Editorial Style Guide

Our Editorial Style Guide serves as a resource for Tulane communication and marketing professionals. This guide helps establish consistency in editorial style for websites, print publications, social media and more. If you have any questions about how to apply the Editorial Style Guide to your work projects, please contact us at pr@tulane.edu.

Writing Style



Crisp, elegant, flamboyant. . .

Style is all about making choices. The order of words, the patterns of sentences, the construction of paragraphs — the number of choices available to writers is infinite. The product of those choices, written communication, mirrors an individual’s writing style, and at Tulane University, it also should reflect the institution’s identity. The purpose of this style guide is to establish a standard for clear and consistent writing in the publications, websites and other communication vehicles of Tulane. While individual styles naturally vary, using certain elements consistently will help our writing convey a positive image for the university.

Writers throughout the university often encounter the same sorts of questions:

When do I capitalize university?
How do I spell
email, with or without a hyphen?
Tulane stand alone without university?

The Tulane guide, though not intended to answer every question, addresses issues commonly encountered at the university so that you and everybody else writing about Tulane are speaking the same language. It contains recommendations for style as they relate to issues specific to Tulane. For all other style questions, refer to the style guides recommended below.

The Chicago Manual of Style
The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its chief abridgment, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Above all, make sure that you use the same style consistently throughout each written piece or publication. For specific questions of spelling and meaning of words, use the dictionaries recommended by the style guide. In instances where the Tulane University Style Guide differs from the three recommended style guides, the Tulane guide takes precedence.

If you don’t find what you need or to request notification of updates to this guide, drop us a note at: pr@tulane.edu.


Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms unless they are universally recognized, such as AIDS, FBI, GPA, NASA and ROTC. See the Associated Press Stylebook for guidelines on this point.
  • Avoid abbreviations such as TU, TNPRC and SOM. As an example of an exception, LBC is permitted. See Names sections for details.

Administrative or professional titles

  • Without a name – In general reference, titles remain lowercase when a name is not used, including “pope” and “president.”
  • Before a name – Uppercase when a formal title precedes the name (e.g., Pope John Paul).
  • After a name – Lowercase when following the name (e.g., “George W. Bush, president of the United States” and “Mike Fitts, president of Tulane University”).


  • Definition – To be considered a Tulane alumnus or alumna a person must have completed 12 hours of coursework. “Alumnus” is not the same as “graduate” – a graduate must have earned a degree from Tulane.
  • Gender and plural forms – When referring to alumni, note that “alumni” includes both men and women; the singular male is an alumnus, the singular female is alumna; and “alumnae” refers to a group solely composed of women.
  • School and year of degree – In text, graduates' names may be followed with a parenthetical note of their school/college at Tulane University and the year of degree, followed by all subsequent schools and years – e.g., Tom Sawyer (A ’65). This key is recommended for abbreviations of the schools and colleges of Tulane.

Board of Tulane

  • On first reference, always use “the Board of Tulane University” or "the Board of Tulane;" on second reference use “the board.” (Note: “The Board of Tulane University” is not a legal name.)

Campuses and addresses

  • Avoid use of “the campus” or “the main campus.”
  • Tulane has multiple campuses. In referring to the separate geographical locations of components of Tulane University it is acceptable to use the terms "uptown campus,“ “health sciences campus" and "primate center campus."
  • For clarity, use street addresses.
    • In listing contact information:
      • Spell out "Street," "Avenue," "Suite," etc.
      • Spell out full names of states.
      • Use this address format for mailing addresses:

        Person’s name
        c/o Tulane University School or Department Name
        Room number and building
        Main office address, for example, the uptown campus address is 6823 St. Charles Avenue
        City, state, ZIP

        For example:

        Riptide D. Pelican
        c/o Tulane University Communications & Marketing
        312 Gibson Hall
        6823 St. Charles Avenue
        New Orleans, Louisiana 70118-5698
      • To improve speed and accuracy in delivery, the post office recommends using
        the extended ZIP + 4 code.
    • In writing within a sentence:
      • Abbreviate "St.," "Ave.," "Ste.," etc., unless no street number is provided.
      • Spell out states fully
      • Note that the following cities stand alone without a state:

        LAS VEGAS
        NEW YORK
        ST. LOUIS
        SAN DIEGO
    • Avoid using the number sign (#), use "No." instead both in listings and writing.

