Content reference manual

Guidance on University terminology, grammar, spelling, and content style

On this page

Grammar, spelling, and formatting

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings should use sentence case. This means you only capitalise the first letter of the first word unless a word is a proper noun or formal title.

✅ Student life in Dundee

✅ Welcome to the University of Dundee

✅ Guide to registering as a student

✅ International students

If you talking about the University of Dundee you refer to is as ‘the University’, and if it is a university in general you are referring to then no capitalisation is required.

Sometimes it can be hard to decide whether a word or phrase should be capitalised, for example when you are talking about university offices or study topics. A general rule of thumb is to ask yourself:

  • Is the phrase a title of something, such as a course, university unit, or project? If so, it should use upper case at the start of words.
  • Would you give the word or phrase upper case letters if you were using it in a sentence? If so, it should use upper case.

Context is important here. For example, there is a department at the University called 'Academic Skills Centre'. When referring to the Academic Skills service, you would capitalise the initial letters, because that is a proper noun phrase. You are skipping the word 'Centre' as it would be clunky to use the full name in every instance. However, when you are talking more generally about academic skills, even on a page for the service, you would not capitalise the words academic skills.

✅ Speak to a member of our Academic Skills team

✅ Learn new academic skills

❌ Learn new Academic Skills


When you copy an author's text word for word, place quotation marks around the words and add a citation at the end of the quote.

If you use a direct quotation from an author:

  • Enclose it in quotation marks.
  • Give the author, date and page number(s) that the quotation was taken from, in brackets.

"Language is subject to change, and is not caused by unnecessary sloppiness, laziness or ignorance" (Aitchison, 1981, p67).

If the quotation is more than two lines, or over 70 characters (including spaces):

  • It is separated from the rest of the paragraph by one free line above and below.

  • It is indented at left and right margins.

  • It is preceded by a colon.

  • It does not use quotation marks.

  • The citation includes author, date and page number(s) that the quotation was taken from.

One answer to this is that language has always been subject to change, just as everything else in the world is, and we should not feel that this is a bad thing. As Aitchison (1981, p16) puts it:

Language, then, like everything else, gradually transforms itself over the centuries. There is nothing surprising in this. In a world where humans grow old, tadpoles change into frogs, and milk turns into cheese, it would be strange if language alone remained unaltered. In spite of this, large numbers of intelligent people condemn and resent language change, regarding alterations as due to unnecessary sloppiness, laziness or ignorance.

Contact details

In any publication produced by the University, contact details need to be given accurately.

The format varies slightly depending on the purpose of the text:

Example for print

Professor H I Story
School of Humanities
University of Dundee

T: +44 (0)1382 383838
Facebook : universityofdundee (username)
Twitter : @dundeeuni (username)

The University website should be listed before social media. Up to date social media icons are available both for the web and print. Please ask the web or print team for assistance.

Email addresses should be all lower case. Pre-2018 email addresses for staff and students have dots between initials, even though the full username, used to log in, does not.

When a web address / email address / phone number / postal address appears within a passage of text in print, it should be highlighted in bold. Where these have been given a separate heading (such as Contact details), normal type is sufficient.

On the web, phone numbers and emails are not prefixed.

Example for web

Professor H I Story
School of Humanities
University of Dundee

+44 (0)1382 383838
Facebook : universityofdundee (username)
Twitter : @dundeeuni (username)

In print, web addresses should be given in the simplest, most easily readable form possible. Avoid using long URLs.




Web addresses should not be written using full URLs on webpages. It can sometimes be appropriate to write a domain when it is the brand name of a service, such as Best practice is to link appropriate sentence text.

✅ You can find the latest bus timetables on the Stagecoach East Scotland website.

✅ You can find out more about visas on

❌ To find out about scholarships, click here.

❌ You can print off a letter by going to eVision via

Use the international phone number format by default. This lets smart phones detect phone numbers, allows easier international dialling, and gives the area code for UK callers. Never use the six-digit Dundee number on its own. Local dialling is increasingly anachronistic given falling landline use.

