View Table of Contents »


See Fellowships, Scholarships section.


See Departments, Offices, Programs, Schools section.

See Appendix 3 for official school names.


See University Seal/Signature section.


Do not capitalize fall, winter, spring, or summer. (See Capitalization section.)


  1. Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for).
    • I know how to bake a cake; my mother would never attempt it.
  2. Semicolons are used in place of commas to separate phrases in a series when the phrases themselves contain commas.
    • He went to several factories, buildings, and institutions; walked several miles, visiting friends; and then returned home to eat, rest, and relax.
  3. A semicolon is placed outside quotation marks and parentheses.
    • I read the article “Children Today”; John Smith wrote it.
    • There were three dogs in the park (two golden retrievers and one collie); all of them were on leashes.


Capitalize principal words of (and do not put in quotation marks or italicize) the titles of lecture series or conferences. Titles of individual speeches or lectures in a series should be capitalized and placed within quotation marks.

  • Mina Smith gave the lecture “Women in the Arts” at the annual Arts and Writing Lecture Series.
  • The School of Education will host the 2015 Principals’ Conference on Psychology in Education.


Within text, lowercase the words social security number but capitalize Social Security Administration.

  • Be sure to include the student’s social security number.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration for more information.


(See Titles (Other) section.)


Double spacing after a period dates back to the days of typewriters. Today, computers adjust for proper spacing.

  1. Therefore, in copy, use a single space after the period at the end of a sentence as well as a single space after colons and semicolons.
  2. For abbreviations in names, use periods with no spaces between initials.
    • R.K. Mellon


Generally, use lowercase letters for freshman orientation, commencement, homecoming, and the like. Capitalize the names of those events when they immediately follow the words University of Pittsburgh or when they follow or precede a year. Engineers’ Week, Greek Week, and the like are capitalized. Always use lowercase letters when making a general reference.

  • Students should arrive at commencement an hour before the start of the program.
  • The University of Pittsburgh Commencement Convocation was enjoyable.
  • Greek organizations have committed to planning special events for homecoming.
  • She outlined activities for Homecoming 2015.
  • Many universities plan to hold honors convocations.


See Addresses section.


  1. Lowercase terms designating academic years.
    • freshman, first-year student, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate student
  2. Use the names of racial, linguistic, religious, and other groups. Ethnicity and race should be mentioned only when they are pertinent and their pertinence is clear to the reader.
    • Caucasian, French, Hispanic, Catholic, African American, Black, White
      (Note: African American is not hyphenated. Use Black and African American interchangeably.)
    • The group was made up of both White and Black students.
  3. Use the word Greek(s) when referencing Pitt’s fraternities/sororities.
    • At Pitt, many students pledge Greek organizations.
  4. When discussing years of graduation within text, use only the last two numerals of the year if the graduation year was in the last 100 years. Use all four numerals if there could be confusion between the 20th and 21st centuries.
    • John Meadows graduated from Pitt in 1994.
    • Pam Schmidt (’02) is the most recent member of her family to graduate from Pitt.
    • The first in her family to graduate from Pitt was her great-great-aunt Selma Johnson (1901).
  5. Punctuate year of graduation with an apostrophe before the year. Set off graduation information within text in parentheses, not commas. A G after a year indicates a graduate degree. If a school or college grants only graduate degrees (e.g., School of Medicine, School of Law), the G is redundant and should not be used. (See Appendix 3 for proper school/campus abbreviations.)
    • Within copy: Elizabeth Mary Baker (SOC WK ’65, ’68G) and John Schmidt (ENGR ’82, ’85G) wrote notes to the editor.
    • In a donor list: Elizabeth Mary Baker, ’65, ’68G or Elizabeth Mary Baker, SOC WK ’65, ’68G; John Schmidt, ENGR ’82, ’85G

    If a student received more than one degree from the same school in the same year, the year needs to be noted only once. So, if Jane Doe received bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and religious studies from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in 2004, her name would appear as follows:

    • Jane Doe (A&S ’04) or Jane Doe, A&S ’04

    An honorary degree from the University of Pittsburgh should be noted with an H following the year.

    • Judith Rodin (’06H) was the speaker at the 2006 Commencement Convocation.

    In lists using G and H references, a key explaining these notations should be included (i.e., G = graduate degree, H = honorary degree).

  6. Capitalize the word class when it is used with a year. Otherwise, it is lowercased.
    • He graduated as a member of the Class of 1970.
    • He was treasurer of the class for several years.
  7. Lowercase designations of officers of a class, social organization, etc., except in front of a person’s name.
    • She was treasurer of the Student Alumni Council.
    • He was elected junior class president.
    • Student Alumni Council Treasurer Ann Jones also was present.