Compound words and hyphenated words

  • Refer to recommended style manuals and dictionaries for proper uses.
  • A hyphen is not used between adverbs ending in “-ly” and their adjectives (e.g., “federally funded programs”).
  • Common words:
    • Chair holder and vice chair – two words, no hyphen (e.g., “It is the job of the chair holder to select topics for the symposium.”) Note: See the section on “Gender-neutral language.“
    • Fundraiser and fundraising – one word in all cases.
    • Health care – two words as a noun (e.g., “Legislators are concerned about the cost of health care today.”),
      Healthcare is one word as an adjective (e.g., “Healthcare providers are equally concerned.”).
    • Student-athlete – hyphenated
    • See "Computer/technology terms" for more examples.

Computer/technology terms

  • See also Tulane's supplemental Drupal Guide for web pages.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style has the most thorough discussion of style related to the Internet and email.
  • The written style of an email message is recognized as less formal and more conversational. In general, the text of email messages should follow the standard rules of English and common courtesy.
  • Website addresses (URLs):
    • The Tulane University home page always should be written: tulane.edu
    • Sites within the university website that begin with www2.tulane should be written as such in text.
    • When listing a website, it is best to use the address for a home page.
    • URLs should not be underlined in text. Where hypertext is a possibility, such as on a web page, addresses may be underlined for technical reasons.
    • Check that the website address works and appears in text exactly as it appears online – it’s a good idea to test the URL.
    • In text, do not leave off www in an address or add www to an address because this may result in technical problems accessing the website.
    • Common words:
      • The word blog may be used to describe a web log.
      • The words cellphone and smartphone are single words.
      • The word email is not hyphenated. Use a hyphen with other e-terms: e-book, e-commerce.
      • The word Internet is capitalized.
      • The word online is not hyphenated.
      • The term Web, when referring to "the Web" short for the World Wide Web, should be capitalized.
      • The terms web page, web log and home page are two words, not capitalized, nor hyphenated.
      • The word website is not capitalized, nor hyphenated.


  • Omit DBA, DVM, MD, PhD, and other degrees in text after a person’s name, with the exception of formal event materials such as formal programs and invitations, letters and donor lists. When used, do not incorporate periods for the degree abbreviations (i.e., “PhD” instead of “Ph.D.”).
  • Omit abbreviations for fellowships or certifications after names (e.g., FACS), except on formal programs, invitations, etc.
  • Communicate a person’s expertise and academic excellence through the use of titles and context.
  • Use discretion and context in determining the most appropriate descriptive terms for people with multiple titles and professional achievements.
  • When abbreviations are appropriate, please use this list of Tulane degree abbreviations. Common Tulane degrees:
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Bachelor of arts degree
    • Bachelor of science degree
    • Master’s degree
    • Master of arts degree
    • Master of business administration degree
    • Master of public health degree
    • Master of science degree
    • Doctoral degree, doctorate
    • Doctor of medicine degree
    • Juris doctor (doctor of law)

Donor lists

  • Note: Donor lists originate from the Office of Development.
  • In lists, donors will be listed using a standard format which reflects name preferences defined in the university-wide donor database, unless a particular donation requires specific donors’ preferences.
  • For anonymous donor(s), list “Anonymous” before other donor names. For multiple anonymous donors include the number of donors in parenthesis (e.g., “Anonymous (17)”).
  • When a list has multiple paired donors, such as a couple, consistently indicate the joint gifts throughout the list, using either “and” or ampersand “&.”
  • If not specified by the donor, use salutations (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Dr.) when two donors share the same line for a joint gift; otherwise list a sole donor’s name without salutation (e.g., “Mr. and Mrs. Wit E. Wisdom” or “Wit E. Wisdom”).
  • In lists it’s acceptable to abbreviate salutations (e.g., Hon., Rev., Col.).
  • Lists of donors may include courtesy titles and degrees (e.g., "Penny Philanthropist, PhD, chief executive officer, Healthy Habits, Inc.").
  • In lists, do not use a comma before personal suffixes Jr., III, etc.; do use commas before degrees (e.g., “Lumin Smith III, MD”).
  • Sample donor list:
    • Anonymous (17)
    • Hon. Mary Future
    • Penny Philanthropist, PhD
    • Lumin Smith III, MD
    • Mr. and Mrs. Wit E. Wisdom
    • Wit E. Wisdom Jr.

