Editorial Style

The University at Albany follows AP Style for its internal and external print materials, with some minor exceptions.

This includes articles published in Today at UAlbany and on the website, news releases, University publications (such as annual reports ad student-facing publications), body text on University webpages, campus-wide emails, and other University communications.

Note: Social media posts and marketing materials do not have to follow AP Style. Social media posts are, by design, a more informal content style and often constrained by character limitations. Marketing materials, including advertising and flyers, likewise need to break with AP style on occasion, especially in display type. 


Common AP Style Examples


Use numerals and write a.m. and p.m. in lower case with periods. Do not use :00 for times on the hour. For example: 10 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.

When using a timeframe where both times fall within the morning or afternoon, use the a.m. or p.m. only once. For example: 10 – 11:30 a.m. or 5:45 – 9 p.m. 


Abbreviate the month when using a specific date. (The game is on Oct. 16. She joined the faculty on Nov. 2, 2017.)

Spell out the month if there is no date. (The Homecoming game is in October. She joined the faculty in November 2017.)


Abbreviate St., Ave. and Blvd. with numbered address only. (This building is on Western Avenue. That building is at 1400 Washington Ave.)

Spell out Road, Court, etc., even when part of address. (He lives at 5 Galileo Court.)

Phone numbers

Put area codes in parentheses, like this (518) 426-0000.

Exception: When adding a phone number to a University website, use dashes and make it a clickable link, like this 518-426-0000.


In general, spell out all numbers one through nine, and use numerals for 10 and up.  

Exceptions: Always use numerals for the following:

  • ages (she is 3 years old)

  • percentages (5 percent)

  • times (1:15 p.m.)

  • stats and scores (the Great Danes won 9-2)

  • measurements (size 9; 3 ounces; 4-by-8-foot rug)

  • distances (2 miles away)



  • In general, avoid Oxford or serial commas. (He ate toast, eggs and grits).

  • Exception: If the series is complex, you can use the last comma. (They’re taking courses in German, magic in the media, and Slavic culture.)   


  • Hyphenate compound modifiers for clarity (fastest-growing company; slate-blue shirt). However, AP guidelines say you don't need a hyphen if there can be no confusion (high level discussion; fourth grade student).

  • Don’t use hyphens with commonly understood terms, adverbs that end in -ly and between figures and units of measure (greatly exaggerated claims; 2 percent rule).

  • Do not use a hyphen with a compound modifier after the noun. (The driver was well paid.)

Exclamation points: Avoid or use very sparingly. 


  • Semicolons are used to divide complex lists. (The speakers included alumni Peter Graves ’16 and Pamela Flax ’77; graduate student Molly Pearson; and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Christakis.)

  • Semicolons are also used to divide two full sentences that are connected in meaning. (The forecast called for dangerous thunderstorms; Commencement was canceled.) The second sentence is not capitalized. 


  • Colons are used to set off explanations. (The puppy left a trail destruction: shredded papers, mangled stuffed animals and the remains of a shoe.)

  • Colons are also used for emphasis. (There was only one thing missing in the celebration: fireworks.) 

  • A full sentence after a colon is capitalized. (The puppy’s owners tried to curb this habit: They hired a professional trainer and tried to rid the house of loose objects.)

Periods with parentheses: If the parenthetical phrase is not a complete sentence, the period goes outside (like this). (When a full sentence is in parentheses, the period stays inside.) 

Professional Titles

Capitalize titles, including academic titles, only when used as part of the name. (The speaker was Associate Professor Alice Fortuna.)

Do not capitalize titles when they are used as descriptions. (Alice Fortuna, associate professor, spoke at the event.)

Same goes for deans, presidents, vice presidents, etc. (Interim Provost Edelgard Wulfert said... but Wulfert, the interim provost, said... ) 


Recognize that not everyone identifies as male or female and some people use the pronouns “they/them,” rather than “he/him” or “she/her.” 

Always use people’s correct pronouns. If you are unsure what pronouns they use, ask. 

They/them/their is also acceptable as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun. At times, it’s possible to reword a sentence to avoid use of pronouns, if it makes the meaning clearer. 

AP has accepted the use of “they/them” as singular pronouns since 2017. 

Capitalization rule on Black, white

We are following AP’s updated guidelines here, which note that “use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.”  

White remains lower case for two main reasons – lack of shared culture and identity, and the fact that supremacists tend to use the word capitalized. 

From AP: 

Black(s), white(s) (n.) Do not use either term as a singular noun. For plurals, phrasing such as Black people, white people, Black teachers, white students is often preferable when clearly relevant. White officers account for 64% of the police force, Black officers 21% and Latino officers 15%. The gunman targeted Black churchgoers. The plural nouns Blacks and whites are generally acceptable when clearly relevant and needed for reasons of space or sentence construction. He helped integrate dance halls among Blacks, whites, Latinos and Asian Americans. Black and white are acceptable as adjectives when relevant.  

