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Try to minimise the use of capital letters. Titles work best for readability and online accessibility when they are in sentence case with no full stop at the end. For example:

Ways to find accommodation

University job titles have initial caps only when the title is next to the name, in whatever order. Thus:

  • The School Secretary, Harold Thomas, said...
  • Student Union President Jane Tucker

Any post mentioned without reference to the post-holder should be in lower case, for example, the dean will be out of the country for several days. It should be Dr with no full stop and Professor written in full, never abbreviated – there are a few titles that’re always capped up, whether you name the person or not, for example, the Queen, the Pope, or the Archbishop of XX, but these are clearly not university titles.

For place names, use upper case for recognised regions, and for vaguer political or geographical areas. For example, the Middle East, Western Europe. Otherwise use lower case, for example, south-west France, east Lancashire, south Wales.

For Latin names of plants, animals, etc, use italics and cap the first word only, for example Corvus corone.

Colleagues should be referred to as such, don’t use staff. Job titles should be capitalised.

Also, see capitals above for how we write about our colleagues’ job titles.

These have crept into the language from corporate-speak – they’re designed to make fairly mundane messages seem more dynamic. However, they’ve been around long enough that your users recognise them for what they – don’t use them as they damage both trust and credibility within your readers:

 Don't say...  Say this instead...
 Action – as in we will action  Do
 Utilise Use
Assist Help
Prior Before
Prestigious particularly in the context of a prestigious award
 Only use if the award is genuinely of particular merit

A contraction is a word or phrase that’s been shortened by replacing one or more letters with an apostrophe. They’re commonly used in speech and when we read – the voice in your head naturally contracts what you’re reading.

So, while they’re viewed as being informal, for web copy, we always use contractions – such as don’t (instead of do not), isn’t (instead of is not), and can’t (instead of cannot).

Course titles

Quote the course title in full, for example MSc Landscape Architecture, or BSc (Hons) Architecture. When referring to an area or sector, lower case should be used, for example, studying a course in the area of landscape architecture.

Acronyms should initially be written in full, with the acronym only following in brackets if it is to be repeated later in the text. For example, The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Job titles

University job titles have initial caps only when the title is next to the name, in whatever order. Thus:

  • The School Secretary, Harold Hardy, said...
  • Student Union President Jane Tucker

Any post mentioned without reference to the post-holder should be in lower case, for example, the dean will be out of the country for several days.

Use academic titles whenever appropriate, remembering that it should be Dr with no full stop and Professor written in full, never abbreviated. Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor are not hyphenated.

Initial use of names for academic staff should include title, first and last names: Professor Jackie Bloggs, Dr Fiona Rabbit. Future uses should be Dr Rabbit or Professor Bloggs.

The exception to this is for internal feature pieces where first name use may be more appropriate.

Qualifications

Use Masters not masters, Master’s or Masters’ and PhD not phd or PHD.

When referring to A levels, please use this format, which is consistent with UCAS – no hyphen and capital A and lower-case l.