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.
|Scott Engineering Center||SEC|
|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|
|Biological Systems Engineering||BSE|
|Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering||CHME|
|Computer Science and Engineering||CSE|
|Computer Engineering - Omaha (major)||CENG|
|Construction Management||CNST / CM|
|Electrical and Computer Engineering||ECE|
|Electronics Engineering (major)||EENG|
|Mechanical and Materials Engineering||MME|
|The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction||The Durham School / DSAEC|
|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.|
|Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics||STEM|
advisor (not adviser)
alumnus (male, singular), alumna (female, singular), alumnae (female, plural), alumni (male or male and female, plural)
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: City Campus, East Campus, Scott Campus.
In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. If it's not a proper noun, do not capitalize it. SEE ALSO: titles.
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. Use for internal, casual documents and references. Not CoE.
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
- M.S. (Master of Science)
- M.Eng. (Master of Engineering)
- M.A.E. (Master of Architectural Engineering)
- doctoral degree - Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Capitalize the name of all colleges, departments and programs when using the proper name:
|COE'S FULL, FORMAL TERMS START "Department of ...||"OR ...INFORMAL, LOWER CASE TREATMENT:|
|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 and computer 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 @unl.edu, NOT the unlnotes.edu 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
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.
gender-inclusive language - use gender-inclusive language as appropriate, such as “folks,” “engineers,” “students,” “you/you all,” and “they/them;” be aware when using binary-gendered language such as “he or she,” “him or her,” “his or hers,” “ladies and gentlemen,” “male and female,” “boys and girls,” “hey guys/ladies,” and other references.
Avoid gender-specific words as well: "fireman," "policeman," etc. Can use "firefighter," "police officer," "actor" instead of actor or actress, etc.
Source for gender and sexuality related topics: http://nlgja.org/stylebook/terminology
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.
names-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
Capitalize when using as a proper noun to describe the College of Engineering.
Nondiscrimination statement: required on UNL publications:
- (short version)
The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based upon any protected status. Please see go.unl.edu/nondiscrimination.
- (long version)
The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.
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
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 one-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.
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, 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).
- NOT: 5:00 p.m.
- BUT: 5 p.m.
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.
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 at Omaha
The College of Engineering has programs in Lincoln (City Campus and East Campus) and in Omaha (Scott Campus).
UNK, UNL, UNMC, UNO
Abbreviations are acceptable for NU campuses in internal publications. Spell out on first reference for wider audiences. University of Nebraska-Lincoln ... University of Nebraska at Omaha (NOT UNOmaha) ... University of Nebraska at Kearney
Website - One word
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 www.unl.edu.
- The home page for the Associated Press is http://wire.ap.org.
- Can delete the www if it's obvious it's a link: engineering.unl.edu
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 www.hurricaneeffort.com.
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.