USC Style Guide

Last revised May 31, 2017 (Visions and Voices)

USC follows Associated Press Style for its print and online communication to the public. In some cases, the university has its own style for certain uses, such as memos, letters and academic publications. If you don’t find your issue addressed below, assume that we follow AP Style.

You may find frequent updates for AP Style through Twitter at @apstylebook. Members of the USC community on USC IP addresses have free access to AP Style online through USC Libraries. Away from USC’s campuses, you may connect via USC’s VPN.

If the AP style guide doesn’t help, refer to the Oxford American Dictionaries or Merriam-Webster.

Abbreviations

Acronyms may be used on second reference but try to use “the center,” “the institute” or simply a shortened version of the center or institute’s name if possible.

  • Example: Sandy made a donation to USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education. At the institute’s annual gala, she was honored with the Donor of the Year award.

Also see entry on “state names.”

Academic degrees

Academic degrees should be written without periods: BA, MA, MSW, PhD, EdD, PharmD. Do not use “Dr.” before a name, even in a medical context. When denoting an alumnus’ degrees, include only the graduating year for a bachelor’s degree – no BA or BS.

  • Examples: She received her BA from the USC Gould School of Law.
  • Jane Doe MA ’12, PhD ’12 is currently serving as executive director of Alpha Academy.
  • Sally Smith ’13 joined the Peace Corps.

For joint degrees, such as the ones at USC Gould School of Law, use a slash between the degrees.

  • Example: Sam Jones JD/MA ’12

BA
Bachelor of Arts
BFA
Bachelor of Fine Arts
BM
Bachelor of Music
BS
Bachelor of Science
EML
Executive Master in Leadership
MA
Master of Arts
MAT
Master of Arts in Teaching
MS
Master of Science
MAcc
Master of Accounting
MBA
Master of Business Administration (always abbreviated)
MBT
Master of Business Taxation
MCG
Master of Communication Management
MCM
Master of Construction Management
ME
Master of Education
MFA
Master of Fine Arts (always abbreviated)
MFT
Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
MHA
Master of Health Administration
MHP
Master of Historic Preservation
MLA
Master of Landscape Architecture
MM
Master of Music
MMM
Master of Medical Management
MPA
Master of Public Administration
MPAS
Master of Public Art Studies
MPH
Master of Public Health
MPL
Master of Planning
MPP
Master of Public Policy
MPW
Master of Professional Writing (nearly always abbreviated)
MRED
Master of Real Estate Development
MCM
Master of Communication Management
MCM
Master of Construction Management
MSW
Master of Social Work

DDS
Doctor of Dental Surgery
DMA
Doctor of Musical Arts
DPA
Doctor of Public Administration
DPPD
Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development
DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
EdD
Doctor of Education

JD
Juris Doctor

MD
Doctor of Medicine
PharmD
Doctor of Pharmacy
PhD
Doctor of Philosophy

Adviser vs. advisor

Adviser, not advisor

Also and already

Also and already — For adverbs “also” and “already,” they should be placed like so: He has also been to France, not He also has been to France; She has already earned her degree, not She already has earned her degree.

Attribution

Sherrie says, NOT says Sherrie — Use the latter only when a description of the individual follows the name.

  • Example: … says Sherrie, a fourth-year graduate student at the USC Roski School of Art and Design.

Board of Trustees

Capitalize “Board of Trustees” as well as other USC-affiliated boards
For official names of USC trustees, go to the Trustees site.

Brackets and parentheses

If there is a phrase or word inserted by the editor in someone’s direct quote, use brackets.

  • Example: “My team [the Los Angeles Dodgers] might win the pennant.”

Otherwise, use parentheses.

  • Example: He said his team (the Los Angeles Dodgers) might win the pennant.

Bridge Institute

On first reference it is the Bridge Institute at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (or the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Bridge Institute). See also USC Michelson Center.

Capitalization

Follow AP style.
In a sentence with a colon, capitalize the first word of the phrase that follows if it is a complete sentence. If it’s a fragment, the first word is lowercase.

  • Example: The school said “thank you” by naming his old department after him: the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

The word “the” is not capitalized because what follows is not a complete sentence.
In a sentence with a semicolon, the second clause is always a complete sentence and always begins with a lowercase letter.
Titles preceding a full name should be capitalized. Titles following a full name should be lowercased. For specifics, see “Titles” entry in the style guide.

  • Exceptions: President Emeritus, University Professor, University Archivist, Distinguished Professor, Provost Professor, Presidential Professor and named-chair titles are always capped — before and after a name.
  • Examples: USC President Emeritus Steven B. Sample; Steven B. Sample, President Emeritus of USC; Chester A. Newland, the Duggan Distinguished Professor of Public Administration

Special uses:

  • Health Sciences Campus (HSC) and University Park Campus (UPC)
  • Trojan Family: T and F are always capitalized
  • Capitalize “Class of xxxx” (as in Class of 2015)
  • Commencement always has a lowercase c
  • Capitalize prepositions that have four or more letters for headlines for USC Trojan Family Magazine: from, through, into. Do not cap “of, to, for” in heds (unless “to” is part of a verb, in which case it is capitalized)
  • Capitalize “Move-in Day,” usually the Wednesday in August before classes begin.

