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A to Z Style Guide

Global Marketing and Communications’ publications editors created this guide to answer Northwestern-related style questions as a supplement to our two primary reference books: the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Click on an alphabetized link or search for a term. For questions not addressed here, please consult the Chicago Manual of Style.


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  • Acceptable if part of formal name (Morgan Stanley & Co.).
  • Avoid in running text (Professor Smith, not Prof. Smith).
  • With place names, abbreviate St. (St. Louis) but spell out Fort (Fort Lauderdale) and Mount (Mount Prospect).
  • US is acceptable as an adjective. As of the 17th edition, the Chicago Manual of Style allows US (for United States) as a noun, provided the meaning is clear from context. 


  • Acceptable on second and subsequent references if given in parentheses after a first spelled-out use. 
  • The acronym in parentheses may be omitted if the second reference occurs in the same paragraph or soon after the spelled-out name.
  • Acceptable without first spelling out if initials are widely recognized (e.g., CEO, SAT, NCAA, AIDS, HMO, NASA, FBI).
  • Do not put in parentheses after a first spelled-out use if the organization is never mentioned again.


  • Use plus-4 zip code when possible.
  • In running text, spell out North, South, East, West before the street name; Street, Avenue, Road, Drive, Boulevard, and the like. 
  • State names should be spelled out in running text but may be shown as postal abbreviations in bibliographies, lists, and mailing addresses.
  • Use official names of offices (Office of the Provost, not Provost’s Office).
  • Northwestern addresses generally follow this order:
    Northwestern University
    name of department/school
    building name, room number
    street address
    Evanston, Illinois 60208-xxxx

Admission (Office of Undergraduate)

  • Note that there isn’t an s at the end of Admission.


  • Preferred spelling has er.

African American, Asian American

  • Do not hyphenate.


  • In alumni newsletters, and often in other publications, it is desirable to note that a person attended Northwestern, and we sometimes even grant alumni status to people who didn’t leave here with a degree. Alumni are so noted by listing the school or major and the year of graduation in parentheses after the name.
  • A particular school may designate majors with its preferred abbreviations, following a consistent format in its publications.
  • Graduates of the year 2000 are designated with 00. If needed to prevent confusion, use full years when denoting alumni from earlier centuries.


  • Use only when it is part of a company or an organization’s formal name. Do not use in text to replace and.


  • Do not use to form plurals (it should be 1940s, not 1940’s) unless it would be confusing without (thus A’s and B’s, not As and Bs; p’s, not ps).
  • Possessives of singular nouns ending in s are formed by adding ’s (e.g., Russ’s dog).
  • Some grammarians say that plural nouns modifying other nouns do not need an apostrophe if they are used in an attributive rather than a possessive sense (e.g., Parents Weekend is a weekend for parents, not a weekend possessed by parents). If you want to be safe, however, use the apostrophe, unless it is not used in a formal name (e.g., Department of Veterans Affairs). 
  • Follow the most prevalent online usage for holidays (e.g., Presidents' Day, Veterans Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day). 

Arch (Weber Arch)

  • The arch at the entrance to campus is named the Weber Arch in honor of the former president.


bias-free language

  • Use first-year students instead of freshmen (unless it appears in a quoation).
  • International students is preferred over foreign students.
  • Juniors and seniors is preferred over upperclass students.
  • See also “nonsexist language.”

Bienen School of Music

  • The full name, Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, should be used on the cover and in first references in nonpromotional, formal publications (e.g., Convocation program, graduate handbook).
  • Bienen School of Music may be used on the cover and in first references in promotional publications (e.g., recruitment brochures, Pick-Staiger marketing pieces).
  • Bienen School or the music school may be used in second references.
  • In cases where the school is listed with other Northwestern schools, be consistent. If the others are Weinberg, Medill, Feinberg, McCormick, use Bienen.

Big Ten

  • Ten is spelled out.

