When writing about Iowa State, use Iowa State University first and follow with Iowa State. Avoid using ISU if at all possible, due to the potential confusion with Illinois State University, Idaho State University, and Indiana State University. Lowercase university when standing alone.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology is the official name of the university.
The university is organized into eight colleges.


For the most part, avoid in running text (Professor Johnson, not Prof. Johnson). Use only where clear to readers. Normally spell out at first occurrence, unless it is almost never used in spelled out form (such as DNA, GOP).

Academic and administrative titles

Capitalize titles when they precede names and are used as part of the names. Lowercase if they follow names or are used to further identify people. In lists such as those used in programs, titles are usually capitalized even when following names.

Professor John D. Hancock
Steven Leath, president of the university
Well-known professor of psychology, John H. Jones

If a title contains the full name of an academic or administrative unit, capitalize the unit name.

John D. Hancock, professor in the Department of Psychology, …
Jane Doe, a secretary in the Office of the Registrar, …

For consistency in publications, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost has approved the following style for professors and instructors.

professor of mechanical engineering (for full, associate, or assistant professor)
instructor in mathematics
The provost’s office notes one exception. There is no of used with the library.
It is professor, library.

The following style is for endowed chairs, named professorships, and distinguished professorships.

John James, Distinguished Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of zoology and genetics
John B. Jones, A. B. Martin Endowed Chair in Plant Pathology

For named professorships, cap all nouns in the title, whether the title appears before or after the person’s name.

John A. James, the Albert C. Jones Professor of History

Academic colleges

Iowa State has eight colleges, including the Graduate College.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
College of Business
College of Design
College of Engineering
College of Human Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Graduate College

Uppercase college when used as part of the proper name of a college; lowercase when used alone or with an unofficial name, whether it refers to a specific college or not.

She is a student in the College of Engineering.
John is a senior in the engineering college.
There are more than 5,000 students enrolled in the college.

Academic degrees

In general, do not use abbreviations for degrees after a persons name unless it is necessary to establish credentials. Do not include the word degree after a degree abbreviation.

He has a B.A. in history.
not He has a B.A. degree in history.

Don’t use Dr. with the degree designation. Use either Dr. John Jones or John Jones, Ph.D.

Common practice is to use periods without spaces for abbreviations of degrees (B.A., M.S., Ph.D., M.Eng., M.B.A., LL.D. and LL.M.). The most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, however, recommends omitting the periods unless required for consistency or tradition.

Degree abbreviations are best used in listings, while spelling the degrees out is more readable in regular text.

associate degree; baccalaureate degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree; doctoral degree, doctorate (don’t follow doctorate with degree); bachelor of arts, master of science, doctor of philosophy.

Set off degree names by commas when they follow personal names.

Mary Jones, master of science in biology, is the coordinator of the program.

Academic year

fall semester, spring semester, summer session—no caps when used to refer to time of the year.


Try to avoid. Universities overuse acronyms and incorrectly assume that its publics have high awareness of what the letters stand for and an understanding of what the organization does. Acronyms only confuse. Exceptions are widely recognized acronyms such as NASA, SAT, ACT, FBI.


Adviser is the preferred spelling.

Alumna, Alumnae, Alumnus, Alumni

Alumna refers to one female graduate. Alumnae refers to two or more female graduates. Alumnus refers to one male graduate. Alumni refers to more than one male graduate or a group that includes both female and male graduates.

Ames Laboratory

On first reference, always use Ames Laboratory. On the second and subsequent references use Ames Lab. When a formal declaration is needed, use U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

Big 12

Iowa State University is a member of the Big 12 Conference. Other members are:

Baylor University
Kansas State University
Oklahoma State University
Texas A&M University
Texas Tech University
University of Kansas
University of Missouri
University of Oklahoma
University of Texas
West Virginia University

When using the conference name in text, use the number 12

Big 12 Conference

Board of Regents

Proper name is Board of Regents, State of Iowa (a comma follows Iowa when name appears within a sentence).

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, meets next week in Des Moines.
The statement applies to all Regents universities.

Building names

Use the full name for buildings on first reference, capitalizing Building, Hall, Center and such. Shortened versions are acceptable for subsequent references (e.g., Catt Hall for Carrie Chapman Catt Hall).