Centuries

Follow AP style, which is to lowercase and write out numbers one to nine.

  • Example: fourth century

Use figures for 10 and up.

  • Example: 12th century

When used as a modifier, there is a hyphen between the number and the word “century.” Example: 17th-century ballads

Chief executive officer

CEO is acceptable on first reference. Spell out chief operating officer on first reference. Example: CEO Jane Smith met with Chief Operating Officer Frank Jones.

Coliseum and Sports Arena

It’s Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on first reference, the Coliseum thereafter. The Coliseum and adjacent Sports Arena are jointly owned by the state, the county and the city of Los Angeles, and are managed and operated by USC under a 98-year lease that extends through 2111.

(Colosseum is the correct spelling for the Roman amphitheater and for the concert venue at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.)

Commas

No serial commas. Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series.

  • Example: There were green tents, blue tents and red tents on the lawn. Use a comma before the conjunction if it is necessary to prevent confusion.
  • Example: There were green tents, blue tents, and red and white striped tents on the lawn. Use a comma after Washington, D.C.
  • Example: The Washington, D.C., office of the California senator

Use commas to set off state and country names.

  • Examples: They went to Ojai, Calif., to see friends. They visited Siuna, Nicaragua, with friends. Do not use commas to set off Jr.
  • Examples: Edward P. Roski Jr., Martin Luther King Jr.

Do not use commas to set off Inc., Co., Ltd., LLC, PC or PLLC.

  • Examples: Apple Inc., Widgets LLC

A nonessential phrase must be set off from the rest of a sentence by commas.

  • Example: Jeff released his first book, Twilight at USC, to rave reviews.

The book title is nonessential because Jeff has only one first book — there is no confusion as to which book the sentence is referring.

  • Example: Carla is survived by her brothers Randy and Jackson, niece, Lily, and nephew, Oliver.

“Lily” and “Oliver” have been set off by commas because they are nonessential to the sentences — Carla has only one niece and one nephew, therefore there is no confusion regarding which niece and which nephew the sentence is referring to. Carla has more than one brother, which is why “Randy” and “Jackson” are not set off by commas.
An essential phrase is not set off from the rest of a sentence by commas.

  • Example: Jeff released his book Twilight at UCLA to rave reviews.

The book title is essential to this sentence because Jeff has written more than one book, so the title isn’t set off by commas.

  • Example: Larry and his wife, Lorna, went to the theater.

Larry has only one wife, and therefore the name “Lorna” is nonessential in this sentence. If Larry had more than one wife, “Lorna” would become essential and would not be set off by commas.

Contractions

Contractions are encouraged in web copy. For specific questions about contractions to avoid, consult AP Style.

Dashes

Use em dashes rather than en dashes to set off phrases and indicate pauses. Always use a space on either side of an em dash.

  1. Example: He went to Westfield Mall — a mall in the middle of the city — to buy a phone.

For ranges, use either en dashes or hyphens.
Example: The festival will be held April 12–24. The festival will be held April 12-24.

Ellipses

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in quotes, texts and documents.
In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces. Leave one regular space on both sides of an ellipsis.

  • Example: I … tried to do what was best.

When using an ellipsis at the beginning or end of a sentence, add one more period.

  • Example: She said, “This is a brand new day for the company … .”

When a complete sentence precedes an ellipsis, place a period at the end of the sentence, followed by a regular space and an ellipsis.

  • Example: “I no longer have a strong enough political base. … ”

Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC

“Ellison Institute” on second reference. Separate from the Keck entities. Formally the “Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC.”

Entitled vs. titled

Do not use “entitled” to mean “titled.” Entitled means “a right to do or have something.”

fall semester, spring semester

Lowercase, but Maymester is capitalized. Avoid “summer semester” because it’s not really a semester.

Graduation dates

When writing someone’s graduation year, make sure to use the proper backward-curling apostrophe (apostrophe and then hit the space bar) before the year.
Example: Caroline Smith EdD ’60 launched an educational program targeting at-risk youths.

head coach

Lowercase, even before a name: head coach Clay Helton. That’s how they do it on USCTrojans.com.

Health care vs. healthcare

Health care, not Healthcare. When using as an adjective, do not use a dash. Example: Health care plan

Hyphens

Use hyphens in compound constructions when necessary to prevent confusion but not when the meaning is clear.

  • Examples: stem cell research, smart-car charger, health care center, small-businessmen’s conference

Use a hyphen whenever ambiguity would result if it were omitted.

