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Facts & Style

Communications and Marketing has developed this style guide as a service to the campus community. Specific office and department names maybe be found in the directory, which includes faculty and staff titles. It is intended to achieve a consistent message in written or printed materials. If you need assistance with MSU information or editing, contact OCM at 606-783-9328 or

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a.m. - Time before noon. Do not use A.M. or am.

Affirmative Action Statement
  • Short Version - (to be used on single-page documents)
MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity, educational institution.

Associate of Arts degree or an associate degree, no apostrophe 


Capitalization - as a general rule, use "down" style. Official names, titles, and acronyms are capitalized; informal, shortened, or generic terms are not - the Department of Music, the music department, the department; exceptions - the University (if it refers to this campus) is always capitalized, whether noun or adjective.

Commonwealth - when referring to Kentucky, use "the Commonwealth" or "the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

course work - two words, not hyphenated.


Degrees - Initial capitals for complete, official degree names (Bachelor of Arts) Use lowercase if generic (bachelor's degree); abbreviations use periods (B.A., Ph.D.)

Associate of Arts degree or an associate degree, no apostrophe


email (or Email if at the beginning of a sentence) No hyphenation. - Do not use:

Enrollment - approximately 10,000; current figures and enrollment detail available from Institutional Research and Assessment 


fax (or Fax if at the beginning of a sentence), not FAX.
Fifth-year - hyphenated


grade point average - do not hyphenate.
GPA - All capitals, no periods.


Internet - use initial capital when referring to the home of the World Wide Web.


MSU at Ashland, MSU Ashland is acceptable in second reference.
MSU at Mount Sterling, MSU Mount Sterling is acceptable in second reference.
MSU at Prestonsburg, MSU Prestonsburg is acceptable in second reference.

Mount Sterling or Mt. Sterling: "Mount Sterling" is the preferred spelling as the U.S. Postal Service officially recognizes that as the name of the city. The official name of the regional campus center is MSU at Mount Sterling. However, for brevity "Mt. Sterling" also is acceptable.

Morehead State University, Morehead State, or MSU - do not use "Morehead" as a reference to the University.


Noon - Do not use 12 noon or 12 midnight.
Numbers - Spell out one through nine; use numerals for 10 and up
  • Always spell numbers at beginning of sentences.
  • Always use numerals in percentages (4 percent, not four percent).
  • If more than one number is used in a sentence, spell them unless all are 10 and above.


Online - One word, do not hyphenate.


Phone numbers - use hyphens: 606-783-1000; usage should be consistent throughout document.
p.m. - Time after noon, do not use P.M. or pm.


Regional Campus(es), not Extended Campus(es); "regional campus" is preferred for individual references, as it emphasizes our commitment to our service region and reflects the multiple county service areas of each of the centers. Please use "regional campuses" for collective reference. The Council on Postsecondary Education's official term is "extended campus," as is reflected in many of the job titles within that division; however MSU is not required to use that phrase.

"re" words - Spell closed (readmission)


Science vs. Sciences and Sport vs. Sports (in departmental names and degrees). Pay close attention to the correct usage. Example: Courses are offered in Computer Science and Animal Sciences.


Terms of study - Capitalize if referring to specific term and year (Fall 2010) but lowercase if generic (fall semester).


University - Capital U, whether noun or adjective, if referring to Morehead State University.


Vice President or vice president; do not hyphenate; use initial capitals if using complete title and name (for example, Jim Shaw, Vice President for University Advancement) but lowercase if using title generically (Shaw is a vice president at MSU).


World Wide Web - do not use -