Brand Standards: Editorial

University Glossary of Terms

The following list includes easily confused words as well as the preferred spelling and capitalization for words that are commonly used in Utah State University writing. 

For words not included here, consult Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Typically, the preferred United States (as opposed to British Commonwealth) spelling is listed first when there is more than one correct spelling.


Both are acceptable. Adviser is AP Style and preferred in news releases, Utah State Today stories and other news-style media.

advance, advanced

When used as adjectives, advance means “ahead of time,” and advanced means “beyond others.” Thus, it would be advance tuition deposit, but advanced standing.


Preferred plural is Aggies. Plural possessive is Aggies’. Capitalized because it’s the proper name of USU’s sports teams.

alum, alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae

Both alum and alumnus are acceptable as nongendered singular terms for a person who has attended a school. Both alums and alumni are acceptable as nongendered plural forms. Alumna refers to a woman who has attended school. If this term may be appropriate, inquire about an individual's preference and use it. Alumnae refers to a group of exclusively women and should be used with caution because it may imply exclusion of nonbinary individuals.

and, but

And or but may begin a sentence. This approach can be useful in providing a transition between closely related sentences, but it should not be overdone.


No hyphen in either term.

bachelor of " " degree/bachelor’s

Capitalize the names of degrees unless they are referred to generically, as in the second example.

Samuel earned a Bachelor of Science degree at USU.
Claire earned a bachelor’s in nutrition and food sciences last year.


Uppercase when included in the formal name of the building, lowercase otherwise. Note: Be sure to check for the correct spelling.

S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Building versus natural resources building.


Not catalogue.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The terms the churchchurch membersmembers of the faith are preferred on second and later reference. Latter-day Saints is acceptable in all references. Avoid usage of Mormon or Mormons when referring to members of the mainstream church headquartered in Salt Lake City. Mormon is acceptable in proper names, for historical references, for referencing the larger Mormonism movement of which Latter-day Saints are only one branch, and when an individual or group specifically prefers to be identified as such.

The Book of Mormon is a volume of Latter-day Saint scripture
"The Book of Mormon" is a Broadway musical.
Johnson used a new scanning method to produce three-dimensional models of a segment of the Mormon Trail
Patrick Mason is USU's Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon Studies

climate change

The terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably. Climate change is the more accurate scientific term to describe the various effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather, storm, and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification, and sea level. Global warming — the increase of average temperature around the world — is one aspect of climate change.


Although contractions may be discouraged in formal academic writing, they are acceptable in editorial-style and informal marketing writing: op-eds, columns, press releases and other news-style articles, social media, email marketing, and websites. For university magazines and other publications, consult the respective editors for more specific guidance.

course titles

Capitalize all official course titles. No italics or quotation marks.

Lisa is hoping to take Mass Media Law during spring semester.

When listing the course number with the departmental abbreviation, put a space between the abbreviation, course number, and course name.

ACCT 2010


One word. Not course work.


One word.


Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in other uses. 

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Joe Ward is speaking today.
Maura Hagan, dean of the College of Science, is speaking today.

dean’s list

Lowercase in all instances.

Suzie Student was named to the dean’s list for the 2021 fall semester.

departments, offices

Capitalize the full, formal name of the university’s administrative divisions, offices, and departments.

Division of Student Affairs, Office of the President.

A shortened version may be used on second reference. You may lowercase on second reference.  

student affairs, president’s office.
Note: Capitalize “office” only when it precedes the formal name.


Capitalize the names of degrees unless they are referred to generically, as in the second example.

Susan earned a Doctor of Aerospace Engineering degree at USU.
Dan earned a bachelor’s in accounting last year.


Capitalize the names of degrees unless they are referred to generically, as in the second example. Ph.D. should only be used in lists, not in main body copy. The preferred form is to say a person holds a doctorate and name the individual's area of specialty.

Glenn earned a Doctor of Biology degree at USU.
Sally earned a doctorate in computer science last year.


Use of Dr. is acceptable. However, when writing news releases, use AP style, where the title Dr. is used only for medical doctors, not someone with a doctorate. AP's definition of medical doctorate includes:
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Optometry
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Doctor of Pediatric Medicine
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine


Use in reference to Utah State University Eastern’s athletic teams. Plural is Eagles.


Not e-mail. Don’t capitalize unless it starts a sentence or is before the email address in a vertical list.

emeritus, emerita, emeriti

Honorary title for retired professor. The term Professor Emeritus is capitalized when used together. Emeritus may be used for a professor of any gender. Emeriti is plural for a professor of any gender. Use emerita with caution, because it refers to a woman professor and is not inclusive. If using this term may be appropriate, inquire about and use the individual’s preference.

first-year student

Preferred term for freshman/freshmen, because it is gender neutral and more inclusive.