  • Examples: He recovered his health. He re-covered the leaky roof.

Always use hyphens for African-American, Asian-American, etc.

  • Examples: She taught African-American studies. Irish-Americans voted in large numbers. Exception per AP style: French Canadian

Use hyphens or en dashes for ranges.

  • Example: 32-35 inches tall. 32–35 inches tall. (No space between the numbers and the hyphen)

For words that start with “co,” retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status.

  • Examples: co-author, co-founder, co-signer

Do not use hyphens in other combinations.

  • Examples: coed, coexist, coequal (See the AP style guide for more)

When a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun occurs instead after a form of the verb “to be,” the hyphen usually must be retained to avoid confusion.

  • Examples: The man is well-known. The woman is quick-witted. The children are soft-spoken. The play is second-rate.

Email is written with no hyphen, but all other e- constructions take a hyphen.

  • Examples: e-book, e-commerce

Illegal immigration

Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law
Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use “illegal” only to refer to an action, not a person.

  • Example: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant

See “Undocumented immigrant” entry

internet

Lowercase in keeping with AP style change of June 1, 2016.

Italics

Italicize stand-alone works such as book titles, movie titles, play titles, radio and television show titles (when referring to the series itself and not an individual episode), names of exhibitions, names of video games, album titles.

(For other works, see “Quotation Marks” entry.)

Italicize foreign words and include the English translations in parentheses.

  • Example: l’Ordre national du Mérite (National Order of Merit)

Do not italicize commonly used foreign words that have been adopted into the English language.

  • Examples: summa cum laude, sushi, pro bono, alma mater, déjà vu, faux pas

Set conference names and festival names in plain text with no italics. Set newspaper, magazine, journal and website names in roman (plain) text with no quotation marks.

Generic musical forms such as titles are not italicized.

  • Example: Mozart Symphony No. 32 in G major

If the title appears in a block of copy that’s already italicized (for example, in a listing giving directions to a venue), then the title is run in plain (roman) type to set it off.

Kathleen Leavey McCarthy ’57

The USC Trustee is married to Frank Kostlan ’56, MBA ’62, but at USC we don’t refer to her with his last name. See also USC Village.

Keck entities

In all uses of Keck related to the medical enterprise, “USC” never precedes the “Keck” name. “USC” is always referenced at the end of a name that includes “Keck.” The preposition before USC is always “of” never “at.”

  • Example: Welcome to the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

On first reference, the complete name of the entity must be spelled out. The phrase “of USC” may be deleted on second reference. As an option, later references may use generic phrases as long as the reference is clear in the context.

The primary brand for use in clinical marketing is Keck Medicine of USC. Any reference to a service, an event or a physician in promotional materials/communications for patients and referring physicians should use Keck Medicine of USC.

Keck School of Medicine

First reference: Keck School of Medicine of USC

Second and later references, externally: Keck School of Medicine
Second and later references, internally: Keck School
Later reference option: the medical school

Do not use the one-word name “Keck” to refer to the medical school.

You may use “the” in front of the name of the school.

Examples: Welcome to the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Keck School of Medicine was established in 1885. The medical school’s total enrollment includes 701 medical students, 285 PhD students and 581 master’s students.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

First reference: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Second and later references: USC Norris cancer center

Later reference option: the cancer center

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is a part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Do not refer to “USC Norris” or simply “Norris” in writing as this may create confusion between the hospital and the cancer center.

Examples: The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the country’s original eight comprehensive cancer centers. The Norris cancer center is part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and it is affiliated with USC Norris Cancer Hospital.

Keck Medical Center of USC

First reference: Keck Medical Center of USC

Second and later references: Keck Medical Center
Later reference option: the medical center
Do not use the one-word name “Keck” to refer to the medical center.
Do use the article “the” in front of the medical center name in a sentence.

Examples: The Keck Medical Center of USC is located on the university’s Health Sciences Campus, just east of downtown Los Angeles. The Keck Medical Center is home to two university-owned hospitals and more than 500 physicians.

Keck Hospital of USC

First reference: Keck Hospital of USC

Second and later references: Keck Hospital
Later reference option: the hospital (as long as the document concerns only Keck Hospital of USC, and there is no chance of confusion with USC Norris Cancer Hospital)
Do not use the article “the” before the name of the hospital.

Examples: Keck Hospital of USC, formerly known as USC University Hospital, is part of the Keck Medical Center of USC. Keck Hospital is located on the university’s Health Sciences Campus.

Note: Any correspondence or communication related to each hospital’s license or regulatory issues should refer to the specific hospital of concern.

USC Norris Cancer Hospital

First reference: USC Norris Cancer Hospital

Second and later references: USC Norris Cancer Hospital.

