Last revised September 2020

The UNC School of Education adheres primarily to Associated Press style when writing copy for content published on its website and in printed School publications. However, we diverge from this style in a few notable ways contained within the following entries below. For style questions beyond the following entries, consult the Associated Press Style Guide or contact the School’s Development & External Relations team.

Most Common Style Items

Abbreviations

Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated, and limited when used after the name of a corporate entity. Do not use a comma between the company name and an abbreviation such as “Inc.” or “Corp.”

Junior, Senior — Abbreviate as Jr. or Sr. only when used with full names. Do not use a comma before Jr. or Sr. Use II or III if it is the individual’s preference, following the same guidelines for Jr. and Sr.

Months should be abbreviated according to AP style when used with a day. Example: Jan. 1; Jan. 1, 2009; January 2009.

In headlines, avoid using abbreviations or acronyms for academic programs. Exceptions can be made for long program names when the context or accompanying text provides the reader information regarding what program the text refers to.

Abbreviations or acronyms may be used in headlines when they refer to a commonly known organization or program. Example: Jane Smith wins $14 million NSF grant

Academic Degrees

Use an apostrophe with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but not in Bachelor of Science or Master of Arts.

Avoid academic degree abbreviations. Consider using the degree reference in a phrase like the following: “Gayle Smith, who has a doctorate in education, is superintendent of Smith County Schools.”

A listing of academic degrees offered by the UNC School of Education and their abbreviations, included in parentheses, are as follows:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Developmental Science and Special Education (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Culture, Curriculum and Teacher Education (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
  • Master of Education for Experienced Teachers (M.Ed.)
  • Master of Education in School Counseling (M.Ed.)
  • Master of School Administration (M.S.A.)
  • Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (M.A.)
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support (M.Ed.)
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
  • Master of School Administration (M.S.A.)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies (B.A.Ed.)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Organizational Leadership and Development (B.A.Ed.)
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Education (B.M.)
  • UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (B.A. or B.S.)

Additional examples of degrees awarded at Carolina include: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (a bachelor’s), Bachelor of Science (B.S.) (a bachelor’s), Doctor of Law or Juris Doctorate (J.D.) (a doctorate), Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) (a doctorate), Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.), Master of Arts (M.A.) (a master’s), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Master of Science (M.S.) (a master’s).

Academic Programs

For academic program names, spell out on first reference and use the following abbreviations on all subsequent references:

  • Applied Developmental Science and Special Education (ADSSE)
  • Culture, Curriculum and Teacher Education (CCTE)
  • Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies (LSPS)
  • Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement (PLS)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • School Administration (MSA)
  • School Counseling
  • Master of Education for Experienced Teachers (MEdX)
  • Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (MEITE)
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support (ECIFS)
  • Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS)
  • Human Organizational Leadership and Development (HOLD)
  • UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (UNC-BEST)
  • Thrive@UNC
  • Minor in Education
  • Pre-Master of Arts in Teaching (pre-MAT)

Licensure programs:

  • Birth-Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten (BK/PK)
  • Pathway to Practice NC (P2PNC)
  • School Administration

Examples: “The Master of Arts in Teaching program welcomed 50 new students during fall 2018… Kristin Papoi, MAT program director, said it represents the largest class in the last five years.”

“Jillian Slowinski, a student in the UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching program, is majoring in biology. UNC-BEST offers students majoring in science or mathematics the opportunity to earn teaching licensure.”

Academic and Courtesy Titles

In general, reserve the title Dr. for people who have earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and use only on first reference. Use Ph.D. and other degrees to establish a person’s credentials if needed. When identifying faculty members, the preferred form is to use a title or phrase. (John Bruno, assistant professor of marine ecology and conservation.) Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree. Example: Dr. Jane Smith (for someone who has earned an M.D.); Jane Smith, Ph.D.

For academic titles preceding a name, uppercase the title. Use this only in more formal, external communications. Example: Assistant Professor Ayesha Hashim is a member of the School’s education policy faculty. In social media, for academic titles preceding a name, avoid using rank titles, instead referring to the person as “faculty member.” Example: Faculty member Ayesha Hashim conducts research around education policy.

For academic titles following a name, lowercase the title unless the title is a distinguished one. Examples: Constance Lindsay, assistant professor, studies education policy. Dorothy Espelage, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education, is a leading expert on bullying and school violence.

Acronyms

Never abbreviate School of Education as SOE or SoE in external-facing communications. After the first complete reference — using “the UNC School of Education” — use “the School.” Note: All second references to the School of Education should include an uppercase “S.”

Never abbreviate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as “UNC” unless accompanied with a hyphen and “Chapel Hill.” Example: UNC-Chapel Hill

Use acronyms only after first reference, and put in parentheses after first complete reference: The Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship program (MEITE) is a one-year program that provides experience and grounding in educational theory. Since 2016, MEITE has…

Note: Try to avoid excessive use of acronyms. After the first reference, it is also acceptable to use “the program.”

Capitalization

Bulleted lists — Capitalize each item in list, and when part of a sentence, end each item with a comma and the final item with a period.

References to “department”, “office” or “division”, as in referencing “Department of English”, “Office of University Development” or “Division of University Advancement”, should be lower-case. However, capitalize complete names of departments, schools, offices and divisions, eg “Department of History” BUT “history department.” When referring to the School of Education on second reference, uppercase “School” to distinguish from other schools on campus. Note: this departs from UNC-Chapel Hill style. The same style applies to centers and institutes. When using a list of schools or units together, lower-case. Example: Established with the schools of medicine, pharmacy and public health, …

Use capitalization when referring to the UNC School of Education and to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon second reference, use “the School” and “the University,” respectively, uppercasing the “S” and “U.” “UNC-Chapel Hill” and “Carolina” are acceptable on first reference.