Five-digit extensions (88000) no longer work since the migration to Teams switchboard. Always write out the phone number in full as +44 (0)1382 3xxxxx.

Abbreviations and acronyms

Always give the full title of a person, committee, group, or institution the first time it is mentioned within the text, followed by the abbreviated version or acronym in brackets.

✅ Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

✅ Medical Research Council (MRC)

Subsequent references may employ an abbreviated version or an acronym.



Omit full stops in all abbreviations.

Commonly confused words

Many words in English sound similar and are regularly confused with one another in text. Oxford Living Dictionaries provides a reference guide to aid you in choosing the correct word.

American and British spelling

British spelling should be used in all unique copy produced by the University.

In the case of proper nouns (or noun phrases) of organisations (such as 'centres'), official job titles, citations, and quotations where the original uses USA spelling conventions, the original USA spelling should be retained.

-ise and -ize

Word-final -ise/-ize as in realise/realize is flexible in British English. We use -ise at all times as standard in unique copy produced by the University.

Numbers, money, and ages


In passages of text, spell out in full all specific figures up to and including ten:

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten

Higher numbers should be written in figures, using commas to indicate thousands.

11    12   13    150    6,110    5,483,472

Never prefix a number with a # symbol. If you feel it is necessary to have the word 'number' before a numeral then spell this out in full as this an assistive technology may misread a # as "hash" or "pound".

Exceptions to this rule

Abbreviated forms of units: 

2lb 12oz, 3ft 6in, 10m, 167cm, 11.67m, 2.2kg

Fractions and percentages:

✅ 3.5%, 10.2%

❌ 3.5 percent

❌ 10.2 p.c.

When a number over ten is used to begin a sentence:

✅ Seventy people attended the event.

❌ 70 people attended the event.

When two numbers in different categories appear in close proximity:

✅ 9 to 12

❌ nine to 12

In tables and lists

Where the numbers ten and below appear in a table digits may show the information more clearly.


✅ 50p

❌ 50 pence

✅ £8.10

✅ £26

❌ 26 pounds

✅ £5,120

✅ £13m

✅ £13 million

✅ £12k


✅ The student was 25 years old or aged 25.

✅ The boy was three years old or aged three.

✅ 25-year-old student / three-year-old boy

❌ 25-years-old student / three-years-old boy

Ages written in brackets should always be in figures, regardless of the age concerned.

✅ John Brown (3)

❌ John Brown (three)

Dates and times

Dates in paragraph text should be in the format:

(Thursday) 9 November (1989)

The day comes before the month, and is always written as a digit, with no st/nd/rd/th suffix. The year, if relevant, should be written in full.

Days of the week and months of the year can be abbreviated if space is at a premium. Be consistent when you do this, and always use three letter abbreviations - Thu not ThursJun not June.

✅ Monday 29 March

✅ Fri 9 Nov

❌ Sat 8 August

✅ 23 June 2016

❌ 3rd May 1979

❌ July 4th 1776

In a context when you are listing the date in digit-only format, for example in tabular content, always display the year in full, and place a zero (0) in front of single digit days or months. Use obliques and not hyphens or dots to separate the day, month and year.

✅ 25/10/1982

✅ 18/08/2008

❌ 20-09-1990

❌ 02.09.1666

❌ 18/09/14

❌ 8/6/2017

Times of day

Times of day should always use digits, never words, and should use the 24 hour clock, with the hours and minutes separated by a colon.

✅ 15:30

✅ 15:00

❌ 16.00

❌ 3am

❌ 2:30am

❌ 4.30pm

Emphasis and italics


Limit use of emphatic devices like changes of font face and size, boldface, all-capitals, to make a point.

For longer passages of emphasised text, such as whole sentences or several-word sentence fragments, consider whether breaking your paragraphs up, adding subheadings, or otherwise visually separating your text would be more successful in drawing attention to it.

In print, italics are preferred over boldface or underlining for emphasis. Always use italics sparingly, to maximise impact, when you want to emphasise a certain word or phrase in a sentence.

