Communications and Marketing - Engineering Style Guide

Engineering Style Guide

This COE Style Guide provides a reference to help ensure consistent, accurate communication throughout our college. Engineering Communications created this document to serve our community and support communicating more effectively. 

We follow UNL University Communications' style guide, which is based on the Associated Press Stylebook; college-specific references are listed below. For more information, contact Engineering Communications at (402) 472-6229.


Othmer Hall OTHM
Scott Engineering Center SEC
Nebraska Hall NH
Avery Hall AVH
June and Paul Schorr III Center for Computer Science and Engineering Research SHOR
The Peter Kiewit Institute PKI
L.W. Chase Hall CHA
Whittier Research Center WHIT
Program Acronym
Agricultural Engineering AGEN
Architectural Engineering AE
Biological Systems Engineering BSEN
Biomedical Engineering BME
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering CHME
Civil Engineering CIVE
Computer Science and Engineering CSCE
Computer Engineering - Omaha (major) CENG
Construction Engineering CONE
Construction Management CNST
Electrical and Computer Engineering ECE
Electronics Engineering (major) EENG
Environmental Engineering ENVE
Mechanical & Materials Engineering MME
Schools Acronym
The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction The Durham School / DSAEC
Special Programs/Facilities Acronym
Biological Process Development Facility BPDF
Engineering Science Research Support Facility ESRSF
Mid-America Transportation Center MATC
Nebraska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and Institutional Development Award Program EPSCoR
Midwest Roadside Safety Facility MwRSF
Nebraska Undergraduates Becoming Engineers N.U.B.E. or N.U.B.E. Camp
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics STEM

advisor (not adviser)

alumnus (male, singular), alumna (female, singular), alumnae (female, plural), alumni (male or male and female, plural) 

& (ampersand) 
Try to avoid in prose, unless it is specified for a proper noun as preferred instead of "and"

Use lowercase in general references (e.g., We have three campuses in two cities) but uppercase when noting a specific location: Omaha Campus, Lincoln City Campus, Lincoln East Campus.

In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. If it's not a proper noun, do not capitalize it. SEE ALSO: titles.

class years
In alumni publications, graduation years are abbreviated and listed after the person's name and set off by commas. Try to keep the year from breaking onto a separate line from the name. Be sure the apostrophe before the year is facing the correct way. If necessary, use full years for clarity.

  • Carissa (Paus) Swanwick, B.S. CNST '00,
  • Jonathan Morse, B.S. BSEN '03 and M.S., '06,
  • Linjun Gong, M.S. IMSE '06,

COE - abbreviation for College of Engineering. COE can be used on subsequent references. Use mostly for internal documents.

college - not capitalized in general references. She has taught at the college for seven years.

commas in a series
In general, do not put a comma before "and" in a comma series. However, do add a comma if it helps avoid confusion.
  • He wore a shirt, tie and jacket. For breakfast, she had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs.

degrees - our college confers:

  • bachelor's degree B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
  • master's degree (see
    • M.S. (Master of Science)
    • M.Eng. (Master of Engineering)
    • M.A.E. (Master of Architectural Engineering)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 
Capitalize the name of all UNL colleges, departments and offices when using the proper name:
Agricultural Engineering agricultural engineering department
Architectural Engineering architectural engineering program
Biological Systems Engineering biological systems engineering department
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering chemical and biomolecular engineering department
Civil Engineering civil engineering department
Computer Science and Engineering computer science and engineering department
Construction Engineering construction engineering program
Construction Management construction management program
Electrical and Computer Engineering electrical engineering department
Mechanical and Materials Engineering mechanical and materials engineering department

This capitalization pattern also holds true for COE units and offices, for example:
  • Business and Finance / the business office ... Engineering Communications / the communications office

Doctorate is a noun; doctoral is the adjective: You may have a doctorate, or a doctoral degree, but not a doctorate degree.

email - lowercase e. Do not use carats (‹ ›) or parentheses around email and website addresses. When publishing UNL email addresses, use the standard shortcut, NOT the form.

Engineering, College of
Official name of one of the university's colleges. No longer referred to as Engineering and Technology.

engineering (lowercase) or engineering college - in casual reference 

Engineering@Nebraska - the college's flagship alumni magazine

Foundation, University of Nebraska 
Formal name of the university's foundation; use NU Foundation or the foundation on second reference.

freshman/freshmen OR first-year student/s

fundraising/fundraiser - one word in all cases

Letter grades should be written with apostrophes.

  • The student earned three A's, two B's and one C+.
  • If a computer program won't allow +, use "C-plus."

 grade point average - Spell out and do not hyphenate when using this term alone, as in:

  • The student's grade point average fell in the second semester.

Otherwise, abbreviation is acceptable, especially when used with numbers, such as "a GPA of 2.5 (A = 4.0)" is required. Be sure GPA is spelled out in one reference in a story, as well as reference to the scale.

Internet - always capitalized. "The Net," "Information Superhighway," "World Wide Web" and other dated terms should be avoided. See AP Stylebook for a section dedicated to Internet-related terms.

Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum 
This is the official name of the tractor museum on East Campus.

majors - lowercase the names of the majors; for example: The electrical engineering major is focused on...

master's degree - Note apostrophe and lower case.

"more than" vs. "over" 
Use "more than" if estimating numbers (e.g., more than 400 people); use "over" to indicate location/movement

On first reference, individuals should be identified with first and last names, usually proper name (as opposed to a nickname or "known by" name), and academic title, if appropriate. On second reference, use last name without the title. If two people in the story have the same last name, use both first and last names for both people on all subsequent references.

Children: On second reference, use the last name of a person over age 12. This means all students should be referred to by last name, never first only. Use first-name-only on second reference to children under 12.