Endowed chairs & professorships

  • When writing about a person who holds an endowed chair or professorship, include the full name of the chair/professorship title, as appropriate, somewhere in the text. See the list of Endowed Chairs and Professorships to see all current holders of these titles.
  • The endowed chair/professorship title should be identified by its full name, capitalized, in first reference (e.g., “Jane Smarts, Wit E. Wisdom Professor of Law at Tulane, received the award.”). Use discretion and context to guide the appropriate inclusion of the chair/professorship title in subsequent references.

Gender-neutral language

  • Be sensitive to the implications of language and try to avoid sexist terms.
  • When possible, replace masculine pronouns with nouns (e.g., “Each student should hand in his paper on time” may be rewritten as “Students should hand in their papers on time.”).
  • Avoid using “chairman” – instead, consider using “chair.”
  • Instead of “freshman” consider using “first-year student.”

Green Wave Athletics

  • Gameday
  • Letterwinner
    When referring to Mullen Letterwinner’s Lounge and T-Club Letterwinner’s Club
  • Letter winner
    All other references
  • On-campus
  • Pregame
  • Post-game
  • In-game
  • Kickoff
  • Green Wave should always be plural:
    Example: The Green Wave are 5-3 on the year.
    Example: The Green Wave were undefeated.
  • Angry Wave should always be gender neurtral and be identified with the pronoun "it".


  • Information about the use of Tulane University logos is available online.

Names of buildings, outdoor spaces, centers, institutes and programs

  • In general, use the proper (complete and capitalized) name on first reference. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase if the meaning is clear.
  • Verify names. The lists below are resources:
  • The names of centers should be capitalized even without the Tulane name (e.g., Center for Gene Therapy). Also, it is not appropriate to insert “University” in the names of centers and programs already named (e.g., Tulane Cancer Center).
    • Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse – When a sporting event is held, refer to the venue as “Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.” For all other events, refer to the venue as the “Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse” or “Devlin Fieldhouse, Home of the Avron B. Fogelman Arena.” If there is insufficient space for the full name, refer to the venue as “Fogelman Arena in Devlin” or “Fogelman in Devlin.” In all references, “Avron B. Fogelman Arena” and “Devlin Fieldhouse” should be of equal prominence.
    • Berger Family Lawn – Use “Berger Family Lawn” on all references to this space that was formerly known as the LBC Quad.
    • ByWater Institute – Use “Tulane ByWater Institute” (first reference); “ByWater Institute” (second reference); then “the institute” (subsequent references).
    • Cancer center – Use “Tulane Cancer Center” (first reference); the “cancer center” (second reference); “the center” on third reference.
    • Glazer Gardens and Bocce Court – Use Glazer Gardens and Bocce Court in memory of Morris R. Henkin (first reference); Glazer Gardens and Bocce Court (subsequent references).
    • Hospitals – Use “the Tulane Medical Center” or “Tulane Hospital for Children” (first reference, respectively); then “the hospital” (subsequent references). “TMC” is not recommended.
    • Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life – Use “Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life” (first reference); then Lavin-Bernick Center or LBC (subsequent references).
    • Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club – Use “Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club” (first reference); then Glazer Family Club (subsequent references).
    • Newcomb Pottery Garden – Use Newcomb Pottery Garden in memory of Judith Henkin (first reference); Newcomb Pottery Garden (subsequent references).
    • Primate center – Use “the Tulane National Primate Research Center” (first reference); then “the primate center” (subsequent references). “TNPRC” is not recommended.
  • For the future naming of centers, programs, etc., it is recommended to include “Tulane University” in the official name.

