Editorial Style Guide

1.0 Stevens House Style

1.1 Stevens Style Exceptions to AP Style

Stevens style occasionally diverges from AP style. Here are some examples:

Stevens Style

AP Style




health care

more than 10,000 students

over 10,000 students

phone: 201.871.1000

phone: 201-871-1000

Stevens', campus'

Stevens's, campus's



When formatting titles of journals, works of art, etc:

Stevens Style

AP Style

The New York Times

no italics allowed

the journal Nature

no italics allowed

"War and Peace" or War and Peace

no italics allowed

When capitalizing headlines:

Stevens Style

AP Style

Stevens Wins New Grant

Stevens wins new grant

1.2 Academic Degrees

Follow the following guidelines when writing degree names and abbreviations:

If spelling the full degree, use lowercase, except for proper nouns.

  • A bachelor's degree in computer engineering and a master's degree in engineering management

Use lowercase for the field of study.

  • She is pursuing a B.S. in environmental engineering.

If using the abbreviation of degree type, use periods in all degrees except those with three capital letters. Do not place any spaces between the letters.

Formal Use [use capital letters]

General Use 1

Use 2


Bachelor of Engineering

bachelor's degree



Bachelor of Science

bachelor's degree



Master of Business Administration

master's degree



Master of Engineering

master's degree



Master of Science

master's degree



Master of Management Science

master's degree



Master's of Engineering, Honoris Causa

honorary master's


Hon. M.Eng.

Doctor of Science

doctoral degree



Doctor of Engineering, Honoris Causa

honorary doctorate


Hon. D.Eng.

Doctor of Philosophy

doctoral degree



Additionally, the following professional degrees of engineer are awarded by Stevens:

Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering Degree of Engineer


Biomedical Engineer

Chemical Engineering Degree of Engineer


Chemical Engineer

Civil Engineering Degree of Engineer


Civil Engineer

Computer Engineering Degree of Engineer


Computer Engineer

Computer Science Degree of Engineer


Computer Science Engineer

Electrical Engineering Degree of Engineer


Electrical Engineer

Mechanical Engineering Degree of Engineer


Mechanical Engineer

The word "degree" should not follow an abbreviation:

  • She has a B.A. in philosophy. (or) She has a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

In stories or releases concerning holders of multiple degrees, try to write around the issue of using too many initials and "alphabet soup" as often as possible:

  • Jones received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Stevens in 1988 before completing a master's in management in 1990.

When degree holders hold multiple Stevens degrees, list ALL degrees, from least to most advanced, with NO commas between:

  • Jane Jones '76 M.S. '80 Ph.D. '84

1.3 Acronyms and Abbreviations

Stevens has many acronyms that are used internally; however, these acronyms are unfamiliar to external audiences and should be avoided. A few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some circumstances (e.g., laser or sonar); others are acceptable depending on context (e.g., NASA, NCAA), but do not use acronyms or abbreviations that the reader would not quickly recognize.

If you need to abbreviate a school or program name — or some new research you're writing about — first spell it out with the acronym in parentheses.

  • Her work with the School of Systems and Enterprises (SSE) has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. All other references thereafter can be the acronym only (SSE)

1.4 Attribution and Class Year

Because an unusually high proportion of Stevens students enroll in five-year programs and other nontraditional pathways to their degrees, we discourage the use of the terms "freshman," "sophomore" and "junior" as these may be misleading. "Senior" is acceptable, as we still formally refer to "Senior Design Projects." Where incremental progress must be noted, you may use "firstyear student," "third-year student," "fifth-year student" and so forth.

Currently enrolled students (except seniors): Indicate the entire year, with the words "Class of" preceding:

  • John Smith, Class of 2025, performed summer research in the university's imaging laboratories before returning to Stevens this fall.

Currently enrolled seniors: Indicate the graduation year (or anticipated graduation year) in two-digit format, with a reversed
apostrophe (’):

  • Joan Smith ’23 presented her team's capstone design project at the annual Innovation Expo.

Alumni from 1940 forward: Indicate graduation year in two-digit format, with a reversed apostrophe (’):

  • Jane Smith ’12 directs investments for a leading financial firm on Wall Street.

  • Jake Smith ’66 was honored for his longtime contributions to the Stevens Alumni Association.

Alumni from classes earlier than 1940: Use the "(Class of xxxx)" designation in all cases.

  • Frederick Winslow Taylor (Class of 1883) co-founded General Motors.

Note that graduate-degree years are indicated in exactly the same format; do not use asterisks or any other special marks to distinguish from undergraduate-degree years.

1.5 Dates and Times

When writing news stories, remember that web content is evergreen and may be viewed at a later — even much later — date. Avoid references to "today," "this week," "this month" and "next month."