Board of Trustees

  • Capitalize when referring to Northwestern’s.

buildings and spaces on campus

  • Do not use SPAC. It should be Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center in first reference and the sports pavilion or the aquatics center in subsequent references.
  • Capitalize North Quads, South Quads; University Library’s towers (North Tower, East Tower, South Tower); Deering Meadow.
  • Do not capitalize campus in reference to Northwestern’s campuses (Evanston campus, Chicago campus, Qatar campus).
  • If a building appears in the campus maps section of the University website ( with only a surname, or if the building is commonly known by the surname only, it may be acceptable to omit the first name of the person for whom it was named (Deering Library, Welsh-Ryan Arena).
  • Do not confuse buildings with similar names—Annie May Swift Hall and Swift Hall; Arthur Andersen Hall and Harold Anderson Hall; Owen L. Coon Forum and Byron S. Coon Sports Center; Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Rebecca Crown Center; Norris Aquatics Center and Norris University Center; Frances Searle Building and Searle Hall.
  • For full, formal names of buildings and spaces, consult the campus map (


campuses: Chicago campus, Evanston campus, Qatar campus

  • Northwestern has three campuses. Satellite locations, such as in San Francisco, are not campuses.
  • Do not capitalize campus.


  • As a rule, official names are capitalized (Department of Chemistry) and unofficial names are not (chemistry department).
  • Capitalize geographical areas and localities (the Midwest, the South Side of Chicago, New York City), government bodies (the US Congress, the Evanston City Council), historical periods (the Depression, the Enlightenment), names referring to the Deity (God, Jehovah), sacred books (the Bible, the Quran), words denoting family relationships used in place of a person’s name (Grandmother Jones), registered trademarks (Xerox).
  • Lowercase job titles (the chief executive officer, the sales manager); departments or offices that are not the official name (the alumni office); nouns used with numbers to designate chapters, rooms, pages, etc. (chapter 1, room 234, page 1,986); derivative adjectives (french fries); simple directions (the west coast of Michigan).
  • See also “the Arch,” “Board of Trustees,” “buildings and spaces on campus,” “campuses,” “Commencement,” “conferences,” “course titles,” “degrees,” “departments and programs,” “endowed professorships,” “fellowships and other awards,” “forms,” “lists,” “offices,” “prepositions in headlines,” “quarter,” “the Rock,” “schools,” “second references,” “Summer Session,” “the in names,” “titles,” “the University,” “the web.”
  • See “headlines” for capitalization in headlines.


  • Use a caption if there’s a person, place, or situation that the reader is likely to want to identify.
  • Use (left), (from left), or the like if there might be confusion about who’s who in a photo.
  • Captions should be placed to clearly and visibly associate them with their images.
  • When captions are grouped instead of appearing by their respective images, start with clockwise from top, from left, or the like, or use top left, bottom, or the like for each image.
  • Do not use a middle initial if the full name with initial is already in the story.
  • Do not use periods in captions that are not sentences, except to be consistent with other captions in the same spread or publication.
  • Do not include the obvious (e.g., The group is standing by the copy machine).

centers, research


  • Use instead of chairman (chair of the English department). An exception may be made for chairman of the board, although board chair is preferable.


  • Treat all citations within a publication consistently.


  • Major US cities do not need state identifiers in running text, with the exception of cities of the same name in different states (e.g, Portland, Kansas City). See “states” for a partial list.
  • Foreign cities commonly associated with a country do not need a country identification (e.g., London, Bangkok, Tokyo, Toronto).

comma (serial)

  • Use a comma before and or or in a series (red, white, and blue—not red, white and blue).


  • Capitalize if Northwestern’s.


  • Capitalize formal names (the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty).

contact information

  • To avoid dating a publication, use a job title rather than a name in contact information (PAS department assistant, not John Doe) unless there’s a compelling reason for using a name.


  • Use the name used by the company, including abbreviations and ampersands. However, Inc. or Ltd. usually may be dropped, and the should not be capitalized. 
  • Abbreviations are acceptable (Co., Corp., etc.) in notes, bibliographies, and lists.
  • Do not use all caps unless the letters are individually pronounced (USX).

course titles

  • Capitalize.
  • Do not put in quotation marks.

courtesy titles

  • After a first reference, subsequent references generally use only a person’s last name, except in obituaries. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Rev., Dean, and Professor should not be used in second references except in quoted material. An exception may be made for donors at the request of a development officer or in programs honoring the person.
  • See “degrees (academic)” and “Dr.” for discussion of Dr.



  • Use en dashes to denote a range (pages 40–48) and to join adjectives when one of the adjectives is already a compound (New York–Boston route).
  • Em dashes may be used for material that amplifies, explains, or digresses, but avoid using them when commas would serve the purpose just as well.
  • Hyphens, not en dashes, should be used in sports scores.