Names of departments and offices

  • Capitalize when using the full, proper name (e.g., “the Department of History” or “the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery”).
  • Lowercase when writing “history department” or “orthopaedics department.”
  • Use the British spelling of “theatre” only when using formal names, such as the Department of Theatre and Dance. The American spelling, “theater,” should be used in all other references. (e.g., “Students in the Department of Theatre and Dance study theater.”)
  • The “Office of Undergraduate Admission” or the “admission office” is spelled without adding an “s” to the end of “admission.”
  • The Tulane Hullabaloo or The Hullabaloo, not Hullabaloo.

Names of schools and colleges

  • As a general guideline for naming units of the university, capitalize the full name of the department or unit when it includes Tulane University.
  • As a general guideline, avoid the possessive form of Tulane University (i.e., “the library at Tulane University” rather than “Tulane University’s library”).
  • The names of the colleges and schools should be capitalized even without the Tulane name (e.g., School of Medicine, School of Architecture).
    • Architecture – Use “Tulane University School of Architecture” (first reference); “School of Architecture” (second reference); then “the school” (subsequent references).
    • Business – Use “the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University” (first reference); “the business school” (subsequent references). Leave a space between the A. and B.
    • Professional Advancement – Use “Tulane University School of Professional Advancement” (first reference); “School of Professional Advancement” (second reference); then “the school” (subsequent references).
    • Law – Use “Tulane University Law School” (first reference); “Tulane Law School” (second reference); then “the law school” (subsequent references).
    • Liberal arts – Use “Tulane University School of Liberal Arts” (first reference); “School of Liberal Arts” (second reference); then “the school” (subsequent references).
    • Medicine – Use "Tulane University School of Medicine" (first reference); then "the School of Medicine" or "the school" (subsequent references); do not use "Tulane Medical School" or "medical school."
    • Newcomb-Tulane College – Use “Newcomb-Tulane College of Tulane University” (first reference); “Newcomb-Tulane College” (second reference); then “the college” (subsequent references).
    • Public health – Use “the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine” (first reference); then “the school,” or “School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.” “SPHTM" and other abbreviations are not recommended.
    • Science and engineering – Use “the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering” (first reference); “School of Science and Engineering;” (second reference); then “the school” (subsequent references).
    • Social work – Use “the Tulane University School of Social Work” (first reference); “School of Social Work;” (second reference); then “the school” (subsequent references).

Nationalities and other groups of people

  • Capitalize the specific racial, linguistic, tribal, religious and other groupings of people, such as African American, Asian American, Caucasian, Latina/Latino and Native American.
  • Avoid objectifying any persons with disabilities, e.g., instead of "autistic children" use "children with autism."

New Orleans terms and correct spellings

  • beignet (ben-yáy) — Fried square dough covered in powdered sugar.
  • bienvenue (bee-en-ve-new) — Welcome.
  • crawfish — Not crayfish.
  • dressed — To add lettuce, tomato and mayo to a “po' boy” sandwich.
  • lagniappe (lán-yap) — A little something extra.
  • Mercedes-Benz Superdome — Tulane's home football field. “Superdome” on second reference.
  • Mid-City — A neighborhood in New Orleans, located roughly between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.
  • neutral ground — In other parts of the world, the median of a street or highway.
  • Ninth Ward — An historical designation, commonly used in modern reference to a New Orleans neighborhood (spell out rather than using the numeral).
  • NOLA — Short for “New Orleans, Louisiana” (use only in headlines).
  • North Shore — The region across Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans.
  • red gravy — In other parts of the world, tomato or marinara sauce.
  • sno-ball — A snow cone made with thinly shaved ice instead of crushed ice.
  • toward the lake, or toward the river — Means of giving physical directions.
  • West Bank — On the other side of the river from downtown New Orleans. Unrelated to physical direction (i.e., it isn’t always to the west).
  • Where y’at — An expression of greeting, similar in meaning to “How are you?”
  • Zimpel — One of the streets in the uptown campus neighborhood.

