Editorial Style Guide

Colorado School of Mines uses the Associated Press (AP) Style Guide for all digital and print materials, including all websites. Our goal is to present a consistent and high standard of writing that appropriately reflects Mines’ standard of excellence.

This online guide provides some of the most common style tips as well as Mines-specific information such as official names of colleges and buildings, abbreviations and capitalizations.

If you have questions, please refer to the AP Style Guide or contact Sue James with Communications and Marketing.


Abbreviations should be utilized to enhance comprehension, such as when your copy refers repeatedly to a lengthy name or term that has a commonly accepted abbreviation.

Ampersand (&)

Do not use the ampersand as an abbreviation for “and.” Only use it when it is a part of an official name of department, product or proper noun.


Spell out the full name of states when used in the body of text, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city or town (e.g., Golden, Colorado).

United States

  • Use periods with the two-letter abbreviation for United States (U.S.)
  • Do not use periods with the three-letter abbreviation for United States of America (USA)

Pro Tips

  • Use abbreviations sparingly unless your readership is familiar with them.
  • Always spell out the first occurrence of them on the page and follow with the abbreviation in parenthesis.
  • Additionally, avoid using periods in abbreviations unless confusion may be a result (e.g., write VP rather than V.P.).

Academic Degrees


For a master’s or doctoral degree, use MS or PhD (with no periods) to denote the level of their degree: Smith MS ’64. If multiple degrees have been earned, separate them with a comma and space: Smith ’64, MS ’76, PhD ’82.


When spelling out degrees, lowercase bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate; but capitalize Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, Juris Doctor, etc.


When listing alumni in school publications indicate their year of graduation and the level of the degree. No comma is necessary between the last name and class year.

Use an open single quote as the apostrophe for omitted figures: Class of ’70; The Spirit of ’76.

For undergraduate degrees, simply use an apostrophe, followed by the two-digit year: Smith ’64.

When including specific information about the type of degree an alumni received, do not insert the degree abbreviation between the name and class year, but rather list separately: Joe Smith ’64, petroleum engineering.

Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

Current Students

For current students, do not use this notation, as it implies that they’ve earned a degree. Instead, refer to the class year or expected graduation year: Smith, Class of 2011; Smith, sophomore.



Abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street only with a numbered address. Spell them out and capitalize them when part of a formal street name without a number.

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. / Pennsylvania Avenue

Mailing Addresses

Preferred format for campus addresses:

Name of Person
Name of Department/Division
Building Name, Room Number
Colorado School of Mines
Street Address
Golden, CO 80401

Pro Tip

For Mines email address signatures, we have several suggested formats:

Your Name
Job Title
Department or Unit
Phone | email

Your Name
Job Title
Department or Unit
Street Address
Golden, CO 80401
Phone | email

Your Name
Job Title
Department or Unit
Street Address
Golden, CO 80401
Phone | email
Colorado School of Mines logo
facebook icon twitter icon instagram Mines youtube Mines flikr Mines pintrest


Alum, Alumni

“Alum” is the gender neutral term used to refer to a single Mines graduate, rather than using the gendered terms “alumna” or “alumnus.” “Alumni” is used to refer to a group of Mines graduates.

Use full names and titles on first reference. In formal contexts, on second and subsequent references, use only last names, without courtesy titles, for both men and women regardless of marital status. When referring to alumni in informal contexts, first names can be used on second reference.

Colorado School of Mines Foundation

Use full, formal name on first reference. When referring to “the foundation,” do not capitalize. Do not use the acronym CSMF.

