In addition to AP Style, Texas A&M has a style unique to our organization. These types of rules are known as "house style."
Here are some of the most commonly used AP and house style rules:
- 1. Abbreviations
Never abbreviate "university," "department" or "association."
Abbreviations of degrees, expressions of time and names of countries use periods with no spaces between the elements. Include a hyphen with no spaces for spans of time.
- U.S. (with periods in the body of a story; no periods when used in a headline or subhead)
- 2 a.m.
- 1:30 p.m.
- 2-4 p.m.
- 3:30-5:30 p.m.
- 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Do not put a space between initials used as a first name.
- E.B. White
Add an "s" with no apostrophe to plural forms of abbreviations.
- The committee was made up of CEOs and CFOs.
- 2. Academic colleges and departments
Capitalize only if referring to a specific academic unit by its full, proper name.
- College of Engineering
- history department
- Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
- She is a professor of mechanical engineering.
- 3. Academic titles
Use "Dr." before a person's name on first reference if the person has an M.D. or Ph.D. Using both is redundant, so instead clarify what kind of doctor they are in another fashion. Do not use "Dr." in subsequent references, just the last name.
- Dr. Robin Murphy is a professor of engineering and an expert in disaster robotics. Murphy and her team members have been deployed to a number of disaster sites.
- Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, director of Student Health Services, is a board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology.
Capitalize titles before a person's name, but not after.
- Professor of International Affairs Mary Clark led the lecture.
- Mary Clark, professor of international affairs, led the lecture.
- The professor led the lecture.
- John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System
Lowercase and spell out titles when not used with an individual’s name.
- The dean gave the Mays Business School communications staff the week off.
Very long titles are more readable when placed after a name, and are then not capitalized.
- Joe Aggie, chief financial officer and executive vice president for finance and administration, read the newspaper while drinking coffee.
- 4. Academic degrees and terminology
Use an apostrophe with academic degrees, lowercase; uppercase when spelled out.
- bachelor's degree, master's degree
- Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, etc.
Limit academic jargon like "cohort" and "pedagogy" to direct quotes.
- 5. Acronyms
In general, do not use abbreviations or acronyms the average reader would not quickly recognize, including in headlines and subheads. Spell out the names of colleges, schools, organizations, firms, agencies, groups, etc. on first reference. Acronyms may be used for subsequent references and should be included on first reference, in parentheses.
Do not use the acronym "TAMU" except in a URL or email address, or if part of a formal name such as a student organization.
- The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) is the state's primary engineering research agency. TEES was established in 1914.
- TAMU Bee Veterinarians is a student organization at Texas A&M University.
- 6. adviser/advisor
Use "adviser" unless "advisor" is part of an official title.
- 7. Ages
Always use digits.
- The 17-year-old took graduate-level courses.
- The student, who switched his major 11 times, is 32 years old.
- The dean is in her 60s. (No apostrophe)
- 8. Aggie Ring, Aggie Spirit, Aggie Network, Aggie Band, Aggie Moms, etc.
Capitalized as official names, but not when using just the noun. The term "Aggie" is also a proper noun on its own and should always be capitalized.
- She received her Aggie Ring. The ring was engraved with her name.
- Being a member of the Aggie Network is a privilege enjoyed by more than 500,000 former students.
- The corps commander spoke at length about the Aggie Spirit. This kind of spirit is unrivaled.
- 9. alumnus/alumni
Use alumnus (singular) and alumni (plural) for graduates of any gender. In most cases, "former student" is preferred for a Texas A&M graduate or student who attended but did not graduate.
- Although she was an alumnus of The University of Texas (and chair of its alumni association), she encourages everyone she knows to attend Texas A&M.
- Several former students founded the organization.
- 10. Ampersands
With the exception of the university name, ampersands may be used in logos but not in headlines, subheads or body copy.
- Logo — College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
- Text — College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- 11. baccalaureate
In most cases, the less formal "bachelor's degree" is preferred.
- 12. Board of Regents
Use "The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents" on first reference. Use "board of regents" or "board" in subsequent references. Lowercase "board" and "regents" if used separately. Note: the board doesn't vote, the regents do.
- At the board's last meeting, the regents voted to hire more writers to help tell the Texas A&M story.
- 13. capital/capitol
Capital refers to the city; capitol refers to the building where the seat of government is housed. Capitalize when referring to the building. "Capitol building" is redundant.
- The Capitol is in Austin, the capital city of Texas.
- 14. Capitalization
Capitalize official names; do not capitalize unofficial, informal, shortened or generic names. Do not capitalize simply to denote emphasis or importance.
- The museum expects record attendance at its new exhibit, "Brand Council: The Untold Story."
- The College of Engineering (the engineering college, the college)
- Texas A&M Task Force 1 (the task force)
- Corps of Cadets (the corps)
Capitalize names of celebrations or events.
- Family Weekend
- Howdy Week
- March to the Brazos
Do not capitalize seasons, semesters or academic periods other than Spring Break.
- The spring 2020 semester was one to remember.
- After losing the bet, he let his beard grow from the fall semester through Spring Break.
Capitalize the full names of committees.