Do not use -ths, -sts, etc. for dates.

  • Aug. 27 (NOT Aug. 27th)

In an announcement or invitation, always include the day of the week. Never abbreviate days of the week.

  • Convocation will take place Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

When listing a specific date in running text, abbreviate all months except March, April, May, June and July, and set it off with commas.

  • Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

  • Feb. 14, 2017, was the target date.

When the phrase uses only a month and year, always spell out the month and do not separate by a comma.

  • January 2011 was a cold month.

When the phrase uses only a month and day, abbreviate the month, if applicable, but do not separate by a comma.

  • Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month.

  • His birthday is May 8.

Use hyphens in date ranges, like this:

  • The workshop will take place Monday through Thursday, July 18-21.

Write academic years like this:

  • the 2011-12 academic year

"Fiscal year" may be abbreviated as "FY." Use a space before the year only when the year is represented as four digits.

  • In FY 2020, Stevens produced record fundraising.

  • The endowment report for FY20 was released today.

Don't use :00 for times that are on the hour:

  • 7 p.m.

  • 7:30 p.m.

Use periods after a.m. and p.m. in writing. In posters, signs, invitations and other graphical pieces, you may omit periods at your discretion.

  • Write "noon" and "midnight" instead of 12 p.m. and 12 a.m.

The only exception for date and time guidelines is on Twitter or other character-constrained media. In these cases, choose the shortest-yet-clearest description of dates.

  • Mon 1/24 at 4pm

1.6 Formal and Informal Titles

Titles of People

Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names. A formal title generally is one that denotes a
scope of authority, professional activity or academic activity.

  • President Nariman Farvardin

  • Dean Jean Zu

Formal titles used after one or more names are not capitalized. EXCEPTION: Titles may be capitalized when names appear in a columnar list or when captioning an image.

  • Jane Johnson, vice president of human resources

  • Robert Smith, vice provost of academics, will be delivering a lecture today.

Informal titles serve primarily as occupational descriptions and are not capitalized.

  • author Stephen King

  • professor Joan Smith

Titles of Courses, Books, Movies, Works of Art, Publications, etc.

Use italics for all newspaper, magazine and journal names. You may use either italics or quotation marks for the titles of any article, movie or song. Note that this contradicts AP style, which does not allow any italics.

Websites and web publications are NOT italicized or quoted, EXCEPT when there is also a printed component, and then they may be italicized.

  • The professor's new textbook is titled Marine Security and You.

  • Stevens will host a special discussion of van Gogh's Sunflowers.

  • Nature

  • The New York Times

  • Forbes

  • The Princeton Review

  • PayScale.com

  • The article was titled "Macro Effects of Social Media."

Use quote marks for course names only when the exact name is being given.

  • Professor Smith's new course, "Introduction to Fluid Dynamics," will be offered in the fall.

  • Professor Smith will teach a new course in fluid dynamics this fall.

1.7 Formatting, Punctuation and Special Marks


Bulleted items may be capitalized or left in lowercase, depending on preference — but must be consistent throughout a single document. Note that AP style does not allow bullet-pointed lists of any kind, but Stevens style does.

In general, listed items that are complete sentences should be capitalized, and those that are fragments should be rendered in lowercase. Sentences after bullet points should end in a period, while sentence fragments should not.


We use AP style for commas, which means we do not use a serial comma. This means you should NOT include a comma before the last item in a list of three or more items.

  • He received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Stevens

EXCEPTION: If the list is complex — if items in the list are each long — include the final comma:

  • The planning subcommittee also drew up a list of items to discuss in future sessions, including improvements to campus such as new dormitories and laboratories, new curricula to improve the training of the next generations of technology leaders, and future faculty hiring needs.

EXCEPTION: If the final or next-to-last item of the list in the sentence has the word "and" in it, include the final comma to ensure clarity:

  • Stevens engineers graduate with the knowledge to design software, systems and networks, and protocols for cybersecurity.

Use semicolons when individual list items include commas in them. These same rules and exceptions apply in these cases as well.

  • The students were from Queens, New York; Tampa, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Los Angeles, California.

Dashes and Ellipses

Always use a WIDE dash (called an em-dash) instead of a narrow dash (called an en-dash) in sentences. Place a space before and after all em-dashes.

  • In addition to supporting many causes — from student scholarships to athletics to the performing arts — Alphonse Joseph Schneider ’46 was ever-present on campus.

Quotation Marks

We do not use "curly" quotes in most published communications. Always set copy into "straight" quotes. This is important to remember, because formatted text such as this sometimes alters its appearance or spacing when transferred to web documents, content management systems and display monitors, with potentially undesirable results.

