AP Style at USC


  • Use the University of South Carolina on first reference. After the first reference, other terms such as Carolina, USC and the university may be used to add variety. USC as a second reference is used sparingly when we are targeting national or international audiences.
  • Lowercase the "t" when making formal reference to the University of South Carolina. When using the name as a stand-alone title or referring to the university in a tabular list or address, omit the.


  • When referring to all eight campuses, the use of system is acceptable. The name University of South Carolina or the university refers to the Columbia campus in pieces specific to that campus. It may also be used as a reference to all campuses.
  • Formal written reference to a campus should consist of University of South Carolina followed by a word space and the name of the individual campus. USC may be used in place of University of South Carolina for a more informal reference to a campus. Do not use a hyphen, dash, or comma before the campus name. Do not use prepositions such as in or at University of South Carolina Columbia University of South Carolina Aiken or USC Aiken University of South Carolina Beaufort or USC Beaufort
  • The Columbia campus can be referred to as the University of South Carolina's main campus.
  • Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate should be referred to as comprehensive or four-year campuses.
  • Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union should be referred to as regional campuses. They should not be referred to as two-year or branch campuses.
  • When referring informally to any campus, do not capitalize the word campus. The Sumter campus will hold graduation ceremonies on May 7. Funds were sought for renovations on the USC Beaufort campus. Note: With this language, USC and the university become the official reference for all eight campuses. A particular campus should be referred to in one of the ways noted above.

Named Schools

  • Use the Darla Moore School of Business for all standard first references. Moore School is an acceptable second reference.
  • Use Arnold School of Public Health for all standard references. The full name — The Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health — should be used only for formal occasions (e.g., commencement) or for legal purposes. Arnold School is an acceptable second reference.
  • The with an initial capital T is part of the official name of The Graduate School. See "Glossary" for complete list of schools, colleges and campus names.

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  • When in doubt, do not capitalize.


  • The official names of departments when used in text: He enrolled in USC's Department of Civil Engineering. Exceptions: The South Carolina Honors College may be referred to as the Honors College. (Otherwise a repetition occurs when the name is attached to the University of South Carolina.) When denoting the administrative unit of the Division of Libraries and Information Systems, the term University Libraries should be used. (This distinguishes the administrative unit versus the physical locations, which would be referred to as university libraries.)
  • All conferred and traditional, educational, occupational and business titles when used specifically in front of the name; do not capitalize these titles when they follow the name. President Harris Pastides, University of South Carolina Les Sternberg, dean Professor T.S. Sudarshan is chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Note: In tabular matter and addresses, these titles may be capitalized regardless of location. Exception: When a word such as former is used in conjunction with a title and name, the title does not get capitalized, as it is considered part of a compound adjective (i.e. former president John M. Palms).
  • The words association, building, center, club, conference, department, division, hall, office, program, senate, street etc., when used as part of a title; thereafter, do not capitalize the words when used alone to refer to that specific place or group. the Faculty Senate; thereafter, the senate the Department of History; thereafter, the department the Audiovisual Center; thereafter, the center the Marine Science Program; thereafter, the program
  • The words offices, colleges and departments, when referring to more than one individual office, college, or department. Colleges of Education and Nursing
  • Board of Trustees; thereafter, the trustees
  • A specific course or subject. ENGL 285 Themes in American Writing
  • Names of athletic clubs and teams. the Gamecocks the Carolina Panthers
  • The word room when used to designate a particular room. Room 21 of Gambrell Hall
  • Official college degrees when spelled out. Bachelor of Fine Arts, but bachelor's degree Master of Philosophy, but master's degree

Do Not Capitalize

  • Words such as college, school, department, office, division, association and conference when they stand alone, even if they refer to a specific, previously identified entity.
  • Titles standing alone or in apposition. The dean of the Moore School of Business must approve all research papers. Contact the budget director for further information. Nancy A. Smith, professor of English, will speak at the symposium.
  • Names of school or college studies, fields of study, options, curricula, major areas, or major subjects, except languages, unless a specific course is being referred to (see B9). He is studying philosophy and English. Each student must meet core requirements in biological sciences and liberal arts. The university offers a curriculum in textiles and clothing.
  • The unofficial or informal names of departments when used in text. He enrolled in the civil engineering department.
  • Organized groups or classes of students in a university or high school, or the words freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate. John Smith is a junior in the College of Engineering and Computing. The senior class will hold its annual election tomorrow. However, when referring to a class according to its year of graduation, capitalize Class. The program was made possible by a gift from the Class of 1988. The Class of 2004 initiated environmental awareness week.

