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3.3 Writing Style Guide for

University Relations generally follows AP style and subscribes to the AP Stylebook, which includes spelling, grammar, style and usage and stresses consistency, clarity, accuracy and brevity.

Why do we need this?

Editorial consistency across the university is key in creating a positive impression, enforcing strategic messaging and establishing the UNG identity.

Our solutions to style issues are driven by the university’s mission, strategic plan, and strategic messaging and branding.

    • For example, on first reference, it is best practice to write "University of North Georgia (UNG)" and use "UNG" on subsequent references.

University Relations reserves the right to edit, rewrite or refuse any content submitted to us to ensure they meet our editorial and style guidelines and provide credible, current and meaningful information.

AP Stylebook

You can access the official AP Stylebook from any UNG campus using this URL:

UNG has 10 concurrent licenses for this product. Having trouble accessing the AP Stylebook? Wait a few minutes and try again.

Academic Degrees
  • Use lowercase when referencing generic degrees, majors, minors.
    • James Smith is a history major at UNG.
    • She majored in education.
    • UNG awarded 300 associate degrees.
  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree or master's, but not for an associate degree.
    •  UNG offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees.
    • She earned a master's degree in education.
  • There is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. And only the actual name of the degree is uppercase, not the major or concentration. The exception is when referring to specific languages such as Chinese, English, etc.
    • He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.
    • He received a Master of Science in chemistry.
    • He received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from UNG.
    • He earned a Bachelor of Arts in modern languages with a concentration in Arabic.
  • If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as:
    • John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology, will be speaking at the university.
  • Use abbreviations such as B.A., M.A., LL.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, never after just a last name.
  • Use doctoral degree or doctorate, but not doctorate degree.
    • John Jones has a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
    • John Jones has a doctorate from UNG.
  • When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas.
    • John Snow, Ph.D., spoke.
  • Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.
Academic Titles
  • Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in other uses.
    • The class was addressed by Dean John Smith.
    • The dean addressed the senior class.
    • John Smith, dean of students, addressed the senior class.
    • The dean of students, John Smith, addressed the senior class.
    • Professor Sara Smith teaches math.
    • Sara Smith is a math professor.
Accessible, Disabled or Handicap?

In 1992, when Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was renewed and amended, one of the amendments was to correct terminology. Recognizing the negative impact of certain terms, the word "handicapped" was replaced with the phrase "persons with disabilities." Do not use handicapped in any documents or publications to refer to persons with disabilities, use 'persons with disabilities'. When you participate in updating any documents, please use the opportunity to correct the term "handicapped" and use instead "persons with disabilities'.

Handicapped parking is still in use (e.g., when referring to parking placards), though the wordhandicapped” is offensive and has been virtually eliminated in most other contexts. We should now use the term “accessible parking.”

  • UNG, like many other educational institutions, spells this word with or at the end.
Afterward, Toward, Backward, Forward
  • These words do not end in s. Don’t add one.
Alumnus, Alumni, Alumna, Alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references for a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group consisting of both men and women.

Associate Degree Naming

The University of North Georgia offers three associate degrees:

  • Associate of Arts Degree in Core Curriculum with pathway courses related to name that program
  • Associate of Science Degree in Core Curriculum with pathway courses related to name that program
  • Applied Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies

Acceptable shortening of the associate degree titles is limited to

  • Associate of Arts/Science in Core Curriculum (XYZ Pathway)
  • Use sparingly for emphasis.
  • Use instead of all caps or underlining.
  • Do not boldface headings (H2, H3, H4, etc.) on

"Cadet" is always lower-case.

Example: The cadet attended class. 

Exception: When writing out "Corps of Cadets."

Example: The Corps of Cadets train today.

Campus Abbreviations

These are the only acceptable three-letter codes or abbreviations for each campus to be used when necessary. 

  • Blue Ridge: BLU
  • Cumming: CMG
  • Dahlonega: DAH 
  • Gainesville: GVL
  • Oconee: OCN
Campus Names
  • When referencing a single campus, write the campus name (Gainesville) followed by capitalized "Campus." 
    • Correct: Gainesville Campus
    • Incorrect: Gainesville campus
  • When referencing multiple campuses, write the campus names followed by lowercase "campuses." 
    • Correct: Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses
    • Incorrect: Gainesville and Dahlonega Campuses
  • Do not exclude the word "campus" when referencing a UNG campus location.
    • Correct: UNG's Gainesville Campus was the host of...
    • Incorrect: UNG Gainesville was the host of...
  • Avoid unnecessary capitalization. Common nouns such as ‘president’ or ‘university’ should be capitalized only when used as part of a full name for a person, place or thing.
    • She went to the University of North Georgia.
    • The university is known for its mascot.
    • President Sara Smith attended the conference.
    • The president, Sara Smith, attended the conference.
    • The president attended the conference.
    • The senior vice president for academic affairs is available.
    • Sara Smith, the senior vice president for academic affairs, is available.
  • Do not capitalize programs, options, concentrations or tracks, unless the word is a proper noun, like English or Spanish.
    • More about the Mike Cottrell School of Business MBA program
    • Latino Legacy Scholarship program
    • English with a literature concentration
    • Bachelor of Art in English with teaching certification
Citations and Footnotes
  • … are for academic papers.
  • We need less formal – but complete – attribution on the web and in our public communications.
    Wrong: (Love, 2009).
    Correct: …management researcher Schmirdlapp Love stated in 2009.

