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Writing Standards

Note on Style: St. John Fisher University uses the AP Stylebook. If not expressly indicated in our guide, please consult the latest version of the AP Stylebook.

Use of University and School Names


The first mention of the University should always be "St. John Fisher University." Subsequent - and preferred - mentions may be shortened to "St. John Fisher," "Fisher," or "the University."

In written communications, the initials "SJF" may be used on second reference. In addition, "SJF" may also be used as a graphical element on apparel or other promotional items.

Please note that, in written form, "St." is not spelled out as "Saint."


The official names of Fisher's five schools are:

  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education
  • Wegmans School of Nursing
  • Wegmans School of Pharmacy

As with the name of the University, the first mention of any individual school must utilize the entire name. Subsequent references may be shortened to the "School of __________."

Grammar, Punctuation, and Capitalization

Referring to the University

Capitalize "University" when referring specifically to St. John Fisher University. Use a lowercase "u" when the word "university" is used generically.


  • During the University's 68th Commencement ceremonies, one individual was honored with a President's Medal.
  • Each year, a group of outstanding high school students is chosen to be part of a special university experience.

Academic and Administrative Titles

All professional titles should be lowercase (i.e. Gerard Rooney, president of St. John Fisher University) unless they precede the name (i.e. President Gerard Rooney).

Academic Degrees

Capitalize academic degrees only when the full, formal name of the degree is used, including the discipline. General and foreshortened references to degrees should be lowercase.

  • associate degree
  • bachelor's degree
  • doctoral degree (or doctorate)
  • master's degree
  • Bachelor of Science in
  • Bachelor of Arts in
  • Master of Science in


  • Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. John Fisher University. (The formal name of the degree is spelled out and includes the discipline, and therefore both are capitalized.)
  • Smith earned his bachelor of science degree in anthropology 10 years ago. (Because of the inclusion of "degree," which is not in the formal degree title, "bachelor of science" is lowercase.)
  • Smith holds a B.S. in biology; Jones received her bachelor's in philosophy in 1984. (These are foreshortened references to a degree, by virtue of using "B.S." in the first example and "bachelor's" in the second. Regardless of the inclusion of the discipline, the degree designation and the discipline are lowercase.)

Academic Departments and Offices

Capitalize the full, official names of offices and departments. Use lowercase when a department or office is referred to generically.


  • Department of Chemistry, chemistry department, the department
  • Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Initiatives, diversity office
  • Office of the Provost, provost's office

Academic Programs

Except for languages (English, French, Spanish, etc.) and proper nouns (American, Irish, etc.), academic programs, majors, and minors should not be capitalized. The word "program" should not be capitalized unless it is part of an official name.


  • The minor in African American studies offers a multidisciplinary perspective on African American life and culture.
  • As an accounting major, you may qualify for the 4+1 MBA program.
  • Admittance to the Honors Program is by invitation only for incoming freshmen students. (Also capitalize Service Scholars Program, First-Year Program, First Generation Scholarship Program.)

Academic Terms

All semester designations should be lowercase (i.e. fall semester, spring semester, academic year).

Course Names

When listing courses, separate the four-character program designation and course number with a space, and the course number from the course title with a dash. If a course has a core designation, the designation should follow the dash and precede the course title.

For courses that have "old core" designations, that designation immediately follows the course number.


  • HIST 117 - Latin America Since 1800
  • AMST 220 - P3 Ranking America
  • AFAM 219D - Retracing the Black Past I
  • HIST 250C - P2 History of the Papacy
  • CHEM 103C - P4 General Chemistry I


  • Capitalize the first word in each bullet.
  • Refrain from using punctuation at the end of a bulleted item, unless it contains a complete sentence.
  • If one bullet requires a period, all bullets in that list should have a period.

Phone Number Format

Use (XXX) XXX-XXXX for phone numbers.

Time Format

In general, follow the most current AP Style Guide when formatting times.


  • 1 to 4 p.m.
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • noon to 3 p.m.
  • 6:45 p.m. to midnight

Use noon and midnight for 12 p.m. and 12 a.m., respectively.

Other Common Capitalization Decisions

  • Core Requirements (both words capitalized)
  • Learning Community (both words capitalized)
  • New York state (lowercase "s" in state)


  • AAS
  • B.A.
  • B.S.
  • CNS
  • CPA
  • DNP
  • Ed.D.
  • FNP
  • MBA
  • M.S.
  • M.S.Ed.
  • Pharm.D.
  • Ph.D.
  • RN
  • RN to BSN

Word Lists

Campus Places

  • St. John Fisher University (or Fisher) - to refer to the University
  • Alesi Academic Center (James S. Alesi Academic Center on first mention)
  • Basil 135
  • Basil Hall
  • Campus Center (Donald E. Bain Campus Center on first mention)
  • Campus Ministry Center (Fr. Joseph A. Trovato, CSB Campus Ministry Center on first mention)
  • Cleary Family Auditorium
  • Coaching Corridor
  • Cyber Café
  • DePeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence
  • Dorsey Hall
  • Dugan Yard Baseball Field
  • Facilities Building
  • Fay Building (William A. Fay Building on first mention)
  • Founders Hall
  • Gaming Lab
  • Golisano Academic Gateway
  • Golisano Gateway Midlevel (2nd floor of Gateway)
  • Growney Stadium
  • Haffey Hall
  • Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great
  • Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building
  • James ’71 and Kathleen Leo Community Room
  • Kearney Hall
  • Keating Terrace
  • Keough Hall
  • Lavery Library
  • LeChase Commons
  • Manning and Napier Varsity Gym (Bobby Wanzer Court)
  • Michaelhouse Complex
  • Murphy Hall
  • Murphy Hall - Fisher Sub Shoppe
  • Murphy Performing Arts Center
  • Murray Hall
  • O'Keefe Ross Gallery (Patricia O'Keefe Ross Gallery on first mention)
  • Pellicano Pavilion (W.J. Pellicano Pavilion on first mention)
  • Pellicano Wrestling Pavilion (Joseph Pellicano Wresting Pavilion on first mention)
  • Pioch Commons Café
  • Pioch Hall
  • Polisseni Track and Field Complex
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center (or Athletic Center) – NOT Student Life Center
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education
  • St. John Fisher Connection Hub (Park & Ride)
  • Salerno Center (Victor E. Salerno Center for American Enterprise on first mention)
  • Skalny Science Center (Joseph S. Skalny Science Center on first mention)
  • Skalny Welcome Center (Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center on first mention)
  • Softball Field
  • SONO Latin Grill
  • Student Accounts - NOT Student Accounts Office
  • Tepas Commons (Dennis '72 and Denise Tepas Commons on first mention)
  • Terrace at Tepas Commons
  • Ward-Haffey Dining Hall
  • Ward Hall
  • Wegmans School of Nursing
  • Wegmans School of Pharmacy
  • Welcome Center (James S. Skalny Welcome Center on first mention)
  • Wilson Formal Lounge (Elaine Wilson Formal Lounge on first mention)

Fisher Specific

  • Core Curriculum (note: both words capitalized)
  • Core Requirements (note: both words capitalized)
  • iFisher: Next Generation Learning Initiative
  • Fish 'R' Net
  • ResLife Online


  • Blackboard
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking (note no space between Naturally and Speaking)
  • Echo360
  • FisherLink
  • mySJF
  • Read:OutLoud
  • SMART Board
  • SMART Notebook
  • Smartpen
  • Smarthinking (note only one T)
  • Turnitin

Common Words

  • advisor
  • a.m.
  • associate degree (no possessive)
  • bachelor's degree (lowercase with apostrophe)
  • campus-wide
  • canceled
  • corequisite (no hyphen)
  • course load
  • coursework
  • email
  • fieldwork (one word)
  • Gmail
  • GPA (no periods)
  • hands-on (as in "hands-on experience")
  • health care (two words)
  • internet
  • master's degree (lowercase with apostrophe)
  • New York state (lowercase "s" in state)
  • non-matriculated (hyphen)
  • non-profit (hyphen)
  • online
  • p.m.
  • prerequisite (no hyphen)
  • résumé
  • community-engaged learning
  • student-athlete
  • time frame (two words)
  • traveled
  • University-wide
  • upperclassmen
  • webmail
  • website
  • white paper
  • WiFi (no hyphen)
  • work study (no hyphen)