Marketing and Communications in the College of Education and Human Ecology agrees with the university that it is important to maintain editorial consistency within communications pieces.
The college’s abbreviated Editorial Style Guide presents words and phrases typically encountered when producing our college’s specific communications and shows how to use them consistently.
If you have further editorial questions after consulting this guide, please see the following resources, in hierarchical order:
- The Ohio State University’s Editorial Style Guide: can be downloaded at brand.osu.edu/editorial-style.
- The latest edition of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary or, if you don’t have access, Merriam-Webster.com.
For questions regarding source citations, notes and bibliographies in publications, see the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style or The Style Manual of the American Psychological Association.
abbreviations and acronyms
Avoid abbreviations or acronyms in running text except when part of official names. The acronym, even if spelled out in full the first time, may confuse readers as they continue through a story. Use the full name in the initial reference and a shortened name in subsequent mentions. Examples:
- Dennis Learning Center, the center
- Department of Human Sciences, the department (if multiple departments are not being discussed)
- Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, the Crane Center
- Schoenbaum Family Center, the center or, if multiple centers, the Schoenbaum Center
Exceptions: In social media, acronyms or abbreviations are acceptable when:
- Twitter character count does not allow for full name
- If the abbreviation is more popular in conversation than full name. For example:
- “APL” v. Office of Accreditation, Placement and Licensure in internal college publications or NSF for communicating with researchers familiar with the National Science Foundation
Capitalize the main words in titles of specific courses, but not names used in a general sense.
- Fundamentals of Nutrition 2310
- ESSPED 5760.01: Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education
- human nutrition courses
- special education courses
See numbers or numerals
Lowercase references to seasons and academic periods:
- autumn 2022
- spring semester 2020
- summer term
Use initial caps for official program names, such as the Schoenbaum Internship Program. Use a lowercase letter for the word program when referring to academic programs within the college. Use all lowercase letters for generic references. Examples:
- Human Nutrition program, she studied human nutrition
- Literature for Children and Young Adults program, they are studying literature for young readers
- Special Education program, he is specializing in special education
Use initial capitalization for the official names of academic units. Do not capitalize the name in shortened, informal reference.
- Department of Teaching and Learning; the department
- College of Education and Human Ecology; the college
- The Ohio State University; the university, Ohio State
Alumnus is the singular, masculine form. Alumna is the singular, feminine form, and alumnae is the plural, feminine form. Alumni is plural for a group of both men and women.
Social media exception: Use “alum” in lieu of the masculine and feminine singular forms alumnus or alumna.
Do not use an ampersand unless it is part of a previously established official title:
- Department of Teaching and Learning
- Kuhn Honors & Scholars House
Social media and digital usage: The ampersand symbol is not readable by screen readers, so do not use it in documents for the web or other digital use.
Capitalize the main words in the names of degrees when they are spelled out and capitalize abbreviations of degrees.
Abbreviation of the degree name is acceptable on first reference. Do not use periods in abbreviations of degrees.
- BA; BS; BSEd; EdD; MA; MEd; MS; PhD; EdD
Capitalization of names of degrees should match the university registrar’s official degree list. If the official degree name contains the words “of Science” or “of Arts,” the discipline is capitalized.
- Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning, not the Master of Arts degree in teaching and learning
- Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology, not the Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology
Do not capitalize academic degrees used in a general sense. Note that bachelor’s and master’s end in ’s:
- A person with an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a doctoral degree, a doctorate
In nonspecific references to degrees, the word degree is not capitalized.
- She earned her Master of Science degree.
Make abbreviations of degrees plural by adding s.
- MAs; PhDs; EdDs
When they follow a person’s name, qualifiers such as PhD and MD are preceded by a comma. A second comma follows the qualifier in running text.
- William Turner, PhD
- The latest article published by William Turner, PhD, was his third in six months.
Capitalize the full, formal names of departments, but lowercase shortened or informal versions.
- the Department of Educational Studies; the department, or, if there are multiple departments being discussed, the educational studies and human sciences departments
numbers or numerals
Write out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 and higher. The same rule applies to ordinals: first through ninth, then 10th, 11th, etc.
Social media exception: Use numerals on all occasions in social media when character counts are limited.
The expression, as coined by Archie Griffin, is pay forward rather than pay it forward.
The prefix post, as in postdoctoral
Join the prefix to form one word without a hyphen. Postdoc also is acceptable in informal communications after using it in full the first time.
- postsecondary, postgame, postseason
A position title before a name is initial capped.
- Associate Professor Tom Smith, President Kristina M. Johnson, Professor Jane Jones
A position title after a name is lowercased and is often followed by their area of specialization.
- Tom Smith, associate professor of early childhood education; Jane Jones, professor of fashion and retail studies
To indicate a person with a PhD, put PhD after the name. Ohio State uses Dr. only if the person is an MD, except in a direct quote.
- Jane Smith, PhD; Dr. Tom Jones (because he is an MD)
- “Dr. Smith has great expertise in the area of human nutrition,” the president said.
The term is now all one word, according to Webster-Merriam.com and Associated Press Stylebook, Ohio State’s editorial style guide of choice.
Use inclusive pronouns, including honoring the specific pronouns preferred by an individual. In addition, the Associated Press Stylebook recommends the following to avoid using he or she when more than one is being indicated:
- Change the subject to the plural they, making sure there is subject/verb agreement.
- Change the singular third-person reference (he/she) to the second person (you).
- Use neutral words to replace personal pronouns (such as one or several).
- Repeat the noun or use a synonym.
- Revise the sentence to eliminate the pronoun altogether.
Also from the Associated Press Stylebook, for a person who asks not to identify as male or female or asks not to be referred as he/she/him/her:
- Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible.
- If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person. For example:
- Hendricks said the new job is a thrill instead of Hendricks said Hendricks is thrilled about the new job or Hendricks said they are thrilled about the new job.
Do not use a hyphen when referring to a top 10 or top 25 program.
- She hopes to stay in the top 10 of her class.
- Ohio State is a top 10 research university.
The Ohio State University
After the first full reference to The Ohio State University (note the capital T), the following references are acceptable:
- Ohio State; the university (always lowercase)
Do not use OSU to refer to The Ohio State University, because it also refers to Oklahoma State University and Oregon State University.
Use numerals in all cases and omit the zeros for on-the-hour times. Use periods for a.m. and p.m. To avoid confusion, use noon and midnight instead of 12 p.m. and 12 a.m.
- 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- 1-3 p.m.
- 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 8 a.m. to noon
More questions? Contact our team.
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