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Style Guide

General Style

In most cases, the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog will follow the same style guide as the JMU Publications Office. This means grammar and punctuation will be correct according to Associated Press style. This may differ from the style used in your unit; however, since the catalog is one of many JMU publications, it is important that it reflect the same style and tone as other JMU publications.

Common Style Conventions for the Catalog

Here are some the most frequently used style conventions for the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog.

Academic Degrees

Style   Example
Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree and master's degree.   Smith received his bachelor's degree from Harvard and master's degree from JMU.
     
An academic abbreviation is set off by commas when used after a name; do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.   Daniel Moynihan, Ph.D., spoke...

Dr. Pam Jones, a chemist, spoke...
     
When spelling out the degree title use uppercase for the degree title but not for the subject; abbreviations may also be used.   Sue has a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration.
    Sue has a B.S. degree in art.
     
    The College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing.

 

Academic Titles

Style   Example
Capitalize formal titles such as professor only when they precede a name; lowercase elsewhere.   Professor Jan Jones has joined our faculty.
    Our faculty welcomes Jan Jones as the professor of history.
     
Do not use in second reference.   Jones formerly served as head...

 

Academic Unit

Style   Example
Use to refer collectively to departments, schools and degree-granting programs.   All academic units are required to...

 

Academic Head

Style   Example
Use to refer collectively to department heads, school directors and degree-granting program coordinators/heads.    

 

Academic Years

Style   Example
Do not uppercase.   first year student, sophomore, junior, senior.
     
Do not use "freshman"    
     
Do not hyphenate first year in "first year student."    

 

Adviser

Style   Example
Do not use advisor.    

 

And

Style   Example
Use a comma before and in a series only when and occurs in the series.   The departments of biology, chemistry and mathematics are part of the College of Science and Mathematics.
     
    The departments of biology, chemistry, geology and environmental studies, and mathematics are part of the College of Science and Mathematics.

 

Annual

Style   Example
An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years.   The annual spring graduation...

 

Building Names

Style   Example
Do not abbreviate the names of campus buildings.   The Music Building is on the Quad.
     
Capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word building if it is an integral part of the proper name.   The College of Business building is now Zane Showker Hall.

 

Capitalization

Style   Example
When referring to JMU, do not capitalize university after the first reference.   The university tries to...
     
Units of the university are lowercase.   All colleges within the university...
     
The full names of colleges and departments
of the university are uppercase.
  The College of Business will...
     
Always capitalize President when referring to the JMU president by name.   Meanwhile, President Rose spoke to...
     
Use lowercase with all other uses of the title.   The president spoke at graduation...
     
Capitalize academic titles when the full title is used.   The Vice President for Student Affairs appeared...
     
Use lowercase with all other uses of titles.   The vice president and dean will...
     
In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Capitalize nouns that constitute the unique identification for a specific person, place or thing.   John, Mary, America, Harrisonburg, Warren Hall
     
Lowercase the common noun elements of names in all plural uses.   Duke, Warren, Zane Showker and Wilson halls
     
Capitalize common nouns such as college, department and university when they are an integral part of the full name for a person, place or thing.   College of Business, Department of Biology, James Madison University, School of Music
     
Lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references.   the college, the department, the school, the university
     
On first reference, use the proper name for colleges, departments, schools, offices, etc.   The Office of Publications is located in Nicholas House.
     
On second reference lowercase and use generic names.   The publications office is located in Nicholas House.

 

Colon

Style   Example
Use a colon before the statement above a list.   I purchased the following items:
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears

 

Comma in a Series

Style   Example
Use a comma before and in a series only when and occurs in the series.   The departments of biology, chemistry and mathematics are part of the College of Science and Mathematics.
     
See AP stylebook for more information.   The departments of biology, chemistry, geology and environmental studies, and mathematics are part of the College of Science and Mathematics.

 

James Madison University

Style   Example
Use James Madison University on first reference.   James Madison University was founded

 

JMU

Style   Example
Use JMU or the university on subsequent mentions   Admission to the university is competitive.

 

Spaces Between Sentences

Style   Example
Use one space at the end of a typed line.   This is one sentence. This is the second.

 

For more information on the JMU style guide, refer JMU's Office of Marketing and Communication's section on Publications. You can also see the AP (Associated Press) Stylebook.