» Chapman University Communications Style Guide

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Chapman University uses Associated Press style referred to as AP style in its publications, including Chapman Magazine and Chapman Forward (research magazine), the university’s Newsroom and blogs, as well as its press releases and other media communications.

AP style is the preferred set of grammar and usage guidelines for journalists and most news outlets. It places a premium on clarity, consistency and simplicity. Plus, when we provide our content to external publications using AP style, we make the news outlet’s job easier and reduce the time needed to edit for external use.

Chapman detours from AP style occasionally, predominantly to align with institutional style or strategy. The following sections cover most of Chapman’s unique usage, as well as some quick explainers if you’re new to AP style.

Generally, though, the digital AP Stylebook will be the best reference. In addition to clear explanations of AP style from the guidebook’s editors, the editing team within SMC also curates custom entries specific to Chapman needs.

Please plan to purchase an AP Stylebook for your office. AP publishes an updated spiral-bound stylebook each spring. Digital subscriptions are also offered and include the updated guide, ongoing updates and an Ask the Editor bonus feature.



academic degrees. Depending on usage, academic degrees may be spelled out or, when following a name, abbreviated. Chapman has a custom entry on the AP Stylebook website with guidance on both uses. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science etc. Other examples: She earned a master’s in criminology. She has her Master of Arts degree in biochemistry. He has a doctorate in American literature.

After a name, abbreviate degrees using uppercase letters without periods: BA, BS, MA, MS, JD. Use periods for these doctoral degrees: Ph.D., Ed.D., D.Pharm. When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas. Ex: John Snow, Ph.D., spoke at the conference.

Honorary degrees: All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary.

acronyms/initials. Spell out the full name of a school or college on first reference. Only the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) allows use of an acronym on subsequent references and in headlines.  

alumni. Chapman has a custom AP Stylebook entry with guidance on use of alumnus, alumna, alumni and alumnae.

When we refer to a Chapman alumna/us, the year the person earned a bachelor’s degree follows the name, without a comma. If the person has also earned a graduate degree, that degree follows in parentheses. Ex: Maria Rincon ‘08 (MBA ‘12) has launched a startup company. If the person has multiple graduate degrees and/or honorary degrees, place those degrees inside one set of parentheses, with commas in between. Ex: Fred Flintstone ’10 (MA ’12, Ph.D. ’17, Hon. ’20) won the Pulitzer Prize on Thursday.

ampersand (&). Do not use in text copy unless it is part of the formal name, such as with Town & Gown, or the formal name of a firm or corporation. “&” is acceptable as a design element.

Argyros School of Business and Economics, first reference. Argyros School, second reference and in headlines.

Attallah College, second reference and in headlines. Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies, first reference.


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building names. To ensure the accuracy of building names that honor donors, refer to the Facilities Directory.


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Chapman University. Spell out on first reference. Chapman is acceptable on second reference.  Do not capitalize “university” when the word is used by itself, even when it refers to Chapman University.

class year. Chapman has a custom AP Stylebook entry with guidance.

College of Performing Arts, first reference. CoPA is acceptable for second reference.

commas. Per AP, Chapman does not use the serial comma.

chair, endowed. Capitalize chair when it is part of a formal endowed title. Ex: Jack Cho held the Jerrold A. Glass Endowed Chair in Accounting and Economics at Chapman University. See also Named chair.

Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, first reference. Crean College, second reference.


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Dale E. Fowler School of Law. first reference. Fowler School of Law or Fowler Law, second reference and in headlines.

Daniele C. Struppa. Include middle initial on first reference.

Diverse/diversity. When used in discussions of race, ethnicity and social issues, both terms refer to groups, not individuals. See also, gender and race and ethnicities.

Dr. Use of this title is appropriate only for holders of specific medical degrees, as outlined in AP style.

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. first reference. Dodge College, second reference and in headlines. Formal invitations, etc., Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies. first reference, Attallah College, second reference and in headlines.


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Economic Science Institute. Science is singular. When preceded with “the,” the is lowercase. “Dr. Smith founded the Economic Science Institute in 2007.”

Escalette Collection. second reference, Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art, first reference. Sometimes referenced as “the museum without walls.” Collection is displayed throughout campus. Program operates within Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.


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facilities. Generally, spell out the entire name on first reference. Refer to Facilities Directory to verify.

faculty. It is a singular noun and should always be lowercase. Example: The faculty is especially busy in September. Faculty members are less busy in July. Exception is made when faculty is part of a name. Example: The Faculty Senate met on Tuesday.

