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Editorial Style Guide



No hyphen; with exception of university-wide, most -wide compounds are not hyphenated.


Official names are capitalized; unofficial, informal, shortened or generic names are not. This rule applies to offices, buildings, schools, departments, programs, institutes, centers, etc. So, phrases such as the center, the institute or the new museum are not capitalized:

the Office of the Registrar, the registrar’s office, the registrar

the College of Business, the business college, the college

Use the formal name on first reference. Second references to the same office can be general and lowercase.

first reference: Office of the President
Second reference: president’s office
the Center for Archaeological Research, the center
the Institute of Texan Cultures, the institute

Lowercase university unless it is used as part of a formal name, even when referring specifically to The University of Texas at San Antonio. EXCEPTION: In formal programs for Commencement and the President’s Dinner, university may be capitalized when referring specifically to UTSA.

Capitalize official names of bulletins, forms, conventions, conferences, symposia, etc. (see also forms):

the Schedule of Classes, the Democratic National Convention, a Financial Aid Transcript

Capitalize the letters used for grades, as well as official grade names; do not put quotation marks around grades:

A, B, C, D, F, S/F, I, Incomplete, Pass, Deferred, a grade of B

Names of official policies such as Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity should be capitalized; if the concept, rather than the official name, is being discussed, lowercase is appropriate.

Names of holidays and recurring celebrations are usually capitalized; names of seasons, academic periods and onetime celebrations generally are not:

Thanksgiving, Commencement, Arts Week, Homecoming, Diversity Awareness Month

BUT registration, winter 1995–96, summer session, spring semester, spring break

For historical or documentary accuracy, follow the capitalization style of original texts:

Humphrey Newton, Sir Isaac Newton’s assistant and distant relative, once observed, “I never saw him take any Recreation or Pastime, either in Riding out to take the Air, Walking, Bowling, or any other Exercise whatever, Thinking all Hours lost that was not spent in his Studies, to which he kept so close that he seldom left his Chamber.”

cardholder, cardholders


confetti-filled eggshells

Cattleman Square

The Downtown Campus is situated on 18 acres in San Antonio’s Cattleman Square Historic District.


Avoid alphabet soup. Spell out the formal name of the center or institute on first reference. On second reference, it is preferable to refer to the center or the institute.

César E. Chávez Boulevard/Durango Boulevard

The boulevard that runs near the Downtown Campus’ Durango Building was renamed César E. Chávez Boulevard. Note the accents. The Durango Building will not change names.


Chair is the preferred term for UTSA department heads. However, keep the appropriate term for historical accuracy if referring to a past chairman or chairwoman; in references to people who work outside the university, use their preferred titles.

Eugene Dowdy is chair of the Department of Music.

This year’s keynote address will be presented by Jim Dublin, chairman and CEO of public relations firm Dublin and Associates.


Not synonymous with Hispanic and could be used to reflect political affiliation. Use with caution.

child care

Two words in all instances.

chat room


A person is a citizen of a nation, but a resident of a city or state.

City of ... /city of ...

Capitalize city of and state of constructions when referring specifically to governmental bodies—but not geographic locales. Otherwise, lowercase them (per Chicago; an exception to AP style):

A $1 million contribution from the City of San Antonio helped fund the construction.

UTSA is located in the city of San Antonio.

Effective Jan. 1, 2004, smoking is prohibited in enclosed places in the city of San Antonio.


Avoid using coed. See inclusive writing.


UTSA has nine colleges:

  • College of Architecture, Construction and Planning
  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Engineering
  • College for Health, Community and Policy
  • College of Liberal and Fine Arts
  • College of Sciences
  • Honors College
  • University College


See also campuswide.


Colons are most often used at the end of a complete sentence to introduce a list. Do not use a colon to separate a direct object from a verb within a complete sentence (see lists for more information):

There are four UTSA campuses: Main Campus, Downtown Campus and Hemisfair Campus and Park West Campus.

The four UTSA campuses are Main Campus, Downtown Campus, Hemisfair Campus and Park West Campus.

NOT The four UTSA campuses are: Main Campus, Downtown Campus, Hemisfair Campus and Park West Campus.

If a colon is desired, the text may be rewritten to make it grammatically appropriate to use one:

For more information, contact Lisa Palacios, director of graduate recruiting, at


For more information:
Lisa Palacios
Director of Graduate Recruiting

NOT For more information, contact: Lisa Palacios, director of graduate recruiting, at


Do not use the serial comma (sometimes known as the Oxford comma) in a list of three or more items (the final comma before and, or or nor) in press releases or publicity materials, unless the use of a comma prevents confusion or an element within the list requires its own conjunction. The serial comma is acceptable in magazines and other long-form formats.

