Abbreviations and Acronyms

Spell out the first reference to any university group or program. In subsequent references, phrases such as the committee or the center are usually preferable to abbreviations or acronyms, which are often ambiguous.

Here are two ambiguous abbreviations:

CIS                Department of Computer and Information Science or
                      Career Information System
IFC                Interfraternity Council or Incidental Fee Committee

Resist the temptation to create new acronyms. Although the acronym itself might be easy to remember, figuring out what it stands for can be mind-boggling. In addition, its overuse throughout the text can be a roadblock to reader comprehension. Don’t make up a name to fit a clever abbreviation or acronym. Never mix lowercase letters into an acronym or initialization.

Academic Rank

Not all faculty members are professors. When the academic rank of a faculty member is mentioned in a UO publication, use the official, university-conferred rank—one of the following:

  • professor
  • associate professor               
  • assistant professor
  • senior instructor
  • instructor
  • lecturer
  • senior research associate
  • research associate
  • senior research assistant
  • postdoctoral fellow
  • graduate employee
  • fellow

Acting, adjunct, courtesy, emerita or emeritus, or visiting may also be part of the official academic title. Don’t capitalize general references to academic rank or title. See also Academic and Administrative Titles under Capitalization.

Often you don’t need to list academic rank at all. Perhaps the faculty member’s administrative title (e.g., assistant to the dean) would serve your purpose better. Or you can show the UO affilation by using such verbs as teaches, conducts, or directs rather than a title.

Administrative Titles

Refer to people who oversee academic or administrative units as follows:

Academic or Administrative Unit Title
area coordinator
center director
college dean
committee chair
department head
institute director
museum director
office director
professional school dean
program director
vice presidency vice president

When someone is filling in for an administrator who is temporarily on leave, the correct title is acting. When someone is filling in while a permanent replacement is being sought, the correct title is interim.

Don’t hyphenate the following titles:

  • vice chair
  • vice chancellor
  • vice president
  • vice provost

Academic and Administrative Units

Both tradition and sensitivity to language govern the naming of academic and administrative units. The two types aren’t mutually exclusive, of course; they’re categorized here according to their primary functions.

The University of Oregon Board of Trustees must approve the naming or renaming of academic and administrative units. Sometimes the board delegates authority for approving name changes to the university president or a vice president. Until such approval has been received in writing, a proposed name should not appear in UO publications. Doing so invites confusion about when the change takes effect, at best, and at worst, embarrassment and liability if the proposed name is not approved.

It is especially important to note that specific criteria must be met before center or institute can be applied to an organization at the university; these criteria are available in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Hierarchy and Tradition

Traditionally, academic units are called colleges or schools (first in the organizational hierarchy), departments or programs (second in the hierarchy, functioning as a unit within the college or school). On rare occasions, a secondary academic unit may be termed an area. Exceptions that already exist should be regarded as anomalies rather than as models.

Charles H. Lundquist College of Business
School of Music and Dance
Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
Medieval Studies Program

Administrative units are usually offices or services, centers or institutes, museums, or libraries.

Office of Academic Advising
Career Center
Center for the Study of Women in Society
Chemical Physics Institute
Institute of Molecular Biology
Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Oregon Humanities Center
Printing and Mailing Services
University of Oregon Libraries (Knight Library is the name of a building)

Again, exceptions that already exist should be regarded as anomalies rather than as models.

Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

University policy mandates that the University of Oregon statement on equal opportunity and affirmative action (EOAA statement) must appear on all university publications, advertisements, and websites.

There are four versions of the EOAA statement, each with its own specific use. If you are publicizing an event, make sure to include contact information for those who need accommodations.

The most commonly used statement is as follows:

The University of Oregon is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request.


The term alumni is frequently misused to refer to an individual; however, it is plural and always refers to more than one person. You cannot be an alumni of a university.

Singular: alumna refers to a woman; alumnus refers to a man. Alum is informal and gender-neutral.

Plural: alumnae refers to women only; alumni refers to men or to women and men.

State degrees and degree years as follows. In running text, separate names and degree listings with commas. Be careful to use an apostrophe (’) rather than a single quote mark (‘) before the degree year. If the reference to the alumnus or alumna is embedded in a sentence, follow the year with a comma before continuing the sentence.

Thomas Morales, BA ’63
Alexis Udall, PhD ’77
Thomas Morales, BA ’63, MA ’67, JD ’74

If multiple alumni and their degree years are indicated, use semicolons to separate each listing:

Alexis Udall, PhD ’77; Thomas Morales, BA ’63, MA ’67, JD ’74; Susan Thelen, BS ’83

For current students, use class of if space permits to indicate the anticipated graduation date without a degree.

Chloe Huckins, class of 2021


The publications that list official University of Oregon academic policies and requirements, faculty members, and courses are called catalogs.

The master course list maintained in the Office of the Registrar’s Banner system is also referred to as the catalog. It contains a record of course changes and fluctuating details such as instructors’ names and grading options for majors.


Classes is closer in meaning to sections than to courses. There may be several  classes  or sections of Japan, Past and Present, b ut there’s only one course at the University of Oregon in Japan, Past and Present (HIST 192).

