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Editorial Style Guide for Printed Publications

To maintain consistency in writing and editing, Delaware State University communications should adhere to style guidelines that employ the rules for English grammar, punctuation and spelling; follow DSU style; and generally follow the Associated Press Stylebook, with a few exceptions.



City, state: Following a city, use the two-letter  Postal abbreviation for the state, e.g., Newark, DE. (DSU style)

Spell it out, or not? In address blocks, such as on the backs of brochures, spell out every word in the street address, e.g., 1200 North DuPont Highway, except when space does not allow. (DSU style)

When to abbreviate: If space is limited, abbreviate compass points (N., S., E., W., N.E., etc.) in a numbered street address, plus Avenue (Ave.), Boulevard (Blvd.) and Street (St.), e.g., 123 N. Main St. If street number is omitted, do not abbreviate, e.g., North Main Street. Spell out all other similar words, such as Road, Drive, Circle, etc. (AP Style)


Admissions has an “s” on the end, e.g., Office of Admissions


African-American is hyphenated and both “African” and “American” are capitalized.


Alumna is a female graduate

Alumnus is a male graduate

Alumni is a group of graduates (can also be referred to as alums)

Class Year: Uppercase Class when referring to a specific class, e.g. DSU’s Class of 1962

Punctuation: There is no comma before the graduation year. Use a rounded, second apostrophe smart quote.  e.g., Clint K. Saunders  ’03. (DSU style)


Capitalization: Capitalize “Championship” when referring to a specific competition, e.g., MEAC Championship, the Championship was taken. (DSU style)

Numerals: For athletics statistics, scores and measurements, use figures: e.g., 3–10, 1-yard touchdown, 6’3” senior. (AP Style)




Capitalization: Capitalize the full, proper names of boards and committees, e.g, Board of Trustees. When talking about the board or committee on second reference and “board” or “committee”  stands alone, lowercase it.


Capitalization: Capitalize “Building” in proper names of buildings (AP Style) 

Formal names:
Agriculture Annex Building
Alumni Stadium
James W.W. Baker Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources
Bank of America Building
Claibourne D. Smith Administration Building
Conrad Hall
Delaware Hall
Education and Humanities Center
ETV Building
Richard S. Grossley Hall
William  C. Jason Library-Learning Center
Loockerman Hall
Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center
Memorial Hall Complex
Luna I. Mishoe Science Center North and South
Optical  Science Center for Applied  Research (OSCAR) Building
John R. Price Building
M.E. Thomasson Building
Ulysses S. Washington Jr. Cooperative Extension Center and Herbarium
Wellness & Recreation Center

Residence halls:
DSU Living and Learning Commons
Harriet Tubman Hall
Lydia P. Laws Hall
Medgar Evers Hall
Meta  V. Jenkins Hall
W. Richard Wynder Towers
Warren-Franklin Hall
University Courtyard
University Village

Campus venues:
Theater, Education and Humanities Center
Arts Center/Gallery (located in the William C. Jason Library-Learning Center)



Capitalization: Capitalize the formal names of colleges, but do not capitalize the word college when it stands alone.

Formal Names:
College of Agriculture and Related Sciences
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences College of Business
College of Education, Health and Public Policy
College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology
University College
Graduate Studies and Research


Do not use a comma before the conjunction in a simple series of items;  e.g. DSU core values are community, integrity, diversity, scholarship and outreach.

Use a comma before the final conjunction when the series of items is more complex or includes multiple conjunctions. (AP style)


Uppercase Commencement when it refers to DSU’s ceremony. (DSU style)



Capitalization: When a date includes the month, day and year, include a comma after the year. e.g., March 20, 2012,  is the first day of spring. (AP Style)

Superscript: Do not use a “th” with the day of the week.


