Editorial Style Guide

This Editorial Style Guide was created to provide guidance when writing for and about Dominican University of California and to help create brand consistency by standardizing the use of frequently used terms, punctuation and style. 

For consistency in University publications, we follow the Associated Press Stylebook and spelling as found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. When our preferences depart from standard approaches, this manual should serve as your guide.

This document is organized in alphabetical order and will evolve and expand.

If you have questions or you would like to suggest an addition to the manual, please email the Marketing Department at marketing@dominican.edu.

Do not use periods in abbreviations or acronyms: PhD, BA, ILS, MBA, CDC, HNS.

Exception: Order of the Preachers, O.P.  (use periods)

Commonly used abbreviations at Dominican:

  • ADC: Adult Degree Completion Program
  • ASDU: Associated Students of Dominican University of California
  • ILS: Institute of Leadership Studies
  • NORS-DUC: National Ornamentals Research Site at Dominican University of California
  • OLLI: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • WLPC: Women’s Leadership & Philanthropy Council
  • S-L: Service-Learning Program (always separate with a dash)

Abbreviations should only be used as a second reference and avoided in headlines.

AP Stylebook finds it awkward to follow an organization’s full name with an acronym in parentheses for common acronyms in journalistic writing. However, this is standard practice for Dominican acronyms in Dominican publications. Indicating the abbreviation to be used in subsequent references helps the reader especially when the second reference to the name is separated from the initial mention. 

  • Example: The Associated Students of Dominican University of California (ASDU) will meet every Friday for one hour. Dean of Students John Smith is working with the ASDU to plan a campus-wide event. 

It is important to understand the concept of accessibility when writing or developing any content that will be shared online. Keeping in mind all kinds of users, people that might be visually or hearing impaired, older populations, etc. will ensure your content is accessible and does not discriminate against others.

Learn more about accessibility.

An acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words. Acronyms should only be used as a second reference or if the acronym has a very clear meaning. Avoid acronyms in headlines. 

Acronyms at Dominican

  • ADC: Adult Degree Completion Program
  • LAE: School of Liberal Arts and Education
  • BSB: Barowsky School of Business
  • HNS: School of Health and Natural Sciences
  • ILS: Institute for Leadership Studies
  • NORS-DUC: National Ornamentals Research Site
  • OLLI: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Miscellaneous Terms

  • O.P.  Order of Preachers (use periods)

Student Organizations

  • ASDU: Associated Students of  Dominican University of California


  • He is a student at the Barowsky School of Business (BSB). BSB offers lots of amazing learning opportunities. (note: we do not say "The BSB...")
  • The Institute of Leadership Studies (ILS) will be holding a series of lectures starting next month. ILS offers many leadership programs and opportunities for Dominican students.

Use “Hall” with the following buildings: 

  • Bertrand Hall
  • Fanjeaux Hall
  • Guzman Hall
  • Angelico Hall
  • Pennafort Hall
  • Ralph Minor Hall
  • Martin de Porres Hall

Use the following for the remaining buildings:

  • Magnolia House
  • Edgehill Mansion
  • Brown House
  • Science Center
  • Conlan Center
  • Archbishop Alemany Library
  • Carriage House
  • Barowsky House
  • Creekside Room 

Correct: Dominican University of California’s Office of Admissions is located in Magnolia House. Also: admissions counselor, admissions representative, admissions staff member (plural, not singular)

Note: admission letter

The preferred spelling in American English is adviser, as opposed to the British advisor.

Do not use an ampersand in place of the word “and”, except when you are using the symbol to conserve space or as a design element. 

At Dominican, use chair in all cases to denote an individual of either gender.

Do not capitalize.

  • School of Liberal Arts and Education, or LAE abbreviated
  • School of Health and Natural Sciences, or HNS abbreviated
  • Barowsky School of Business, or BSB abbreviated. 
  • Make School, not abbreviated


-Official name
The University’s official name is Dominican University of California. Upon the first reference in the body of a story, news release or letter, use Dominican University of California. Thereafter, you may refer to the University as Dominican or Dominican University.

-Referencing Dominican University of California
When referring to Dominican University of California, always capitalize University. This rule also applies when using the University in place of the full name: The University is located in San Rafael.

-Our name abbreviated
Abbreviate as DU of C (which we don’t use often) in formal writing, news stories, press releases. 