Later reference option: the cancer hospital
Do reference that the USC Norris Cancer Hospital is a part of the Keck Medical Center of USC.
Do not refer to “USC Norris” or “Norris” in writing as this may create confusion between the hospital and the cancer center.

Examples: USC Norris Cancer Hospital, a part of the Keck Medical Center of USC, is affiliated with the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Note: Any correspondence or communication related to each hospital’s license or regulatory issues should refer to the specific hospital of concern.

Keck Medicine of USC

First reference: Keck Medicine of USC

Second and later references: Keck Medicine
Do not use the article “the” before the name “Keck Medicine of USC.”

Examples: Keck Medicine of USC is the new name for the academic medical enterprise made up of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the newly named Keck Medical Center of USC.

Note: Keck Medicine of USC is an organizational concept, not a physical place.

Examples: Patients are treated at the Keck Medical Center of USC, not at Keck Medicine of USC. Students enroll in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, not in Keck Medicine of USC.

Physicians practice group

The private practice group of faculty physicians should be referred to as: “faculty physicians of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.”
While the brand name “The Doctors of USC” will be visible in some applications, it will be retired in marketing activities in order to focus on the primary “Keck Medical Center of USC” brand, which includes the physician practices as well as the two university-owned hospitals.

Los Angeles

Abbreviation of Los Angeles as L.A. upon second reference or in headlines is acceptable.

Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center

Spelled out on first reference; LAC+USC on subsequent references. No spaces around the plus sign. Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center isn’t part of Keck, but the doctors are Keck School doctors.

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College

L.A. Trade-Tech or LATTC on second reference. The community college down the road is part of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Mascot

Traveler, the (live) noble white horse, is the official USC mascot.

Tommy and Traveler

Tommy and Traveler, the costumed characters, are “mascots” but not the official USC mascot.

Tommy and Traveler, the costumed characters, while not the official USC mascot, are “mascots” that appear primarily at basketball games but also selected other USC athletic events and other events outside of football. They are also used in certain sports media campaigns, i.e. ESPN Gameday commercials or the Capital One Mascot Challenge.

Tommy Trojan (officially The Trojan Shrine) is a statue next to Bovard and is not the USC mascot.

The person who rides Traveler at football games is a regal Trojan warrior. He is not Tommy Trojan.

The USC Trojan Marching Band drum major, also dressed as a Trojan warrior, is also not Tommy Trojan.

Ministers and priests

In keeping with AP style, use the Rev. before a name on first reference; when referring to a Catholic priest, be sure the context makes it clear he is a Catholic priest.

Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

Use the full name on first reference to the USC Viterbi department.

Names

Building names

For residential colleges, use full name on first reference and shortened name on second reference.

Ray Irani Residential College (first reference)
Irani College (second reference)

Center and institute names

Refer to the center’s web page for preferred wording. If USC is not part of the center’s preferred name, use the possessive.

  • Examples: USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, USC’s LGBT Student Resource Center, USC Institute for Creative Technologies, USC’s Population Dynamics Research Group

Center/institute names that are often used incorrectly:

  • Davidson Continuing Education Center, not Davidson Conference Center
  • USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy (first reference)
    USC Iovine and Young Academy (subsequent references)
  • USC Mary and Mark Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (first reference)
    USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (second reference)
  • USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education (first reference)
    USC Shoah Foundation (second reference)
    Note that “USC Shoah Foundation” is never preceded by “the”

Again, if in doubt, refer to the institute or center’s web page.

For names of schools and divisions, look in the Schools and Divisions section.

Company or group names

In some cases, it’s uncertain if the company/group wants “the” capped in their name. Lowercase unless it is part of the company’s formal name. Refer to the company or group’s website for preferred wording.

  • Examples: The Grammy Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, AARP, The Beatles, Nine Inch Nails, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times

Do not use all caps in a name unless it’s an acronym.

  • Example: RATT is the name of a band. AP stories spell it “Ratt.”

Do not use TM or R symbols in a company name.

People’s names

For faculty and staff names, check how the name is written on the individual’s school profile page. If a profile page isn’t available, check how the name is listed in the USC directory.

There are exceptions, such as “Albert Checcio” who prefers to be referred to as “Al Checcio.”

Avoid using middle initials. Exceptions include senior administrators and trustees who prefer to use a middle initial; other individuals who express a strong preference for use of a middle initial; and cases in which omitting the initial would cause confusion.

  • Example: USC Dornsife Dean Amber D. Miller (her personal preference).

Always include the full names of board members, senior administrators and deans.

  • Examples: USC President Emeritus Steven B. Sample; USC Senior Vice President for University Relations Thomas S. Sayles

Always include Nikias’ full name on first reference — C. L. Max Nikias. Do not break “C.” and “L.” on two lines.

Always include Niki C. Nikias’ middle initial on first reference. (Avoid referring to her as the “first lady.”)

