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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Jump to any section of the house style using the alphabetical links.
1000-level (or 2000-level, etc.) is only hyphenated when adjectival.
I want to study a 1000-level module.
I want to study a module at 1000 level.
No full stops or spaces between or after letters in an abbreviation, except at the end of a sentence.
However, when abbreviating Latin use full stops between or after letters (c., i.e. or e.g.). When only a single example is given, use 'for example' rather than e.g.
Write out the academic year in full with no numerical abbreviations. Use a hyphen and not a slash to separate academic years.
2015-16 or 2015/16 or 2015/2016.
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.
Staff at the Advice and Support Centre (ASC) are there for any query, from paying bills, to obtaining an academic transcript, seeking advice on visas, making a complaint, personal issues, or any other student matters.
After this, the acronym may be used as required.
Active versus passive voice
Avoid using passive verbs as they result in a vague, over-formal tone.
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.
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.
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
School of English
University of St Andrews
Adviser or adviser
When 'Adviser' is being used to reference "Adviser of Studies", it should be capitalised, even if it is used on its own.
Your Adviser of Studies will be able to answer questions about modules.
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
- alumni – graduates, plural
British English must be used. Do not use American English unless it is a proper noun.
Ampersands should not be used on the University website for accessibility reasons. Please replace any ampersands with 'and'. The only exception is the William & Mary joint degree).
The ampersand is permitted in School and Unit names (for example: the School of Physics & Astronomy, Print & Design).
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.
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.
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. Semi-colons can be used for those bullet points which have sentence fragments, but there should be a full stop for the final bullet point.
Avoid unnecessary use of 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.
How to apply
How To Apply
HOW TO APPLY
For digital content, team names are not capitalised. Department names (for example, Admissions) are capitalised.
We are working with the digital communications team.
We are working with the Digital Communications Team.
Team names are always capitalised. For example:
Your residential experience is supported by a Wardennial Team.
For digital content, job titles are not normally capitalised. If the title comes after the name, lowercase should be used:
Lauren Ipsum, director of Admissions
If the title comes before the name, it can be capitalised:
Principal Lauren Ipsum
Job titles are always capitalised, whether before or after the name. For example:
Lauren Ipsum, Director of Admissions
'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 e.g. Computer Science, Geography, Greek.
Reference to sub-honours should always be lowercase and hyphenated.
See years for information about the capitalisation of years of academic study.
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. 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.
In print, the century name is always written out fully (not in numbers) and is hyphenated when it precedes a noun.
She lived in the nineteenth century.
She was born in a nineteenth-century house.
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 (e.g 'you're', 'they've', 'don't', etc.) can be used on the University's website.
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
You can find out more about the Psychology courses offered by the University of St Andrews in the subjects section.
The term ‘courses’ is avoided as staff and students tend to use it interchangeably to mean either ‘modules’ or ‘programmes’.
When talking about prices in a currency other than GBP, please use both the written out name of the currency as well as the currency symbol.
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 2014
For a date range, write out the full date in both instances.
Monday 10 March 2014 to Friday 14 March 2014
10 March - 14 March 2014
10 - 14 March 2014
Times should usually be written after the date. For example;
Monday 10 March 2014, 7pm.
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 alum 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’.
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.
Two words, no italics.
Exclamation marks should be avoided on the web to remain consistent with brand identity.
Lowercase e and d. Consider whether ‘part-time study’ should be used instead.
Evening Degree is capitalised as it is a programme of study offered by the University of St Andrews.
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.
Not field work, but field course is acceptable.
First person (e.g. "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.
Should be used if talking about a single example; 'e.g.' can be used to refer to multiple examples.
The term 'Freshers' Week' must not be used. 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.
Capital G and lowercase d.
'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.
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. Never use all capital letters or title case (where the first letter of each word is capitalised).
The use of sentence case should follow normal grammatical rules. Capital letters are used for the first letter of the first word and for names, proper nouns, abbreviations and acronyms. See also capitals.
