Editorial Style Guide

Names and Titles


NYU Tandon School of Engineering is used in all instances when referring to our institution. Not used: NYU-Poly, Poly, Polytechnic, the Institute, university, or the University.


Corporate and organizational titles
Titles of persons holding offices such as those listed below are rarely used as part of a name. If a short form is required, either the generic term or simply a personal name suffices.

The chief executive officer; Susan Franklin, chief operating officer of Caterham Corporation; the CEO of the corporation
The director; Beverly Jarrett, director of the University of Missouri Press
The school superintendent; Allan Alson, superintendent of Evanston Township High School District
The secretary-treasurer; Georgina Fido, secretary-treasurer of the Kenilworth Kennel Society

Academic titles 

The professor; Francoise Meltzer, professor of comparative literature; Professor Meltzer
The char; James R. Norris, chair of the Department of Chemistry; Professor Norris
The provost; Richard P. Saller, provost of the University of Chicago; Mr. Saller
The president; Don Michael Randel, president of the University of Chicago; Mr. Randel or President Randel
The dean; Joyce Feucht-Haviar, dean of the College of Extended Learning; Dean Feucht-Haviar
Named professorships; Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School; Professor Doniger, Anthony Grafton, Dodge Professor of History, Princeton University; Professor Grafton
The professor emeritus (masc.); the professor emerita (fem.); professors emeriti (masc. or masc. and fem.); professors emeritae (fem.); Professor Emerita Neugarten

Degrees and year


Names of degrees, fellowships and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.
A master's degree; a doctorate; a fellowship; master of business administration (MBA)
Terms denoting student status are lowercased.
Freshman or first-year student; sophomore; junior; senior


Academic Subjects

Academic subjects, e.g., electrical engineering, technical communications, physics, are not capitalized unless they are proper nouns, e.g., Spanish literature. Capitalization is used, however, when referring to a particular course title, e.g., Introduction to Mechanical Engineering or Special Topics in Physics.

Article titles

Headline style capitalization (see description above) is used.

Professional titles

(see Names and Titles > People > Corporate and organizational titles)

Headings, subheadings

Headline style capitalization in which most important words, e.g., nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs are capitalized, is used in headings and subheadings. For specific rules on headline style capitalization, see Chicago 8.167. In some cases, like this Style Guide, where there are multiple levels of information, it may be necessary to use sentence style capitalization (only the first word of a heading or subheading is capitalized) to manage the hierarchy of information. In such cases, consistency of headline and sentence styles is used.

Sentences and paragraphs

Full sentences and paragraphs are never formatted using all caps. To emphasize a phrase or sentence, bold or italics are used in favor of all caps.



Bulleted lists are used in place of, or combined with, paragraphs whenever possible. They are easier to scan than paragraphs, and in turn, are great tools for getting important messages across.

Characteristics of a Good Bulleted List:

  • Contains no more than 5 to 10 items (logically organized groups of lists w/ headings are used when necessary)
  • Is written in parallel format, i.e., the first word in each bullet is the same part of speech
  • Appears directly under the text, which can be in sentence form or a heading, introducing the bulleted list
  • Wraps multiple lines under the text rather than under the bullet
  • Has hard line breaks between items if they are longer than a couple of lines
  • Uses the bullet style set by the Poly.edu content management system


Numbered lists are used for instructions where it is important to show a step-by-step process. Numbered lists are not used for any other type of list, e.g., topics covered in a course, characteristics of a good bulleted list. Numbered lists follow the guidelines of good bulleted lists noted above and the punctuation rules below.

  1. Periods are used at the end of an item when it contains more than one complete sentence
  2. Lists set off by sentences: Semicolons are used at the end of each item when a list is set off by a sentence. A period is used at the end of the last item.
    Reporting for the Development Committee, Jobson reported that:
    1. A fundraising campaign director was being sought;
    2. The salary for this director, about $50,000 a year, would be paid out of campaign funds; and
    3. The fundraising campaign would be launched in the spring of 2005.
  3. Numbered lists: Numbered lists use periods at the end of each sentence/step.
    To change your password, follow these steps:
    1. Go to: https://poly.edu/pwd.cgi.
    2. Enter your email username and current (old) password.
    3. Enter your new password in the "New Password" and "Retype New Password."
    4. Click "Change Password."