When people have initials in their names, use periods with no spaces between the initials.

  • Examples: E.F. Hutton, M.G. Lord

The sole exception is USC President C. L. Max Nikias. Use a space between his initials.

Do not use commas to set off Jr., Sr., etc.

  • Example: Martin Luther King Jr.

USC Pacific Asia Museum Director Christina Yu Yu goes by the last name Yu on second reference.

Schools and divisions

USC school names — On first reference, write out the school’s full name.

  • Example: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
    On second reference, use either USC Dornsife or USC Dornsife College.

Keck School of Medicine of USC
Keck School

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Ostrow School  (Note: USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy are entities within the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC)

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
USC Annenberg or USC Annenberg School

USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan or USC Chan Division

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
USC Davis or USC Davis School

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
USC Dornsife or USC Dornsife College

USC Gould School of Law
USC Gould or USC Gould School

USC Kaufman School of Dance
USC Kaufman or USC Kaufman School

USC Leventhal School of Accounting
USC Leventhal or USC Leventhal School

USC Libraries
USC Libraries

USC Marshall School of Business
USC Marshall or USC Marshall School

USC Price School of Public Policy
USC Price or USC Price School

USC Roski School of Art and Design
USC Roski School (try not to use “USC Roski” to avoid confusion with the USC Roski Eye Institute)

USC Rossier School of Education
USC Rossier or USC Rossier School

USC School of Architecture
School of Architecture

USC School of Cinematic Arts
School of Cinematic Arts

USC School of Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
(must not be shortened; use “the school”)

USC School of Dramatic Arts
School of Dramatic Arts

USC Thornton School of Music
USC Thornton or USC Thornton School

USC Viterbi School of Engineering
USC Viterbi or USC Viterbi School

*Keck entities have their own style. See “Keck Entities” entry
*Short versions of school names are used in USC in the News, the email blast on external media hits sent out by the media relations team in USC University Communications. See “USC in the News” entry

Other school names — Make sure to use the full name on first reference.

  • Examples: Harvard University; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; California State University, Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley.

Exceptions:

  • Cal Poly Pomona is acceptable on all references to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
  • Caltech is acceptable on all references to California Institute of Technology.
  • UCLA is acceptable on all references to the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Short names (“Stanford” instead of Stanford University; “Arizona State” instead of Arizona State University) are acceptable on first reference in sports stories.

If in doubt, refer to the school’s website for preferred wording.

Cal State and UC schools

There is a single comma in each school’s name.

  • Example: California State University, Long Beach and University of California, Irvine are two schools in Southern California.

TV station and radio station names

  • Examples: NBC News Los Angeles affiliate KNBC-TV; CW Utica, N.Y., affiliate WBU-TV; NPR San Diego affiliate KPBS-FM
  • Example of TV stations with no network affiliation: CLTV-TV

State names

We follow the AP’s previous style of abbreviating most state names in text (when running with a city), as opposed to the AP’s current style of spelling them out:

  • Examples: He was traveling from Nashville, Tenn., to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, N.M. She said Cook County, Ill., was Mayor Daley’s stronghold.

The names of eight states are never abbreviated: AlaskaHawaiiIdahoIowaMaineOhioTexas and Utah.

Numbers

Follow AP style, which is to write out the numbers one to nine and use figures for 10 and up.

Use figures when referring to age.

  • Example: At age 5, she learned to read.

Use figures for percent and percentages.

  • Examples: Nicole made 5 percent less than last year’s total.
    The stock fell 15 percentage points over the course of three months.

Use figures for dollar amounts and measurements.

  • Examples: $3 million grant, 3-inch plywood

It’s not “4 to 6 billion” but “4 billion to 6 billion.”

Quotation marks

Put quotation marks around smaller components within stand-alone works, such as book chapters, titles of articles in academic journals or magazines, individual television show/series episodes, song titles, classes, fairy tales, names of seminars, titles of works of art, poem titles, lecture and speech titles.

(For other works, see “Italics” entry.)

Set conference names and festival names in roman (plain) text with no quotation marks.

Set newspaper, magazine, journal and website names in roman (plain) text with no quotation marks.

Quotation marks go inside colons and semicolons. Quotation marks go outside commas, periods and exclamation marks.

For USC News stories, use single quotation marks in headlines and <h3> subheads; use double quotation marks in decks (excerpts).

Race and ethnicity

African-American, black, white, Latino and Hispanic are all acceptable. Respect an individual’s preferred term if a preference is expressed.

Always use hyphens for African-American, Asian-American, etc.

  • Examples: She taught African-American studies. Irish-Americans voted in large numbers.

Exception per AP style: French Canadian

Radisson at USC

Owned and managed by the university.

Scholars

Capitalize titles like Rhodes Scholar, Rhodes Scholarship, Truman Scholar, Truman Scholarship.