"She was the only girl in the class who got 100% on the exam."

Italics on the web

Italics do not render as well on screens as they do in text, and are less readable. As such, on the web it's usually preferable to use bold rather than italics for inline emphasis for accessibility reasons. There will be exceptions to this, for example where boldface is being used for another purpose (such as highlighting key words in this style guide).



Apostrophes should never be used when s is being added to denote the plural.

Apostrophes are used to indicate possession (note that the placement of the apostrophe in each case is determined by whether the noun is singular or plural / ends with the letter s).

✅ Jack's coat
✅ Jack Stubbs' coat
✅ The men's coats
✅ Jack has over three years' experience of wearing these coats

Contractions and omissions

As a general rule, avoid using contractions unless the context is informal.

Its and It's

It's is written with an apostrophe when indicating a contraction. When using the possessive form, write its without an apostrophe.

✅ His coat has lost its button
✅ It's been through the washing machine

Years and decades

In years and decades, an apostrophe is used when century (19, 20, 21) has been omitted from the front, to indicate contraction. There is no apostrophe between the year and the s as it is indicating a plural, not a possessive or a contraction.

✅ the '90s, '93

❌ the 90's

✅ the 1990s

❌ the 1990's

Plural and possessive common abbreviations

Common abbreviations such as PC, TV, CD and DVD do not have an apostrophe in plural form. They have an apostrophe in possessive and contracted 'it is' form as normal.

❌ I have lost my CD's.

✅ I own too many DVDs.

✅ My PC's fan sounds like a jet engine.

❌ The PC's were bought this year.

✅ My TV's on fire.

❌ There are no TV's in these rooms.

Dos and don'ts

Do and don't are nouns in this context - they're casual terms for 'a thing you should do' and 'a thing you shouldn't do'. As such, where they are plurals here, no apostrophe is required. There should still be an apostrophe in the contraction don't in the usual location.

✅ dos and don'ts

❌ do's and don'ts

❌ do's and dont's

❌ do's and don't's

❌ dos and donts

When used in a title, 'dos and don'ts' should be in sentence case: don'ts is not capitalised.

Brackets and parentheses

Square brackets

Square brackets are used in direct quotes when a comment from the writer or editor, not uttered by the speaker, is added to provide essential information.

✅ "I went to Harris [a high school in Dundee] and then on to Dundee to study Politics."

Use brackets sparingly, particularly square ones: it's not necessary to add [David] in a football story when an interviewee refers to "Beckham".


Round brackets are used for parenthesis and/or to add clarification.

Sentences containing a parenthesis should read as a grammatical sentence when everything inside the brackets is removed.

✅ The Premier Shop is a convenience store (managed by DUSA) selling everything from groceries to lab coats.

Avoid using brackets for very long parentheses. Consider rephrasing to put the extra information in a separate sentence, or otherwise break the text up.

Generally speaking, avoid putting a parenthesis at the end of a sentence. If there's no good way to rephrase or avoid this, the full stop should be outside the brackets.

✅ We have four studentships funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

If the parenthesis is a complete sentence, the whole sentence should be inside the brackets, including the full stop.

✅ Eight members of Graduates' Association sit on the Business Committee. (These members are elected at an Annual Meeting.)

Consider however, why you are using parentheses in this situation, and whether you need to.

Never put a mix of partial and complete sentences inside a parenthesis.

❌ Eight members of Graduates' Association (who are elected at an Annual Meeting. These members are elected in groups of two, each serving a four-year term) sit on the Business Committee.


Bullet point lists

Where bullet points form a list of very short phrases or single words, lower case should be used (unless the point contains a proper name or formal title). Punctuation is not necessary.

Subject areas covered on this course include:

  • reading
  • writing
  • presentations

If the stem and bullet points combine to form complete sentences, the lower case should be used for each bullet point (unless the point contains a proper name or formal title) and no punctuation should appear at the end of the each one.