- The Academic Affairs Committee will meet tomorrow. The committee will discuss proposed new courses.
- 15. Class year
As appropriate, include the last two digits of the class year after the name, with an inverted apostrophe. When referring to a former student with multiple degrees, list the degrees in the order in which they were received. When referring to a couple who are both former students, include the last two digits of the class year with an apostrophe after each person's name.
- Lowry Mays ’57
- "Northgate had fewer bars and more pickup trucks when I was a student," said John O’Reilly ’77, ’79. O'Reilly earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in geology.
- Marvin ’98 and Marlene Finkelstein Smith ’03
- 16. Core Values
When referring to the six Texas A&M University Core Values, capitalize "Core Values" and list them in alphabetical order. Do not capitalize unless referring to all six at once. Note: "RELLIS" is the name of a campus and should not be used to collectively refer to the values.
- Students are proud of Texas A&M's Core Values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service.
- Graduate student Sherry Johnson said the university's core values of excellence and selfless service keep her motivated.
- 17. doctoral/doctorate
Use doctoral as an adjective and doctorate as a noun, but Ph.D. is preferred.
- She received her doctoral degree last Saturday.
- She received her doctorate in English.
- She received her Ph.D. in English.
- 18. em dash
Put a space on both sides of the dash. En dashes are not allowed per AP Style.
- Leadership — a Texas A&M core value — is developed through more than 1,000 student-led clubs and organizations.
- 19. emeritus/emeriti
Emeritus and emeriti are the preferred singular and plural terms of professors of any gender.
- 20. faculty
Singular when used as a collective noun.
- The faculty was protesting the requirement to end each class with "Thanks, and Gig ’em!"
- 21. Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band
Use an apostrophe to indicate the missing "g."
- 22. fiscal year
Do not capitalize when spelled out. When abbreviated, capitalize and put a space between FY and the year.
- She planned to give her lottery winnings to the university in fiscal year 2018.
- The university's FY 2019 budget will reflect her generous donation.
- 23. fundraising/fundraiser
One word in all cases.
- 24. Gameday
One word, capitalized only when beginning a sentence.
- 25. Gig ’em
Two words. Capitalize the “G” and use an apostrophe.
- 26. grades
Use a capital letter when referring to a grade. When plural, use an apostrophe.
- She made all A's last year.
- 27. half-staff/half-mast
Flags are lowered to half-staff, not half-mast.
- 28. international students
This phrase is preferred over "foreign students."
- 29. internet, web and website
No need to capitalize.
- 30. land-grant university
Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
- 31. legislation, legislative, legislature
Do not capitalize unless it begins a sentence. Capitalize when referencing a particular legislative body. Do not capitalize when used as a generic term.
- That is a legislative matter, not a judicial one.
- legislative special item
- The law-making body in a democracy is called a legislature.
- The Texas Legislature meets every other year in Austin.
Refer to bills as House Bill 1 or Senate Bill 1, or as HB 1 or SB 1 (no periods, no space between the letters, with a space between the letters and number).
- 32. matriculate
Matriculate means to enroll, not graduate. Use this term sparingly since many readers might not be familiar with it.
- 33. Nobel Prize
It's the Nobel Prize in physics, physiology or medicine, and the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. A recipient is a Nobel laureate. "Received" or "was awarded" is preferred over "won."
- 34. Numbers
Spell out numbers one-nine; use digits for 10 and above. Spell out numbers if they appear first in a sentence.
- The professor said nine students attended the event.
- There were 67 students enrolled in the course.
- One hundred years ago, the university was a very different place.
- 35. Punctuation
Punctuation always goes inside quotation marks.
- 36. state/federal
Capitalize when referring to a governmental entity by its official name, but not when referring to geographical areas.
- The student is from the state of Arkansas.
- The city is seeking federal aid to help with rebuilding costs.
- Texas State Guard
- Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- 37. student employee
This phrase is preferred over student worker.
- 38. tailgate
One word, not capitalized
- 39. United States
Spell out as a noun; abbreviate (with no space between the letters) as an adjective.
- The United States is a popular destination for students from China.
- The official U.S. policy has not changed.
- 40. The Texas A&M University System
Use "The Texas A&M University System" on first reference (with "The" capitalized) and "Texas A&M System" on second reference. "A&M System" and "the system" may be used in subsequent sentences.
When referencing A&M System universities and agencies, always use the institution's complete name on first reference and its preferred acronym or abbreviation on second reference. Texas A&M's two branch campuses use "at" in their names, and the other universities use an en dash.
- 41. university name
Use "Texas A&M University" on first reference; "Texas A&M" on subsequent references. "A&M" alone may be used sparingly but never in a headline, subhead or lead. Do not put a space in between the letters and ampersand (A & M). As noted in the section on acronyms, "TAMU" should never be used, with the exception of email addresses and URLs, or if part of a formal name.
- 42. years
In most cases, except to indicate a graduating class year, use the full four digits. Do not use an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries.
- Enrollment for fall 2016 rose sharply.
- She enrolled for the 2021-22 academic year.
- He graduated in the 1990s.
- Her research topic was French literature from 1650 to 1700.
- The banner read, "The Class of ’07 welcomes you to Aggieland."