Special characters

Use smart (curly) quotation marks and smart (curly) apostrophes.

  • Examples: “Don’t go there,” she said.

On a Mac you can type then manually with these key combinations:
“ option-openbracket
” shift-option-openbracket
‘ option-closebracket
’ shift-option-closebracket

Subheds

For USC News, USC Trojan Family Magazine and press releases, lowercase subheds.

  • Examples: Health insurance or earthquake insurance, not Health Insurance or Earthquake Insurance

Tense

For USC News, use present tense for heds and decks. Use past tense for text.
For the USC Trojan Family Magazine, use present tense throughout.

Theater vs. theatre

Theater, not theatre. However, the formal names of all on-campus theater buildings are spelled -tre (Bing Theatre, Norris Cinema Theatre, etc.).

Titles

Per AP style, titles are capitalized when they precede the name but not when they follow the name.

  • Examples: USC Provost Michael Quick, but Michael Quick, USC provost; USC Trustee Jane Doe, but Jane Doe, USC trustee

When titles are long, avoid overcapitalization by placing the title after the name.

  • Examples: Jack H. Knott, dean of the USC Price School of Public Policy; Michael Quick, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

President Emeritus, University Professor, University Archivist, Distinguished Professor, Provost Professor, Presidential Professor and named-chair titles are always capped — before and after a name.

  • Examples: USC President Emeritus Steven B. Sample; Steven B. Sample, President Emeritus of USC; Chester A. Newland, the Duggan Distinguished Professor of Public Administration

UCLA

Acceptable on all references to the University of California, Los Angeles

Undocumented immigrant

Undocumented immigrant, not illegal immigrant

USC

Acceptable on all references to the university. Spell out “University of Southern California” only in the rarest, formal instances or when used in a direct quote. (Note that “the” is not part of the university’s name.)

USC Amy King Dundon-Berchtold University Club at King Stoops Hall

Use this full name on first reference. Second reference is USC Dundon-Berchtold University Club, so you’ll probably want to say “the club“ a lot.

USC Engemann Student Health Center

Use this full name on first reference.

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience

The name of the overall effort; USC Michelson Center on second reference. It will be housed in the Michelson Hall for Convergent Bioscience (commonly called Michelson Hall); be sure to use the artist rendering that says just “Michelson Hall.“

See also Bridge Institute.

USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute

Use the full name on first reference. Second reference can be Roski Eye Institute.

USC Tower at South Park Center

The formal name of the 32-story building at 1150 S. Olive St. (briefly known as USC Center). Designed by noted architect William Pereira and completed in 1965, it was formerly known as the AT&T Center (and the Transamerica Building before that). It houses a variety of USC offices, along with other tenants.

USC usage

The Seeley G. Mudd Estate is now referred to as the USC president’s home.

For faculty awards, go to Faculty Distinctions

Town and Gown refers to the building; Town & Gown refers to the organization

USC Government and Civic Engagement, not the USC Office of Government and Civic Engagement. When referring to the offices, it is “USC Civic Engagement” and “USC Government Relations.”

USC Village

Never “the USC Village.” The $700 million retail-residential complex is set to open in Fall 2017.

  • The building with the spire on it is Leavey Honors Hall (formally the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Honors Hall), which will contain the McCarthy Honors College (formally the Kathleen L. McCarthy Honors College) and the Honors Residence Hall. The Leavey and McCarthy names are thanks to a gift from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, chaired by USC Trustee Kathleen Leavey McCarthy (daughter of Thomas and Dorothy Leavey).
  • Another building (name to come) at USC Village will contain the Irani Residential College (formally the Ray Irani Residential College).

Visions and Voices

Although the logo uses the ampersand, the word “and” is spelled out in most uses so that will be our style.

web

Lowercase in keeping with AP style change of June 1, 2016. The word website is written as one word with a lowercase w.

In most cases, do not include “https://” or “www.” However, there are some cases in which these are necessary, so it’s best to double-check the website addresses.

The last forward slash is not needed in web addresses.


Style for specific USC publications

USC in the News

USC short school names

These shortened names are used in “USC In the News” for brevity.

Keck School of USC

Herman Ostrow School of USC (formerly USC School of Dentistry)

USC Annenberg School

USC Davis School

USC Dornsife College (formerly USC College)

USC Gould School (not USC Law School)

USC Kaufman School

USC Leventhal School (is within USC Marshall School, so generally cite the latter)

USC Marshall School

USC Price School (formerly USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development)

USC Roski School

USC Rossier School

USC School of Architecture

USC School of Cinematic Arts (formerly USC School of Cinema-Television)

USC School of Dramatic Arts (formerly USC School of Theatre)

USC School of Pharmacy

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work (there is no short name)

USC Thornton School

USC Viterbi School

Expert affiliations, titles and names

In most cases, the expert should be identified according to the school he or she is with, not by the institute.