Courses are offered in the spring, summer and fall semesters.

BUT She’s taking classes in consumer health, nutrition and health, and human sexuality.

When the items in the series contain commas themselves, use semicolons between all of the items:

New board members are Dinah Covert, owner of Covert Enterprises, a consultant in licensing and accrediting facilities; Rob Killen, attorney and partner with the law firm Castro & Killen; and Joe Solis, small business owner.

The letters in question are dated Aug. 7, 1991; June 20, 1992; and Nov. 1, 1995.

The company has plants in Naples, Fla.; Bellingham, Wash.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.

For numbers larger than 999, use a comma to mark off the thousands, millions, etc. An exception is SAT scores. See also numbers.

1,001 nights; 35,000 students

When they follow a person’s name, qualifiers such as Ph.D. and C.P.A. are preceded by a comma; a second comma follows the qualifier in running copy:

The opening remarks by Beth Michaels, M.A., set the tone.

However, do not set off Jr., Sr. or III with commas:

Felix D. Almaraz Jr., the Maury Maverick Sr. Award, H. Paul LeBlanc III

Set off a geographical unit’s name with commas when it follows the name of a smaller geographical unit found within its borders:

Paris, Texas, is a small community.

The same holds true for a year, if a day of the month precedes it:

April 1, 2008, is not an official holiday. BUT She knew April 2008 was the deadline for contest submissions.

Always set off a parenthetical (nonessential) expression with commas. In the following example, Barack Obama is parenthetical because it does not narrow the meaning of U.S. president (the United States has only one president):

The U.S. president, Barack Obama, will be there.

NOT The U. S. president Barack Obama will be there.

NOT The United States President, Barack Obama will be there.

When using a title, do not use a comma:

U.S. President Barack Obama will be there.

The abbreviations e.g. and i.e. are always followed by a comma and are used in a parenthetical remark; if used in a nonparenthetical situation, they are always spelled out:

List your favorite design programs (e.g., Quark, InDesign).

The editor discouraged use of the serial comma, that is, the final comma in a series of objects.

Commas appear after, not before, an expression in parentheses (like this), and they always go inside quotation marks:

"It’s time to leave," he said.


Use compose when referring to something created or put together. It can be used in both active and passive voices. Comprise means to contain, to include all or to embrace. It should be used in active voice. Do not use comprised of:

The aquifer is composed of fractured limestone that filters and stores water.

The Texas Diversity Council is composed of five councils serving the greater metropolitan areas of Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

The archive comprises letters, papers and 350 graphics reflecting the history of late 20th century printmaking on the West Coast.


The archive is comprised of letters, papers and 350 graphics reflecting the history of late 20th century printmaking on the West Coast.


Lowercase, unless used as a title before a name.


Use a comma before a conjunction separating two noun-verb clauses:

The vice president met with the director, but they didn’t come to any conclusions.

Students should apply early for scholarships, and the Scholarship Office should ensure that they have all the information required.

BUT She attended classes daily and took notes.

core curriculum requirement


See COVID-19.

course names

Each course has a course number and title, which is always capitalized; there is no punctuation between the course number and course title. Also capitalize if the official course name is referred to without the number; however, lowercase a general reference to a course:

CHE 5643 Advanced Organic Chemistry

Professor Walmsley will teach Advanced Organic Chemistry I.

Professor Walmsley will teach a graduate chemistry course.


courtesy titles

In general, avoid courtesy titles except in formal invitations, etc.

Dr. is used only for doctors of medicine, not for those with a Ph.D.

The Reverend, the Rev.

Use The Honorable or The Hon. only on formal invitations and other formal documents.


Acceptable on first reference for the novel coronavirus disease that first appeared in late 2019. COVID is short for coronavirus disease and the 19 refers to the year of its appearance. When referring specifically to the virus, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable.

COVID-19 is not the name of the virus itself, though. The disease is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2.

Because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19.


COVID-19 spreads through the air

scientists are investigating how long COVID-19 may remain on surfaces

she worries about catching COVID-19

In each of those examples, it should be the coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 or the novel coronavirus, not COVID-19.

Also, per AP guidance, the possessive form for virus is virus’s, which does seemingly contradict typical AP style.

CPS Energy

credit hours

Use numerals to refer to credit hours, even in running text (an exception to AP style):

3 credit hours


In general, do not use a hyphen when combining cyber with another word beginning with a consonant:.

cybercafe, cybersecurity, cyberspace, cyberterrorism

NOTE: UTSA’s Institute for Cyber Security Research is two words.

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