-In social media
It is acceptable to abbreviate our name as DU, DUC, du, or duc. Example: #thisisduc

-In publication and Broadcast
Keep the name in one line: Dominican University of California


hyphen: Use hyphens as joiners, such as for compound modifiers.

  • small-business owner

en dash: Used for ranges, such as Jan. 1–4

em dash: 

  • Used to signal abrupt change. Put a space on both sides of an em dash in all uses.
  • Use an em dash before an author's or composer's name at the end of a quotation: "Who steals my purse steals trash." — Shakespeare.

Use to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity, or other strong emotion, but please avoid overuse. 


Avoid the use of freshman and other discriminatory language. In reference to students, do not capitalize first-year, sophomore, junior or senior, unless these words appear at the beginning of a sentence or in a headline.


  • All first-year students attended orientation on August 21.

In headlines or photo captions, capitalize all words with four or more letters. Photo captions should be written as a complete sentence with end punctuation.

One word. 


  • Dominican offers a graduate business degree focused on building leadership skills in the healthcare industry.

When referring to undergraduate and graduate information sessions, use information unless there are space limitations. Then, the use of Info Session is accepted.

Do not capitalize.

Use bullets to introduce individual sections of a list. Put a space between the bullet and the first word of each item in the list. The first letter of each item on the list should be capitalized. Add end punctuation on list items if they are a complete sentence. No punctuation is used on phrases.  


The application requirements are:

  • Apply online at dominican.edu/apply.
  • Official transcripts must be mailed from the institution.
  • Scanned or emailed transcripts are not acceptable.
  • Personal essay of 500 words
  • Letter of Recommendation


InDesign Software offers several tools in its basic palette:

–selection tool.

–pen tool.

Numbered lists

Numbered lists follow the same rules as the bulleted lists mentioned above. The first letter of each item on the list should be capitalized. You should only use end punctuation on list items if the item is a complete sentence. No punctuation is used on shorter phrases.

The application requirements are:

  1. Apply online at dominican.edu/apply.
  2. Official transcripts must be mailed from the institution. Scanned or emailed transcripts are not acceptable.
  3. A personal essay of 500 words
  4. Letter of Recommendation
  • Acceptable first reference: President Mary B. Marcy
  • Acceptable second reference: President Marcy
  • Not acceptable: President Mary Marcy, Dr. Marcy or Mary B. Marcy 
  • Note: DPhil, not PhD

Abbreviate NDNU.

It is permissible to use 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. when referring to class reunions.

Do not capitalize.

Kate was one of 28 peer mentors in the room.

Peer mentors help incoming students at Dominican.

No hyphen in postdoctoral and postsecondary. Hyphenate post-baccalaureate.

Abbreviate Post-Bac Premedical or Post-Bac Premed

adj. short for premedical —n. a premedical student or program of studies

Do not capitalize seasons, semesters, and terms unless they are part of a formal name.


  • spring semester (informal)
  • Fall 2013 (formal)
  • Fall Semester 2014 (formal season)


Always include the area code with a telephone number, even if local, separating the area code with parentheses:

(415) 476-2577

For numbers with toll-free area codes (800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844), it is not necessary to use the term “toll free” or to include the prefix “1-” before the number. 

Exception: On the Dominican website we include a +1 before the area code without a space before the opening parenthesis on the website:

+1(877) 838-2778


Capitalize when referring specifically to Dominican University of California.


  • Dominican's president announced that a grant of $1 million dollars had been awarded to the University. 
  • Marla transferred from a foreign university.


Do not use brackets [ ] or parentheses ( ) around a Web address.

If an address breaks between lines, you must split it directly before a slash or a dot that is part of the address, without inserting a hyphen.


  • Read more about this topic at dominican.edu.

Dominican has chosen to include a period at the end of sentences ending with a URL. In an email message or marketing collateral, it is best to introduce the web address with a colon and put the URL on a line by itself. In this use, no period is necessary. This latter rule applies to pieces that list URLs on their own lines as well.


  • For more information, visit dominican.edu.
  • For information on the cost of tuition as well as additional instructions for applying for financial aid, visit: dominican.edu.

When writing a url in a sentence, it is not necessary to include “http://” or “www.” 


  • He found the admissions information at dominican.edu/admissions.

Do not split urls into two lines of text.