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Style Guide

Print and Web Styles

University Relations, including Web Services and Editorial Services, use the Associated Press Stylebook. In addition to AP's recommendations, we have additional guidelines specific to our print publications and website. Below highlights some of the common errors, as well as UMass Lowell specifications. The university also has a Marketing and Branding guide, which governs the use of logos and university messaging.

Faculty and Staff Titles 
Titles that precede a name are capitalized. Titles that follow a name are written in lower case. 


  • Prof. James Brown (James Brown, professor of biological sciences)
  • Athletics Director Jane Brown (Jane Brown, director of Athletics)

The following are our standard faculty abbreviations: Prof. Smith, Asst. Prof. Smith, Assoc. Prof. Smith
But spell out University Professor and Emeritus Professor.

  • Abbreviate months when referring to specific dates (e.g. Sept. 12), but spell out the month otherwise (e.g. . . . the September meeting . . .. . .  in September 1998).
  • Don’t abbreviate months that are easy to spell: March, April, May, June and July
  • Don’t abbreviate days of the week, except in the preparation of calendars and other such specialized assignments.
  • Always spell out “department.” Never abbreviate it as “dept.”
  • For dates, write Jan. 10, or March 1, or June 2  (not Jan. 10th, March 1st  or June 2nd). In other words, don’t use “th,” “st” or “nd” with dates.
  • Use standard state abbreviations (Mass., R.I., N.H., Vt., Conn., etc.). Use the postal abbreviations (MA, RI, NH, VT, CT)  for mailing addresses only.

Academic Degrees 

  • Use an apostrophe and lower case bachelor's degree, a master's, but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.
  • Use abbreviations after a full name, not just last name, James Brown, Ph.D. 
  • Do not use a title with an academic degree, James Brown, Ph.D. (Not Dr. James Brown, Ph.D.).

Who Are We? 
We refer to ourselves as UMass Lowell, the university, Lowell or the Lowell campus. In instances where it seems necessary, such as formal partnerships, we can use the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Please do not use UML.

Things With Numbers 

  • Write $1. (Not $1.00)
  • Write  3 p.m, or 9 a.m. (Not 3:00 p.m., or 9:00 p.m.)
  • Write Noon. (Not 12:00, and not 12 noon. What else could it be?)
  • Write 978-934-5000. Don’t use periods, 978.934.5000, parentheses (978)934-5000, or other punctuation.
  • Write John Smith ’76.(Space after the name; no comma; reverse apostrophe; no parentheses)
  • For whole numbers one through nine, spell out the number. For numbers 10 and over, use numerals/figures.

Capitalization and Spelling 

  • academic degrees – bachelor’s and master’s degrees (possessive), and doctorate (all not capitalized), Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Psychology (capitalized, not possessive), B.A., Ph.D., M.S., Ed. D. We do not use the prefix of Doctor for faculty with Ph.D.s
  • adviser (not advisor)
  • campus-wide (adj. hyphenated before a noun), campus wide (other uses)
  • classes  - The names of classes such as Economics I, Organic Chemistry II and Criminological Theory are capitalized because they are proper nouns.
  • department  – The word department is not capitalized unless it is part of a proper noun : Department of Physical Therapy.
  • email (one word, no hyphen)
  • everyday (adj.), every day (other uses)
  • Internet (capitalized noun)
  • full/part-time (adj. hyphenated before a noun), full/part time (two words other uses)
  • fundraising (one word)
  • login (noun), log in (verb)
  • off/on-campus (adj. hyphenated before a noun), off campus (other uses)
  • online (one word)
  • North, South and East Campuses are capitalized.
  • regard - In the phrase in regard to, the word regard is not plural. In the phrase, send my regards, the word regard is plural.
  • sitemap (one word)
  • slideshow (one word)
  • student-athlete (hyphenated always)
  • subjects  - Subjects, except languages, are not capitalized. So math, history, and chemistry are not capitalized, but English, Spanish and French are. 
  • university (not capitalized, except when part of a name: University of Massachusetts Lowell)
  • waitlist (noun, adj.), wait-list (verb)
  • Web (capitalized noun), web (adj.)
  • website (one word)

Do not use the serial comma. When listing items in a series (three or more), don't include a comma before "and." It's unnecessary. (Write: “Conference attendees included Smith, Jones and Brown.” and "The Campus Bookstore sells notebooks, pencils and sweatshirts.")  

Body Content 

  • Content is single spaced. Subheadings are bolded. Use hard returns between paragraphs. Use the word "and" and not the "&" sign.
  • Make sure the text is Verdana font. If not, select all (control/a) and click "Clear Formatting," on the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Page Title should reflect department or topic. Remember that individual pages can be pulled up via a search, so it's important that users know what site they're on. 
    • Examples:
      • Nursing Degree Pathway (instead of just Degree Pathway); Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board (instead of just Advisory Board). 
  • External links link to department pages as necessary. Link the words and do not include the actual URL address wherever possible (e.g. link to “Psychology Department” instead of saying, "See more courses at")
    • Also, all external links should open a "new window." This option is available in a drop-down box when creating a new link. 
  • Internal links – link to pages within the university's website as necessary. Also, all internal links should open in the "current window." This option is the default option available in a drop-down box when creating a new link. 
  • Anchors – use for long text with a lot of subheadings. Anchors link to other parts of the same webpage.
  • All external links should open a new browser window. This is done by selecting "new window" on the drop down menu in the dialogue box, when using the insert "link" icon. Link the words and do not include the actual URL address wherever possible (e.g. link to “Psychology Department” instead of saying, "See more courses at"
  • All internal links – link to pages within the undergraduate and graduate catalogs as necessary. Change wording like, "refer to the 'xx' section in the Graduate Catalog" to “refer to 'xx' in the Graduate Catalog." Also, all internal links should open in the "current or same window." This option is the default option available in a drop-down box when creating a new link.
  • Links should be created using text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here." Words that are linked have higher weight for search engines – so linking text that is relevant to the link improves the likelihood of that information being found on search as well.
  • Anchors – use for long text with a lot of subheadings and add "Top" anchors to pages with long text 
  • Print: 300 dpi, high resolution, saved as tiff, .jpg, .eps or .gif 
  • Web - Hero Images: 72 dpi, 1400x800, optimized for web, saved as .jpg 
  • Web - Faculty Bios.: 72 dpi, 800x1400 for image on individual bio page, optimized for web, saved as .jpg