House style

This house style should be used for all University communications (both web and print).

If you have any comments or suggestions for additional information to be included, please contact the Digital Communications team at

Divergences for print

The guide is consistent for both web and print communications. However, if the advice given differs for print material, it is noted in an alert box below the entry. For more information about the print house style, please contact the Publications team at

Jump to any section of the house style using the alphabetical links. 



No full stops or spaces between or after letters in an abbreviation, except at the end of a sentence.

For example:




Latin abbreviations

Try to avoid Latin abbreviations (c., i.e. or e.g.) where possible, as they are not accessible to all users. Use 'for example' rather than e.g. and use 'that is' rather than i.e. If you must use Latin abbreviations, use full stops between or after letters.

Academic years

Write out the academic year in full with no numerical abbreviations. Use a hyphen and not a slash to separate academic years. 

For example:



2019-20 or 2019/20 or 2019/2020.

See also dates and times.

Acronyms and initialisms

If you plan on using acronyms or initialisms in any copy, consider whether a first-time reader from outside the University would understand it. If the acronym is commonly used by your target audience, then there is no need to write out the name in full (for example, school leavers are highly likely to understand UCAS). However, if the acronym is not commonly known, write out the full name followed by the acronym in parentheses.

For example:

Staff at the Advice and Support Centre (ASC) are there for any query.

After this, the acronym may be used by itself as required.

Active versus passive voice

Avoid using passive verbs as they result in a vague, over-formal tone.

For example:

Two hundred students visited the University as part of the Reach Project.


The University was visited by two hundred students as part of the Reach Project.


Capitalise Admissions when referring to the department; do not capitalise it when referring to it as the process.

For example:

You will receive a reply from Admissions within four weeks.
Please check the undergraduate admissions policy.

Do not capitalise nouns that precede or follow Admissions to describe a member of staff, team or process.

For example:

The Admissions team will attend the UCAS event.


The Admissions Team will attend the UCAS event.


Addresses should only be used where necessary and should use the following format:

School or unit
University of St Andrews
Building name
St Andrews
KY16 9__

For example:

School of English
University of St Andrews
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Adviser of Studies

The term 'Adviser of Studies' should be capitalised. If shortened to just 'adviser', it should be lowercase. 

Your Adviser of Studies will be able to answer questions about modules.

Check with your adviser before contacting Registry. 

Any use of 'adviser' in a more general sense should be in sentence case.

An adviser to the government met with the press last Saturday.


Former students of the University.

Please note the following:

  • alumna – female graduate, singular
  • alumnus – male graduate, singular; gender-neutral singular
  • alumni – graduates, plural

American English

British English must be used. Do not use American English unless it is a proper noun.

For example:





Ampersands should not be used on the University website for accessibility reasons. Please replace any ampersands with 'and'. 'And' is easier to read and skim, and some people with lower literacy levels find ampersands harder to understand (see GOV.UK's advice on ampersands).

The only exceptions are the:

  • William & Mary joint degree
  • Ancient History & Archaeology MA degree
  • Medieval History & Archaeology MA degree


Asterisks should never be used on web pages or in print. Any supplemental content should immediately follow the text introducing it. If the supplemental content is too long or complicated to explain, provide a link to the text on a separate web page which explains the information further. For example:

Tuition fees for the 2017-2018 academic year will be available from 1 September 2016.

To find out more about fees from previous years, see the tuition fees table.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually.


Tuition fees for the 2017-2018 academic year* will be available 1 September 2016.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually.

*Tuition fees for previous years can be located on the tuition fees table.

BA International Honours

The joint degree with the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary in the USA should always be referred to as the BA International Honours, other than in page titles, where it should be called the William & Mary joint degree. See also, William & Mary joint degree.


Use bold (or strong) to draw attention to words or phrases. Try to keep items in bold as short as possible and refrain from writing entire sentences or paragraphs in a bold typeface.


Do not use brackets to pluralise words. For example:

Read more about your course. 


Read more about your course(s).

Bullet points

In a bulleted list, each bullet point which is a complete sentence, regardless of the length of the sentence, should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. 

Bullet points which contain fragments of sentences do not require a full stop, and they should start with a lower case letter. The final bullet point should finish with a full stop.