Fish Interfaith Center. Fish Interfaith or Interfaith Center are acceptable on subsequent references.. Refer to Facilities Directory for full first-reference naming protocol. 

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gender. is not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people. When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females. Language regarding gender is evolving. Make decisions that balance clarity of expression with respect for a person’s wishes, regarding terms that differ from or are not covered by AP’s specific recommendations. For instance, AP recommends the terms sex reassignment or gender confirmation for the medical procedures used for gender transition, while some groups use other terms, such as gender affirmation or sex realignment. 

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housing. The terms dormitories and dorms are never used to describe student housing. Student housing is an acceptable generic term. The preferred term is residence halls. Check the Facilities Directory when referencing specific buildings.

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mission. Chapman’s mission statement: The mission of Chapman University is to provide personalized education of distinction that leads to inquiring, ethical and productive lives as global citizens.

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names. Use first and last name on first reference, last name only on subsequent references. If multiple people have the same last name, both names may be required on subsequent references.

numbers. Spell out zero through nine. Use numerals for 10 or higher. See the AP Stylebook for exceptions. If a sentence begins with a number, spell it out or rewrite the sentence. Sentences may begin with a year: 2020 will feature the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 


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Orange campus. Use this and not Main campus when it’s necessary to distinguish from the Rinker Health Science campus in Irvine.

over vs. more than. More than is used when describing quantity. For fund-raising purposes, you’ll be using more than, as in: American Celebration raised more than $2 million, not: it raised over $2 million. Over is used only when describing a physical location: “The sword hung over her head.”


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Parents Leadership Society. There is no apostrophe in Parents. 

Panther, The. Chapman’s student-run newspaper. The is capitalized because it is part of the newspaper’s official name. 

percent. AP style now calls for use of the % sign in all but casual uses. Examples: Spending rose 30% in the third quarter. He has a zero percent chance of being elected.

personal pronouns. Ask the subject what they prefer. Use that.

Ph.D. Mention of  a doctoral degree is not mandatory after the name of someone who has one. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology.

president. When used as a title before the president’s name, it’s capitalized: President Daniele C. Struppa. Use lowercase without the name or after the name: The president will be here at noon. The show was attended by Daniele C. Struppa, president of Chapman University.

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race and ethnicities. Racial identifiers rarely provide information that is relevant or revealing and should be avoided. However, when reporting on situations with racial undertones, such as demonstrations or protests, refer to the AP Stylebook for accepted terminology. 

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schools and colleges. Refer to the facilities directory.

semester. Do not capitalize fall semester/spring semester.

staff. Lowercase and singular. The staff is, NOT the staff are. 

states. Spell out the names of U.S. states when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. Place a comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence: He was traveling from Nashville, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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3D. No hyphen.

time. When time is on the hour do not use a colon and zeroes: 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.

theatre/theater. The preferred spelling at Chapman is theatre. This is to be consistent with most usages at Chapman, including the Department of Theatre. Note that certain schools and departments use the spelling “theater” in proper names: Folino Theater is in Marion Knott Studios. When in doubt, refer to the Facilities Directory.


  • Use quotation marks for composition titles -- books, movies, plays, poems, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art. 

job titles should be capitalized and spelled out when used in front of the person’s name Professor John Hall. Lowercase when the title follows the name: “Love is blind,” said John Hall, professor of law at Chapman.


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United States. When used as a proper noun, spell it out and capitalize. United States is sufficient vs. the United States of America. It’s OK to abbreviate when used as an adjective (“the U.S. economy”).

university. Don’t capitalize when it stands alone, even if the reference is to Chapman University: The mission of the university is …


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Web/website/Web page. Website is one word. Web page is two words. Capitalize Web but not website. Example: You can find that Web page on our new website. When writing a Chapman Web page's url, write it with Chapman.edu first. Example: . chapman.edu/tickets, not http://chapman.edu.universitytickets.com. You can request a formatted shortcut url through this form. Subdomains are prohibited unless approved by Strategic Marketing and Communications or IS&T. Example: inside.chapman.edu or events.chapman.edu. 

The Women of Chapman. Refers to the support group formerly known as The Fashionables and later as The Fashionable Women of Chapman.


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AP Stylebook Updates

For current information and recent changes/additions to the AP Stylebook, visit: