Editorial style guide

This guide promotes consistent UNH messaging, contributing to polished communications and a strong brand identity. This is a resource for those who create print and online materials about the university for both external and internal audiences. The entries here provide quick reference to common style questions and university-specific content.

UNH’s guidelines follow The Associated Press Stylebook, where you’ll find additional resources. Merriam-Webster online is recommended for questions on spelling. UNH Communications and Public Affairs also is available for additional questions.

When referencing generic degrees, use lowercase: bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate. Do not use an apostrophe (possessive) with associate degree or doctoral degree. When listing a major or degree program, capitalize only the official diploma title, not the program or concentration, unless it includes a proper name:

  • She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.
  • He earned a bachelor’s degree in English.

Avoid using abbreviations, but when necessary, they should be placed after a full name. Use periods (A.S., B.A., B.S., M.S., J.D., LL.M., LL.D., Ph.D.) for all but MBA.

Capitalize formal titles only when used before a name:

  • Dean Ben Thompson.
  • The dean addressed the audience.
  • John Smith is an English professor.
  • Professor Jane Smith teaches biology.

Exception: On formal invitations or event programs, titles may be capitalized after a name: “Ben Thompson, Dean, University of New Hampshire.”

The title “Dr.” should not be used before the names of individuals with non-medical degrees. When referring to a doctor of medicine, dental surgery, osteopathy or podiatric medicine, use “Dr.” before the name only on first reference.

Avoid using acronyms on first reference unless they are widely recognized, such as FBI, NASA or CDC.

Do not use periods in an acronym unless the acronym spells an unrelated word.

Try to avoid using acronyms on second reference, instead using more generic terms such as “the center,” “the institute,” “the program,” etc.

This is AP style.

Use numerals in street addresses: 7 Walker St.

When listing an address with a number, abbreviate the words Ave., Blvd. or St.:

  • The building is located at 900 Hubble Blvd.
  • The meeting is at 125 Brook Road.

When no number is listed, spell out the full address:

  • She lives on Hubble Boulevard.

Lowercase words such as avenue, road, drive, terrace, etc., when referring to more than two:

  • Main and Walker streets.
  • Abbey and Yellow Brick roads.

An alumnus is a man who has attended school; use alumni in the plural.

An alumna is a woman who has attended school; use alumnae in the plural.

Alumni refers to a group of men and women.

Lowercase, with periods. Omit the :00 when an event occurs on the hour: Class starts at 2 p.m.

To avoid confusion, use “noon” and “midnight” instead of 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.

Do not write 12 noon, which is redundant.

Use a dash for a time range in the same period of the day: The picnic will run from 2-3 p.m.

When listing a time range that spans from a.m. to p.m., or vice versa, use “to”: The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Avoid the phrase “first annual,” instead just describing an event as the “first” in its inaugural year.

The following list includes the names of some buildings that are commonly misspelled, as well as building nicknames used across campus. Identify buildings by their full proper name before using a nickname.

  • DeMeritt Hall
  • Dimond Library (main branch of the UNH Library)
  • Elliott Alumni Center
  • Field House
  • Hamilton Smith: Ham Smith
  • Holloway Commons: HoCo
  • Memorial Union Building: MUB
  • Paul Creative Arts Center: PCAC
  • University of New Hampshire Library: UNH Library
  • UNH outdoor pool
  • The Whittemore Center: The Whitt

Use class years on first reference when publishing the name of alumni.

Omit the “19” or “20” at the beginning of the year, and instead type two apostrophes, then delete the first, forward-facing one, to get the appropriate punctuation: Jane Doe ’89

UNH does not use serial commas before a conjunction in a simple series:

  • CPA comprises client services, public affairs, marketing and creative departments.

Do not use a comma before Jr. or Esq.

Capitalize the full title of an academic course, but lowercase shortened references:

  • UNH will offer Introduction to Art History next summer.
  • He teaches biology.
  • She is a mechanical engineering professor.

Event listings should follow the “time day, date, place” structure: The film will be shown at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, in the MUB.

When listing a specific day, abbreviate the months of: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Do not abbreviate the days of the week.

Use a comma after the day when listing a full date: It happened on Feb. 25, 2017.

Do not use a comma when only listing the year: It happened in February 2017.

Avoid using st, nd, rd or th, unless part of a title.

Lowercase in all uses:

  • She was named to the dean’s list.
  • He is a dean’s list student.

Capitalize only the full, official title of a department, office, division or program:

  • The science department
  • The Admissions Office
  • UNH’s history department
  • The Department of History

In general, north, south, east and west are lowercase. Only uppercase when referencing a specific, well-known area:

  • The UNH Durham campus is located in southwest New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire is located in the Northeast.

Capitalize Earth as a proper name, along with all other planet names.

Lowercase earth when referring to the land, soil or dirt.

Use "healthcare" rather than "health care"

*This is an exception to AP style

For simplicity, leave out hyphens when listing UNH’s core grant missions together:

  • A land, sea and space grant university, UNH is New Hampshire’s flagship public institution.

In general, spell out numbers one through nine, and use numerals for numbers 10 and up. Some common exceptions are noted below; see the AP style entry for “numerals” for additional guidance.

Also use numerals for:

  • Addresses (see addresses entry)
  • The age of a person, place or thing: A 19-year-old student.
  • Percentages: 5 percent.
  • Dimensions: The 5-foot-7 point guard. A 6-by-8 room.
  • Dollars and cents (note that AP style omits the .00 on even dollar figures): The pencil cost $2 and the eraser was 5 cents.
  • Highway systems: Route 4
  • Speed: 8 mph
  • Temperature: use numerals except for zero: It was 12 degrees above zero.
  • Units larger than 1 million

The plurals of numbers are formed by adding an “s”: 20s, 1980s

Spell out numbers used to start a sentence, unless it is a year:

  • Ten-thousand people attended the event.
  • 2015 was a very good year for UNH athletics.

When writing phone numbers, use parentheses and dashes: (603) 123-4567

*This is an exception to AP Style

Use pre-vet and pre-veterinary, with hyphens

*This is an exception to AP style

AP style recommends spelling out the full name of a state within the body of a story. Abbreviations, which differ from standard two-letter postal abbreviations, may be used in datelines, lists, when indicating a politician’s party affiliation and in other limited circumstances.

Eight states are never abbreviated in datelines: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas or Utah.

The permitted dateline and list abbreviations are as follows (postal abbreviations appear in parentheses):

Ala. (AL)

Ariz. (AZ)

Ark. (AR)

Calif. (CA)

Colo. (CO)

Conn. (CT)

Del. (DE)

Fla. (FL)

Ga. (GA)

Ill. (IL)

Ind. (IN)

Kan. (KS)

Ky. (KY)

La. (LA)

Md. (MD)

Mass. (MA)

Mich. (MI)

Minn. (MN)

Miss. (MS)

Mo. (MO)

Mont. (MT)

Neb. (NE)

Nev. (NV)

N.H. (NH)

N.J. (NJ)

N.M. (NM)

N.Y. (NY)

N.C. (NC)

N.D. (ND)

Okla. (OK)

Ore. (OR)

Pa. (PA)

R.I. (RI)

S.C. (SC)

S.D. (SD)

Tenn. (TN)

Vt. (VT)

Va. (VA)

Wash. (WA)

W.Va. (WV)

Wis. (WI)

Wyo. (WY)

Use theatre, unless it is part of a formal name.

*This is an exception to AP style

  • Johnson Theatre
  • MUB Theater II

When describing the university, use the University of New Hampshire as the first reference in the text.

Subsequent references should be the university, lowercase, or UNH.

  • University of New Hampshire at Manchester or UNH Manchester
  • University of New Hampshire School of Law, UNH Law or UNH Law School
  • app: Accepted on first reference as short for a mobile phone, tablet or desktop application
  • email
  • FAQ: use this for both singular and plural
  • homepage
  • internet
  • Login, logon, logoff: No hyphen when used as a noun (your logon will be provided after you sign up); two words when used as a verb (I’m logging in to my account); hyphenated as an adjective (Do you know your log-on password?)
  • online
  • PDF: use this for both singular and plural. The correct phrase is "PDF files" or "PDF documents"
  • PowerPoint: both Ps uppercase
  • web
  • webpage
  • website
  • WiFi (*This is an exception to AP style)

UNH’s style is to avoid using “www” before a URL: unh.edu/cpa

URLs should be lowercase.