  • Use an en dash to show a range of dates and do not repeat 20 (2012–13, not 2012–2013). However, to, not a dash, should be used when from introduces a range of dates (from 2012 to 2013, not from 2012–13).
  • If the day of the month appears, use a comma before and after the year (by the January 15, 2013, deadline). Do not use a comma between the month and the year without a date (by the January 2013 deadline).
  • Use the year with the month only if it’s not the current year.
  • Do not use st, nd, rd, th, even if dates are adjectives (March 1 event, not March 1st event).
  • Times come before days and dates (at 4 p.m. Friday; at 9 a.m. Monday, June 7).
  • Months are not abbreviated.
  • Use numerals for decades (1960s or the ’60s).

degrees (academic)

  • Do not use periods in PhD, BS, MBA, etc.
  • Do not capitalize bachelor of science, master of arts, etc. Likewise, do not capitalize the field (bachelor of arts in philosophy) unless, of course, it is a proper noun (bachelor of arts in English).
  • For people with PhDs, do not use PhD after the name or Dr. before it in text. See further discussion under “Dr.”
  • Degrees generally are not given immediately after a name, with the occasional exception of lists. Then, the highest degree earned is usually given. In the Feinberg School, where faculty may have an MD, a PhD, or both, include both MD and PhD if applicable.
  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.

departments and programs

  • Full formal names of Northwestern departments and programs are capitalized (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Program in Biological Sciences), but shortened second mentions are lowercased (the materials science and engineering department, the biological sciences program).
  • Departments and programs of other universities and colleges may be lowercased.


  • People with disabilities, not the disabled or disabled people.
  • Avoid words like victim, afflicted, and stricken.
  • Do not use normal to mean the opposite of having a disability.


  • Most style guides reserve Dr. for medical doctors and dentists, not PhDs. To avoid offending people with PhDs, try to avoid using Dr. for MDs and DDSs. A way to do so is to identify a specialty after the name or use some other language that implies a medical degree (John Smith, an orthodontist; Mary Brown, a professor of pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine).



  • Use three dots with spaces around each ( . . . ), but close up the space between an ellipses point and a quotation mark (“. . . ).
  • If a sentence ends with ellipses, use a period as well (. . . .).
  • Take care not to overuse ellipses; for instance, are they really needed at the end of a quotation?


  • Do not hyphenate email; lowercase it except at the start of a sentence.
  • An email address that does not fit on one line should be broken before an at sign or a period. Do not introduce hyphenation when breaking it.

emeritus, emerita

  • Follows professor (professor emeritus, not emeritus professor).
  • Use emerita for a woman.
  • Use emeriti for the plural.

endowed professorships

  • Capitalize whether before or after the name.
  • If in doubt about the correct title, contact the provost’s office.



  • May be singular or plural, depending on the context, but be consistent within a context.
  • The website Northwestern Scholars ( is a searchable database of profiles, publications, and grant data of Northwestern faculty members and researchers.


  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is the name of the medical school.
  • On second reference, use Feinberg or the medical school.
  • Northwestern Medicine is the registered trademark of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.
  • Avoid using Dr. before a name; see “Dr.” above for elaboration.

fellowships and other awards

  • The formal name is capitalized (Fulbright Fellowship), but informal references (Fulbright grant) are not.
  • Lowercase the s in National Merit scholarships and National Merit scholars.

foreign words

  • Italicize unless the word has been Americanized or is commonly used (e.g., cum laude).


  • Capitalize formal name (Application for Admission to Candidacy for the PhD Degree) but do not use quotation marks or italics.


  • Write out and hyphenate (two-thirds, three-fifths) in running text.
  • A fraction and a whole number appear as numerals with no space between them (3½).

freshman, freshmen

  • Use first-year instead. 


grades, grade point average

  • Do not put in quotation marks.
  • Use an apostrophe for plurals (A’s, B’s).
  • Depending on the publication, it may be acceptable to abbreviate GPA in first reference.

gender-neutral language

  • Use whenever possible (chair, chairperson, police officer, etc.).
  • Although chairman of the board may be used, board chair is preferable.
  • It can be helpful to recast in the plural to avoid gendered singular pronouns.



  • The use of downstyle or upstyle headlines is generally determined by the formality of the publication and the design, but once a style is chosen, it should be followed consistently within a publication. In downstyle headlines, the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. In upstyle headlines, every word is capitalized except articles (a, an, the), coordinate conjunctions (and, or, for, nor), prepositions, and to in infinitives.

Health Service

  • Note Service is singular.


