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Writing Standards

A consistent application of the University of Portland's writing style guidelines helps all members of the UP community communicate in a professional manner across all media. All faculty and staff who create material (print or online) for use by external audiences are requested to abide by these guidelines, which are based upon standards set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style and AP Stylebook.

Academic departments should of course use the accepted style guide for their field for formal academic publications.


Academic Degrees

No periods for degree abbreviations: MBA, MS, BA, BS, etc.
Full degrees are not capitalized in text (capitalization is acceptable in lists): bachelor of science, master of business administration.


Except for press releases, use the Oxford or serial comma. Place the comma before the words “and” and “or” that come before the final item in a series: I enjoy watching soccer, basketball, and volleyball.


Majors are not capitalized, unless they are a proper name: nursing, philosophy, English, environmental science.

Titles/Courtesy Titles 

Official personal titles immediately preceding a name are capitalized; those following a name or set off by commas are not. (Style preference is name followed by title in lowercase — see second example below.) Descriptive or “unofficial” titles also are not capitalized. This rule applies to both academic and administrative titles.

• Associate Professor Jane Doe…
• Jane Doe, associate professor of nursing,…
• …nursing professor Jane Doe…
• …says Dean of Admissions Jason McDonald.
• Jason McDonald, dean of admissions, says…
• …according to admissions dean Jason McDonald.

The courtesy title of "Dr." is used to refer to a doctor of medicine, dentistry, or veterinary science. It is not used to refer to people who hold a doctorate degree in a non-medical field.

Phone Numbers

Use periods rather than parentheses and/or dashes: 503.943.8000.


Abbreviations for the division of day (a.m. and p.m.) should be lowercase. When writing a time that falls on the hour, do not
use “:00.” Use “noon” and “midnight,” not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
• 1 a.m.
• 2:30 p.m.
• noon
• midnight

Special University of Portland Styles

The following are always capitalized when referring to the University of Portland as an entity or referring to official University programs.
• the University
• Orientation
• Reunion
• Commencement
• The Bluff (note both words are
• President