Lowercase when part of a title, but retain capitalization for the title itself when used immediately before a name. See also emeritus, emerita, emeriti.

The change was approved by former USU President Kermit L. Hall.


Instead use first-year student because it is gender-neutral and more inclusive.


NOT grey. But: greyhound dog or Greyhound bus.

GPA, grade-point average

Either is acceptable. GPAs normally have two numbers after the decimal.

3.00, 4.25.

international students

NOT foreign students.


Two words. Hyphenate. Don’t capitalize unless referring to a formal name.


Capitalize the full, formal name of a major or minor. You may lowercase on second reference.

master of " "degree/master’s

Capitalize the names of degrees unless they're referred to generically, as in the second example.

Ben earned a Master of Science in geology at USU.
Kate earned a master’s in special education last year.

Maverik Stadium

USU’s Maverik Stadium follows the gas station spelling not the word's conventional spelling (not Maveri“ck”).

more than/over

Acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value.

No.1, No. 2

Use to indicate rank or position, especially in sports writing.

Jack Swindells led the team with 22 victories in doubles, pairing with Jonas Maier to post an overall mark of 22-13, appearing at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.


Words with the prefix “non” are generally not hyphenated unless the prefix is directly before a proper noun (i.e. non-English speaking). The dictionary contains a long list of words with the “non” prefix and their appropriate spellings.

Nondegree, nonresident, noncredit, nonconsensual.

off campus, on campus

Hyphenate when using as an adjective, not as an adverb.

Off-campus housing is plentiful during the summer.
It’s difficult to find housing off campus during the fall term.


One word, no hyphen.

pre & post

These prefixes generally don’t take hyphens unless they come directly before proper nouns (i.e. pre-Columbian). The dictionary contains a list of words with appropriate spelling.

Preregister, premedicine, preveterinary, postbaccalaureate, postdoctoral.


Capitalize before a proper name, use lowercase elsewhere. A named professorship is always capitalized.

Professor Brian McCuskey; Brian McCuskey, English professor. 
Arrington Chair Patrick Mason; Patric Mason holds the Arrington Chair of Mormon Studies.


Capitalize the full, formal name of a program. You may use shortened forms of the official name on second reference.

range of time, day, or date

The preferred form in body copy is to spell out “to” or “through” when referring to a range of time. For a range of dates and in tabular material, use a hyphen.

The class will be held April 1–3.
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


In general, use a hyphen in compounds beginning with “re” only if the word following the prefix begins with an “e,” or if confusion would result: re-elect, re-establish, redo, rewrite, recover/re-cover.

state names

Spell out the names of states in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with the name of a city or town. There is no abbreviation for Utah. Refer to the AP Stylebook for the appropriate abbreviations of states.

Statewide Campuses

Use the full name of Utah State University paired with the campus/center name on first reference. Shortening to USU (campus/center name) is acceptable from second reference and onward. Do not use hyphens in any reference, including in Utah State University Eastern.

Utah State University Eastern celebrated the beginning of fall semester with a social. Students at USU Eastern have an array of activities throughout the year.


Always hyphenate, whether used as a noun or adjective.


Use this spelling except when it is spelled theatre in a proper name (e.g., USU Department of Theatre Arts, USU Eastern's Peterson Black Box Theatre).

United States

Spell out United States in stand-alone references in text body. Abbreviation to U.S. is only acceptable on second reference and when used in conjunction with another entity as in U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Only capitalized when in formal name of the university. Likewise with “department” and other office names.

Utah State University is the land-grant university of Utah. The university employees more than 2,000 staff and faculty.


Do not include http:// or www before a URL in printed copy when it is clear that it’s a web address. For online communications, make sure the link will work. Sometimes www is still necessary before web addresses. When listing web addresses, try to get the URL to fit on a single line. Don’t allow the URL to break itself by adding a hyphen because that could change the address.

For printed materials, use appropriate punctuation after a URL. For online communications, if the link finishes a sentence, place a period after it unless that disrupts the link function.


Do not abbreviate unless used in a postal address. Do not capitalize “state” when used with any state.

state of Utah.


Not Utahan


One word, lowercase


University-wide is hyphenated. Most words with wide as a suffix are closed, though, unless they are long and cumbersome. If in doubt, check the dictionary.


Hyphenate; capitalize only when using the formal designation.

Federal Work-Study Program.
Work-study funds are offered to students who qualify.


One word.