  • Latina/Latino is considered more politically correct, but Hispanic is acceptable. Use the preference of the client. Do not use Hispanic as a synonym for Latina/Latino.


  • In general, do not hyphenate words beginning with the prefixes co, non, pre, post, or re unless there is a possibility of confusion (co-op, post-master’s) or the root word begins with a capital letter (post-Renaissance).
  • Hyphenate words beginning with the prefix self.
  • Hyphenate an adjective-noun modifier if there is a possibility of confusion (senior-class speaker). It is not necessary to hyphenate when the pair is familiar (high school student).
  • Hyphenate compounds used as adjectives (decision-making) but not as nouns (decision maker).
  • Do not hyphenate a modifier that comes after the noun unless Merriam Webster’s hyphenates it. (He is writer in residence. They live off campus.) An exception is part-time, which is always hyphenated.
  • Do not hyphenate compounds with vice (vice chair, vice president).
  • When more than one prefix is joined to a base word, hyphenate the prefixes standing alone (micro- and macroeconomics).
  • Hyphenate University-wide but not campuswide.
  • Do not hyphenate African American, Asian American, cellphone, coursework, daycare, daylong, email, freelance, fundraising, healthcare, goodbye, startup, weeklong, yearlong.
  • An en dash, not a hyphen, should be used with a range of dates (1967–69) or times (5–7 p.m.) or to join adjectives where one of them is already a compound (post–Civil War).
  • Do not introduce hyphenation if it is necessary to break email addresses and URLs that do not fit on one line. (See “email,” “the web and email.”)
  • For end-of-line hyphenation guidelines, see line breaks.



  • Use middle initials in formal publications, unless a person prefers otherwise.
  • Be consistent from person to person in use of the middle initial.
  • Two initials should be separated by a space (R. J. Nabisco).

international students

  • Preferred over foreign students.


  • Do not require end-of-line punctuation.
  • Numbers greater than 10 may be spelled out.
  • Street numbers may be spelled out.
  • :00 or o’clock may be used in time.
  • The year may be used.


  • See “forms,” “publications (in-house),” and “titles.”


Jr., Sr., III in names

  • Do not set off by commas.



  • J. L. Kellogg School of Management, not J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, in official documents.
    J. L. does not need to be used in marketing materials.
  • Kellogg School on second reference.



Latina, Latino, Latinx

  • Follow preference of client. Do not assume all readers are familiar with the term Latinx.

Law (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law)

  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the official name, so do not use Northwestern Law School. (Northwestern Pritzker Law is also acceptable.)
  • The law library is now the Pritzker Legal Research Center.

lecture titles

  • Put quotation marks around the formal title.


  • Northwestern University Libraries is the whole library system, encompassing the buildings, branches, services, and resources.
  • University Library is the main library building on the Evanston campus.

line breaks

  • Our in-house preferences for line breaks include not breaking a proper name, not breaking a hyphenated word except at the hyphen, not ending a column at a hyphen, leaving up and bringing down at least three characters of a hyphenated word, allowing only two consecutive lines to end in a hyphen, and not allowing a single partial word in the last line of a paragraph.
  • It is acceptable to break Northwestern, preferably between h and w.
  • It is acceptable to break names of schools that bear a person's name (e.g., McCormick, Feinberg, Weinberg) as long as the reference is to the school and not the person.
  • When a URL cannot fit on one line, the break should come before a period, single slash, or other punctuation mark. Similarly, the break should come before a period or @ when an email address cannot fit on one line. Hyphenation should not be introduced into a URL or email address.


  • Do not use a colon after a verb or a preposition introducing a list (including Ben, Julie, and Pete instead of including: Ben, Julie, and Pete) unless the introductory phrase contains some variation of the following or as follows.
  • Maintain parallel construction in listed items.
  • Avoid numbering unless there will be a reference to the numbers in later text.
  • If you must number a list in running text, place numbers (without periods) in parentheses.
  • In vertical lists, use a period after each item if one or more is a complete sentence. In that case, the first words should be capitalized. Otherwise, capitalization of the first words depends on the context.
  • Alphabetize or put listed items in some other logical order.



  • Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science in first mention; McCormick thereafter.
  • Do not refer to the school as Tech. Tech is the building—i.e., the Technological Institute.


  • Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications (no and) in first mention; Medill thereafter.


  • See Bienen School of Music. 



  • No comma before Jr. or Sr. or III.
  • Space between initials (J. P. Morgan).
  • A single initial should not be used in running text.