Building Names

Academic Buildings

  • Alderson Hall
  • Berthoud Hall
  • Brown Hall
  • Chauvenet Hall
  • Coolbaugh Hall
  • CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering
  • Earth Mechanics Institute
  • Edgar Mine
  • Engineering Hall
  • Engineering Annex
  • General Research Lab
  • General Research Lab Annex
  • Green Center
  • Hill Hall
  • Marquez Hall
  • McBride Honors House
  • Military Science
  • Music at Mines
  • ROTC House
  • Stratton Hall
  • Team-UP House
  • Timberline Trailers 1 and 2
  • Unit Operations Lab
  • Volk Gymnasium


  • Carpenter and Electric Shop
  • Coolbaugh House
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Facilities Management
  • Guggenheim Hall
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Moly Building
  • Parking Services
  • President’s House
  • United States Geological Survey


  • Clear Creek Athletic Complex
  • Harold M. and Patricia M. Korell Athletics Center
  • Intramural Fields (IM Fields)
  • Jim Darden Field
  • Lockridge Arena
  • Marv Kay Stadium
  • Steinhauer Fieldhouse
  • Stermole Soccer Stadium
  • Stermole Track and Field Complex
  • Student Recreation Center (SRC)
  • Volk Gymnasium

Greek Life

  • Alpha Phi International Sorority
  • Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity)
  • Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
  • Kappa Sigma Fraternity
  • Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity (Fiji)
  • Pi Beta Phi Sorority
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity
  • Sigma Kappa Sorority
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity


  • Arthur Lakes Library


  • Mines Museum

Residence Halls

  • Aspen Hall
  • Bradford Hall
  • Elm Hall
  • Maple Hall
  • Mines Park Apartments
  • Morgan Hall
  • Randall Hall
  • Thomas Hall
  • Weaver Towers

Student Support Facilities

  • Ben H. Parker Student Center
  • Bookstore (Ben H. Parker Student Center)
  • Center for Academic Services and Advising (CASA)
  • Center for Technology and Learning Media (CTLM)
  • Kafadar Commons
  • Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) House
  • Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC)
  • Starzer Welcome Center
  • W. Lloyd Wright Student Wellness Center
  • Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (WISEM) House


In general, official names and proper nouns are capitalized. Shortened forms of official names are lowercased.

  • The Ben H. Parker Student Center is a hub of activity on the Mines campus and provides meeting and event spaces for campus events. The student center is also a great place to meet for lunch or buy apparel at the bookstore. 

The Case for Lowercase

Avoid unnecessary capitalization whenever possible. When too many words are capitalized, they lose their importance and no longer attract attention.

Academic and Nonacademic Units and Bodies

Capitalize only the complete and official names of the university, divisions, departments, offices and official bodies (such as Board of Regents). Lowercase informal and shortened versions of all such names.

  • The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Division is dedicated to delivering a program of excellence in the humanities and social sciences designed to prepare students for the complex challenges of professional and private life in the 21st century.

Academic Degrees

Capitalize the names of degrees unless they’re referred to generically, as in the second example.

  • Julie earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the Colorado School of Mines.
  • Julie earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering last year.

Course Titles

Capitalize course titles but don’t add quotation marks, italics or any other formatting.

  • Two of the humanities and social sciences core curriculum classes include Principles of Economics and Nature & Human Values.

Department Names

Capitalize the official department names and office names. References using shortened or unofficial names should be lowercase.

  • The Department of Electrical Engineering is nationally known for its research.
  • Mary Smith of economics is now an associate professor.
  • Faculty members from mining are conducting an industry salary survey.

Jobs and Position Titles

Capitalize formal titles only when they immediately precede the individual’s name or when they are named positions or honorary titles.

  • It’s common knowledge that President Barack Obama likes to play basketball.
  • The president, Barack Obama, took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009.
  • Have you taken a course from Professor Sarazin?
  • Fred Sarazin, a physics professor, conducts a number of research projects.
  • The Board of Regents meets less frequently during the summer months.
  • The regents attended fewer official meetings during the summer.

Titles in Address and Display Format

When a title appears in an address or other display format (such as a list of administrators in an annual report), as opposed to running text, the title can be capitalized even if it appears after the name.

  • Mary Smith, Director
  • John Smith, Assistant Director

Seasons and Semesters

Seasons, semesters and terms should all be lowercase.

  • The new class is offered during the spring semester.
  • You can begin applying for fall 2020 in the next several months.
  • Meal plans are not available during the summer 2017 term.
  • The summer session begins in May.
  • Do you have plans for spring break?


Pro Tips

  • AP Style Guide suggests the formal title of Dr. be used before the name of an individual who holds a doctorate in medicine, as that is what the public usually identifies the word doctor with.
  • Capitalize “Moon” when referring to the Earth’s moon. All other moons should be referred to by their proper name.
  • Proper spellings of:
    • M Climb
    • E-Days
    • BlasterCard

Composition Titles


Titles of larger publications, such as books, magazines, newspapers, journals, yearbooks, plays, musical albums, etc., are italicized. Capitalize the initial letters of a publication’s name.


  • Mines Magazine
  • Prospector
  • High Grade
  • The Oredigger

Shorter works or works within a larger body of text, such as chapter titles, articles, poems, songs, conferences, seminars, speeches, etc., are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks. Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize an article—the, a, an—or words of fewer than four letter if it is the first or last word in a title.


  • The paper, “Ferroelastic twin reorientation mechanisms in shape memory alloys elucidated with 3D X-ray microscopy,” is set to be published in March in the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.
  • The poem “Blue” was published in the 2018 edition of High Grade.
  • A workshop titled “The use of the library” will be held next week.

Most websites and apps are not italicized or enclosed in quotation marks: (Facebook, Instagram, Google).

Religious texts are capitalized and are not italicized. Do not use italics or quotation marks around primary catalogs of reference, including dictionary, directories and handbooks.

Enclosed in Quotation Marks

Titles of these should be non-italicized and enclosed in quotation marks (e.g., To learn about a great Fort Collins biking trail, read the blog entry “Blue Sky Trail” on the mountain biking blog Rubber Side Down).

  • Articles
  • Episodes
  • Short stories
  • Webpages
  • Blog entries
  • Book chapters
  • Poems
  • Conference papers
  • Presentations
  • Essays, dissertations, theses

Dates and Times

Days of the Week

Always spell out the days of the week, even when preceding a date.

Inclusive Dates and Times

Use and en dash for continuing or inclusive numbers. Do not substitute the dash with a hyphen, and do not use a dash as a substitute for the word to. (En dash shortcut Alt+0151 or option+minus key on a Mac.)

  • The 2019–2020 academic year concluded with May graduation.
  • She taught in the geology department from 2001 to 2017.

Months of the Year

Only abbreviate months when accompanied with a date. Spell the month out if it stands alone or with the year only.

  • The first day of spring classes is Jan. 9.
  • Spring classes being in January.
  • We graduate in May 2019.

AP Style for Month Abbreviations

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.


No comma is needed between a month and a year, but commas are required before and after a year when month, date and year are used.

  • She began her studies in August 2014 and completed them in May 2018.
  • She began her studies on Aug. 10, 2014, and completed them on May 17, 2018.
  • She began class Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering.


Use figures with a.m. or p.m. (small caps or lowercase letters). Use noon or midnight to replace 12 p.m. and 12 a.m. for clarity. Avoid including minutes for times on the hour (8 a.m. not 8:00 a.m.).

  • The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.
  • The event is from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Calendar Dates

Leave out ordinal indicators when presenting dates.

  • YES: July 26, 2019
  • NO: July 26th, 2019
  • YES: October 1, 2019
  • NO: October 1st, 2019

Inclusive Language

Inclusive language is language that is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. It is also language that does not deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from being seen as part of a group. Inclusive language is sometimes called non-discriminatory language. 

Stereotyping means presuming a range of things about people based on one or two of their personal characteristics such as their appearance, apparent intelligence, personality or character or their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, location, socioeconomic status or disability. 

Stereotypes are usually used in a negative way and are often evidence of prejudice against others. Even when a remark or action based on a stereotype is not based on a conscious prejudice, it can still be hurtful and cause harm or damage to the person. 



  • Students live in “residence halls” rather than “dorms.”
  • The office in charge of campus living is called “Residence Life” and should not be shorted to “ResLife.”
  • Students attending their first year at Mines should be referred to as “first-year students” instead of “freshmen.”
  • Students who are in their third or fourth year should be referred to as “upperclass students” instead of “upperclassmen.”
  • Students who are the first member of their family to attend college should be referred to as “first-generation students” instead of “first gen.”
  • Groups of people should be referred to as “everyone” instead of “everybody” or “you guys.”
  • “Men” and “women” should be used instead of “guys” and “girls.”
  • “House of worship” should be used instead of “church.”
  • The break at the end of the fall semester should be referred to as “winter break” instead of “Christmas holiday/break.”
  • When discussing a person’s origins in Colorado, it is better to say someone is “Colorado born and raised” instead of a “Colorado native.”


These guidelines apply to the majority of Mines writing except for scientific, statistical, technical and mathematical writing.

Spell Out One to Nine, Use Figures for 10 and Above

  • The Alumni Association recognized 10 people at the awards ceremony, including two alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to Mines.

Exceptions: Always use figures for headlines, percentages, decimals, credit hours, GPAs, book sections and pages, ages, distances and dimensions, quantities combining whole numbers and fractions, and when symbols rather than abbreviations are used for units of measure.

Use the percent word in formal running text, but use the percent sign in tables, charts, scientific and statistical copy.

  • Please print the contract on 8.5” x 11” paper.
  • She carried 16 credit hours and earned a 3.2 GPA while spending 30 percent of her time working.
  • He walked 5 miles to campus.
  • He is 7 years old and his uncle is 42 years old.
  • There are three steps into the building.
  • Spring break begins in four more days.

Large Numbers

Spell out large round numbers.

  • The family gave the museum more than two hundred thousand artifacts.

Use a combination of figures and words with numbers in the millions and larger.

  • The overall state population increased by 2.1 million.

Use a comma for numbers with more than three digits unless they represent SAT scores or years.

  • The book, which was initially published in 1911, has 1,523 pages.
    Her combined SAT score was 1327.

At the Start of a Sentence

Spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence or rephrase the sentence to avoid beginning with a number.

  • Eighty-three students graduated in May last year.


Spell out fractions less than 1, using hyphens between the words.

  • One-third of the class arrived early.
  • A four-fifths majority voted to repeal the judge.


Pro Tip

When including a phone number, please don’t add parenthesis to the area code. The format should be 303-XXX-XXXX.



Use a single space between sentences.


When indicating the possessive for names, use and apostrophe followed by an s unless the name ends in s.

  • Kansas’ team
  • Emily’s class
  • Jones’ theorem

Do not use an apostrophe to indicate plurals, including the plurals of acronyms and abbreviations, unless confusion would result without the apostrophe (the first two examples below).

  • There are five s’s in that word.
  • She received straight A’s.
  • There are five 5s in that number.
  • There were five PhDs in last year’s class.

Exception—The Possessive of Mines

While possessive nouns do need an apostrophe, it’s preferred to avoid structures that require it when referring to Mines when possible.

Possessive nouns always need the apostrophe.
Ex. Mines’ expert faculty members are well known for cutting-edge research initiatives.
Ex. The expert faculty members at Mines are well known for cutting-edge research initiatives. 

When “Mines” functions as an adjective that modifies a noun, no apostrophe is needed.
Ex. Mines students are about to take their finals.
Ex. The students at Mines are about to take their finals.

If “Mines” is part of a proper noun, no apostrophe is needed.
Ex. Mines President Paul C. Johnson joined Golden city officials to celebrate the start of construction on a new residence hall.


In a Series

Do not put a comma before the conjunction and the final element in a simple series. Do use a comma before the final conjunction in a complex series of phrases or when needed to avoid ambiguity.

  • Many national flags are red, white and blue.
  • Bachelor’s degrees are offered in chemistry, applied mathematics and statistics, and computer science.

In Complex and Compound Sentences

Use a comma before a conjunction that introduces an independent clause.

  • The photography club is having an exhibition at the student center this week, and there will be a hands-on demonstration Friday evening.
  • I like to go to football games and watch the marching band.

Em Dashes

Em dashes are used to denote a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure. 

  • The traditional Mines Marching Band wears red and black plaid shirts, jeans, hiking boots and hard hats—making it a unique presence among university bands.


Compound adjectives that precede nouns should be hyphenated when necessary to avoid ambiguity.

  • The top-seeded player won the tournament.
  • He had a part-time job, but his roommate worked full time.

Don’t use a hyphen in a compound that starts with an adverb ending in ly.

  • She ran a highly regarded program.

Quotation Marks

Following AP Style Guide, commas and periods go inside quotation marks, and colons and semicolons go outside quotation marks. Other punctuation goes inside the quotation marks if/when it’s part of the quotation.


Use semicolons to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey or to separate elements.

  • Mines officials at the meeting included Paul C. Johnson, president; Dr. Ramona Graves, vice provost and dean; and Anne Walker, vice president and general counsel.

Pro Tip

Use exclamation points sparingly, if at all. Appropriate for warnings but unnecessary to indicate emphasis.

School, Center and Division Names


Use the full name—Colorado School of Mines—on first reference. After that, Mines is the preferred abbreviated version. Please do not use CSM.

Centers / Institutes

Capitalize the full formal names, such as the Trefny Innovation Instruction Center, but lowercase for the shorter form—the institute.


Capitalize the full formal names, such as Liberal Arts and International Studies Division, but lowercase for the shorter form—the liberal arts department.

Academic Departments

  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Colorado Geological Survey
  • Computer Science
  • Economics and Business
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering, Design & Society
  • Geology & Geological Engineering
  • Geophysics
  • Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Library and Museum
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Physics

Interdisciplinary Programs

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Energy Systems
  • Energy
  • Geochemistry
  • Humanitarian Engineering
  • Hydrological Science and Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Military Science/ROTC
  • Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • Operations Research with Engineering
  • Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering
  • Space Resources
  • Underground Construction and Tunneling


  • Academic Affairs
  • Administrations and Operations
  • Admissions
  • Alumni Association
  • Board of Trustees
  • Budget and Planning
  • Business Operations
  • Campus Events
  • Career Center
  • Center for Academic Services and Advising (CASA)
  • Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Compliance and Policy
  • Computing, Communications and Information Technology (CCIT)
  • Continuing and Professional Education
  • Controller’s Office
  • Copy Center
  • Counseling Center
  • Disability Support Services
  • Distribution and Mail Services
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Facilities Management
  • Financial Aid
  • Food Services
  • Foundation
  • Graduate Studies, Office of
  • Green Center
  • Human Resources
  • Institutional Research
  • International Programs, Office of
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • Legal Services
  • Meridian Center for Excellence
  • Newsroom
  • Office and Design and Construction
  • Parking Services
  • President’s Office
  • Public Safety
  • Purchasing and Procurement Services
  • Registrar
  • Research Administration, Office of
  • Research and Technology Transfer
  • Residence Life
  • Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL)
  • Student Health Center
  • Student Life
  • Student Recreation Center
  • Student Wellness Center
  • Sustainability Office
  • Title IX
  • University Advancement

Student Support Services

  • Arthur Lakes Library
  • Career Center
  • Center for Academic Services and Advising (CASA)
  • Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Counseling Center
  • Disability Support Services
  • Financial Aid
  • Office of Graduate Studies
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • Recreational Sports
  • Registrar’s Office
  • Residence Life and Housing
  • Special Programs and Continuing Education
  • Student Activities
  • Student Health Center
  • Student Life
  • Student Wellness Center
  • Writing Center

Pro Tips

  • Don’t put the word “the” in front of the school names—it is Colorado School of Mines
    Use the word “and” in department/office titles in place of the ampersand (&).