Headings must also omit the full stop at the end.
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)
Either inquiry or enquiry can be used.
For accessibility reasons, avoid the excessive use of italics on the web. Use italics for non-English words that are not in regular use. Italics used in academic referencing are fine, but please use sparingly otherwise. Consider whether bold text would do the same job more effectively.
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.
Consider whether a job title is really necessary within web copy. Many audiences will be unaware of the structure of the organisation and confused by organisation-specific job titles.
If the title comes before the name, it can be capitalised – President Obama, Principal John Smith. For digital content, if the job title comes after the name, lowercase should be used, for example:
Jane Doe, director of Admissions
Job titles are always capitalised. For example,
Jane Doe, Director of Admissions
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 must be meaningful and descriptive. The use of generic text such as ‘click here’ 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.
You must bring the following documents:
- photo identification
Follow these steps to make a cake:
- Purchase your ingredients.
- Follow the recipe.
- Share the cake with all your friends and family.
Without an apostrophe; capital M.
Without an apostrophe; capital M; lowercase d.
'Maths' can be used, but 'math' must never be used.
Use medieval, not mediaeval.
Exceptions to this include certain course names (for example, the Mediaeval History MA) and department names (for example, the Department of Mediaeval History). For example:
The Department of Mediaeval History carries out studies into medieval history.
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 with a hyphen if adjectival – 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.
The University does not recognise 'Freshers’ Week' as an official term. The week before term starts is officially called orientation week. 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.)
Orientation Week is capitalised.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use sentence case (not title case) for page titles. Page titles must not end with a full stop. For example,
How to apply
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, under the heading ‘Part-time’.
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.
Do not use parentheses to pluralise words. For example:
Read more about your course.
Read more about your course(s).
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.
Not 'telephone' or 'tel'.
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.
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
Should only ever be used when referring to a computer program. Otherwise, use programme, below.
Not capitalised unless it is part of a course title.
English MA programme
English MA Programme
Use capital P when referring to the name of the print publication. For example,
Leave as lowercase when talking about a prospectus in general.
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.
Capitalise when referring to any academic School. For example:
the School of Art History.
On a web page, if the name of the School is first written out in full, on repeat mentions it may just be referred to as ‘the School’. Ensure that the ‘of’ in any School name is not capitalised.
School is always capitalised to indicate that it is a particular grouping within the University of St Andrews and so is not confused with a secondary school. The term academic School is used in print and is written in that way.
Science without Borders
Capital S, lowercase w, capital B.
Rather than 'Semester one' or 'Fall semester'.
Rather than 'Semester two' or 'Spring semester'.
Do not use slashes. Instead, use commas, "or" or "and".
You can choose to study English, French or both.
You can choose to study English and/or French
Ideally should be written with a non-breaking space rather than a space between 'St' and 'Andrews', so that the town name always remains on the same line. To add a non-breaking space, add between the two words in the HTML editor (for example, 'St Andrews')
Always refer to St Andrews as a town, not a city.
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. Do not use the term ‘Students’ Union’; instead, use ‘Students’ Association’ or simply ‘the Union’. For example:
The Students' Association, or the Union as it is better known, is more than just a bar.
Don't use the term 'student support', as to many it means money or grants. There is no student support department. Use 'support' when writing about the support available to students, or 'Student Services' if writing about the Service Unit. The ASC is the public face of Student Services.
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. When abbreviating show as: £400k. See also numbers.
1pm (or 1.23pm) for times in a sentence.
The event starts at 1pm.
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.
- 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 hyperlinks with meaningful text.
However, if you must write out a URL (for example in a print publication), follow the house style and 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, 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.
Not web site
where you normally live
Instead of domicile.
Not wi-fi or Wi-Fi.
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).
Should not be capitalised as First Year, Second Year, etc.
Capitalised only when used as a heading. For example,