The Institute of Sport and Exercise has:

  • an all-weather running pitch with a range of lighting options
  • a fully-equipped gym, staffed during daytime and evenings
  • a secure bike storage area

If each bullet point is a complete sentence, then sentence case and punctuation should be used.

There are some general points you should take into account when preparing for an interview.

  • Most interviewers will take a view on how you present yourself.
  • Taking notes in with you can keep you on track with your answers and remind you of relevant achievements.
  • You should feel confident to ask questions about the role to ensure it is the right fit for you.

The introductory paragraph or line to a bullet point list should have a full stop if it's a complete sentence, and a colon if it's an incomplete sentence or sentence fragment.


This rule may be relaxed for landing pages or posters, which may have more visual impact with uppercase letters and no punctuation.

Numbered lists

Use a numbered list only when your listed items represent a progression of some kind, such as a series of steps with a set order, or when you need to be able to reference the list items in another part of the document or page.

✅ How to apply for accommodation:

  1. Firmly accept your offer for Dundee as your first choice.
  2. Check your email - we'll email you to let you apply.
  3. Apply for your room and let us know about any preferences.
  4. We'll make you an offer for a room. You'll need to accept this before the deadline to confirm.

❌ We try to match up people in our residences to create well balanced flats. We take into account:

  1. age
  2. date of application
  3. length of lease
  4. nationality

You should punctuate numbered lists the same way you do bullet lists.

Inline lists

Not every list needs to be formatted with numbers or bullet points. Lists with only three or at most four relatively short items may be better conveyed within the flow of the text. Items in inline lists should be separated by commas, including a comma before the final conjunction (and/or/nor).

✅ There are limited car parking facilities at West Park Flats, West Park Villas, and Seabraes residencies.

❌ There are limited car parking facilities at West Park Flats, West Park Villas and Seabraes residencies.

✅ Whether you're undergraduate, postgraduate, or an exchange student, we'll email you once you've firmly accepted Dundee.

❌ Whether you're undergraduate, postgraduate or an exchange student, we'll email you once you've firmly accepted Dundee.

Lists should never use semi-colon separation. If list items are so long that they require internal commas, use bullet points or rephrase your paragraph.

❌ Don't feel pressured into accepting a contract before you have had time to consider: who you might share with; utility costs and who is responsible for payment; contract suitability - duration, single or joint liability for rent; furnishings provided; and personal property insurance.

Colons and semi-colons


Colons are used to expand on or clarify an opening statement:

"The University of Dundee consistently excels in one important area: student satisfaction."

In this context the second part of the sentence will have less weight than the part preceding the colon. The second clause need not be a standalone sentence.

Colons are also used to introduce a long list, or a set of bullet points where the text within the bullets follows on as part of a sentence.

The University of Dundee achieved three notable results in the National Student Survey:

  • 8th in the UK for student experience
  • 1st in the UK for personal development
  • 100% satisfaction recorded by Physics students

Never use a colon with a dash or hyphen.

❌ Subject areas covered on this course include:-


Semi-colons should be used to suggest a link between two complete sentences not joined by and, or, but, yet or while.

Most commonly, they separate two main clauses that are closely related to each other in topic, but could stand on their own as sentences.

Semi-colons suggest a link or progression, but generally the two clauses will be of equal weight. This contrasts with a colon, where the second clause will always be dependent and subordinate.

At the University of Dundee we provide a supportive environment for our students; we're rated 1st in the UK for personal development in the National Student Survey.

Use semi-colons carefully and sparingly. Always consider first whether separate sentences would be easier to read.

Full stops

There should always be one space after a full stop at the end of each sentence, never two.

Hyphens and long dashes


Hyphens are short and should not have spaces either side of them.


Uses of hyphens

Where a word might be difficult to read or pronounce correctly without a hyphen:

❌ cooperate

✅ co-operate

❌ preempt

✅ pre-empt

To join a prefix to a noun or adjective:;


To avoid ambiguity where a word would have a different meaning without a hyphen:


When using a compounding adjective before a noun:

computer-based training
patient-centred ethos

To stand in for the word 'to' between numbers:

The academic year 2016-2017 saw a consolidation of the University of Dundee School of Business.