Capitalize only when part of a single proper noun.
(Example: Lanier Technical College)

Lowercase when used without a proper name or in plural form.
(Example: The college will be closed this week)

(Example: Lanier Technical and Atlanta Technical colleges vied...)

Composition Titles
  • Italicize books, films, and other publication titles. Do not underline, as that makes them look like links.
    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a novel by Jules Verne;
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 film from Walt Disney.
  • Use quotation marks around articles, poems, songs, scenes from within a film, and short stories.
    Example: “The Raven” was first published in The New York Evening Mirror.

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize an article – the, an, a – or any word of fewer than four letters only if it is the first or last word in the title.
"Concentration" should only be used when referring to a baccalaureate degree.

In early 2012, the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents recommended the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University, which was founded in 1873 in Dahlonega, Georgia, and Gainesville State College, which was founded in 1964 in Gainesville, Georgia. The consolidation became official on January 8, 2013, creating the University of North Georgia (UNG), with five campuses across northeast Georgia.

In August 2015, UNG opened an additional campus in Blue Ridge, Georgia, to serve students in the northernmost region of the state.

Copyrighted Content

Web content owners and coordinators are responsible for ensuring that all content on their website is free of copyright issues. If copyrighted content is used, the web content owners and coordinators must have written permission to use the content on the web.

  • Don't pull an image, document or any web content off an external website and submit it via ServiceNow without written permission to do so. Keep copies of the written permission.
  • When photographing individuals or groups of recognizable individuals, get written permission to use the photos on the web. Use the University Relations Model Release form.

Visit the UNG Libraries Copyright Center webpage and the U.S. Copyright Office website for more information.

Do People Really Check Copyrights?

Yes, they do -- yes, they have.

ANY content you use from another person or entity, even if attributed to them, can be a potential copyright infringement. Be sure to get permission (and keep a copy) to use any outside text, images or media on your web pages or uploaded documents.

Course Planning Guide
"Degree map" should not be used. Learn more about academic terms and definitions.
  • The full title of an academic course should be capitalized. Don’t use quotation marks.
    • She will begin teaching a new class, Introduction to Computers.
    • She teaches compliance at UNG.
    • He is a public relations professor at UNG.
Courtesy Titles (Dr., Mr., Ms.,)
No courtesy titles are used on first reference.
Credit Hours

Use credit hours not semester hours. 

Use numerals for credit hours. Ex. 1 credit hour, 2 credit hours, 3 credit hours. 

Do not hyphenate any part of the phrase.

Cum Laude
Not italicized.
  • Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th.
  • When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan. Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone.
    • The class will graduate on June 15.
    • The next session will be Jan. 1.
    • The new program will begin taking students January 2016.
    • Last session will be on Wednesday, May 10.
Department/Unit Names

Departments within the university are capitalized with their full title (Example: Department of Business Administration) but not in informal reference unless "department" is preceded by a proper name

(Example: the biology department, but the English department).


Use Dr. on first reference only for a person with a medical degree (example: Dr. Wallace performed the surgery) in all but specific campus publications. Do not use Dr. as a courtesy title on second reference.

  • Only use the three-dot ellipsis; do not add any additional periods. 
    • Correct: And then... 
    • Incorrect: And then....
    • Correct: She thought...why not.
    • Incorrect: She thought..............why not.
  • One word.
  • Capitalize only if used at the beginning of a sentence or in a headline (as above) or title.
  • Email addresses in the "Quick Contact" section should always be generic emails.
  • No emails should be used as contact emails on the website (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)
Facility Names


