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Division of Communications and Marketing

University style basics

academic titles

Academic titles should be capitalized when they precede a name, but lowercased elsewhere. Spell out formal titles such as chancellor or chairman. In general, use professor as a title. Avoid using Ph.D. unless necessary to establish credentials and do not use professor and Ph.D. together. 


  1. Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz will attend the event.
  2. Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University, will attend the event.
  3. The university president will attend the event.
  4. The university recognized Tom Jones, professor of biology, for his accomplishments.
  5. The university recognized Professor Tom Jones for his accomplishments.
  6. Tom Jones, Ph.D., led the study.
adviser, advisor

Both adviser and advisor are acceptable. AP style uses adviser.



Identify former students and graduates by the last two digits of their class years with an apostrophe before the year.

Example: Amy Button Renz ’76, ’86 is president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association.

Alum – Do not use
Alumna – feminine
Alumnae – feminine plural
Alumnus – masculine
Alumni – male plural or male and female plural


Use lowercase with periods and no spaces. Avoid redundancies such as 6 p.m. tonight. If a.m. or p.m. occurs at the end of a sentence, use only one period at the end.


An event is not considered annual unless it has occurred at least two consecutive years. Do not use first annual. Use inaugural or simply indicate that the sponsors intend to conduct the event annually.


One word.


When using the proper name of a college, capitalize it. When using only the general term college or using college as a second reference, lowercase it.


When including dates in a news release, it should be time day, date, place. Follow this style when dealing with all events, including those happening within seven days.

Example: The event is at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9, in the K-State Student Union. 

department (K-State)

Second reference: the department. Consider the audience when referring to Kansas State University departments. Capitalize the proper name of the department but not shortened versions. Capitalize words that are proper nouns or adjectives. When preparing news for media outlets, follow AP style and lowercase department names.


  1. the Department of History; the department of history (AP style); the history department (shortened version)
  2. the Department of English; the department of English (AP style); the English department (shortened version)

In general, do not use Dr. before a name of someone who has a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree. To establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to use a phrase. Avoid using Ph.D. unless necessary to establish credentials.

It is acceptable to use Dr. on first reference as a formal title before the name of a physician or an individual who is a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry or doctor of osteopathic medicine.


  1. Susie Smith, professor of chemistry
  2. John Doe, who has a doctorate in biology

No hyphen. When including a Kansas State University email address in writing, list it as name@k-state.edu. Only use @ksu.edu in the email address if that is the only way the email address will work. 

Kansas State University

Second reference: the university. Do not use K-State University. Avoid using KSU unless space limitations require it. K-State is acceptable on second reference for an on-campus or in-state audience or for publications directed at alumni. Lowercase university when used alone. The main university campus is in Manhattan and two other campuses are in Olathe and Salina. The university was established as Bluemont Central College in 1860. It was designated as the first land-grant university under the Morrill Act in 1863 and renamed Kansas State Agricultural College.

Kansas State University Olathe

Second reference: K-State Olathe. See style guide for full entry.

Kansas State University Salina

Second reference: K-State Salina. See style guide for full entry.


Lowercase majors, disciplines, programs, specializations or concentrations of study.


  1. She studies physics.
  2. She is studying sociology with a concentration in women’s studies.
more than, over

Over refers to location. Example: The cow jumped over the moon. Over is not interchangeable with more thanMore than refers to figures. Example: More than 20,000 students attend Kansas State University.

online, offline

One word without a hyphen.


When listing items, do not use a comma before andExample: Anna, Billy and Cole went to the park.

Periods and commas go inside quotes.

Use exclamation points sparingly and only use one.


One word.

telephone numbers

Use figures and hyphens. Example: 785-532-0000


One word.