Specific hyphenation examples

University staff


Part-time and full-time

When these compounds are used as adjectives - that is, to modify a noun, they are hyphenated.

full-time course
This position is offered on a part-time basis.

When they are serving as a compound adverb, modifying a verb, they should be written as separate words.

I am studying full time.

Long dashes

Long dashes are longer than hyphens and should be used for parenthetical statements, with a space either side.

Slashes (obliques - /)

In general, we favour use of or rather than the oblique (/). Obliques are acceptable where they aid the reader in scanning for information, such as course or location information displayed in a tabular or list context. In paragraph text, use or.

Where an oblique mark is used between two single words, in the middle of a word, or between two numbers, there should be no space either side of it. When used between compound phrases – for example course titles – there should be a space either side of the oblique.

✅ Applicants need to have a diploma in a related subject and/or relevant professional experience.

✅ Applicants need to have a master's degree in Business Management or Management Accounting.

❌ Applicants need to have a master's degree in Business Management/Management Accounting.

An acceptable use of obliques to aid scanning:

❌ Standard room, 39 week contract:

  • West Park Flats / West Park Villas - £4,800
  • Belmont Tower / Seabraes (Flats 1-32) - £5,000

An oblique should only ever be used to denote the word or, or a choice between two possibilities. It should never stand in for and or to.

✅ For those applying in 2018/19 up-to-date information on the fees will be available online nearer the time.

❌ The academic year 2018/2019 was an exciting one for the students in the School

✅ The academic year 2018-2019 was an exciting one for the students in the School.

When denoting a plural, brackets should be used rather than the oblique.

✅ Complete this form to reserve your place(s) at the lecture.

❌ Complete this form to reserve your place/s at the lecture.


Degrees conferred by the University 

The University may confer the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Design (BDes)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Finance (BFin)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
  • Bachelor of Medical Science (BMSc)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
  • Bachelor of Midwifery (BMid)
  • Bachelor of Nursing (BN)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Master of Accountancy (MAcc)
  • Master of Architecture (MArch)
  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Dental Science (MDSc)
  • Master of Design (MDes)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • Master of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Master of Forensic Medicine (MFM)
  • Master of Forensic Odontology (MFOdont)
  • Master of Laws (LLM)
  • Master of Letters (MLitt)
  • Master of Mathematics (MMath)
  • Master of Medical Education (MMEd)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMSc)
  • Master of Nursing (MN)
  • Master of Orthopaedic Surgery (MChOrth)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Science (MSci)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Master of Surgical Science (MSSc)
  • Doctor of Community Learning and Development (DCLD)
  • Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc)
  • Doctor of Education (DEd)
  • Doctor of Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)
  • Doctor of Laws (LLD)
  • Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Science (DSc)
  • Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)
  • Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)*

*In Scotland this does not stand for 'Postgraduate Diploma in Education'.

How to refer to a specific qualification in full

When referring to specific qualifications in isolation, write their letter designation first, and the name of the course second. (For other use cases, see 'Placement of degree type'.)

✅ MSc Forensic Art and Facial Identification

❌ Forensic Art and Facial Identification MSc

❌ MSc in Forensic Art and Facial Identification

To indicate 'with honours', place (Hons) after the letter designation, with a space between the degree type and the opening bracket.

BA (Hons) Business Studies

In the phrase 'a degree with honours' lower case h should be used. Upper case H is only used when writing the complete formal title of a qualification, as in the example.


With regard to course titles, and, &, and with are very separate legal terms and must not be used interchangeably.

Use and where the two discrete degree subjects are considered to have equal weight in the course. This is a joint degree.

MA (Hons) History and Politics

If the degree name contains with, the first mentioned subject is primary, with subsequent subjects having significant but lesser focus.

MA (Hons) Economics with French

An ampersand (&) is used in place of and in a single named degree.