Chairman, chairwoman, chairperson

The use of chair is preferred.

Company names

In running text, company names are best given in full form. Abbreviations such as Inc. and Ltd. can be omitted unless they are relevant to text. If used, commas are not required around the abbreviations.

Conference, lecture series, symposia

Capitalize formal names of these events. Enclose in quotation marks

Contact information formats

Telephone numbers:
Do not use the numeral 1 before area codes. Proper form is 515 752-1930 or 555-1212, Ext. 11. When listing separate home, office, and fax numbers, indicate them as follows:

Home 515 555-5555
Office 515 555-5555
Fax 515 555-5555

(Note that university style is without the hyphen between the area code and 7-digit phone number.)

Internet addresses:
When listing e-mail addresses in publications, use the full e-mail address, set in lowercase letters. When listing Web addresses, include the entire address (omitting http//.) E-mail and Web addresses should not be underlined in regular text.

Mailing addresses:
Most Iowa State mailing addresses follow the format below. Iowa State University is listed above the room and building number to aid postal delivery:

Person or office
Iowa State University
Room and building
Ames, IA 50011-xxxx

Use official names of offices and departments in university addresses (e.g., Office of the Treasurer, not Treasurer’s Office).

Spell out the names of buildings (e.g., Carver Hall, Buchanan Hall)

When listing mailing addresses, use the two-letter postal abbreviation for the state. In running text or if the context is formal (such as in an invitation), spell out the state name.

Use the full nine-digit zip code whenever possible (check the Iowa State Postal and Parcel Web siteor the current campus directory for a listing of extended zip codes for university buildings).

Abbreviate compass designations (N., S., E., W.), but spell out designations such as Street, Avenue, and Road.

For listing addresses in running text, use commas to separate elements, including U.S.A. (e.g., Direct inquiries to Office of Admissions, Iowa State University, 210 Alumni Hall, Ames, IA 50011, U.S.A.

Campus Zip Codes:

50010 Frederiksen Court, University Village, Schilletter Village
50011 University faculty and staff offices
50012 Department of Residence administrative offices, Friley, Helser, Eaton halls
50013 Barton-Lyon-Freeman, Birch-Welch-Roberts, Buchanan Hall, Knapp-Storms, Linden, Maple-Willow-Larch, Oak-Elm, Wallace-Wilson halls

Course names

Capitalize official course titles. Do not use quotation marks. Lowercase when making a general reference to courses, unless the subject includes a proper noun or adjective.

He wanted to sign up for Introduction to Philosophy.
She took English, history, and psychology courses.


If the month-day-year style is used (preferred style), commas should be used (including after the year). If only the month and year are used, no commas are required.

They chose July 20, 2004, as the day to begin the series
They chose July 2004 as the month to begin the series. New Year’s 2004 was very cold.

Department names

Cap when used as a formal name; lowercase for informal usage. For department names, go to www.iastate.edu/depts/.

Department of Landscape Architecture
landscape architecture department or department


professor emeritus/professors emeriti (masculine)
professor emerita/professors emeritae (feminine)
professors emeriti (masculine and feminine group)

Ethnic names

Iowa State style omits hyphens for ethnic names whether used as a noun or adjective.

African American, Asian American, Chinese American, Italian American

Names of ethnic and national groups are capitalized, as are the adjectives associated with these names.

Native Americans; Native American art


Capitalize full names of events such as Family Weekend, Student Orientation, and Homecoming.

Extension and Outreach

Use Iowa State University Extension and Outreach first time mentioned; second reference, ISU Extension and Outreach. Never Iowa State Extension and Outreach. Capitalize extension when it’s used as part of the official name; lowercase otherwise.

Faculty as a collective noun

As a collective noun, it may take either a singular or plural verb form. Use a singular verb when referring to the group; a plural verb when referring to individual members. If using the noun throughout the publication, be consistent with form of verb.

Lowercase faculty unless part of a specific name or title (e.g., Faculty Senate).


Cap when following a personal name, but lowercase when referred to generically as a fellowship.

John Q. Public, Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers
a fellowship

Grade point average

Do not hyphenate. If abbreviation is used, use GPA, all caps, no periods.

