is Professor Tricia Rose's field.

In scientific text, physical quantities, such as distances, lengths, or areas, should be expressed in figures; in ordinary text such quantities should be treated according to the rules above.

Use figures for course numbers, course credits or units, scores, percentages, compound numbers, decimal fractions, and very large numbers:

  • Biology 3
  • 5-credit course
  • 5 percent
  • 4 feet 7 inches
  • 1.34
  • $5 billion
  • 3 million years ago

Also use figures for page numbers:

  • The footnote was on page 7.
quotation marks.
See capitalization, italics, and quotation marks in titles of works.
time of day

In correspondence and press releases, use lowercase:

  • 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For typeset copy, use small capitals. When small capitals are used, periods are unnecessary:

  • 4:32 PM
  • 11:30 AM

For typeset copy, use small capitals.

These forms are preferred for noon and midnight:

  • 12 noon; noon
  • 12 midnight; midnight
  • Do not use 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.

For class time ranges and other durations involving minutes, use the following style:

  • 8:00-9:10 a.m.
  • 4:15-11:00 p.m.
words, compound

Words formed with prefixes are not usually hyphenated:

  • prewar, nonprofit

Exceptions: when the second element is capitalized, when the second element is a figure, or to distinguish homonyms:

  • pre-Civil War
  • pre-1960
  • re-create, un-ionized

Many compounds that are spelled open as nouns are hyphenated as adjectives:

  • field-study program
  • high-level job
  • long-range planning
  • lower-division course
  • ninth-century manuscript
  • off-campus housing

Compounds that begin with adverbs ending in - ly are spelled open:

  • highly complex species
  • poorly organized paper

Use this form for compound hyphenation:

  • two- to three-hour period

Here are our preferred forms of some commonly used compounds and other terms:

  • archaeology
  • audiovisual (or audio-visual)
  • bilingual
  • campuswide
  • CD-ROM
  • coauthor
  • cooperative
  • co-op (store)
  • copy edit
  • corequisite
  • course work
  • cross-cultural
  • database
  • decision making
  • e-mail
  • fax
  • field house
  • field study
  • fieldwork
  • freelance
  • full-time
  • fundraising, fundraiser
  • groundbreaking
  • home page
  • interdisciplinary
  • Internet, the net
  • log in (or log on)
  • midcentury
  • mid-June
  • multicultural
  • nonmajor, nonresident
  • online, offline
  • part-time
  • postdoctorate
  • postgraduate
  • pre-enrollment
  • prelaw, premedicine
  • prerequisite
  • re-enter, re-entry
  • semiconductor
  • socioeconomic
  • statewide
  • Third World
  • underrepresented
  • under way (adverb)
  • universitywide
  • Unix
  • vice chancellor
  • vice president
  • work-study
  • World Wide Web, the web, web site

Other Reference Sources

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary*
Eleventh Edition. Includes CD-ROM.

A standard dictionary with usage notes. This is the dictionary editors at UCSC use most frequently to check spelling and word division.

The American Heritage Dictionary*
Fourth Edition. Includes CD-ROM.

Also contains excellent usage notes. Used as a secondary source for spelling and word division.

Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
Various publishers.

A reference source of words and their synonyms.

The Chicago Manual of Style*
University of Chicago Press. Fifteenth Edition.

Provides extensive information on copy editing and manuscript preparation. Used as the primary source of style and copy preparation for books, articles, reports--any material that is to be printed.

Words into Type*
Prentice-Hall. Third Edition.

Similar to Chicago Manual of Style, with more grammatical information. Used as a secondary source of style and copy preparation.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual*
Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Sixth Trade Edition.

The standard editorial guide for journalists.

The Elements of Style
William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

A guide to effective writing. Good background reading.

Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age
From the Editors of Wired; Constance Hale, editor.

A glossary of computer terminology and usage.

* These publications contain a list of proofreaders' marks and brief examples of how these marks are used.

Many software applications have spellcheck and even grammar-checking systems. These tools are useful for checking and correcting text online. However, for text of any length, proofreading a printed copy is likely to catch many more errors.

Prepared by UCSC Publications and the Office of Publications and Scheduling. Revised December 2008.