Native American

  • American Indian is generally preferred, but Native American may be used if the subject prefers it or if it’s in a formal name.


  • Do not use NU for Northwestern in any but very informal publications, Alumni Relations publications, and Athletics and Recreation publications.


  • One through nine spelled out; 10 and above in numerals, except that numbers of the same category should be treated alike within the same context.
  • First through ninth spelled out; thereafter, 10th, 11th, etc.
  • Use two letters in ordinals (22nd, not 22d; 23rd, not 23d).
  • Use numerals with percent (7 percent), dollar sign ($3), temperature (8 degrees), scores (7-3), page (page 2), room (room 9), and chapter (chapter 6).
  • Numbers beginning a sentence are always spelled out.
  • For figures greater than 999,999, use million or billion (2.3 million, 4 billion).
  • Use a comma in a figure greater than 1,000, unless it’s a date.
  • For inclusive numbers, the second number should be represented by only its final two digits if its beginning digit(s) are the same as the first number’s (pages 343–47).
  • A dash should not be used as a substitute for to in a range (from 1967 to 1983, not from 1967–83).



  • Capitalize when formal name (Office of the Provost); otherwise, lowercase (provost’s office).


postal regulations

  • Since postal regulations are complex and ever changing, it is advisable to check with Tom Luczkowiak in Mail Services (1-8411) about size and such before designing a printed piece.
  • Bulk mail (200 or more pieces of the same size and weight mailed together) requires an indicia in the upper-right corner.

    The following indicia may be used for items to be mailed from any post office where Northwestern has an established mail permit and has been approved as a nonprofit:

    Nonprofit Organization
    US Postage
    Northwestern University

    The following indicia may be used when the items will be mailed from Evanston:
    Nonprofit Organization
    US Postage
    Permit No. 205
    Evanston, IL 60201

    The following indicia may be used when the items will be mailed from Chicago:
    Nonprofit Organization
    US Postage
    Permit No. 2435
    Chicago, IL 60611
  • When using a mailing house, check with Tom Luczkowiak in Mail Services to ensure that the mailing house has permission to drop mail for Northwestern and to get instructions about reporting the mailing.
  • Check with Mail Services about other preparation requirements for bulk mail.
  • See also “business reply mail.”
  • See the website for more information.

prepositions in headlines

  • Always lowercase, unless the preposition is the first word.

Professional Studies (Northwestern University School of Professional Studies)

  • Official name is Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. Note that the isn't used before Northwestern.
  • Acronym SPS should be used on second references.


  • See “titles (people).”

programs, academic

  • Do not capitalize a reference to a curriculum or major (international studies, electrical engineering) or a generic reference to a field of study (law school).
  • Capitalize the formal name of the program when it is the equivalent of the formal name of a department (Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences Program).
  • Take care to find out the formal name; some begin rather than end with Program (Program in Biological Sciences, Program in Computer Science).

publications (in-house)

  • Italicize only official, published titles (Undergraduate Catalog 2013–14); otherwise, lowercase (the undergraduate catalog).


Qatar, Northwestern University in

  • Northwestern’s third campus, where classes began in fall 2008.
  • The official name is Northwestern University in Qatar.

quarter (fall, winter, spring)

  • Do not capitalize.

quotation marks and apostrophes

  • Smart (curly) quotation marks and smart (curly) apostrophes are typographically correct.
  • Straight quotes are used to designate inches, straight apostrophes to designate feet.


resident assistant, RA

  • Name for residence hall staff positions. Spell out in first reference.
  • No periods in RA. No apostrophe in the plural (RAs).


  • Reprinted matter with another publication’s credit is not edited to house style.


The Rock

  • Capitalize the R. Do not capitalize the T unless it begins a sentence.