  • Auxiliary Services Building
  • Barnes Hall
  • Biology Dept.- Field Studies
  • Bob Stein Stadium
  • Brooks Pennington Jr. Military Leadership Center
  • Chestatee Building
  • Chestatee House
  • Choice Street Arts Complex
  • Coleman Field
  • Dining Hall
  • Donovan Hall
  • Downtown Office Building
  • Dunlap Hall
  • Faculty Four Unit Apartment
  • Faculty House 19
  • Galliard Hall
  • Georgia Army National Guard
  • Gloria Shott Performance Hall
  • Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium
  • Hansford Hall
  • Health & Natural Science Building
  • Howard Milton Stewart Continuing Education Center
  • John L. Nix Mountain Cultural Center
  • Lewis Hall
  • Liberty Hall(Military Housing)
  • Materials Management
  • Memorial Hall Gymnasium
  • Merritt E. Hoag Student Center
  • Newton Oaks Center/ Dunlap Annex
  • North Georgia Suites (civilian housing)
  • Observatory
  • Owen Hall
  • Parking Deck
  • Patriot Hall (military housing)
  • Pine Valley
  • Planetarium
  • Plant Operations
  • Price Memorial Hall
  • Recreation Center
  • Rogers Hall
  • Stewart Student Success Center
  • Student Health Center
  • The Great Room
  • The Moore House
  • Vickery House
  • Welcome Center
  • Young Hall


  • Administration Building
  • Continuing Education/Performing Arts
  • Dining Hall
  • Dunlap-Mathis
  • Hugh Mills Physical Education Center
  • J. Foster Watkins Academics Building 
  • Loyd Strickland Academic Building
  • Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building
  • Music Building
  • Oakwood Building
  • Parking Deck
  • Plant Ops/Shipping  & Receiving/Shop
  • Science, Engineering & Technology
  • Student Center
  • The Campus Connection
Facilities North and South

"Facilities North" and "Facilities South" should never be used when referring to either of the two facilities units. 

Instead, include the campus names that that facilities unit serves. 

  • "Facilities North" would be "Facilities - Blue Ridge and Dahlonega Campuses"
  • "Facilities South" would be "Facilities - Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee Campuses"
First Person, Second Person, or Third Person?

All web copy should be written in second person, conversational voice.

Exception: Faculty/staff profile pages are written in third person.

Flush Left Copy on our Website
  • Always flush left unless there is a compelling reason for centering or flush right.
  • Justified copy almost never works on the web.
  • Eye-tracking and comprehension studies suggest flush left (aka: “ragged right”) copy is easier to read in print, as well.
Former Institutions (GSC and NGCSU)

If you need to refer to either of the institutions that were merged into the University of North Georgia, please refer to them in one of these ways:

  • the University of North Georgia (then Gainesville State College )
  • the University of North Georgia (formerly Gainesville State College )
  • the University of North Georgia (then North Georgia College & State University)
  • the University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia College & State University)

Heading Usage

  • All headings should be written using title case. See 'Using Title Case' section for more information.
  • Heading tags are used to determine the hierarchy or structure of the content of a page.
  • Headings should be left aligned. 
  • Headlines should not be bolded.
  • Headlines should not be ALL CAPS.
  • Heading 2 to 5: These tags may be used in main content and must follow in order, no skipping.
  • Heading 6: No formatting. Do not use.
  • Headings should be carefully written. Think strategically when you create them. Search engines weigh words in titles heavier than words in general body or content text.

Using Title Case in Headings

UNG style is to use title case (upstyle) for headings on the website.

Some basic rules:

  • Capital letters are used for the first letter of principal words in the titles.
  • First and last words are always capitalized
  • Articles, conjunctions and prepositions are only capitalized if they start the title or have four or more letters.

Don't want to think about it?

Use this tool --  Title Case Universal Convertor -- type in the text for your title and this will convert it to title case for you.

  • External links (outside should open in a new window.
  • Internal links should open in the same window.
  • You should always link words that describe where the link is taking the user, rather than spelling out the actual link in the page text.
    Example: The Appalachian Trail passes very close to UNG's Dahlonega campus.
  • For web and email addresses readers should remember, you may wish to get literal.
    Example: For more information, contact
  • Use anchors to send readers to specific points in a webpage.
Login vs. Log in
  • Use login as a noun. 
    • Example: Use your login to access the site.
  • Use log in (two separate words) as a verb.
    • Log in to the website to access the information.

Third-Level Menus

Third-level menus are not recommended as they do not work well on mobile devices. 

Menu Structure

When a top level menu item is also a link to a landing page, a submenu item at the end of the flyout list should be added that provides another link to that section's landing page. 

Example A: 

Top Level Item 1

  • Submenu Item 1
  • Submenu Item 2
  • Submenu Item 3
  • Top Level Item 1-All

Example B:

Web Accessibility (Top Level Item)

  • It's the Law (Submenu 1)
  • Timeline (Submenu 2)
  • Alternative Text (Submenu 3)
  • Web Accessibility-All 
Noon and Midnight

12:00 p.m. should be referred to as noon. 
Never 12 noon. 

