Style Guide

Strategic Communications created the UNCSA Style Guide for appropriate and consistent public communications. The UNCSA Style Guide adheres to guidelines of the Associated Press Stylebook, except as indicated herein. These guidelines should be used for all external communications. For questions, please contact Katherine Johnson via email or at 336-770-1402.

Academic degrees

Capitalize formal names of academic degrees, but do not include the word “degree.” Bachelor of Fine Arts, not Bachelor of Fine Arts degree

Plurals of "bachelor's degree" and "master's degree" are "bachelor's degrees" and "master's degrees."

Do not abbreviate degrees on first reference, unless the publication includes a listing of biographical information and/or space does not permit full names of degrees.

Do not use degree abbreviations (M.S., Ph.D) after a person’s name in text. If necessary to establish credentials, cite the degree.

Do not use Dr. in front of a person’s name unless he/she is a medical doctor.

ACE Exhibition Complex in the Film Village houses Main Theatre, Babcock Theatre and Gold Theatre, as well as BB&T Lobby. Do not place periods between the letters in ACE.

Acronyms are created by assigning letters to represent words. As with the name of the institution, always use the complete name of something on first reference; the acronym can be substituted in future references.

Adviser is preferred to advisor.

Agnes de Mille Theatre Official and formal name of the dance theatre in Workplace. Shorter form, “de Mille Theatre” is acceptable all references. Note lower case de and upper case Mille are separate words and should be separated by a space. Most word processing programs will capitalize the D in de Mille if it occurs at the start of a sentence or table/chart entry. In text, it is best to revise wording so “de Mille”  does not appear at the start.

Correct: Agnes de Mille Theatre will be the location for Winter Dance.
Incorrect: deMille Theatre will be the location for Winter Dance.
Even better: Winter Dance will be in de Mille Theatre.

Alumni/Alumnus/Alumna “Alumni” is plural for a group of men only or men and women; “alumnus” is a single male; “alumna” is a single woman; “alumnae” is plural for a group of women. (See Graduation dates entry for additional information.)

BB&T Lobby located in ACE Exhibition Complex in the Film Village. Use the ampersand “&” in place of the word “and.” Do not place periods between the letters.

Capitalization When in doubt, do not capitalize.

Capitalize formal academic titles only when used specifically in front of the name or in lists. Do not capitalize these titles in body (text) copy when they follow the name or stand alone:

Provost Patrick Sims appointed the committee.
The committee was appointed by Patrick Sims, provost.
The provost is in a meeting.

Capitalize the formal names of schools, offices and departments. Do not capitalize informal names of schools, offices and departments or common names (except when the use of the lowercase common name would result in confusion).

He is dean of the School of Music.
She is a music school student.
The Office of Student Financial Aid is located in the Welcome Center.
Forms are available in the financial aid office.

Do not capitalize internal elements of an organization when they are widely used generic terms: the board of directors of Ford Motor Co. and the board of trustees of the School of the Arts. But do capitalize internal elements of an organization when they are not widely used generic terms, such as the UNCSA Board of Visitors.

Always capitalize formal names of academic degrees (but do not add "degree," as it is redundant.

Bachelor of Fine Arts or bachelor's degree.

Lowercase the noun when preceded by more than one proper name.

Fifth and Poplar streets; the Philadelphia and Austrian symphonies

Catawba Theatre located in Alex Ewing Performance Place, formerly the Arena.

Center Stage Apartments Not “Centre” Stage

Cobb Rehearsal Studio Official name is Sheila Cobb Rehearsal Studio, but Cobb Rehearsal Studio is acceptable on all references.

Commercial advertising titles Place the title of a television advertisement in quotation marks.

Company should be spelled out when used in names of theatrical companies; however, abbreviate when used with businesses, unless it is part of the formal name or is used in a list (such as donors).

Martha Graham Dance Company.
Ford Motor Co. recently announced a new car line.

Compose/Comprise Compose means to create or put together. Comprise means to contain or embrace.

He composed a song.
The United States is composed of 50 states.
Fifty states comprise the United States.

Composition and publication titles (See also individual entries for each type of composition). While these guidelines apply to most types of external communication, some social media platforms do not allow the use of italics. In those cases, titles should be placed in quotes, except for movie titles, which are fully capitalized.

Commercials/advertisements: place in quotation marks
Books: place in quotation marks except for the Bible and works that are catalogs, directories or reference materials
Dance compositions: italics
Films: all capital letters
Music videos: quotation marks
Musical works: italics
Operas: italics
Periodicals (magazines, blogs, newspapers): no punctuation required
Poems: quotation marks
Short Stories: quotation marks
Song titles: quotation marks
Television movies: quotation marks
Television programs: all capital letters

Compliment/Complement  Compliment is a noun or verb used to denote praise. Complement is a noun or verb denoting completeness or the process of supplementing.

The chancellor complimented employees for a job well done.
Landscaping will complement the new library site.

Compound modifiers Use a hyphen to link compound modifiers preceding a noun, except the adverb "very" and all adverbs that end in "ly."