Spelling out vs. using numerals

In general, spell out numbers one through nine, and use figures for numbers 10 and higher. Common exceptions include:

  • When the number is the first word in a sentence, it's spelled out.
  • Ages
  • Dates
  • Dollars
  • Times

Punctuation marks

Apostrophes: An apostrophe is not used before the "s" when indicating a period of time, e.g., the 1900s. An apostrophe is used when a year is abbreviated, e.g., in '99.


Headings and text

No hard line breaks are used between headings and their corresponding text. This is done to avoid "floating headings" that confuse the relationship between a heading and the text it refers to. Hard line breaks are used between a set or group of heading and text or text blocks.

About the Program
NYU Tandon School of Engineering's undergraduate program in chemical and biological engineering is a modern version of the traditional chemical engineering curriculum. It aims to provide a solid foundation in science and the engineering sciences. An integrated set of chemical and biological engineering courses is built upon this foundation.

Design is an essential part of the chemical and biological engineering education and is incorporated into many of the courses. Generally, as students progress through the curriculum and learn more fundamental engineering science, more design components are introduced into the courses and the complexity of the design problems increases.


No hard line breaks are used between a question and the answer it relates to. Hard line breaks do appear between a question and answer set.

Q. What information will the Office of Alumni Relations release regarding my attendance at NYU Tandon School of Engineering?
A. The Office of Alumni Relations does not release contact information without the permission of the alumnus except for the following: year of graduation, major, degree(s) awarded.

Q. As an alumnus, can I use the library’s collection of on-line journals and databases?
A. Alumni can only use the online journals and databases while physically in the Dibner Library. These resources are not currently available off-site to non-students.

Punctuation marks

Periods, commas, semicolons, exclamation points, question marks
One space is used after all periods, commas, semicolons, exclamation points and question marks whether they appear at the end of a sentence or in the middle. Using two spaces after a period, exclamation point or question mark that appears between two sentences is unnecessary (digital typefaces are designed to not need them) and visually problematic (they can create "rivers" of spaces in paragraphs, for example).

A space is used before and after an em-dash.


Bold, italic, underline

Words are set in bold or italicized to show emphasis or indicate a specific type of text, e.g., a heading. Excessive use of bold or italics is avoided. Underlines are not used because they can confuse readers by making a word or phrase look like hypertext when it is not. Bold is NOT used for subheads; h6 format tags are used instead to provide better search results.


Only colors in the predefined color palette are used.


Formatting of text using the editor in the CMS follows the example below:

What Should I Do During a Psychological Emergency?(format = h4, the format for major subheads)

An emergency is a situation in which a student is feeling desperate, hopeless, very disoriented, and/or out of control (and perhaps in danger of harming himself/herself or someone else). Below are examples of some types of psychological emergencies and steps to follow if you should face one of them. If you are unsure if a situation is an emergency, please contact CAPS Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We will be happy to talk with you about the situation. (format = normal, the format for body copy)

A student has made a suicide attempt: (format = h6, the format for minor subheads; h6 is used instead of bold which is used only within sentences for emphasis)
  • Call 911 to request the appropriate emergency medical response
  • Notify Campus Security of the situation at 646.997.3537
  • Contact CAPS at 646.997.3456 (format = unordered, bullet list; note that the bullets will appear differently within the CMS compared to this document)


Professional and academic titles

Professional and academic titles are spelled out. See Names and Titles > People > Academic titles for capitalization guidelines.


Periods are omitted from abbreviations of academic degrees.

BA Bachelor of Arts
BFA Bachelor of Fine Arts
BS Bachelor of Science
EdD Doctor of Education
JD Juris Doctor
MA Master of Arts
MBA Master of Business Administration
MD Medicinae Doctor (Doctor of Medicine)
MFA Master of Fine Arts
MS Master of Science
MSN Master of Science in Nursing
PhB Philosophiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Philosophy)
PhD Philosophiae Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy)

Technology Terms

The formats below are used for technology terms:

  • email
  • ebook
  • internet
  • online
  • website