A-Z Online Style Guide

For the most part, The Fletcher School website follows punctuation, capitalization and usage guidelines outlined in the Associated Press Stylebook Online, which is available to the entire Fletcher community through the Ginn Library (password required).

Fletcher-specific style guidelines are included in the A-Z guide below.


Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as professor or dean when they immediately precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere:                                                                        

      Professor of International Law John Smith
      John Smith, professor of
international law
the professor
      Associate Dean Jane Smith
      Jane Smith, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Exception: Named and Endowed chairs and professorships are always capitalized.

      Alan K. Henrikson, the Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History

Abbreviations, Salutations: In a salutation, abbreviations are permitted only when followed by first and last name together. Spell out salutations when followed by the last name only:

      Prof. John Smith

      Professor Smith

Always identify faculty members by their academic rank and department in published materials. If a faculty member holds many titles, use the one most relevant to the content the name is being used in.


If spelling out the degree use all lowercase letters: bachelor of arts, doctor of philosophy.  Do not follow the name of the degree with the word degree. Use an apostrophe in the short term: bachelor’s degree, master’s.

For professional degrees, DO NOT use periods for the purposes on The Fletcher School website.

      BA, MIB, PhD, MALD, LLM

Do not include a courtesy title for an academic degree followed by the abbreviation in the same reference:

       WRONG: Dr. Paul Parry, MD, is chair of the department   

       CORRECT: Dr. Paul Parry is the chair of the department

The title of “doctor” is only used in reference to those with MDs, and then only on first reference. People with PhDs are not referred to as Dr.


Capitalize only when using the full, formal name of a department. Lowercase other forms:

         the Office of the Senior Associate Dean
         the senior associate dean's office


Use a hyphen when writing out an academic year instead of slashes or other marks. Spell out the entire year:

         WRONG: The 2011/2011 parking passes are available in the public safety office

         WRONG: Parking passes from the public safety office are now available for the 2012-13 academic year

         CORRECT: Parking passes from the public safety office are now available for the 2012-2013 academic year


Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. only with a numbered address: 136 Harrison Ave. Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Harrison Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Washington and Harrison avenues. All similar words (alley, drive, road, circle, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out. Always use figures for an address number. 13 Memorial Boulevard. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two digits for 10th and above. 3 Ninth Ave., 336 21st St.


Affect, as a verb, means to influence: The rain affected Amy’s hair. How will this test affect my grade?  Effect, as a verb, means to cause: You will effect these changes on Monday. Effect, as a nouns, means result: The test had a bad effect on my grade.


The term African American refers to Americans of African decent or a black Americans. Do not hyphenate as a noun or an adjective. African American students.  Black is the preferred term when country of origin is either unknown or irrelevant. Use your best judgment based on the context.

The Black Cultural Center is a base for students of all races to come together to discuss issues at hand.
The Joseph L. Barton scholarship is given to African American students who meet the criteria listed below.


Use figures only. When used as modifier or noun, use hyphens: A 9-year-old girl won the race. The 3-year-olds sang the opening song. My cousin is 12 years old. My niece, 13, has a brother, 10. This applies to all things concerning age. The reconstruction has been an 8 year process.


Alumnus refers to a man; plural is alumni. Alumna refers to a woman; plural is alumnae. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. An alumnus is a title give to individuals who graduated with a degree from the institution. Those who attended but did not complete their degree should be referenced as “former student.”

a.m., p.m.

These time references should be written in lowercase with periods. For noon and midnight use the words noon and midnight instead of 12. Use the a.m. and p.m. after figures to designate the correct time. Avoid redundancy such as 4 p.m. in the evening.


Do not use the phrase first annual. An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years. In the first year of an event, describe it as the first, or as inaugural. Designated annuals should not be capitalized.

  • WRONG: The first annual Mr. Tufts will be held this year during homecoming weekend.  
  • CORRECT: The first Mr. Tufts will be held this year during homecoming weekend.                                              
  • WRONG: The Ninth Annual Battle of the Bands will take place on Boston Common
  • CORRECT: The ninth annual Battle of the Bands will take place on Boston Common   


Short for application. An app is a program that runs inside another service. Many cellphones allow applications to be downloaded i.e. Iphone apps. App is acceptable on second reference. Names of apps are capitalized without quotations or italics.


This is the preferred spelling


See African American. Do not hyphenate as a noun or an adjective. When country of origin is unknown or irrelevant, the word Asian is preferred.


Capitalize when part of the official name of the award:
      Lawrence Krohn, professor of practice in international economics, has been awarded the James L. Paddock Teaching Award. An additional award will be granted following the review of the research.