A well-known man
An easily remembered song
Academy Award-winning actor

Costume, Wig and Makeup Studio Note the correct order.

Courtesy titles Do not use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. in front of an individual’s name in a text document. Courtesy titles are appropriate in personal correspondence or formal invitations.

Dance compositions Italicize the names of dance compositions.

Daniels Plaza adjacent to Hanes Student Commons. No apostrophe at the end of Daniels.

Decades Do not use an apostrophe between the numeral and the “s,” but do use an apostrophe to indicate omitted numerals when shortening the decade reference.

The 1960s
The ’60s

Dr. UNCSA does not refer to those who hold Ph.D.s as doctors. The title “doctor” and the abbreviation “Dr.” should only be used to refer to medical professionals.

Domain name/link to webpage Include http://www portion of a domain name only if you are providing the link. Otherwise, use only the domain name.

The school’s website is
The website is

Emerging Choreographers Concert no apostrophe in Choreographers

Fewer/Less Use fewer for individual items, less for quantity.

Fewer than 10 people applied.
She had less than $70 to spend.

Ensure/Insure Ensure means to guarantee. Use insure in reference to insurance.

Film titles Use all capital letters.

Freedman Theatre Official name is Gerald Freedman Theatre, but Freedman Theatre is acceptable on all references. Formerly the Proscenium Thrust.

Gianinni Drive is the main road through campus. Do not substitute Main Road.

Graduation Dates In references to alumni, two formats are acceptable. In shortened form, use the last two digits of the graduation year, with an apostrophe in place of the omitted digits. In long form, use all four digits.

Edwin Martinat, D&P ‘08, received the Erskine Bowles Award.
Edwin Martinat, who graduated in 2008, received the award.  

Gray Building is the name of the facility that houses Crawford Hall and Hood Recital Hall.

Hanes Student Commons Charlotte and Phillip Hanes Student Commons is the official name, but Hanes Student Commons is acceptable on all references. Do not use Commons Building, which is redundant. Houses Eisenberg Social Hall, the Dining Hall or cafeteria, the Pickle Jar or snack bar, and the Kenan Student Life Center. Daniels Plaza (no apostrophe) is adjacent.

Insure/ensure Use insure in reference to insurance. Use ensure to mean guarantee.

Jargon Avoid industry jargon and lingo, as it might not be understood by all readers. For example, LD might mean lighting designer, learning disability, or lethal dose. If you expect to use the term multiple times in a document, use the complete term on first reference followed by the shortened term in parentheses. Then use the shortened term on subsequent references.

Junior Do not set off "Jr." or a numerical suffix (II, III) with a comma after a name in text, unless it is in a list of names (such as donors or students).

Michael Abbot Jr. is a graduate of the School of Drama.
Joseph Blankinship III was student body president.

Kenan Institute See Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts

Less/fewer Use fewer for individual items, less for quantity.

Fewer than 10 people applied.
She had less than $70 to spend.

Link to webpage/domain name Include http://www portion of a domain name only if you are providing the link. Otherwise, use only the domain name.

              The school’s website is

              The website is

Makeup not Make-Up, when referring to the concentration in Design & Production. Use the hyphenated word as an adjective to describe a test taken late. As a verb, make up is two words.

Chloe, a makeup design major, missed her final exam due to a family emergency, and was allowed to take a make-up exam. She will make up any other assignments that she missed.

Master class Two words, not masterclass.

Midnight Preferable to 12 a.m., which can be confusing. Do not combine with the numeral 12.  “12 midnight” is redundant.

More than/Over Use more than in references to a quantity or amount. Use over to describe a spatial relationship.

More than 10 people spoke at the public hearing.
I flew over the city.

Music video titles Place in quotation marks.

Musical titles Italicize titles of all musical compositions, including the names of operas, except in performance programs.

When an excerpt from a longer work is mentioned, the excerpt should be quoted and the longer work should be italicized.

In works on musical subjects, it is common practice to use capital letters for major keys and lowercase for minor keys. If this practice is followed, omit the words "major" and "minor."

The abbreviations Op. (opus) and No. (number) should be uppercased. When a number, an opus or catalog number identifies the work, no comma precedes it.

Write out sharps and flats in copy, instead of using symbols.

"Sonata in E-flat, Op. 31, No. 3"
"Fantasy in c, K. 475"
"Suite No. 5 in E"
"Wohin" from Die schone Mullerin
Die Fledermaus

Noon is preferable to 12 p.m., which can be confusing. Never use “12 noon” which is redundant.               

nu A contemporary music ensemble. Both letters are lower case.

Numerals Spell out numerals one through nine; use figures for 10 and above. Use commas to denote thousands: 5,000 or 50,000, etc. Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence (unless it is the printing cost statement). Use numerals in front of millions and billions.

The cost is $15 million.
Fifteen students are confined due to the flu.
1,000 copies of this document were printed at a cost of $2.08 per copy.

Over/more than Use more than in references to a quantity or amount. Use over to describe a spatial relationship.