Capital letters

Avoid using unnecessary capital letters as it is more difficult to read and can create ambiguity. Capital letters should be used only for the start of sentences and genuine proper nouns. Page titles should also use sentence case.

For example:

How to apply


How To Apply


Job titles

For digital and print content, job titles are capitalised. For example:

Lauren Ipsum, Director of Admissions.

For digital content, non-specific job titles should be lower case. For example:

The University provides employment for professors, technicians and kitchen staff. 

Team and department names

Team and department names should be capitalised. You should only capitalise words like 'team' if there are part of the official team name, otherwise leave them in sentence case. 

For example:

We are working with the Digital Communications team.


We are working with the Digital Communications Team.

University terminology

'University' should be capitalised when referring to the University of St Andrews. But it should not be capitalised unless referring to St Andrews or the proper title of another university. For example:

The University of St Andrews is one of 19 universities in Scotland.

Honours, Faculty, School, and Department are always capitalised. For example:

He graduated from the School of Computer Science with a joint Honours degree.

Generic degree terms should not be capitalised. For example:

the William & Mary joint degree

Use capitals when referring to degree titles (for example, Computer Science BSc, Geography MA, Greek MA). 

Use capitals when referring to module titles (for example, The Physical Universe, Pleasure, Goodness and Happiness: Hellenistic Ethics).

References to sub-honours should always be lowercase and hyphenated, but Honours is always capitalised.

See years for information about the capitalisation of years of academic study.

Geographic capitalisation

Capitalise north, south etc. in names of areas. For example:

South America, Western Australia

But not descriptors such as:

south of England


Names of centuries later than the tenth century are written in numerals; however, numbers are always written out if at the start of a sentence. The 'th' after the numeral should not be in superscript as this causes accessibility issues. Century names are hyphenated when they precede a noun.

He was born in the 12th century.

The war started in the second century.

Society in 19th-century London was vastly different to today.

Nineteenth-century London was vastly different to today.

The course features themes in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Contact details in asides (sidebars) are displayed in the following format:


John Smith, web editor

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2748

Fax numbers must not be displayed. Postal addresses are only displayed if necessary.


Contractions (for example, 'you're', 'they've', 'don't', etc.) can be used on the University's website. 

Coordinate, coordinator

No hyphen.


The term ‘course’ is used to mean any undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme. Both ‘course’ and ‘programme’ can be used interchangeably, but ‘course’ is the preferred term to use on the web.

In call-to-action areas, use a specific call to action such as:

Search for courses

For example:

You can find out more about the Psychology courses offered by the University of St Andrews in the subjects section.

Use 'online' instead of 'digital' when talking about online or distance learning courses. 


Not COVID-19 or covid-19.

The terms 'Covid-19', 'Covid', and 'coronavirus' can be used interchangeably. 


When talking about prices in a currency other than GBP, use both the written out name of the currency as well as the currency symbol.

For example:

The price of this course is $26,000 (US dollars).


Crowdfunding should be written as one word, not 'crowd funding' or 'crowd-funding'. 


In general, use en dashes (–) rather than hyphens (-). Hyphens should be used for hyphenated words (for example, re-enact) and en dashes should be used as punctuation in sentences.

Dates and times

Dates should take the form of day, month, year. Online, include the day name before the date. Do not abbreviate day names.

Monday 10 March 2020

For a date range, write out 'to' rather than use a dash.

Monday 10 March to Friday 14 March 2020


10 March - 14 March 2020
10 - 14 March 2020

Times should usually be written after the date. For example:

Monday 10 March 2020, 7pm.

Single-digit dates should not start with a zero. For example:

Monday 2 March 2020


Monday 02 March 2020

See also academic years and times.

Degree titles of alumni

When referring to a University of St Andrews graduate, please include the individual's name and degree listing.

If it is important to recognise the subject an alumnus studied, format as follows:

Jane Doe (MA 2014 English)

If the subject studied is not relevant, format as below:

John Doe (MA 2014)


Avoid if possible. Instead, use ‘where you normally live’.


Use full stops between letters. However, try to avoid using e.g. where possible, as Latin abbreviations are not accessible to all users. Use 'for example' instead.

Email addresses

Should be written out in full. For example:

not obscured as a


as not everyone has their device set up correctly to handle sending emails in this way.