Course Listings

See the current UO catalog for correct order and style for listing course information such as subject code and number, title, credit, and grading option.


In general, use  credits  rather than credit hours, hours, term credits, quarter credits, or term hours. When you must distinguish between a quarter system and a semester system, use  quarter credits  and semester credits. See also Term, later in this section. 

Write the number of credits in figures unless it begins a sentence; spell out the number of credits if it’s the first element in a sentence.

This course is worth 3 credits.
Four-credit courses are now the norm.


Don’t capitalize general references to degrees.

The University of Oregon offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers the  bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, master of arts, master of science, master of fine arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees.

The University of Oregon is authorized to  offer  the following degrees. Do not use periods in  degree  abbreviations.

Bachelor’s Degrees
BA bachelor of arts
BArch bachelor of architecture
BEd bachelor of education
BFA bachelor of fine arts
BIArch bachelor of interior architecture
BLA bachelor of landscape architecture
BMus bachelor of music
BS bachelor of science
Master’s Degrees
LLM master of laws
MA master of arts
MActg master of accounting
MArch master of architecture
MBA master of business administration
MCRP master of community and regional planning
MEd master of education
MFA master of fine arts
MIArch master of interior architecture
MLA master of landscape architecture
MMus master of music
MPA master of public administration
MS master of science
Doctoral Degrees
DEd doctor of education
DMA doctor of musical arts
JD doctor of jurisprudence
PhD doctor of philosophy

In general, the title  Doctor  or Dr. is reserved for  people holding medical degrees (e.g., MD, DDS, DVM).

For academic doctorates, use the academic rank or, simply,   Mr.   or  Ms.  for addresses on letters—unless you know the addressee prefers  Miss  or Mrs. If it’s important to show someone’s academic degree, put the degree after the name (e.g., Brenda Sohappy, PhD). In text, give the title of a faculty or staff member or student the first time you mention the person’s name; thereafter, just use the surname.


Emerita  and emeritus are honorary titles, denoting retirement, that follow a faculty member’s academic rank. The titles may be used only after official notification from the provost. Academic emeriti are listed in UO catalogs for the duration of their lives. When given after names, titles aren’t capitalized. See also Capitalization.

Singular: emerita refers to a woman; emeritus refers to a man

Plural: emeritae refers to women only; emeriti refers to men or to women and men

Alice Anderson, professor emerita of Romance languages
Liang Wu, professor emeritus of art history
How many professors emeritae belong to the American Association of University Women?
How many professors emeriti are there at the University of Oregon?


See the UO Catalog for correct order and style in listing credentials of UO instructional faculty members.

Faculty is a singular noun and requires a singular verb unless there’s more than one faculty. It refers to a collective body of people.

The university faculty is large and vocal.
The faculties at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University differ greatly.

Use  faculty member  (singular) or faculty members (plural) to refer to individuals.

Consult your advisor or another faculty member in your department.
The advisory group consists of four faculty members and one student.

Similarly, staff is a singular noun referring to a collective body of people.

The university staff is large and vocal.
The staffs at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University differ greatly.

Grade Point Average

Use two digits after the decimal when stating a grade point average (GPA):

2.50 [not 2.5]
4.00 [not 4.0]


Courses are graded A, B, C, D, F, P (pass), or N (no pass). A plus or minus may be added to the letter grades A, B, C, D. A mid-C is a grade of C without a plus or minus.


H following a course number indicates honors credit for undergraduate students.

Latin Honors

Some undergraduates receive Latin honors when they graduate from the University of Oregon. Latin honors are not capitalized.

cum laude “with honors” top 10 percent
magna cum laude “with high honors” top 5 percent
summa cum laude “with highest honors” top 2 percent

Multilisted courses

M following a course number indicates a single course that is listed under more than one subject code.


Use semester as the general reference to any academic semester at the School of Law.


A sequence is two or more courses that must be taken in sequential, usually numerical, order. Don’t use  sequence to mean academic program or core courses.   


A series is two or more closely related courses that may be taken in any order. 


Staff is a singular noun and requires a singular verb unless there’s more than one staff. Like faculty, it refers to a collective body of people.

Welcome to our staff.
Some staffs have 30 employees, some only one.

Use staff member (singular) or staff members (plural) to refer to individuals.

Do you need one staff member or two this weekend?
Our staff members are always ready to help you.

Subject Codes

Subject codes are capitalized without internal spaces. See also Abbreviations.

CDS communication disorders and sciences
COLT comparative literature
GEOL geological sciences
PPPM planning, public policy and management


Use term as the general reference to each of the first three academic sessions—fall, winter, spring—at the UO. Don’t capitalize names of these terms. The fourth academic session is called summer session. Capitalize summer session only when referring to the Summer Session office.

On the quarter system the academic year is divided into four parts: fall term, winter term, spring term, and summer session.
The Summer Session office is open Monday through Friday.

University of Oregon

Spell out the first reference to the University of Oregon. Use the UO, Oregon, or the university to  abbreviate subsequent references. Because of its informality, the abbreviation the UO as a noun should not be overused.  Univ. of Ore., U of O, U. of O., U.O., and the University are not acceptable.