After a name: On first usage of a person’s name with academic degree, spell out the full name, followed by a comma and the academic degree, e.g., John Smith, PhD, spoke at the conference. In subsequent references to that person, use only the person’s last name (e.g., Smith), unless it would be confusing to do so, for example, if there are two people with the same last name in the text. (AP Style)

Capitalization: Lowercase the common nouns for degrees: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degree, doctorate. Capitalize the proper nouns for degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Social Work, etc. (AP Style)

Punctuation: Note that bachelor’s and master’s are possessive, as they are equivalent to saying, “the expert’s degree,” and, therefore, require an apostrophe. For plural degrees, place the apostrophe last: two bachelors’ degrees. (AP style) Omit periods on academic  degrees: PhD, EdD, MD, MSW, etc. (DSU style)


Capitalize full proper names of offices or departments, i.e., Office of—, Department of—, Institutional Advancement, Admissions. If you decide to use initial- caps, make sure you’re using the full proper name of that office or department for clarity and consistency; e.g., Office of the Cashier vs. cashier’s  office. (DSU style and AP Style)


Formal Names:

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Department of Human Ecology

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of English and Foreign Languages
Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy
Department of Mass Communications, Visual and Performing Arts
Department of Psychology
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

College of Business
Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Department of Business Administration
Department of Sport Management

College of Education, Health and Public Policy
Department of Education
Department of Nursing
Department of Public and Allied Health Services
Department of Social Work

College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology
Department of Biological Sciences
Department of Chemistry
Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Department of Physics and Engineering



Early College High School@Delaware State University (ECHS@DSU) — It is also appropriate to use the word ‘at’ in place of the @ symbol.



Do not uppercase when the words stand alone. (Also see Titles entry)


No apostrophe


Fundraising  is one word, no hyphen. (DSU and AP Style)



Hyphen: A hyphen (-) is used to divide words that break at the end of a line or to connect two words to form a compound adjective or noun, such as go- between, ill-fated and run-of-the-mill. On the computer keyboard, the hyphen is located to the right of the zero.

Em-dash: An em-dash (—) is a long dash used to indicate an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause. When used mid-sentence, set off the abrupt thought with an em-dash before and after it. An em-dash can also be used to attribute a quote from an author, poet, artist, etc.

En-dash: The en-dash (–), which is shorter than an em-dash and longer than a hyphen, is used to indicate a range of values, such as a span of time or numerical quantities (similar to using “from…to…”), e.g., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday; ages 5–8; academic year 2009–10. Do not uses spaces around the en-dash.



Do not precede  Inc. with  a comma.  (AP Style)



Do not precede  Jr., Sr., III, etc., with  a comma. (AP Style)



DSU Georgetown
DSU Wilmington



Uppercase the names of majors, concentrations and classes if their formal, proper name is used. If referenced generally, then lowercase.


Proper name is Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)



Academic years: Abbreviate the second year and use an en-dash: 2008–09. (DSU style)

Spell out, or not? In general, spell out whole numbers one through nine. Use figures for numbers for 10 and above, ages and percentages. (AP Style)

Time: Acceptable formats: 6:30 a.m.–8:30  p.m., 6–8 a.m. Do not use :00 when it is a full hour. (DSU style)

Phone/fax numbers: Use periods instead of hyphens, e.g., 800.845.2544. Omit the number “1” before an area code or toll-free number. (DSU Style)



No apostrophe


Italicize the names of publications in text. (DSU style)



Lowercase spring, summer, fall, winter unless part of a proper name. (Note: “fall semester” and “spring semester” are not proper names and should be lowercase.)


Do not double space after a period. (AP Style)



Do not capitalize “the”  before a formal name unless it is part of the title; e.g., He is a student in the College of Business; she is reading The Hunger Games.


Professional: When to capitalize: Capitalize professional titles only when they precede proper names, e.g., Principal John Smith. Otherwise, lowercase titles. E.g.: Jane Brown, president of the company. Do not capitalize titles that stand alone without the person’s name. (AP Style)



Capitalize “University”  when it refers to Delaware State University, e.g., the University, University housing, University policy, University calendar, University students. Lowercase it as a common noun when referring to other universities, colleges etc. (DSU style)



  • email is one word, no hyphen
  • online is one word, no hyphen
  • website is one word
  • internet is lowercase