Schools, Northwestern's

  • Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music in first mention in formal publications, Bienen School of Music in first mention in marketing or informal publications; Bienen School or the music school in subsequent references.
  • J. L. Kellogg School of Management in first mention in official documents, Kellogg School of Management in first mention in marketing publications; Kellogg School in subsequent references.
  • Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science in first mention; McCormick in subsequent references.
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in first mention; Feinberg or the medical school in subsequent references.
  • Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in first mention; Medill in subsequent references.
  • Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in first mention; Weinberg College or the College in subsequent references.
  • School of Education and Social Policy may be abbreviated SESP in second references.
  • “The” is not an official part of the Graduate School's name, but the abbreviation TGS is often used in marketing materials. Do not capitalize the in the middle of a sentence.
  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the official name, so do not use Northwestern Law School. Northwestern Law, the school’s “brand,” is acceptable but preferably not on first reference.
  • Dental School, not School of Dentistry, in reference to the school that closed in 2001; avoid using NUDS.
  • Northwestern University School of Professional Studies (formerly School of Continuing Studies, University College) may be abbreviated SPS in second references.
  • Schools of other universities and colleges may be lowercased.
  • For guidelines about designating alumni, see “alumni.”

second references

  • Capitalize the University in reference to Northwestern. Unless otherwise noted, do not capitalize the school or the college in second references to the individual schools.
  • Second and subsequent references to a person generally use only the last name, except in obituaries. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Rev., Dean, and Professor should not be used in second references except in quoted material. An exception may be made for donors when a development officer requests it and in programs honoring the person.


  • Do not use. The first reference should be Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center. Subsequent references should be the sports pavilion or the aquatics center.

statements to include in University publications

  • These statements normally appear in viewbooks, applications, and other long recruitment documents produced by Global Marketing and Communications:

    [publications code]
    © year Northwestern University. All rights reserved.
    Produced by Global Marketing and Communications.
    month-year/quantity/initials of editor-initials of designer/job number

    Northwestern University reserves the right to change without notice any statement in this publication concerning, but not limited to, rules, policies, tuition, fees, curricula, and courses.

    [the long nondiscrimination statement]

    Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates. Harassment, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics is a form of discrimination. 

    Northwestern University complies with federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on the protected categories listed above, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex (including sexual misconduct) in the University’s educational programs and activities. In addition, Northwestern provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants, students, and employees with disabilities and to individuals who are pregnant.

    Any alleged violations of this policy or questions with respect to nondiscrimination or reasonable accommodations should be directed to Northwestern’s Director of Equal Opportunity and Access and Section 504 Coordinator, 720 University Place, Evanston, Illinois 60208, 847-467-6165, Any alleged violations of this policy or questions with respect to sexual misconduct or sexual harassment should be directed to Northwestern’s Title IX Coordinator, 633 Clark Street, Room 2-636, Evanston, Illinois 60608, 847-491-3745, A person may also file a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting or calling 800-421-3481.

  • In shorter recruitment publications such as brochures and posters, the short nondiscrimination statement may be substituted for the long one:
    Northwestern University is committed to providing a safe environment free from discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation. To view Northwestern’s complete nondiscrimination statement, see, and for crime and safety data, see
  • The disclaimer is needed only on publications that can be construed as a contract between the University and the recipients.
  • The statements other than the publications codes need not appear on newsletters. They also may be omitted from stationery and letterheads and other publications on which they would detract greatly from the appearance.


  • States should not be abbreviated. Exceptions may be made when states appear with city names in class notes, tabular material, and mailing addresses (use postal codes then).
  • Not required for Evanston and major cities widely associated with a state. These include Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Tucson. If there is a major city of the same name in another state, however, include the state name.
  • Use with smaller and lesser-known cities.
  • Use commas before and after state names when they appear with cities (Wilmette, Illinois, is north of Evanston—not Wilmette, Illinois is north of Evanston).
  • If a high school bears the name of its city, insert the state in parentheses: Downers Grove (Illinois) High School.
  • A similar rule applies to newspapers, but italicize the state within an italicized newspaper name: Aurora (Illinois) Beacon News.

Summer Session

  • Capitalize when it’s Northwestern’s (but summer school).


  • In running text, spell out the words percent, degrees (temperature), feet, inches, and cents. In tables, it is acceptable to use symbols for these (%, ?, ', ", ?).
  • Amounts greater than 99 cents should be in numerals with a dollar sign ($4).



  • In informal usage, acceptable in reference to the building after a first reference to the Technological Institute.
  • Should not be used as a substitute for the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

telephone numbers

  • In running text, use a hyphen between area code and number.
  • An exception may be made for phone numbers in business cards, stationery, and the like.


