Editorial Style Guide

Writers and editors should adhere to Associated Press (AP) Stylebook standards for virtually all writing, except when a UB style standard differs. UB style generally supersedes all other style standards. In the rare instances when adhering to UB style is impossible (due to technical restraints), writers and editors should consistently apply those style adaptations across all content.

University at Buffalo Style Guidelines

UB Style

academic degrees

When abbreviating, do not use punctuation: BS, EdM, MBA, PhD


Acronyms may be used on second reference when referring to UB entities, provided that the formal name of an entity is provided on first reference, along with the acronym to be used: Jane Smith is a scientist at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA)She is a member of the RIA’s unofficial softball team. Long acronyms should be avoided. For entities outside UB, acronyms may be used only in accordance with Associated Press style.


Use ampersand only when it is part of a company’s formal name or composition title, or when used as outlined in the entry in this style guide on years.


Use Downtown Campus to refer to UB’s buildings downtown. Use North Campus to refer to the Amherst campus. Use South Campus to refer to the campus at Bailey Avenue and Main Street. For example: Jane Smith works at UB’s Educational Opportunity Center, part of the Downtown Campus, but takes classes on North Campus and South Campus.


Common names such as “the center” can be used on second reference: UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences is downtownThe center employs top researchers.


Use chair, not chairman, chairperson or chairwoman.


Do not use the courtesy title “Dr.” except in direct quotes: Jane Smith is a prolific researcher. “Dr. Smith has published many papers in peer-reviewed journals this year,” her husband, John Smith, said.

New York State

Capitalize the "s" in state, which is contrary to Associated Press Style.

New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Always use UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences on first reference. On second reference, “the center” is acceptable.

State University of New York

When referring to the State University of New York system or its central administration, use State University of New York in communications targeted to external audiences and in highly formal communications (such as contracts or policy statements). Use SUNY on second reference. SUNY may be used on first reference in communications targeting internal audiences and in less formal communications where the audience is likely to understand what the acronym represents. For example: UB is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) and is the largest of SUNY’s 64 campuses.

SUNY Distinguished Professor

Within the State University of New York system, the rank of distinguished professor is an order above full professorship and has three co-equal designations: SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor. When used in conjunction with reference to specific faculty members, the titles stand alone in that they do not incorporate the name of the faculty member’s department.  Incorrect: Jim D. Atwood is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Chemistry.  Correct: Jim D. Atwood is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and professor in the Department of Chemistry.

UB 2020

Always use a space between “UB” and “2020”: Many regional leaders see UB 2020 as the key to driving economic development in Western New York.


Use the full figure, such as 1984 or 2010, except when referring to the year of graduation of alumni. When referring to the year of graduation of alumni, use the last two digits of the year, preceded by an apostrophe: John Smith, BA ’93, recently published a book. In instances where alumni have two degrees, use an ampersand to separate the degrees. In instances where alumni have more than two degrees, use commas to separate the first degrees in a list and an ampersand to separate the last degrees in a list. List degrees in chronological or reverse chronological order, staying consistent within a publication: John Smith, BA ’93, MSW ’00 & PhD '03, recently published a book; or John Smith, PhD ’03, MSW ’00 & BA ’93, recently published a book. In all cases, the degree precedes the year it was awarded.

Usage and style standards for some UB-specific terms such as “UB 2020. Writers and editors should defer to UB style when a dictionary entry conflicts with UB style.

Associated Press Style Guidelines

AP Style

academic departments

Capitalize only when using an official, complete department name or when a proper noun or adjective is used. Prepositions should be lowercase in all instances. For example: Jane Smith is in the Department of English, or The English department has productive scholars.


Avoid unnecessary capitalization. Capitalize proper nouns. Common nouns such as “university” and “president” should be capitalized only when used as part of a full name for a person, place or thing: The University at Buffalo is a research institution. The university is among the nation’s top research institutions. UB President John B. Simpson served as an administrator in California before coming to Buffalo. The president is a native of California and completed his bachelor’s degree there.


