Front Entrance of UofSC Aiken

Editorial Style

University Marketing and Communication

For matters not covered here, please consult The Chicago Manual of Style.


  • Use the University of South Carolina Aiken on first reference. After the first reference, other terms such as UofSC Aiken and the university may be used to improve readability.

  • In writing, the preferred shortened use is UofSC Aiken, NEVER USCA.

  • Lowercase the "t" when making formal reference to "the" University of South Carolina Aiken. When using the name as a stand-alone title or referring to the university in a tabular list or address, omit "the."

Institutions within the sytem

  • When referring to all eight institutions, the use of the term "system" is acceptable. The name University of South Carolina Aiken or the university shall refer to UofSC Aiken in publicaion and communication specific to our university.

  • Formal written reference to a campus should consist of University of South Carolina followed by a word space and the name of the individual campus (for example: University of South Carolina Aiken). UofSC may be used in place of University of South Carolina for a more informal reference (for example: UofSC Aiken). Do not use a hyphen, dash, or comma before the institution's name.

  • UofSC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate should be referred to as comprehensive or four-year universities.

  • Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union should be referred to as regional campuses. They should not be referred to as two-year or branch campuses.

  • When referring informally to any campus, do not capitalize the word campus. Examples: The Sumter campus will hold graduation ceremonies on May 7. Funds were sought for renovations on the UofSC Lancaster campus. 


  • The official names of departments when used in text: He enrolled in UofSC Aiken’s Department of Mathematical Sciences

  • All conferred and traditional, educational, occupational and business titles when used specifically in front of the name; do not capitalize these titles when they follow the name. Chancellor Sandra J. Jordan or Sandra J. Jordan, chancellor; Mick Fekula dean School of Business Administration, etc.  Note: In tabular matter and addresses, these titles may be capitalized regardless of location. Exception: When a word such as former is used in conjunction with a title and name, the title does not get capitalized, as it is considered part of a compound adjective (i.e. former president John M. Palms).

  • The words association, building, center, club, conference, department, division, hall, office, program, senate, street etc., when used as part of a title; thereafter, do not capitalize the words when used alone to refer to that specific place or group. the Faculty Senate; thereafter, the senate; the Department of History, thereafter, the department; the Audiovisual Center thereafter, the center; the Marine Science Program; thereafter, the program, etc.

  • The words offices, colleges and departments, when referring to more than one individual office, college, or department. Schools of Education and Nursing

  • Board of Trustees; thereafter, the trustees

  • A specific course or subject, e.g. ENGL 285 Themes in American Writing

  • Names of athletic clubs and teams, e.g. the Pacers

  • The word room when used to designate a particular room. Room 21 of Penland

  • Official college degrees when spelled out. Bachelor of Fine Arts, but bachelor's degree; Master of Philosophy, but master's degree

Do Not Capitalize

  • Words such as university, college, school, department, office, division, association and conference when they stand alone, even if they refer to a specific, previously identified entity.

  • Titles standing alone or in apposition. The dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences must approve all research papers. Contact the budget director for further information. Bob Jones, professor of English, will speak at the symposium.

  • Names of school or college studies, fields of study, options, curricula, major areas, or major subjects, except languages, unless a specific course is being referred to. He is studying philosophy and English. Each student must meet core requirements in biological sciences and liberal arts. The university offers a curriculum in textiles and clothing.

  • The unofficial or informal names of departments when used in text. He enrolled in the industrial process engineering department.

  • Organized groups or classes of students in a university or high school, or the words freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate. John Smith is a junior in the College of Sciences and Engineering. The senior class will hold its annual election tomorrow. However, when referring to a class according to its year of graduation, capitalize Class. The program was made possible by a gift from the Class of 1988. The Class of 2004 initiated environmental awareness week.


  • When in doubt, spell the word out.