More than 10 people spoke at the public hearing.
I flew over the city.        

Opera titles Use italics. For works within an opera, use quotation marks.

Patrons Theatre Located in Alex Ewing Performance Place. No apostrophe in Patrons

Pearce Building Although Pierce is historically accurate, campus signage reads Pearce, and is therefore the preferred spelling. Houses RJR Screening Room (no periods in RJR).

Percent Spell out "percent" as one word. Use figures in front of the word.

Tuition increased by 4 percent.

Performance Place houses Gerald Freedman Theatre (formerly Proscenium Thrust), Catawba Theatre, Patrons Theatre, and the Sheila Cobb Rehearsal Studio.

Phone numbers Use hyphens between the area code and the prefix, and between the prefix and suffix. For clarity, it is advisable to always use the area code.

The main switchboard number for UNCSA is 336-770-3399.

Play titles Use italics.

Position Titles A person should be identified by his or her given name and/or initials and a full and accurate professional title or descriptive phrase at the beginning of an article or publication in the first reference:

UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole
Endalyn Taylor, dean of the School of Dance

Second and subsequent references generally use last names only. Courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) are not used in first or subsequent references.

Repertoire is preferable to repertory.

RiverRun International Film Festival RiverRun is one word with two capital letters.

RJR Screening Room Do not place periods between the letters in RJR

School names Use full names (School of Dance, School of Drama, School of Design and Production (D&P), School of Filmmaking, School of Music) on first reference. Substitute “Dance” or “Music” on subsequent references. Do not use abbreviation “D&P” without first establishing that it stands for Design and Production. Do not use “SOM” or “SOF” as abbreviations for the School of Music or the School of Filmmaking in external documents. “Film School” is acceptable on second reference.

David Gordon Green graduated from the School of Filmmaking.
Other Film School alumni include Rebecca Green and Martha Stephens.

School of Music Complex is the name of the building which houses Bill and Judy Watson Chamber Music Hall and the Yekovich Conference Room.

Seasons are lowercase except when beginning a sentence, even when used in conjunction with semester or term.

I look forward to spring!
I can’t wait until spring semester is finished!
Spring is the best time of year.

Semans Library No apostrophe

SOM An acronym for School of Music. Do not use in external publications.

Song titles Place song titles in quotation marks.

State names Spell out state names when used alone in text, but use the following abbreviations when used in addresses or when used after a city in text (and set off with commas):

Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.

These states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Use the U.S. Post Office abbreviations when writing addresses.

North Carolina School of the Arts
1533 S. Main St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27127-2188
She is from California.
Her hometown is Sacramento, Calif.

Stevens Center Located at 405 West Fourth St. Formal name is Roger L. Stevens Center, but Stevens Center is acceptable on all references. Note there is no apostrophe in Stevens.

Street addresses Abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.) and street (St.) only with number addresses: 341 Spruce St.  Spell out and capitalize when used without a number: Spruce Street.

Use figures for an address number: 21 Vintage Ave.

Spell out and capitalize street names that are numbers: 321 Seventeenth St., 1245 Fifth St.

Highways that are identified with a number follow this format: N.C. 150, U.S. 421, Interstate 40 (I-40 for second and subsequent reference).

Studio I, Studio II, Studio III, Studio IV Refers to the college Drama classes. Use Roman numerals.

Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts Use full title on first reference. Kenan Institute is acceptable on subsequent references. Be aware of multiple institutes bearing the Kenan name, and use Kenan Institute for the Arts if confusion is likely.

Times and dates Use figures except for midnight and noon. Use the following forms only: 1 a.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 8:30 a.m. Do not use “:00” when referencing time on the hour.

Abbreviate the following months only when used with a specific date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov.,  and Dec. Spell them out when used alone, or with a year alone. Use commas to set off the year when used with a month and day.

They met Oct. 13, 1979, in Chapel Hill.
They met in October 1979 in Chapel Hill.
They met Oct. 13.
The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20.

TV shows Use italics.

University of North Carolina School of the Arts Acceptable shortened forms are UNCSA, UNC School of the Arts and School of the Arts. Do not use NCSA or (U)NCSA. “The” is not part of the school name, and should not be capitalized unless it appears at the start of a sentence or heading. The full name should be used on first reference and on the cover or main heading of all publications.

University of North Carolina UNCSA is one of 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina. “The” is not part of the formal name and should not be capitalized. Avoid using UNC to refer to the multi-campus UNC system, as that title is the common name of one campus in Chapel Hill.

UNCSA Police. Do not use Campus Police or Campus Security.

Vice Chancellor No hyphen. Capitalize only when used as a formal title that is placed before the name.

Associate Vice Chancellor Steve Martin said the library construction was 90 percent complete.
Steve Martin, associate vice chancellor for facilities management, said the library construction was 90 percent complete.

Watson Chamber Music Hall Official name is Bill and Judy Watson Chamber Music Hall, but Watson Chamber Music Hall or Watson Hall are acceptable on all references. Part of the School of Music Complex.