Academic Editorial Standards


  • alumnus: male singular
  • alumni: male plural or combined male and female plural
  • alumna: female singular
  • alumnae: female plural

Academic Degrees

Academic degrees may be spelled out using initial caps or abbreviated without periods, unless used in copy, using all caps, e.g.:

  • Correct: Bachelor of Science or BS
  • Correct: Master of Science or MS
  • Correct: Bachelor of Fine Arts or BFA

Include periods for Ph.D. and similar compound unless directly following a name, e.g.:

  • Correct: Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D.
  • Correct: Master of Education or M.Ed.
  • Correct: Doctor of Pharmacy or Pharm.D.

When the abbreviated degree, including licenses, directly follows a name, periods should not be used, e.g.:

  • Correct: John Doe ’80 BA ’92 MEd ’03 PhD

However, periods should be used in copy, for example, in an article’s body of text, e.g:

  • Correct: John Doe earned a B.A. and Ph.D.

Multiple degrees and licenses should be listed in chronological order from earliest to most recent degree or license earned, e.g.:

  • Correct: John Doe ’80 BS ’92 MS ’03 PharmD

Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s and master’s, etc. (as possessive), but not in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science (no possessive). Associate degree is not possessive.

Formal names of degrees are capitalized. Informal references to degrees are not capitalized.

  • Correct: She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Incarnate Word. Correct: She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word.

When listing degrees with alumni names: the preferred order is: year (abbreviated), capitalized degree abbreviation, discipline (if listed, lowercase unless a national reference); e.g.:

Correct: Jacob Dougherty ’95 BA, history Correct: Jacob Dougherty ’95 BA, English

  • Do not place a comma between the year and degree.
  • Do place a comma between the degree and discipline.

The use of parentheses around degree information is optional.

Academic Programs

Capitalize formal titles of academic programs/majors, course titles (including Capstone) and
co-curricular programs. The word program should not be capitalized unless part of the formal title; e.g.:

  • Correct: The Master of Business Administration program
  • Correct: The Adult Degree Completion Program

Semester Designation

Semester designations should be capitalized only when referring to a specific year unless the semester and year are separated by “of”; e.g.:

  • Correct: The seminar course was offered only in the Fall 2013 term.
  • Correct: The seminar course is offered each spring semester.
  • Correct: The seminar course was offered in the spring of 2012.