University Marketing and Communications

Clark University Style Guide

This guide is based on the AP Stylebook, with some Clark-specific exceptions.

academic degrees — B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), M.A. (Master of Arts), MBA (Master of Business Administration), MSF (Master of Science in Finance), MPA (Master of Public Administration) MSPC (Master of Science in Professional Communication), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). Use “bachelor’s” and “master’s.” When referring to degrees in general, lowercase the first letter of the degree and use “degrees” (they all had master’s degrees in engineering; the brothers received doctoral degrees). Capitalize formal names of academic degrees (Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts in Accounting). Use periods for two-letter acronyms (M.A.); no periods for three or more (MBA, MSIT).

addresses — Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. only with a numbered address (Clark is on Main Street. Clark’s address is 950 Main St.). Use figures in address numbers. Spell out First through Ninth when used as street names. Use figures with two letters for 10th and above (e.g. 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St.). Only use postal abbreviations for states (e.g., MA, NH, CA) when used with a mailing address. Within text, abbreviate as follows (but never abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas or Utah):


Ala.

Md.

N.D.

Ariz.

Mass.

Okla.

Ark.

Mich.

Ore.

Calif.

Minn.

Pa.

Colo.

Miss.

R.I.

Conn.

Mo.

S.C.

Del.

Mont.

S.D.

Fla.

Neb.

Tenn.

Ga.

Nev.

Vt.

Ill.

N.H.

Va.

Ind.

N.J.

Wash.

Kan.

N.M.

W.Va.

Ky.

N.Y.

Wis.

La.

N.C.

Wyo.

adviser — Never advisor.

ALANA — an acronym that stands for African-, Latino/a-, Asian-, and Native-American. Use hyphens.

Alumni and Student Engagement Center — Clark’s newest facility. Do not use “ASEC” in formal, external correspondence.

a.m., p.m. — Lowercase, with periods. Use 8 p.m., not 8:00 p.m. Avoid the redundant “10 a.m. this morning.” Use noon to refer to 12 p.m., and midnight for 12 a.m.

area codes — Do not use parentheses around area codes: 508-793-7441, not (508) 793-7441.

The Clark Fund - No capital “t” when used in the middle of a sentence. Alumni and friends support the Clark Fund.

class titles — Capitalized without quotes. (He enrolled in the History of Jazz this semester.)

class year — Use a backward apostrophe (’) before the class year. Joe Shmoe ‘65.
For alumni: A class year following a person’s name indicates that he/she is an alumnus/a of Clark. Do not use “Clark alumnus” in addition to the class year, as in Clark alumnus Tom Dolan ’62. It is redundant. If a person attended Clark but did not graduate from Clark, use a lowercase, italicized “x” to indicate that the person did not graduate (Jane Doe x’88).

  • For current students: Use the student’s graduation year instead of first-year, sophomore, junior, senior (Jane Doe ’06).
  • Graduate degrees: Use a comma; the year comes after the degree (John Smith, Ph.D. ’00; Joe Schmoe ’12, M.A. ’13)

cocurricular — no hyphen

commasAlways use the serial comma (aka “Oxford comma”) after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before ‘and’ or ‘or’ (e.g., he will major in English, philosophy, or psychology). This is a departure from AP style, which mandates the use of a serial comma only when needed for clarity.

coursework — Noun, one word.

faculty — In customary American usage, faculty is a collective noun taking a singular verb when referring to faculty as a group. (The faculty is researching the topic.) The plural can be expressed by using “faculty members”: Faculty members are gathering.

Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology — Not Francis

Idrisi — Not an acronym. Capitalize the first letter only.

Master of Science in Professional Communication — not Communcations.

magazine, newspaper titles — Capitalize essential words in title; italicize. No quotation marks. (The article was in Time magazine and the journal Nature. The professor was interviewed by The Boston Globe.) This is a departure from AP Style.

office titles — No apostrophe (Dean of Students Office, Dean of the College Office)

periods — Leave only one space between sentences. If you are in the habit of leaving two spaces, you can go back and change all of them at once by using the “Find and Replace” feature of Microsoft Word (or whichever program you use). Always put commas and periods inside your quotation marks. ”It’s a beautiful day outside,” she said.

Pre-law

Pre-medical, pre-med

Pre-professional

Pre-veterinary — Do not shorten to pre-vet.

quotation marks — The period and the comma go within quotation marks — always. The dash, the semicolon, the question mark, and the exclamation point go within the quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted matter. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

serial comma (Oxford comma) — Always use the serial comma (aka “Oxford comma”) after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before ‘and’ or ‘or’ (e.g., he will major in English, philosophy, or psychology). This is a departure from AP style, which mandates the use of a serial comma only when needed for clarity.

student-athlete — Hyphenate in all uses. Do not use scholar-athlete.

theater — Not theatre, unless it is used in a proper name. However, the Theatre Arts Program is part of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Little Center Theater. Richard C. Daniels Theater.