Numbers, dates and times

  • Note: The rules of noting numerals as figures versus words include several exceptions. Consult the The Associated Press Stylebook. Below are some common rules.
  • Ages – Use numbers for all ages (e.g., “The 2-year-old child will be 3 years of age next year.”).
  • Dates – When citing a specific date, usually include the day of the week on first reference.
    • For headings of text and for invitations, do not abbreviate the days of the week and months. Examples:
    • Monday, August 20, 2007
    • August 2007
    • August 20
    • In writing, abbreviate the month when listed with a specific date:
    • Monday (Aug. 20)
    • Aug. 20
  • Dollars – Use numbers to indicate dollar amount, followed by the written designation as needed (e.g., 5 cents, $60,000, $4 million).
  • Numerals – Spell out numbers one through nine, and when any number begins a sentence. Use Arabic numerals for everything equal to or greater than 10 (e.g., 40, 99).
  • Ordinal numbers – Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Starting with 10th use figures (e.g., “The 11th annual event will be held on the second floor.”).
  • Percentages – Write out the word percent after a number (e.g., “The results show that 50 percent of the students benefited from the program.”). The percent sign (%) can be used for tables.
  • Phone numbers – When writing out phone numbers on websites, separate the area code and the phone number with a hyphen or parentheses (e.g., 504-865-5210 or (504) 865-5210). This is to ensure that people using mobile devices can tap the number to make a call. Do not add a "1" before toll-free numbers (e.g., 877-862-8080 rather than 1-877-862-8080). If your phone number includes mnemonic words or phrases, test it on some mobile devices to confirm that users can tap to call. If mobile devices do not recognize it as a phone number, display the numerals as well, e.g., 877-4TULANE (877-488-5263).
  • Times – Use figures, except for noon (12 p.m.) and midnight (12 a.m.). Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not use :00 if the time is on the hour. Examples:
    • 11 a.m.
    • 4:15 p.m.
    • from noon to 1 p.m. (use "to" when the phrase includes "from")
    • noon-1 p.m.
    • Exceptions for formal invitations: Please join us from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.


  • On first reference, always include Tulane University: “He is currently a Tulane University medical student” or “The Tulane University student attends the School of Medicine during the day and works at night.”
  • If necessary, add another sentence or qualifier to explain the student’s school or department (e.g., “Tulane University student Nancy Drew has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study early medieval texts in Great Britain. Drew, who is a senior enrolled in Newcomb-Tulane College, will study at Oxford University.”).
  • For external communications, do not refer to medical school students as T-1, T-2, etc. or law students as L-1, L-2, etc.; instead write, “first-year law student.”

Technical terms and jargon

  • Avoid the use of technical terms and jargon whenever possible. “The proposed study will utilize a family intervention study design” could be re-written as “The study will compare the health status of family members.”
  • If technical terms cannot be avoided, explain them briefly: “Johnson received wide acclaim for his writings about leaders of the nihilist movement. Nihilists believe that there is no greater guiding purpose to life nor is faith in any divine being justified.”



  • Italicize titles of books, films, plays, periodicals and works of art.
  • Use quote marks ("") for TV shows, songs, photos and essays.


  • In first reference, refer to individuals by their preferred full name, and include appropriate terms to describe their specialties or professional titles (first or second reference).
    • Use "Dr." in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a medical degree – e.g., Dr. Jonas Salk. Do not continue the use of "Dr." in subsequent references.
  • On subsequent references, refer to a person by last name – e.g., Lash Larue, chair of the communication department (first reference); Larue (subsequent references).
  • For all references:
    • Omit “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Miss,” etc., regardless of gender, except in letters and donor lists.
    • Omit the courtesy title "Dr." for individuals who exclusively hold honorary degrees, or DBAs, DVMs, PhDs and other advanced degrees, except in letters and donor lists.


  • Italicize boat and ship names.

Tulane University name

  • On first reference, use “Tulane University.”
  • On second reference, use “Tulane.”
  • On third reference, use “the university” (lowercase).
  • Note that context will dictate clarity of your terms.
  • Use of the abbreviation “TU” is not recommended, although it may be appropriate for graphic (logo) uses.

Tulane University standard description

  • Use this description - Tulane University
    • Tulane University is one of the most respected universities in the country. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it is consistently ranked among the top 50 universities in the nation. With research and educational partnerships that span the globe, top-ranked programs in the academic and professional schools, and its location in historic New Orleans, Tulane offers an unparalleled educational experience.