Unless a distinguished professor, eg “John Smith, Sally Brown Distinguished Professor of History”, titles following a person’s name should be in lower-case: John Smith, professor of history; John Smith, president of Acme Manufacturing.

Titles preceding names should be capitalized: Professor Jane Smith; Chair Nancy Jones

For stand-alone titles:

Smith is the Sally Brown Distinguished Professor of History.

Smith is a professor of history.

Smith is president of Acme Manufacturing.

In news stories and features, use upper- and lowercase, capitalizing the first word and proper nouns only. Apply this rule to names of academic disciplines. For example: “Smith is a professor of history. Brown is a professor of English.”

Captions

End with period only if complete sentence. Examples: Joe Smith poses in his driveway. Joe Smith in his driveway

Class Year

For undergraduate class years, use “Mike Priddy, a member of the Class of 1970”, “Mike Priddy, a 1970 graduate” or “Mike Priddy (B.A. ’70)”. For graduates/alumni, include degree in parentheses. Example: Mary Smith (M.F.A. ’87) For alumni earning multiple degrees, separate class years with commas. Example: Mike Priddy (B.A. ’70, M.Ed. ’75, Ed.D. ’81)

When including single quotation mark for class year, be sure it is styled as an apostrophe or the closing single quotation mark.

Commas

In a series, include a comma before last item, aligning with Chicago Manual of Style and APA style. Example: Apples, pears, and oranges are fruits.

Composition Titles

Use quotation marks. Apply guidelines here to book titles, computer and video game titles, movie titles, radio and television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches, and works of art. For names of academic journals, italicize.

Dashes

In copy, use em dashes (Shift + Option + hyphen on Mac, ALT + 0151 on PC). Use a space before and after the em dash when used within a sentence with copy on each side of the dash.

Numbers

Spell out whole numbers below 10, use figures for 10 and above: The department has 15 faculty and two administrative assistants. Exceptions include the following: Ages, She has a son, John, 7. She has a 7-year-old son, John. Dimensions: The photograph is 6 inches by 9 inches. The sophomore is 6 feet 5. He is a 6-foot-5 sophomore.

NOTE: applies to ordinal numbers, too (first, second … 10th, 11th)

For a percentage, use “%.”

Do not start a sentence with a figure. Correct: Seventy students enrolled for the class. Incorrect: 70 students enrolled for the class.

Figures above 100 should be delineated by a comma every three digits. 1,000; 1,000,000

Dollar amounts of a million or more: $1 million; NOT $1,000,000

Don’t use zeros in dollar amounts if no cents: $25; NOT $25.00

Rankings — When reporting a ranking, use No. 1, No. 2, etc.

References to the School and University

References to the UNC School of Education should either be the full proper name or “the School.” Avoid referring to the School as SOE or SoE in external-facing documents.

References to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill should either be the full proper name or “UNC-Chapel Hill” or “Carolina.” “UNC” is never acceptable; this reference creates confusion with the University of North Carolina or UNC system, which includes 17 campuses across North Carolina.

Regions

In general, lowercase north, south, northeast and similar words when they refer to compass direction. Capitalize when they designate regions. Examples: He drove west. The drought extended across the West. He has a Southern accent. The most polite people are Southerners. Also acceptable: the American South.

States

Names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base.

Include state with city in all instances unless a recognizable North Carolina city to audiences. Thosee cities include: Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.

Examples: She was born in Lawrence, Kansas; She was born in Kansas.

Note: Put a comma between the city and state name, and another comma after the state name, unless it ends a sentence. Example: Angela Bryant was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1973. If the abbreviated state name ends the sentence, use only one period. Example: Elizabeth Dole was born in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Technology Terms

Use “internet”, “web”, “website”, “web page”, “home page”, “email.”

Don’t include “http://” or “www” when spelling out a URL. Examples: ed.unc.edu, unc.edu,  giving.unc.edu.

Telephone Numbers

Use parentheses for area code and a hyphen after the first three digits. Example: (919) 966-1346

Time

Should be “a.m.” and “p.m.” with a space after the numeral: The event starts at 9 a.m. (NOT: 9:00 am or 9 A.M. or 9 o’clock)

Undergraduate Class Years

First-year, sophomore, junior, and senior. Avoid referring to a first-year student as a “freshman.”

Years

Use numbers without commas: Chartered in 1789 by the General Assembly, Carolina is the nation’s first state university. Use commas with a month and day: The research was published Dec. 12, 2006, in the journal Science. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of time: the 1700s, the 1780s. When referring to a decade, an apostrophe in front of the last two numerals is acceptable, such as, “The ’20s were odd.”

Miscellaneous

Fundraising, fundraising, and fundraiser are one word in all cases unless used as a modifier. Example: fund-raising campaign

Health care should be spelled as two words. Hyphenate when used as a modifier. Examples: health-care system, health-care leaders. (Note that the new name of UNC’s health-care system established in 2020 is UNC Health. Example: Dr. Wesley Burks, chief executive officer of UNC Health.)

Well-being should always be hyphenated in all instances.

Questions and Help

For assistance with branding and identity, please contact Morgan Ellis at morgan_ellis@unc.edu.