Black (adj.) Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.  

African American is also acceptable for those in the U.S. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow an individual’s preference, if known, and be specific when possible and relevant. Minneapolis has a large Somali American population because of refugee resettlement. The author is Senegalese American.  

Also use Black in racial, ethnic and cultural differences outside the U.S. to avoid equating a person with a skin color.  

Use Negro or colored only in names of organizations or in rare quotations when essential.  

dual heritage No hyphen for terms such as African American, Asian American and Filipino American, used when relevant to refer to an American person’s heritage.  

brown (adj.) Avoid this broad and imprecise term in racial, ethnic or cultural references unless as part of a direct quotation. Interpretations of what the term includes vary widely. 


UAlbany's Exceptions to AP Style


AP says “avoid alphabet soup” but, since we work at a University and for the state, abbreviations can be hard to avoid. Limit abbreviations and acronyms, and try not to overwhelm the reader.

On first reference write out the full name and put the abbreviation in parentheses — The School of Social Welfare (SSW) — so the reader knows what the letters stand for the next time they pop up.


Use "alum" to describe one person and "alumni" to describe two or more people.

When identifying a particular alum, put the graduating year after their name without a comma. (Langie Cadesca ’19 spoke at Commencement.)  

For alumni with multiple UAlbany degrees, the first year listed is their bachelor’s degree and their subsequent degrees are named (Mike Nolan ’12, MBA ’17).

Departments & Majors

Capitalize when using entire name of department or school or college (Elise Jones of the Department of Biological Sciences).

At times we use a single word to refer to a department, generally with a link to the site. In such cases the department would be capitalized. (Bowman, chair of Communication, said...) 

Do not capitalize when referring to a discipline or major, unless the word is a proper noun. (Frank Martin is a chemistry major and a Spanish minor.)

Capitalize the major words in school or college names. Include abbreviations in parentheses for the first reference and then use the abbreviation in subsequent references. Like this:

  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

  • College of Nanotechnology, Science, and Engineering (CNSE)


We vary from AP Style here by skipping periods on degrees (BA, BS, MBA, PhD).

Like AP, we write out degree when possible. (He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and is studying for his doctorate.)

If you use a degree after a name, it is set off by commas. (John Smith, PhD, is an instructor.) 

Generally speaking, we do not list degrees unless it is specifically relevant to the topic. Brochures and department/school publications may differ on this.

When listing someone’s educational background on their faculty or staff webpage, please use the following style:

PhD, Abc University, 1998

MPH, Xyz College, 1994

BS, Lmno Institute, 1987


Unlike AP, we capitalize all major words in a headline (Pushing the Boundaries for Public Health). When using quotation marks in a headline, use single quotes.


We follow AP Style when identifying people by their full name on first reference and by last name on subsequent references, with no honorifics (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.).

AP uses the title Dr. primarily for medical doctors, not PhDs. We don’t use Dr. for PhDs in news releases (since most news outlets use AP style and will simply delete it) or in Today at UAlbany. However, for brochures, reports, college and school web pages, it is appropriate to use Dr. on first reference and to then use only the last name on subsequent references.

Publication & Media Titles

Unlike AP, we use italics for certain titles and quotation marks for others. 

Use italics for:

  • books, including anthologies, collections and monographs

  • movies

  • albums (CDs, vinyl records)

  • novellas (A Christmas Carol)

  • extended musical compositions, such as symphonies, operas, operettas

  • plays

  • ballets

  • newspaper and magazine titles

  • published and/or funded research studies

Use quotes for:

  • short stories and poems (collections would use italics)

  • TV shows

  • songs

  • newspaper or magazine articles

  • book chapters

  • essays

  • thesis papers

  • movements from extended musical works (songs, arias, scenes such as the “Polovtsian Dances” from the opera Prince Igor by Aleksandr Borodin)

  • unpublished research studies

Word Preferences

SUNY is acceptable on all references to the State University of New York. 

UAlbany is the accepted abbreviation for the University at Albany. Never use UA, Albany, SUNY Albany. When writing for an external audience, use University at Albany on first reference, and UAlbany or the University on subsequent references. In communications that are intended for our internal audience (Today at UAlbany, campus emails) UAlbany is an acceptable first reference. 

We capitalize University when it refers to the University at Albany. However, we do not capitalize school or college as a subsequent reference to a particular school or college, such as the College of Arts and Sciences or the School of Social Welfare. We capitalize our three campuses as locations: Uptown CampusDowntown Campus and Health Sciences Campus

Athletics, not sports, when referring to the Division of Athletics.

eSports, when referring to our video gaming teams. The word should be capitalized at the start of a sentence. 

Great Danes in all references – never Danes or Lady Danes

Residence halls, not dorms or dormitories 

Advisor, not adviser 

Alum for singular, alumni for plural  

Emeritus for singular, emeriti for plural 

We capitalize the state in New York State, but whenever possible, avoid by just saying New York