Not cell phone. Similarly, smartphone.

dates and months

When a month is included as part of a specific date, use Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. For example: John Smith’s birthday is Sept. 12, 1985. Jane Smith’s birthday is June 7, 1983. Do not abbreviate the names of any months when only a month and year are given: The research project began in January 2000 and ended in November 2003.


As show above, do not hyphenate. However, a hyphen should be used with e-book, e-business and e-commerce.


Do not use a hyphen or split fundraiser into two words. Correct: Fundraiser, fundraising.


Always capitalize: She surfed the Internet.


Use first and last name on first reference and last name only on second reference. In cases where two people have the same last name, use first and last names on second reference: John Smith is a prolific researcher. Smith has been at UB since 1984. His son, David Smith, joined UB one year ago. David Smith is a great researcher, though he has less experience than John Smith. In general, do not use courtesy titles. Use middle initials according to a person’s preference and when the initials help identify a specific individual. For information on how to use Dr., see the entry on doctor in the UB Style section above.


When referring to common objects, spell out one through nine and use figures for 10 and above: Jane Smith has two computers, three pieces of paper, 10 pencils and 11 pens on her desk. See entries in the Associated Press Stylebook for information on using numbers in circumstances not outlined here. Except when denoting a year, numbers at the start of a sentence should always be spelled out: 2009 has been a great year for Jane Smith. Sixty-six students signed up for a class she created.

  • age – Use figures when referring to age: Jane Smith, 35, has a 1-year-old daughter. She also has a boy who is 10 years old.
  • billion and million – Use figures with million or billion: A $1.5 million grant or 1 billion people.
  • dimensions and weights – Use figures with dimensions and weights: A 4-foot-long fence or a rock that weighs 3 ounces.
  • percentages – Use figures with percentages: 1 percent or 99 percent. Use figures when referring to ratios: 2-to-1.
  • street addresses – See entry for street addresses in this style guide.
  • telephone numbers – See entry for telephone numbers in this style guide.
  • times – See entry for times in this style guide for information on using numbers to refer to times.

serial commas

Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: UB’s researchers are hardworking, innovative and creative. Use a comma before the conjunction in a complex series: In considering Jane Smith for the job of research assistant, the faculty member considered whether Smith had enough research experience to complete required duties, whether Smith would be able to continue working for more than one semester, and whether Smith was enthusiastic about the project at hand.

street addresses

When giving a numbered address, use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. and spell out all other similar words such as Drive and Circle. When only a street name is given, spell out all words: The Jefferson Family Medicine Center is at 1315 Jefferson Ave., at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and East Utica Street. North, East, South and West should be abbreviated as N., E., S. and W. only when a numbered address is given: UB’s family medicine department has offices at 132 W. Main St. in Cuba, N.Y., or UB’s family medicine department has offices on Main Street in Cuba, N.Y. For address numbers, use figures: The UB Anderson Gallery is at 1 Martha Jackson Place. Spell out First through Ninth when used as street names, but use figures for 10th Street, 11th Street and above.

telephone numbers

Use figures with hyphens, without parentheses: 716-645-2000


With the exception of noon and midnight, use figures and lowercase letters. Always use the word “to” to separate times that denote the beginning and end of an event: The class began at noon and ended at 1 p.m. John Smith skipped the class because he worked from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. He went to bed at midnight.


In general, for academic titles, capitalize only formal titles that precede a name. Prepositions should be lowercase in all instances: Vice President of Student Affairs John Smith wears glasses; or, John Smith, vice president of student affairs, wears glasses. “Professor” is always capitalized when a faculty member is a UB Distinguished Professor and/or SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor or SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. It also is capitalized when used in the name of an endowed professorship, such as the Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine. For information on non-academic titles, see the Associated Press Stylebook entry on titles. Commonly used titles that are abbreviated include Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep. and Sen. when they precede a name: Gov. John Smith.


One word, not capitalized. However, Web page (two words, capital "W").