EXCEPTION: Graphic designers may add curly quotes as a design element to printed pieces only (posters, postcards, etc.).

The period and comma ALWAYS go inside quotation marks:

  • "He will stop by tomorrow," she said.

A question mark goes inside when it is part of a direct quote:

  • "Will you explain distribution requirements to me?" asked the student.

A semicolon goes outside quote marks in a sentence:

  • Refer to us as "conference participants"; others should be called "guests."

Use single, not double, quotation marks in headlines in all cases, even when a person is being quoted.

  • A 'Landmark Day For Stevens,' Proclaims President

Use double quotation marks in stories, including when explaining a new term to readers, EXCEPT when using a quote within a quote.


Insert only one space between each sentence, never two spaces.

1.8 Numbers

Spell out the numbers one through nine; use Arabic numerals for all others. Here are some examples of proper Stevens style when used in print:

  • There were seven people at the meeting.

  • There were 36 students in the class.

  • There are approximately 3,800 undergraduates.

When a number is the first word of a sentence, always spell it out.

  • One hundred and five alumni attended the lecture.

Spell out "million" and "billion." Use a dollar sign when referring to monetary amounts:

  • The world's population has reached 7 billion.

  • A record number of donors gave between $1 million and $2 million to Stevens.

Use a comma for thousands, except when writing about temperatures or SAT scores:

  • 1,160 students

  • The ceramic tile was heated in the lab to 2200 degrees.


For percentages, use only the % sign, never the words "per cent" or "percent."

  • Approximately 50% of Stevens' student body comes from New Jersey.


Always use "more than," "less than" or "fewer than" instead of "over" or "under" when indicating numbers or quantities. Use "fewer" with items you can count individually, and use "less" for mass items.

  • More than 2,000 students attended the latest Stevens Town Hall Meeting.

  • The university raised more than $20 million during the fiscal year.

  • Fewer than 12 papers were included in the journal.

  • The foundation received less than $100 million in donations last year.

Telephone Numbers

Use area codes, plus periods, in all telephone numbers:

  • 800.555.1234

  • 201.216.5000

1.9 Plurals and Possessives



  • Alumnus = a male graduate of Stevens

  • Alumna = a female graduate of Stevens

  • Alumnae = a group of female graduates of Stevens

  • Alumni = a group of male or mixed-gender graduates of Stevens

If a gender-neutral term is desired, alum or alums is acceptable.

  • If you are an alum who has never given to Stevens, you are eligible for the matching program.

Commonly used plurals that sometimes cause confusion are clarified below:

  • curriculum (singular); curricula (plural)

  • emeritus (singular male); emerita (singular female); emeriti (plural)

  • faculty member (singular person); faculty (plural of faculty members)

Possessive "S"

Do not use a double "S" in any possessives. Note that this is contrary to the AP style rule.

  • Stevens' longest-living graduate (NOT Stevens's)

  • Many of the campus' buildings were constructed in the 1970s.

1.10 Spelling and Usage

In the case of alternate spellings or plurals, use the first entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Here are some commonly used phrases and their proper renderings in AP style:

  • catalog

  • chair: use the term "chair" wherever possible instead of chairperson, chairwoman or chairman, except when referring to
    the current Stevens Board of Trustees Chairman

  • email, e-book, e-blast, e-commerce, e-newsletter

  • the internet [always lowercase]

  • the web, webpage, website, webcast, webmaster

1.11 State Names

Spell out all state names in stories. EXCEPTION: You may abbreviate in graphical pieces, social media and web content areas where space is limited.

When abbreviating states, you may use periods or not, depending on the design of the graphical piece.

Please use the official AP abbreviations for states (available in the AP Stylebook).

  • Hoboken, New Jersey (web story, media release)

  • Hoboken, NJ (postcard, feature header, etc.)

  • Hoboken, N.J. (printed pieces, datelines, photo captions)

1.12 URLs, Internet Addresses and Linking

Always make the website address (URL) as short as possible.

  • When a URL must be broken over a line in printed context, break the line before rather than after the slash (/).

In Stevens stories and Stevens web content, links pointing to official www.stevens.edu websites should be used. Exceptions include:

  • Faculty members may point to outside links for certain purposes, such as learning materials, journal extracts, course readings, etc.

  • Media coverage of Stevens and other key external communications about Stevens (rankings, for example) may link to external sources.

  • Under official contract, external links to vendor services (Issuu, etc.) or official partnerships may be used.

  • The Stevens Athletics website (www.stevensducks.com) is currently maintained by outside vendors and is a permissible link.

  • It is also permissible to link to Stevens' social media channels.

When linking to external websites, all links must each open in new tabs or windows. Avoid inserting excessive external links into content; all such links should be relevant and add value.