12:00 a.m. should be referred to as midnight.
Never 12 midnight.

  • Spell out whole numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above.
    • They had four dogs and three cats.
    • They had 20 bales of hay.
  • Exceptions:
    • Use numerals when referring to course credit hours.
      • She was taking a 3-credit-hour course.
    • Use numerals for money, percentages, dimensions, and ages
      • She will receive $5 million dollars when she turns 21.
      • The 10-year-old girl was crying
      • The box was 3 feet long, 2 feet wide and 1 foot high
      • They charge 5 percent interest
Offices and Departments
  • When referring to titled offices at the University of North Georgia, the titles are capitalized.
    • Example: Registrar's Office; but office of the director
  • Capitalize office, department, division, program, etc., when part of the official titles. Otherwise, use lowercase. The exception is when referring to specific languages such as Chinese, English, etc.
    • the science department
    • the Department of Science
    • the English department
    • the Department of English
    • academic affairs
    • the Office of Academic Affairs
    • the Office of Business and Finance
    • the business office
    • UNG’s criminal justice department
Paragraphs vs. Line Feeds
  • On, a paragraph (aka: hard return, hitting the enter or return key) adds space between lines.
  • A line feed (aka: soft return, hitting shift + enter) does not add space.
  • Use a line feed when you want lines of copy to appear immediately beneath each other, as in a complete address or list, although for most lists it’s best to use the bullet or numbering tools in the page editor.
  • If you paste from a word processor, you will need to remove any extra lines of space manually inserted between paragraphs.
"Pathway" is to only be used when referring to an associate degree.
Phone Numbers

Phone numbers should only be written with numerals and dashes. Please do not include parentheses, periods or superfluous spacing.

Correct: 555-555-5555

Incorrect: (555) 555-5555 or 555.555.5555

Placeholder Text (ex. TBD)

We do not permit placeholder text such TBD. Please provide more detailed text.

Preferred placeholders:

  • More details to come. 
  • [Date/Speaker/Deadline/Winners] will be updated here when announced. 
Plan of Study
"Degree plan" should not be used. Learn more about academic terms and definitions.
Quotation Marks
Use single quotation marks ('cool') in headlines, and double quotes ("cool") in all other body content.

Lowercase and use numerals when used with full building title.
(Example: Dunlap Hall room 177)

Capitalize and use numerals when used alone or without full building name.
(Examples: Room 143 or Library Room 170)


Acceptable on all references for Reserve Officers' Training Corps. If service is specified, use with service name (Army ROTC).

Semesters and Seasons
  • Lowercase spring, summer, winter, and fall, unless part of a formal name or a publication.
    • Girls’ summer softball
    • Registration for fall semester
    • spring dean’s list
    • the Summer issue of Inside UNG
    • Winter Olympics
    • the Fall issue of UNG Today
Spanish Language Content
Web content written in Spanish should be written using Mexican Spanish at the eighth-grade reading level.
  • Theater is the correct American spelling of most programs and venues.
  • However, UNG's theatre department and the Gainesville Theatre Alliance are spelled with an re at the end.
  • Use figures except for noon and midnight.  Use a colon to separate hours from minutes, use lowercase a.m. and p.m.
    • Graduation will be held at 2:00 p.m.
    • My biology class will begin at 9:15 a.m.
    • The conference will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • There will a special session from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m. should be referred to as noon. 
    Never 12 noon. 

  • 12:00 a.m. should be referred to as midnight.
    Never 12 midnight.

Do not use singular numerals to describe a time.

  • No: 8 a.m.
  • Yes: 8:00 a.m.
Tuition, Fees and Other Costs

No dollar amounts for university tuition and/or fees may be added to any website outside of the Business Office. If the tuition and/or fee cost is referenced in the text, the webteam will remove the dollar amounts and replace the numerical amount with a link to the Business Office's Tuition and Fees page.

For other fees, such as registration fees for special events, camps, conferences, scholarships, etc., the cost must also be published with a statement that includes the following wording:

  • the price/fee is subject to change without notice

Example: The registration for the March 24, 2019, event is $50. 
The price is subject to change without notice.

Example: The conference fee is $125. (The fee is subject to change without notice.)
  • Our website’s name is always presented as lowercase.
  • This includes headlines, as you might note at the top of this page.
  • One word.
  • Capitalize only if used at the beginning of a sentence, in a headline or in a title (as above).

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.
Please note that some of the images and videos on our site may have been taken before social distancing, face coverings and restricted gatherings were required.

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