  • Complimentary titles, such as Mr., Mrs., and Dr., but do not use them in combination with any other title or with abbreviations indicating scholastic or academic degrees. These and similar titles are typically not used in running text after first reference. Paul Huston, PhD, not Dr. Paul Huston, PhD, Carol Green, MD, or Roger White, DVM, not Dr. Carol Green, MD, or Mr. Roger White, DVM

  • The degrees Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, Associate in Science to BS, MS, MA, PhD, MD, BFA, BAIS, and AS, respectively. Except for PhD and similar compound abbreviations, all degree abbreviations should be without periods.

  • Use GPA in caps without periods. We do not use the term GPR.

  • When it is necessary to use a subject-matter designation and course number to identify a specific course, e.g., ENGL 101 Composition, use the official course code.

  • When names of universities, government agencies or other organizations are abbreviated as acronyms (first letter of each word), use full caps with no periods: USC (not U.S.C.), ROTC, MIT. Stick to well-known abbreviations and minimize use of acronyms to avoid creating an alphabet soup.


  • Alumnus is the singular reference for a male graduate; alumna, the singular reference for a female graduate; alumni, the plural reference to a mixed group of male and female graduates or male graduates only; alumnae, the plural reference for female graduates only.

  • catalog, not catalogue

  • chair is acceptable when referring to a faculty member who holds a chair professorship or is an endowed chair. Use chairman or chairwoman when referring to a faculty member who holds that position of leadership within an academic department.

  • credit-hour (adjective), credit hour (noun)

  • fundraising (noun), fundraising (adjective), fundraiser (noun)

  • grade point average, not grade-point average

  • online, not on-line

  • Statehouse when referring to the S.C. capitol

  • theater except when the official name of a building or department, when it should be capitalized.

  • Doctorate is a noun, and doctoral is an adjective

  • international students, not foreign students

  • PLEASE NOTE: Preferred terminology is "first-year student" to be more inclusive. 

    Freshman is the singular noun and is defined as a student in the first year of high school, college, or university.

    “My roommate this year is a freshman.”

    "When I was a USC Aiken freshman, …”

    When to Use Freshmen

    Freshmen is the plural form of freshman.

    “Jack and Jill are freshmen at USC Aiken.”

    “There were hundreds of new freshmen at the student orientation this weekend.”

    Freshman Class or Freshmen Class?

    "The freshman class has 1,600 students." (Correct)

    "The freshmen class has 1,600 students." (Wrong)

    The adjective freshman is always singular.

    "We had over 5,000 freshman applicants this year alone."  -not- "We had over 5,000 freshmen application this year alone."


  • For university bulletins and other lengthy university publications used for recruitment purposes (especially those containing curricula/course listings): The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The University of South Carolina has designated as the ADA Title II, Section 504, and Title IX coordinator the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs. The Office of the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs is located at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 805, Columbia, SC; telephone 803-777-3854.

  • For smaller recruitment booklets and brochures: The University of South Carolina Aiken does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

  • For general brochures, flyers, posters, and other short items: The University of South Carolina is an equal opportunity institution.

  • For official university stationery : An equal opportunity institution


  • When writing any span of time that mixes 20th and 21st-century dates, the full year must be given for both. 1998-2002, not 1998-02

  • When citing class designations, if classes from the 20th and 21st centuries are listed, the full year must be given for all classes mentioned. When the time capsule placed by the Class of 1955 is opened, members of the Class of 2005 will replace it with one of their own.

  • Do not attach the phrase "the year" to 2000 or beyond. Treat such references as any other year noted. The university celebrated its bicentennial in 2001.


When listing earned degrees with alumni names, the preferred order is: year, degree name (lowercase), discipline (if listed, lowercase). Do not place a comma between the year and degree name, but do place a comma between the degree name and discipline. Use of parentheses around degree information is optional.

Madison Dinkum, 1997 law
Madison Dinkum, 1995 master's
Madison Dinkum, 1993 BA, history
Madison Dinkum (1995 master's, history)
Madison Dinkum, '07