SEE ALSO: professorships, named

Nebraska Engineering 

Capitalize when using as a proper noun to describe the College of Engineering.

Nondiscrimination statement - required on UNL publications:

  • (short version) 

    UNL does not discriminate based upon any protected status.  Please see 

  • (long version) 

    UNL does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment. For nondiscrimination inquiries, contact the Director of IEC/Title IX Coordinator or the Section 504/ADA Coordinator at 128 Canfield Admin. Bld., Lincoln, NE 68588, (402) 472-3417, or the Office for Civil Rights.

NU - Use as the abbreviation for the University of Nebraska system. Do NOT use UN.

Note that there are many programs that incorporate NU into their name and some may use NU as part of their pronunciation as in "new" ...NU Connections, NU Paths, NU On Wheels, NU-to-do, NU Life, NU Start

  • NU Foundation - see Foundation, University of Nebraska

N.U.B.E. Camp 
Pronounced "newbie," this acronym is an exception because it uses periods between the letters (to ensure people don't mistake it for a word like "cube"). It stands for Nebraska Undergraduates Becoming Engineers. This multi-day event welcomes and orients the college's new students annually in late August.

GENERAL RULE (per AP style): Spell out one through nine; use numbers for 10 and above. For example: The college honored four alumni at the event; 10 were invited to participate.

When to use figures: Use figures for addresses, ages, aircraft, clothes sizes, dates, dimensions, highways, before the words million, billion, etc., money, percentages (except when they start a sentence), recipes, speeds, temperatures (except zero), time, weight and years (except when they start a sentence).

  • The class starts at 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuition dropped 5 percent last year.
  • He expects to pay $1,000 more in fees this year.
  • She should graduate in spring 2003.
  • Forty-one companies presented at Career Day.

Numbers with suffixes (nd, th, etc.): Spell out "first" through "ninth" in street names and amendments to the Constitution. Otherwise, use numbers in all cases (1st, 3rd, 20th, etc.) for political stories and court specifications (3rd District Court, etc.). Do not use suffixes with dates (e.g., May 1, not May 1st).

online - Not on-line.

Peter Kiewit Institute, The (PKI)

phone numbers - In all publications, use the full, seven-digit form of a telephone number. Do not use the abbreviated campus phone numbers (2-XXXX or 6-XXXX) in publications. Format: (XXX) XXX-XXXX

Use area codes for all numbers outside the 402 area code and place them in parentheses.

In online publications, it is wise to use area codes for all phone numbers because online information is available nationally and internationally.


  • Periods are not needed after bullets
  • Punctuation goes inside the quotations. Exception: if an exclamation or question mark is for the sentence, rather than for the word in quotations, then the mark goes outside the quotes. For example: Did the president reply, "We've only just begun"? It was verified that the president said, "We've only just begun."

Only one space between sentences.

state names 
Spell out state names when they stand alone or following the city name. 

Most often, it is not necessary to put Nebraska with a city or town name, unless it is confusing or if your audience is unfamiliar with Nebraska. 

  • He used to live in California.
  • He used to live in Santa Monica, California.
  • Send your registration to Joe Smith at Box 2222, Ames, IA 52555.
  • The company has offices in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska., as well as in St. Louis, Missouri.


Avoid superscript for ordinal numbers, as in 11th (not 11th), especially in addresses. Some word processing programs apply superscript automatically; this should be turned off.

The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, The or The Durham School (DSAEC)

It's noon, not 12 noon. When publicizing an event to a statewide audience, consider specifying Mountain and/or Central times, particularly if an event is being held in western Nebraska's Mountain time zone. Time zone identifiers are CST/CDT and MST/MDT (depending on whether the date is during standard or daylight time).

titles, personal/job 
Capitalize and spell out formal titles when they appear in front of a person's name.

  • Harvey Perlman, chancellor of UNL, said ...
  • Dean David Allen will speak at noon on Friday, June 13 in Othmer 106.

U.S./United States 

Abbreviate when using the term as an adjective only: The U.S. flag flew over the field. 
Spell out in other references. The professor is traveling across the United States.

Capitalize only when using with the rest of a formal title, such as "University of Nebraska-Lincoln." When speaking of the university in general, or other universities in general, lowercase.

  • I work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • The chancellor said the university would be harmed by recent budget cuts.
  • Mike said his time as a university student was rewarding.

University of Nebraska Omaha 
The UNL College of Engineering has programs in Lincoln (City Campus and East Campus) and in Omaha, on the campus of the University of Nebraska Omaha at PKI.

Abbreviations are acceptable for NU campuses in internal publications. Spell out on first reference for wider audiences. University of Nebraska-Lincoln ... University of Nebraska Omaha (NOT UNOmaha) ... University of Nebraska at Kearney

Website - One word

Website addresses 
Place web addresses within the regular body copy. It is not necessary to place carats <> around a web address. Delete the "http" from the address when the address starts with www. If the address doesn't start with "www," (not all do) use http. If a web address falls at the end of a sentence, use a period.

  • Visit the UNL home page at
  • The home page for the Associated Press is

Use Internet addresses within the story or body copy as essential information to the reader, or list sites for additional information at the end of the written piece.

  • To sign up for the Hurricane Katrina Relief effort, log on to

Do not underline a web or email address; if a word processing program forces an underline, remove it.

Avoid web addresses that are particularly long or complicated.

years: Always use numerals for years; for example: I graduated in 1983.

When abbreviating a decade span, put an apostrophe before the numbers (facing the correct way) but NOT before the "s." 

  • NOT: The 60's were a great decade. 
  • BUT: The '60s were a great decade.