Italics or quotation marks

Italicize titles of films, books, plays, journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, long poems, paintings, drawings, statues and other works of art, and long musical compositions.

Use quotation marks for articles, chapter titles, dissertations and theses, papers read at meetings, exhibitions, lectures, plays, short poems, songs, and television and radio shows.

Fields of study/programs

Do not capitalize majors, programs, or concentrations of study, except for proper nouns.

The college offers courses in everything from biology to Asian studies.
He takes part in the astronomy program.
She is an economics major, with an English minor.

Iowa State Center

The four-building complex includes C. Y. Stephens Auditorium, J. W. Fisher Theater, James H. Hilton Coliseum, and the Carl H. Scheman Continuing Education Building. The Brunnier Art Museum is housed in the Scheman Building.

Iowa State University

When writing about Iowa State, use Iowa State University first and follow with Iowa State. Avoid using ISU if at all possible, due to the potential confusion with Illinois State University, Idaho State University, and Indiana State University. Lowercase university when standing alone.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology is the official name of the university.
The university is organized into eight colleges.

Initials with names

Space between initials when listing names (John J. Jones, J. J. Jones; but FDR and LBJ without periods and spaces when abbreviating entire name).

Jr., Sr., I, and II

Use only with full name. Commas are no longer required around Jr. and Sr. If commas are used, however, they should be both before and after.


Hyphenate land grant when used as an adjective.

Iowa State University is a land-grant university.

Nondiscrimination clause for use on publications

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries can be directed to the Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, 3280 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.


Hyphenate when used as an adjective, but not as an adverb.

off-campus housing
They live off campus.

Office names

Use official names of offices and departments.

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, not Provost’s Office. Capitalize official name only
(e.g., provost’s office).

Organization names

Capitalize official names of organizations. Check the Iowa State Web site for official organization names.

R&D Magazine

Italic with cap M, no space around ampersand.

Registered trademarks

Registered trademarks must be capitalized or replaced with generic terms. The symbols TM and R in a circle are used with product names on packaging and promotional items, but are not required in text and should be omitted whenever possible. Some examples of brand names and their generic terms:

Band-Aid (or bandage)
Coke (or soft drink, cola)
Xerox (photocopier)
Styrofoam (plastic foam)

Room names and numbers

Refer to rooms on campus in this format: 206 Ross Hall.

Scholastic grades

When referring to a grade, use a capital letter; don’t use quotation marks around letter grades. Capital letters do not require an apostrophe in the plural (e.g., He got three As this semester).

Session names

Lowercase references to seasons and academic periods. (e.g., summer school, fall semester).

Student classifications

Lowercase freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior, but capitalize a class designation.

The Junior Class sponsored the event.


Personal titles immediately preceding a name are capitalized; those following a name or set off by commas are not. The exception to this rule is a named title. (See also Academic Titles)

The committee is chaired by Professor Mark Smith.
Mark Smith, professor of English, chaired the committee.
Mark Zachry is the John K. Jones Professor of Sociology

Theater, theatre

Theater is preferred, unless theatre is part of the formal name (e.g., Iowa State University Theatre).

University Museums

University Museums includes Brunnier Art Museum, Farm House Museum, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Anderson Sculpture Garden, and the Art on Campus Program.


It’s university-wide, but statewide, campuswide, nationwide (-wide words are normally closed, but hyphenated after proper nouns and after most words of three or more syllables).

URLs and e-mail addresses

It is preferable to avoid breaks in URL and e-mail addresses. If it is necessary to break at the end of a line, no hyphen should be used. The break should be made between elements such as a colon, a slash, or the symbol @. Never break after a period, slash or hyphen. Do not underline Web or e-mail addresses in text.

University Book Store, not University Bookstore.

United States/U.S.

The abbreviation U.S. is acceptable as an adjective, but spell out United States when used as a noun. Use of periods are preferred in the abbreviation, but US can also be used.

U.S.News & World Report

U.S. and News with no space between. Magazine titles should be set in italics.


Capitalize Web when referring to the World Wide Web


the Web, Web page and Web feed


website is not capitalized, neither is webcam, webcast or webmaster