Do not give email addresses as University IDs on their own. For example, write




Not e-mail or e mail.

Enquiry or inquiry

Either inquiry or enquiry can be used.

En suite

Two words, no italics.

Exclamation marks

Exclamation marks should be avoided on the web to remain consistent with brand identity. 


'Extracurricular' should be written as one word, not 'extra-curricular' or 'extra curricular'.


The term 'Faculty' should only be used when referring to one of the academic Faculties. When referring to staff, use 'staff' or 'members of staff' instead.


'Fieldwork' should be one word and not 'field work'. However, 'field course' is acceptable.

First person

First person (for example, 'I', 'we' and 'us') should only be used when speaking from the perspective of the entire University. Using first person can confuse users as to who the speaker is, as the speaker often changes across multiple web pages. Instead, clearly identify the agent and then use third or second person as appropriate.

In the following example, using 'we' and 'us' is confusing, especially for users unfamiliar with St Andrews, because it is unclear whether the agent is Admissions, Registry, the School or a particular department. 

Applicants should submit their supplementary application to the School of Medicine. As part of the application process, the School will invite you to interview via email.


Applicants should submit their supplementary application to us. As part of the application process, we will invite you to interview with us via email.


Not focussed

For example

Where possible, 'for example' should be used instead of 'e.g.' as Latin abbreviations are not accessible to all users. 

Freshers' Week

The week before term starts is officially called Orientation Week. Freshers' Week is sometimes used by student-led publications but should typically be avoided by official University materials.

See Orientation Week.

Full-time or full time

Full-time is hyphenated when adjectival. For example:

I want to study for a full-time degree.
I want to study for a degree full time.

General degree

Capital G and lowercase d.


Not ground-breaking.


'Hall' or 'hall of residence' should only be capitalised when referencing a specific hall. For example:

McIntosh Hall is a hall of residence in St Andrews.

When talking about the University halls of residence, consider whether a user will understand a reference to ‘hall’. You may wish to use the term ‘accommodation’ instead. For example:

The University is committed to providing accommodation to all first-year students.


The University is committed to providing hall accommodation to all first-year students.

The plural form is 'halls of residence', not 'halls of residences'. 


In titles, headings and subheadings, use sentence case (only capitalise the first letter of the first word, proper nouns, abbreviations and acronyms). Never use all capital letters or title case (where the first letter of each word is capitalised).

Never use a full stop at the end of a heading. 

See also capitals.

Honours degree

Capital H, lowercase d. Avoid using 'Hons' – always write out in full, but abbreviate it when noting a person’s degree. For example:

Joe Bloggs BA (Hons)

ID cards

University ID cards should be referred to as: 

staff ID card

student ID card


matriculation cards

staff card


Use full stops between letters. However, try to avoid using i.e. where possible as Latin abbreviations are not accessible to all users. Use 'that is' instead.

Inquiry or enquiry

Either inquiry or enquiry can be used.


For accessibility reasons, avoid using italics on the web for emphasis purposes. Consider whether bold text would do the same job more effectively. 

Italics may be used for academic referencing and for non-English words that are not in regular use, but use sparingly otherwise.

For print publications

Italics are used to describe module titles. For example:

You will study three modules including Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.

Also when providing the title of a book or newspaper.

Junior semester abroad (JSA)

'Junior semester abroad' or 'JSA' should not be used as many students who study abroad at St Andrews are not juniors. Instead, use 'study abroad student', which is correct regardless of the year of study.


The text of links (known as anchor text) must be meaningful and descriptive. Generic text such as ‘click here’ or 'find out more' must never be used.

Do not set links to open in a new window unless it can be demonstrated that all users will always expect this behaviour.

See the links policy for more information. 


Lists of items should be presented in bulleted or numbered form.

Each list item which is a complete sentence, regardless of the length of the sentence, must start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. 

List items which contain fragments of sentences do not require a full stop, and they must start with a lowercase letter. The final list item must finish with a full stop. 

For example:

You must bring the following documents:

  • passport
  • photo identification
  • transcript.

Follow these steps to make a cake:

  1. Purchase your ingredients.
  2. Follow the recipe.
  3. Share the cake with all your friends and family.


Without an apostrophe; capital M.

Masters degree

Without an apostrophe; capital M; lowercase d.


'Maths' can be used, but 'math' must never be used. 


Not mediaeval.


Lowercase (£12 million). Do not abbreviate.

See also numbers.


Reference to module levels is no longer 'First level' and 'Second level' but should be described as 1000 level, 2000 level, etc. (if adjectival, use a hyphen – 1000-level modules, 2000-level modules).


Spell out as words for one to ten. Use numerals for numbers 11 and above and for decimals (for example, 4.52).

If a sentence starts with a number, it should always be written out in full.

If a sentence contains a mixture of numbers above and below ten, use numerals for all.

See also thousand and million.


Not on-line.

Orientation Week

The week before term starts is officially called 'Orientation Week' and should be capitalised. If shortened to 'orientation', it should be lowercase. 

You may wish to state in copy that Orientation Week is equivalent to Freshers’ Week at other universities. (Some student-led publications and events use the term ‘Freshers’ Week’, but official University materials must use the correct term.)

See Freshers' Week.


Orphans are where one word at the end of a paragraph ends up appearing in a line on its own. In certain instances, you may want to avoid this happening; for example, 'University of St Andrews' should sit all on one line.

Given the nature of the web, it is difficult to control the exact appearance of wording. If it is important that an orphaned word does not appear in a heading or on a page, please contact the Digital Communications team at

Page titles

Use sentence case (not title case) for page titles. Page titles must not end with a full stop. For example,

How to apply
Tuition fees

All references made within web pages to other web pages must be in sentence case. For example:

The current cost of individual modules can be found on the tuition fees page.

Part-time or part time

Part-time is hyphenated when adjectival.

I want to study a part-time course.
I want to study a course part time.


Always use the percent sign '%' instead of the written out word 'percent'. Use numerals for percentages, including for numbers one to ten, which would usually be written out. 

For example:



'One percent' or 'one %'

See also numbers.


Not 'telephone' or 'tel'.

Phone numbers

Phone numbers should use the following format:

University phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2222

University phone (with extension): +44 (0)1334 46 2222, extension 14000

External phone (including mobile): +44 (0)1234 567890

For University phone numbers, separate the four-digit extension code with a space to make it easier for internal users to identify the extension number.

For external international phone numbers, use the appropriate country's format. 

Phone numbers should be linked in the HTML using this code:

<a href="tel:+44 (0)1334 46 2222">+44 (0)1334 46 2222</a>

Postgraduate research (PGR)

The acronym PGR should not be used on the website (other than in URLs and in formal documents like Regulations and other official policy documents). Instead, write out 'postgraduate research', or preferably, refer to a specific audience group. For example:

The University has created a development programme aimed specifically at postgraduate students studying research degrees.

Postgraduate taught (PGT)

The acronym PGT should not be used on the website (other than in URLs and in formal documents like Regulations and other official policy documents). Instead, write out 'postgraduate taught', or preferably, refer to a specific audience group. For example:

The University has created a development programme aimed specifically at students studying postgraduate degrees.


Should not be capitalised unless at the start of a sentence or in a publication name. Should not be abbreviated to PG or pg other than in URLs and formal documents like Regulations and other official policy documents.


Not post-doctorate, post-doc or postdoc. Do not capitalise unless at the start of a title or sentence.


Should only be used when referring to a computer program. Otherwise, use programme, below.


Not capitalised unless it is part of a course title.

For example

English MA programme


English MA Programme


Only capitalise when referring to the name of the print publication. For example,

Undergraduate Prospectus

Leave as lowercase when talking about a prospectus in general.

Quotation marks

When quoting direct speech, always use double quotes.

When there are further quotes or figures of speech within the quoted speech, use single quotes.

Figures of speech or words quoted for explanation should be in single quotes – not italics.

The title of an article within a journal should be in single quote marks and not italicised.

Roman numerals

Try to avoid Roman numerals where possible, as they are not accessible to all users. Numbers such as ⅯⅭⅯⅩⅬⅧ can be particularly difficult for screen reader users.

Screen readers may also struggle to differentiate between the letter 'X' and the number 'Ⅹ', potentially leading to confusion and misinterpretation.

Roman numerals can continue to be used in some instances in print, for example, on signs.


Capitalise when referring to any academic School. For example:

the School of Art History.

On a web page, write the full name of the School on first mention; after that it may just be referred to as ‘the School’. Ensure that the ‘of’ in any School name is not capitalised.

School names on the web should not use ampersands and should use 'and' instead (for example, Physics and Astronomy). See ampersands.

For print publications

In print, School and unit names should use the ampersand to avoid confusion when they are listed together (for example: the School of Physics & Astronomy, Print & Design).

Science without Borders

Capital S, lowercase w, capital B.


Should always be hyphenated. 

Semester 1

Rather than 'Semester one' or 'Fall semester'.

Semester 2

Rather than 'Semester two' or 'Spring semester'.


Do not use slashes. Instead, use commas, 'or' or 'and'.

For example:

You can choose to study English, French or both.


You can choose to study English and/or French.

St Andrews

Ideally should be written with a non-breaking space between 'St' and 'Andrews', so that the town name always remains on the same line. If you need help adding non-breaking space, contact the Digital Communications team at

Always refer to St Andrews as a town, not a city.

Students’ Association

The University of St Andrews Students’ Association is the full title of the students’ union that all students of the University join when they matriculate. When referred to, the correct term is the Students’ Association.

Study abroad student

Used instead of 'junior semester abroad' or 'JSA'. Study abroad student is the correct term for any student who has come to St Andrews from an overseas institution to study, regardless of their year of study.


Unlike the Honours degree, sub-honours is all lowercase and hyphenated.


£400,000. Where possible, avoid abbreviating as £400k as this may be confusing to some users.

See also numbers.


1pm (or 1.23pm) for times in a sentence.

The event starts at 1pm.
12 noon

Use the 24-hour clock for pages primarily aimed at international users.

Monday: 12.00
Tuesday: 13.23
Wednesday: 16.56

See also dates and times.


  • Dr
  • Professor not Prof
  • Senior not Snr or Sr
  • The Hon
  • The Right Hon
  • The Rev
  • The Rt Rev


URLs should ideally be short yet still meaningful. Abbreviated words should be avoided. Separate words with a hyphen. Consider omitting the words 'the' and 'and'.

Writing out URLs

Avoid writing out URLs unless absolutely necessary. Instead, use meaningful anchor text.

However, if you must write out a URL (for example in a print publication), omit https:// unless the URL does not contain www.

See also links.


No hyphen. Do not capitalise unless at the start of a title or sentence or used in a publication title such as the Undergraduate Prospectus.

'UG' and 'ug' should not be used on the website (other than in URLs and in formal documents like Regulations and other official policy documents). Instead, write out 'undergraduate'.


Never underline words on the web as this is often mistaken for a URL. If you need to draw attention to a word or phrase, use bold instead.


The University of St Andrews on second mention can be referred to simply as the University (capitalised). Never use 'St Andrews University'.

Use ‘university’ to refer to a university in general. To refer to other higher education institutions, follow their naming conventions; for example,

the Glasgow School of Art
the University of Edinburgh


When using as a noun, use USA instead of US, United States, or United States of America. For example:

Students from the USA will find that St Andrews offers a high standard of teaching.

When using as an adjective, use US. For example:

US students represent our largest international population.  


The term ‘virtual’ should not be used to replace ‘online’ when describing events, meetings, lectures or courses, such as online courses and MS Teams events.

The term usually refers to computer-generated worlds or objects.

For example:

SmartHistory creates virtual worlds that recreate historically significant places at different times in history, such as St Andrews in 1559.


You may find it helpful to attend a virtual information session via MS Teams.

We offer virtual courses to students who are unable to live in St Andrews during their studies.

Web page

Not webpage.


Not web site.

Where you normally live

Instead of domicile.


Not wi-fi or Wi-Fi. Do not capitalise unless at the start of a title or sentence.

William & Mary joint degree

The university name includes an ampersand, rather than ‘and’. No capitals on ‘joint degree’. The William & Mary joint degree should only be used in page titles. Elsewhere, use ‘BA International Honours’.

Students taking this course will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (International Honours).

Years (for example, first year or second year)

Should not be capitalised as First Year, Second Year, etc.

For print publications

Capitalised only when used as a heading. For example,

First Year
Second Year