  • Other than in School of Communication publications, always er except when referring to the formal name of a department (Department of Theatre), program (Music Theatre Program), or building that uses the re spelling (Theatre and Interpretation Center).
  • In School of Communication publications, always re except when referring to the formal name of a facility or organization that uses the er spelling.
  • It’s the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, but the spaces within it are Mussetter-Struble Theater, Barber Theater, Louis Theater, and Wallis Theater.

the in names

  • Lowercase, no matter how the corporation, organization, or publication spells it.
  • The at the start of titles of creative works is generally capitalized (The Canterbury Tales).
  • Should not be used before University Library, Summer Session, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Northwestern University School of Communication, Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.
  • Do not use before named professorships because in some cases (i.e., Walter P. Murphy Professor, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence), there is more than one person with the same title.


  • Do not use :00 with a time unless it’s a very formal publication in which it would be appropriate—for instance, invitations.
  • Lowercase a.m. and p.m.
  • It is sometimes permissible to remove the periods in a.m. and p.m. in tables and lists if space is tight, but use the periods in running text.
  • Noon, not 12 p.m. or 12 noon.
  • Do not use a dash in place of to in a range of times introduced by from (from 5 to 7 p.m., not from 5–7 p.m.).
  • Do not use o’clock unless it’s in quoted material or formal contexts such as invitations.

titles (dissertations, theses)

  • Capitalize and set in roman type and within quotation marks.

titles (legal citations)

  • Italicize and use v. for “versus” (Brown v. Board of Education).

titles (organizations, companies, institutions)

  • Names of associations, organizations, conferences, meetings, etc., follow the same guidelines as for compositions, except that the article the preceding a name is lowercased even when it is part of the formal title and the organization capitalizes it. Use the group’s punctuation and acronym for its name.
  • Use Co. when a business uses the word as part of its formal name. Inc., Corp., and Ltd. are usually not needed but when used after the name of a corporate entity should be abbreviated.
  • Such words as club, team, and conference are lowercased when used alone. The exception to this is University when referring to Northwestern. (New members of the John Evans Club attended the event. The club is a recognition society for donors to the University.) 

titles (people)

  • Uppercase preceding a name if it’s a title by which the person may be called (President Schill, Professor Smith, Dean Peterson), but lowercase a functional title (program director Jane Johnson; School of Communication dean E. Patrick Johnson). Plurals are lowercased (music professors Joan Stanwyck and Lana McBeal).
  • Capitalize endowed professorships whether before or after a name. Do not use the before endowed professorships, because in some cases (i.e., Walter P. Murphy Professor, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence) there is more than one person with the same title.

titles (publications and creative works)

  • Titles of books, periodicals (including online magazines), movies, television series, plays, works of art, musical compositions (except those with generic titles, e.g., Symphony no. 5 in C Minor), collections of poetry, and long poems published separately are italicized.
  • Titles of lectures, speeches, episodes of television and radio series, songs, poems, articles from newspapers and periodicals, chapters, short stories, essays, and individual parts of books are in roman type and within quotation marks.
  • Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinate conjunctions (and, or, for, nor), prepositions regardless of length, and to in infinitives. Capitalize everything else, including those parts of speech if they appear as the first or last word in a title (On the Waterfront).


universities (other)

  • Do not try to be consistent among schools in the use of in, of, dashes, or commas to indicate campus locations; check each school’s website for its official name.

University (referring to Northwestern)

  • Always capitalize when referring to Northwestern.

upperclass students

  • When appropriate, use juniors and seniors instead.


vice president and other vice words

  • Do not hyphenate.


The web and email

  • Do not hyphenate email; lowercase it except at the start of a sentence. Merriam-Webster’s  allows email to be used as a verb.
  • www. is not required in contexts where it is clear that it is a web address, but be consistent in using it or not within a publication.
  • Lowercase internet and web.
  • Use home page as two words but website as one word.
  • Use database as one word.
  • Italicize the titles of online publications (HotWired) and blogs.
  • If an address does not fit on one line, do not introduce hyphenation when breaking it. For instance, do not hyphenate northwestern in a web or an email address; readers might think the hyphen is part of the address. An unavoidable line break should come before a punctuation mark within a URL.

Weinberg College

  • First reference: the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Second and subsequent references: Weinberg College or the College. Do not use Weinberg except in the case below.
  • In cases where the school is listed with other Northwestern schools, be consistent. If the others are Bienen, Medill, Feinberg, McCormick, use Weinberg.


  • Care should be taken to avoid lines of less than full measure at the top of columns.
  • Hyphenation that results in an incomplete word in the last line of a paragraph should be avoided.


  • Close up.
  • Capitalize.



  • Lowercase x except in titles and upstyle headlines.
  • Hyphenate.


zip codes

  • See “addresses.”