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  • When in doubt, spell the word out.


  • Complimentary titles, such as Mr., Mrs., and Dr., but do not use them in combination with any other title or with abbreviations indicating scholastic or academic degrees. These and similar titles are typically not used in running text after first reference. Paul Huston, Ph.D., not Dr. Paul Huston, Ph.D. Carol Green, MD, or Roger White, DVM, not Dr. Carol Green, MD, or Mr. Roger White, DVM
  • The degrees Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, Associate in Science to B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., MD, BFA, BAIS, and AS, respectively. Except for Ph.D. and similar compound abbreviations, all degree abbreviations should be without periods.
  • Use GPA in caps without periods. We do not use the term GPR.
  • When it is necessary to use a subject-matter designation and course number to identify a specific course, e.g., ENGL 101 Composition, use the official course code.
  • When names of universities, government agencies or other organizations are abbreviated as acronyms (first letter of each word), use full caps with no periods: USC (not U.S.C.), ROTC, MIT. Stick to well-known abbreviations and minimize use of acronyms to avoid creating an alphabet soup.


  • African-American is hyphenated in all uses. Avoid using Africa-American with other racial styles. For example, do not say "African-American students made up half the university's population; the rest were white." Do say, "Half the students were black; half were white."
  • Alumnus is the singular reference for a male graduate; alumna, the singular reference for a female graduate; alumni, the plural reference to a mixed group of male and female graduates or male graduates only; alumnae, the plural reference for female graduates only.
  • catalog, not catalogue
  • chair is acceptable when referring to a faculty member who holds a chair professorship or is an endowed chair. Use chairman or chairwoman when referring to a faculty member who holds that position of leadership within an academic department.
  • course work, not coursework
  • credit-hour (adjective), credit hour (noun)
  • fundraising (noun), fundraising (adjective), fundraiser (noun)
  • grade point average, not grade-point average
  • online, not on-line
  • Statehouse when referring to the S.C. capitol
  • theater except when the official name of a building or department, when it should be capitalized.
*For answers to other questions of spelling, consult Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary and the AP Stylebook.

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For answers to other questions of style, consult Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

  • Omit S.C. in conjunction with Columbia only when the piece is aimed at a local audience.
  • Doctorate is a noun, and doctoral is an adjective.
  • freshman (adj.): the freshman enrollment (never the freshmen enrollment)
  • international students, not foreign students

Equal Opportunity Statement

  • For university bulletins and other lengthy university publications used for recruitment purposes (especially those containing curriculua/course listings): The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The University of South Carolina has designated as the ADA Title II, Section 504, and Title IX coordinator the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs. The Office of the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs is located at 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 805, Columbia, SC; telephone 803-777-3854.
  • For smaller recruitment booklets and brochures: The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
  • For general brochures, flyers, posters, and other short items: The University of South Carolina is an equal opportunity institution.
  • For official university stationery : An equal opportunity institution

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Electronic Conventions

  • Internet, Web and email addresses should be written all lowercase, unless the address is case sensitive. (When a web address begins with www. or similar, it is not necessary to include http://.)
  • Internet and World Wide Web are treated as proper nouns and capitalized in all instances.
  • Accepted spellings of electronic terms: -online, not on-line -homepage (lowercased in text) - CD-ROM (all uppercase)
  • A long URL or email address may be broken and continued on a second line. Do not add a hyphen where the break appears; instead, make sure the break is after a slash or period in the Web address. Adding a hyphen leads to confusion about whether or not the hyphen itself is part of the address.

Year 2000 and Beyond

  • When writing any span of time that mixes 20th- and 21st-century dates, the full year must be given for both. 1998-2002, not 1998-02
  • When citing class designations, if classes from the 20th and 21st centuries are listed, the full year must be given for all classes mentioned. When the time capsule placed by the Class of 1955 is opened, members of the Class of 2005 will replace it with one of their own.
  • Do not attach the phrase the year to 2000 or beyond. Treat such references as any other year noted. The university celebrated its bicentennial in 2001.

Degrees listed with alumni names

When listing earned degrees with alumni names, the preferred order is: year, degree name (lowercase), discipline (if listed, lowercase). Do not place a comma between the year and degree name, but do place a comma between the degree name and discipline. Use of parentheses around degree information is optional. The last example below is accepted in Carolinian.

Madison Dinkum, 1997 law
Madison Dinkum, 1995 master's
Madison Dinkum, 1993 BA, history
Madison Dinkum (1995 master's, history)
Madison Dinkum, '07

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