Exceptions include experts employed only by an institute or center, or by institutes that are joint projects evenly divided between two schools (e.g., the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate). If in doubt, check USC in the News online to see how we have identified that expert in the past.

When someone from USC public relations (either within our office or in an individual school’s public relations office) is quoted in a story by name, attribute the quote only to “a USC spokesperson.”

USC Trojan Family Magazine

The name of USC’s alumni magazine is USC Trojan Family Magazine, not Trojan Family Magazine.

When referring to USC Trojan Family Magazine issues, write Spring 2012 or Autumn 2012 (capitalize with no comma before the year).

Class Notes

** The best way to learn how to write the Class Notes section is to study previous issues of the magazine and model everything off them. **

The most important thing is consistency within the issue.

Academic Degrees

Follow the list provided in the USC Style Guide.

School Abbreviations

The school should be written without periods: LAS, ARC, SCA, DEN, ENG, SFA and follows the appropriate graduation year and is contained in parenthesis. If the person received multiple degrees from the same school, then the school abbreviation follows the last degree and graduation year listed.

Examples:

Marguerite Sadler ’83 (LAS), JD ’86 (LAW) was recently promoted to senior vice president and corporate counsel at Club Holdings LLC.

Jane Doe MA ’12, PhD ’12 (LAS) is currently serving as executive director of Alpha Academy.

List of abbreviations

LAS – USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

ACC – USC Leventhal School of Accounting

ARC – USC School of Architecture

BUS – USC Marshall School of Business

SCA – USC School of Cinematic Arts

SCJ – USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

DNC – USC Kaufman School of Dance

DEN – Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

DRA – USC School of Dramatic Arts

EDU – USC Rossier School of Education

ENG – USC Viterbi School of Engineering

ART – USC Roski School of Art and Design

GRN – USC Davis School of Gerontology

LAW – USC Gould School of Law

LIB – USC Libraries

MED – Keck School of Medicine of USC

MUS – USC Thornton School of Music

OST – USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

PHM – USC School of Pharmacy

BPT – Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

SPP – USC Price School of Public Policy

SSW – USC School of Social Work

Under the appropriate graduation decade, enter the person’s name in bold, type of degree(s) only if it’s anything other than a bachelor’s, degree year(s), school affiliation in parenthesis, followed by the announcement.

  • NEVER put periods in between the letters if the degree comes directly after a person’s name. For ex. “Doris Smith MA, PhD ’05 (LAS) was promoted to president of XYZ Co.”
  • NEVER put periods in between the letters if the degree is listed alone, not next to a name (see Academic Degrees). For ex. “Doris Smith graduated with her MA in 2000 then decided to pursue a DDS.
  • If a person has multiple degrees, separate by commas and type the degree followed by the year.

Examples:

1950s
Mark Brauer ’50 (BUS), MA ’53 (LAS) was elected president of Ackmecie Consultants, a business-consulting firm based in Corpus Christi, Texas. (This indicates he received his bachelor’s in 1950 and master’s in 1953.)

1970s
Clyde Cronkhite MPA ’73, DPA ’91 (SPP) published the book Criminal Justice Administration: Strategies for the 21st Century.
(This indicates he received his MPA in 1973 and his DPA in 1991.)

-Include the school the person graduated from in parenthesis after the appropriate graduation year listed (see School Abbreviation).
-If a woman gives her maiden name, put it in parentheses between the first and last name, or middle initial/name (if provided) and last name.
Example:
Jennifer Ann (Smith) Brown
(Her maiden name is Smith, but now she goes by Jennifer Brown.)

-Nicknames (if given) go in quotes between the first and last name, or first name and middle initial/name (if provided).
Examples: William “Skip” Johnson, Josephine M. “Jo” McGee
-Try to make each entry as concise but descriptive as possible. Give a brief description of the company/business the person works for if it’s not very well known. If a person is given an award, mention the organization that gave the award. Provide brief descriptions (genre, five-word summary, etc.) of any books people write.
-Whenever possible, include some kind of reference to where the person lives. Examples:
-Norman C. Bitter DDS of Fresno, Calif., published ….
-Joseph Rivera EdD was re-elected as a governing board member of the El Rancho Unified School District in Pico Rivera, Calif.
-Jeff Lenning had an article on application servers published by the Journal of Accountancy. He lives in Irvine, Calif.
-Bold the name of all alumni that are mentioned in each class note and include their class year.
Marriages
-Same format/method for listing names and degrees as Class Notes. Only put alumni names in bold; if their spouses did not go to USC, do not bold their names.
-General format:
-Alumni Name [year/degree] [(school)] and Alumni Name [year/degree] [(school)] (This is if both people in the announcement are alumni)
-Include the school the person graduated from in parenthesis after the appropriate graduation year listed (see School Abbreviation).
-List chronologically – Whoever graduated first gets listed first. If both people in the announcement graduated in the same year, arrange their names alphabetically
-Alumni Name [year/degree] [(school)] and Spouse Name (This is if only one person is an alum)
-Always list the alum’s name first
-Only put a period at the very end of the marriage announcement section—not after each individual announcement.

