A and An (before the university name)
A Florida International University student
An FIU student
Abbreviations and acronyms
When possible, avoid abbreviations and acronyms the reader would not quickly recognize. As an exception to AP, spell out abbreviations and acronyms on first reference and follow (if and only if you plan to reference it again the story) with parenthesized acronyms or abbreviations. The following are acceptable on first reference in all uses: FIU, GPA. Widely known abbreviations and acronyms may be used in headlines, such NASA, NSF, NIH, EPA.
Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but there is no apostrophe in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. (Note the full, formal degree name is capitalized.)
Note that “associate degree” is an exception to the above and never takes an apostrophe. Additionally, while you can say a bachelor’s degree in biology or a master’s in political science, associate degree cannot be followed by a subject as such as degree is only general.
- Do not use periods with most abbreviated academic degrees — BA/BS, MA/MS, BFA/MFA, MPH, MPA, MBA, MD etc. — with the exception of Ph.D. and a few other “Doctor of ___” degrees, such as Ed.D. (Note, however, the Doctor of Physical Therapy is abbreviated as DPT and takes no periods.)
- Do not use a possessive pronoun (his, her, their) in front of a degree. Incorrect: Roary earned his bachelor’s degree in the 1970s and his master’s in the 1980s. Correct: Roary earned a bachelor’s degree in the 1970s and a master’s in the 1980s.
Academic centers, colleges, departments, divisions, institutes, programs and schools
Capitalize when the formal name is used (College of Arts, Sciences & Education; Department of Biological Sciences; Division of Student Affairs) but not in informal usage (biology department, student affairs). Avoid capitalizing second references to “the center,” “the college,” “the institute,” “the university,” etc. as these are common nouns and should not be uppercase.
Academic titles (professors)
Professors with a Ph.D. are not referred to as “Dr.” Only those who hold medical degrees (M.D.) will be referred to as “Dr.” and then only on first reference with his/her full name: Dr. Aileen Marty, a professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, fought Ebola in Africa. Upon returning home, Marty said the situation in many countries on the continent had started to improve.
When referring to an individual who teaches a course, the term “professor” with a lowercase “p” (and not followed by a name) is used (An FIU professor has developed a course that uses robots to teach creative writing.) If using the term as part of a formal title that precedes a person’s full name, confirm the individual’s official standing: instructor, lecturer, adjunct professor, teaching professor, research professor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor. Generally, only the last three would be used as titles before a name. Assistant Professor Joe Garcia is teaching a course about creating a community on Mars. versus Joe Garcia, a lecturer in physics, is teaching a course about creating a community on Mars.
To confirm someone’s title/university rank, ask the individual or consult the university phonebook.
In someone’s name, use the accent mark if the individual generally does so. (Dean Tomás R. Guilarte, the MauriceA. Ferré Institutefor Civic Leadership). Most everyday words can leave off the accent mark, but the writer is free to make the decision either way: entree vs . entrée, cafe vs. café, decor vs. décor, etc.
Exception to AP. Do not use periods. Use numerals and spell out in all elements of Quadrants?addresses:
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, Florida 33199
Preferred at FIU over adviser.
An alumnus is one male graduate.
An alumna is one female graduate.
Alumni is the plural noun for a group of male graduates or a mix of male and female graduates.
Alumnae is the plural noun for a group of exclusively female graduates.
Always wrong: He/she is an alumni of FIU.
Discouraged: “Alum” or “Alums” (use graduate/graduates instead)
Alumni grad year references
This approach is not set in stone but encouraged when it makes sense in a story: When referencing an FIU graduate on first mention, use the individual’s full name followed by, for bachelor’s degrees, an apostrophe and the two-digit year of graduation ( ’97). For graduate degrees, include the abbreviation for the degree followed by an apostrophe and the two-digit year of graduation (MBA ’00, MPH ’17, MFA ’21). For multiple degrees, use a comma between the degree years. (Roary Panther ’74, MBA ’89, Ph.D. ’02). Note that no comma should be inserted between the name and graduation year.
Do not use ampersands in paragraph copy in place of “and.” Use the symbol only when referencing an entity that typically uses it. The College of Arts, Sciences & Education has launched a new program.