Editorial Style Guidelines

Following a well-defined editorial style gives your writing a professional sheen and brings it in line with the university’s brand platform.


This structure, officially named the Memorial Tower, is colloquially called the Belltower or sometimes the Memorial Belltower. It honors NC State alumni who were killed during World War I. The cornerstone was laid in 1921. The Depression and World War II delayed construction, but the completed tower was formally dedicated in 1949.

Board of Governors

This is the policymaking body legally charged with governing the University of North Carolina System, of which NC State is a constituent institution. Contrary to AP, always capitalize: Board of Governors.

Board of Trustees

This body advises NC State's chancellor with the management and development of the university. Contrary to AP, always capitalize: Board of Trustees.

Board of Visitors

This body assists NC State's chancellor and the Board of Trustees in advancing and promoting the university. Contrary to AP, always capitalize: Board of Visitors.


Capitalize the B when referring to the brick courtyard area that is formally known as University Plaza.

Caldwell Fellows Program

This merit scholarship program provides three-year fellowships to high-achieving first-year students.

campus precincts

NC State's main campus in Raleigh is divided into the following official precincts, which are always capitalized:

  • Centennial Biomedical Campus (includes the College of Veterinary Medicine)
  • Centennial Campus (includes James B. Hunt Jr. Library and the Wilson College of Textiles)
  • Central Campus (includes Talley Student Union and Carmichael Gymnasium)
  • North Campus (includes the Belltower and D.H. Hill Jr. Library)
  • South Campus (includes the Joyner Visitor Center and the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education)
  • West Campus (includes the Materials Support Warehouse)

Note that "main campus" is not an official precinct and thus is not capitalized.


In general, avoid unnecessary use of capital letters. Words are not capitalized just because somebody considers them important. Capitalize words in these categories:

Proper nouns (the proper name of a person, place or thing) — Debbie Yow, Raleigh, NC State University, Reynolds Coliseum, the Bulletin, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Personal titles immediately preceding a person's name — Chancellor Woodson, Coach Keatts, Provost Arden
Personal titles following a name in a formal or ceremonial list — Warwick Arden, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Brian Sischo, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

The chancellor is meeting with Dean Ranft to discuss recent successes in commercialization of research.
The Chancellor is meeting with Dean Ranft to discuss recent successes in commercialization of research.
The department has hired a new assistant professor.
The department has hired a new Assistant Professor.
The class of 2018 has a bright future.
The Class of 2018 has a bright future.

Carter-Finley Stadium

See entry for Athletics facilities.

Centennial Campus

Use the full capitalized name.

chair, chairperson, chairman, chairwoman

If the body or organization in question has an official usage designated for this term, use it. In the absence of an official usage, if the person being identified has a preference, use the term the person prefers. Otherwise, use the non-gender-specific term.


Capitalize when used before a name; lowercase after a name (unless in a formal or ceremonial list; see capitalization entry above) or when used alone. The names and terms of those who have served as NC State's chancellors and presidents follow:

  • Alexander Q. Holladay (president, 1889-1899)
  • George T. Winston (president, 1899-1908)
  • Daniel H. Hill (president, 1908-1916)
  • Wallace C. Riddick (president, 1916-1923)
  • Eugene Clyde Brooks (president, 1923-1934)
  • John W. Harrelson (chancellor, 1934-1953)
  • Carey H. Bostian (chancellor 1953-1959)
  • John T. Caldwell (chancellor, 1959-1975)
  • Joab L. Thomas (chancellor, 1976-1981)
  • Bruce R. Poulton (chancellor, 1982-1989)
  • Larry K. Monteith (chancellor, 1990-1998)
  • Marye Anne Fox (chancellor, 1998-2004)
  • James L. Oblinger (chancellor, 2004-2009)
  • W. Randolph "Randy" Woodson (chancellor, 2010-present)

Cherokee “reservation”

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe in western North Carolina. The tribe does not live on a reservation, which is land given to an Indian tribe by the federal government. Instead, the EBCI lives on 57,000 acres of land — the Qualla Boundary — purchased by tribal members in the 19th century.

N.C. Cooperative Extension staffs local offices in all 100 counties and on the Cherokee reservation.
N.C. Cooperative Extension staffs local offices in all 100 counties and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.


NC State's 12 academic colleges are listed below.

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Design
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Poole College of Management
  • College of Natural Resources
  • College of Sciences
  • Wilson College of Textiles
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University College
  • Graduate School


NC State follows AP style with respect to comma usage. To quote the AP Stylebook: “Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series.”

I'm taking courses in English, accounting and entomology.
The cafeteria served pizza, lasagna, and salad.

However, if the final element of a series includes a conjunction, then to prevent confusion it's best to put a comma before the concluding conjunction in the series.

I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

To ensure clarity, it's sometimes appropriate to use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series of complex phrases.

We must ask ourselves whether the strategic plan meets the needs of current and future students, whether it can be implemented with the resources available to us, and whether its success can be accurately measured.

For further guidance on comma usage, refer to the “comma” entry in the AP Stylebook punctuation chapter.

composition titles

Apply these guidelines to the titles of books, book chapters, movies, plays, poems, stories, essays, articles, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, radio and television episodes, lectures, speeches, and works of art:

  • Capitalize all words in a title except articles (a, an, the); prepositions of three or fewer letters (for, of, on, up, etc.); and conjunctions of three or fewer letters (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet, etc.) unless any of those start or end the title.
  • Capitalize prepositions of four or more letters (above, after, down, inside, over, with, etc.) and conjunctions of four or more letters (because, while, since, though, etc.)
  • Capitalize both parts of a phrasal verb: “What To Look For in a Mate”; “Turn Off the Lights in Silence.” But: “A Life of Eating Chocolate for Stamina”; “Living With Both Feet off the Ground.” (Note the different uses of "for" and "off," and thus the different capitalization, in those examples.)
  • Capitalize "to" in infinitives: “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up.”
  • In a deviation from AP style, titles of large works — books, journals, magazines, newspapers, albums, movies, television shows and the like — are italicized. Titles of shorter works — chapters, articles, essays, stories, poems, songs, television episodes and the like — are enclosed in quotation marks. For example: "Shut the Door, Have a Seat" was one of the most highly rated episodes of the TV show Mad Men. The professor’s research is discussed in the article "Green Tech Goes Global" in the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report.


A course may be identified by its course number (MA 201, for instance) or by its name (for example, Calculus II). Official names of courses are capitalized, but generic references to a course in terms of its material are lowercased.

Are you taking Analytic Geometry this semester?
We recommend taking a course in the history of religions.
We recommend taking a course in the History of Religions.

Court of North Carolina

This open area, formerly called the 1911 Field, is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Court of the Carolinas. The court is bounded by Leazar, Poe, Page, Winston, Tompkins and Caldwell halls and the 1911 Building.

curricula, curriculum

Curriculum is the singular form; curricula is the plural form.