Class Notes Style Manual for USC Trojan Family Magazine (Revised May 2013)
Births and Adoptions
-Same format/method for listing names and degrees as Class Notes. Only put alumni names in bold; if their spouses did not go to USC, do not bold their names.
-General format:
-Arrange all birth announcements chronologically by graduation year. If both people in the announcement graduated in the same year, put the woman’s name first. Include the school the person graduated from in parenthesis after the appropriate graduation year listed (see School Abbreviation).
-If the baby joins siblings, say:
“[He/She] joins [brother(s)/sister(s)/siblings (if the baby joins a mix of brothers and sisters)] [name of sibling], [age, if provided]”
Examples:
-Cristin Powitzky Murphy ’94 (ENG) and Derek Murphy, a daughter, Tessa Grace. She joins brothers Ryan, 5, and Troy, 2
-Alli (Tapio) Gardea ’85 (LAS), MBA ’87 (BUS) and Rene Gardea ’90 (SFA), a son, Benjamin Jude. He joins sister, Anita, and brothers Emilio, Matthew and Tadeo
-Sometimes birth announcement submissions include names of family members who also graduated from USC. Put alumni names in bold and do the same format for listing their degrees as you do for Class Notes. Arrange in order according to generational status: great-grandparents, great-aunts/uncles, grandparents, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins
“[He/She] is the [relation] of [Alumni Name] [year/degree]”
Example:
Matthew Tonkovich ’92 (SSW) and Babe (Foster) Tonkovich ’04 (LAS), a daughter, Petra Jeanette. She joins brothers Ryder Dean and August James. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Ruth (Dallman) Launer ’16 (LAS), the great- granddaughter of Earl Harris ’39 (LAS) and Eunice (Launer) Harris ’39 (LAS), the great-grandniece of Ruthmarie (Launer) Gruber ’41 (MUS), the granddaughter of
Janet (Harris) Tonkovich ’65 (SED), the grandniece of Kathleen (Harris) Windsor ’66 (SED), the niece of Diane (Tonkovich) Miller ’92 (MUS), Gregory Tonkovich
’94, MS ’01 (LAS) and Jaclyn (Talarico) Tonkovich MA ’01 (LAS), and the cousin of
Divita Elliott ’93 (SCJ)
– Only put a period at the very end of the birth announcement section—not after each individual announcement. Do, however, put a period at the end of each sentence within the individual announcement; but don’t put a period at the end of the last sentence in the individual announcement.

– Treat adoptions in the same way as you treat births. Don’t specify anywhere in the announcement that it’s an adoption.

In Memoriam
-Same format/method for listing names and degrees as Class Notes
-Include the school the person graduated from in parenthesis after the appropriate graduation year listed (see School Abbreviation).
-Arrange chronologically by graduation year. If two people graduated in the same year, arrange alphabetically
-Non-alumni go at the end of the obit section under subhead “Faculty, Staff & Friends,” and are listed in alphabetical order. Non-alumni are classified into three groups: those who attended USC, but did not graduate nor receive a degree; those who donated a monetary gift to the university; and those who served as a member of the Board of Trustees. Oftentimes, an alum also was a USC faculty/staff/friend. In those cases, place obituary under “Faculty, Staff & Friends” and include the graduation year(s), degree(s) and school affiliation.
(Print Version) Each obit should include:
-Alumni Name
[year/degree], [City/Town, State]; [date of death] at the age of [age]
Examples: -Louis A. Hebert
’35 (LAS), Northbrook, Ill.; July 20 at the age of 96
-Robert Pike Whitten
’35 (ARC), Glendale, Calif.; Nov. 12 at the age of 98
-Only put a period at the very end of the “In Memoriam” section – not after each individual announcement.
(web version) Each obit should include the above – Alumni Name [year/degree], of [City/Town, State]; [date of death], of [cause of death], at the age of [age].

-In the second sentence of the obit (after the first sentence with all the necessary biographical info), establish his/her connection to USC
-Generally, we try to stick to mentioning professional accomplishments, life achievements, professional affiliations and family info. We try to omit things like hobbies and sentimental remarks from family members (“He was a loving father” etc.)
-General Notes: It is extremely important that you type all names exactly as they were given to us – even if it breaks our normal style. This goes for the deceased and all names of the family members. This can be a very touchy subject among the family. Also, check, double-check and triple-check all information you’re including in the obits. It can be extremely upsetting to the family if any piece of information is wrong – especially things like misspellings of family names, omissions of certain relatives etc.