MSc Accounting & Finance

Master's degrees

Use an apostrophe when you are writing generically about a master's degree. You do not need to capitalise the words 'master's degree', as you are not referring to a specific course title. If confused, think of the degree as the property of the master, with the apostrophe-s indicating possession - it's a master's degree.

You shouldn't use capital letters, unless you're writing the formal title of a specific degree.

❌ Kate earned a master's degree in Civil Engineering.

❌ If you are interested in Masters-level study then contact us.

(The words Civil Engineering are capitalised because they denote a core subject at the University.)

When writing about a specific degree, omit the apostrophe and capitalise Masters.

✅ Kate has earned the Masters in Civil Engineering.

✅ Steven studied for a master's degree in history.

Subject areas and module titles

Capitalise the subject only if it is the name of the degree. Do not capitalise it when it is a concept.

✅  MA History

❌ The Geography of the region

✅ Entry requirements: A level physics

✅ The Anatomical Sciences degree

Do not capitalise school entry requirement subjects, unless a language.

Placement of degree type

This depends on the context. In general, write BSc Anatomical Sciences, MA History. However, if the subject is appearing in a list with other subjects (where it is important a reader sees the degree names first) or where they need to be alphabetised (such as on the course webpages), write Anatomical Sciences BSc, History MA.

Degree should be written with a lower case d unless it is referring to a specific type of degree.

✅ We offer a number of undergraduate degrees.

❌ Our Degrees are well respected across the globe.

✅ We offer a Foundation Degree in Art.

Course versus programme

Across the Higher Education sector, words are often used interchangeably and in a contradictory manner. There are many arguments for and against a whole range of words. Some words in UK English have a different meaning in US English.

For the sake of internal consistency use the following three terms when talking about undergraduate and taught postgraduate. Whilst these may not reflect the full scope of our offering, it is better that we are consistent rather than potentially confusing students and applicants.


A module is a set of teaching and assessment worth a number of credits. Modules often last a semester and students usually study several modules concurrently.


A collection of modules makes a course. This term should be used as it is recognised by students and used by UCAS. MA History and MSc International Business should be referred to as a course.


A portfolio of related courses within a school is a programme. Programme is not a synonym for course and should be used sparingly if at all.

Terms to avoid

The following terms should not be used in marketing material. These are analogous to course and so we avoid having different terms for the same thing.

❌ Programme of study

❌ Degree programme

❌ Pathway

Taught and research postgraduate abbreviations

  • Use PGT for taught postgraduate, not TPG.
  • Use PGR for research postgraduate, not RPG.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements should only appear on course webpages. 

University of Dundee terminology

The University

In first references to the University, always use the full title.

✅ University of Dundee

In subsequent references, the abbreviation UoD may be used in order to avoid repetition, but bear in mind that this is a less formal way of referring to the University and it may not be considered appropriate in certain formal contexts.

❌ Dundee University

When referring specifically to the University without mentioning its name, always use an upper case U.

✅ The University has an exemplary graduate employment record.

✅ We provide University-allocated accommodation for undergraduates who apply before the deadline.

For general references, use a lowercase u.

✅ Many people find that adjusting to university life can be a challenging experience.

Schools and directorates

As of 1 August 2022 the University of Dundee comprises eight Schools, some containing sub-units:

  • School of Art and Design*
  • School of Business
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
    • Centre for Archive and Information Studies
    • Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy
    • Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science
  • School of Life Sciences
  • School of Medicine
    • Centre for Medical Education
    • Dundee Institute of Healthcare Simulation
  • School of Science and Engineering
    • Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification
*The School of Art and Design

The School of Art and Design is not external facing. The School of Art and Design should be referred to as Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in all content intended for an external audience.

This is the only permitted use of the ampersand in the University structure. All other schools and directorates, including the internally referenced School of Art and Design, use and.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design is a well-known brand name and, wherever possible, should be referred to in full. The abbreviation DJCAD should never be used within University publications, but can be used on the website when spacing is an issue.

The abbreviation DOJ/DoJ should never be used under any circumstances.

In contexts where it is not immediately clear that Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design forms part of the University (such as press releases), ensure that it is referred to in the first instance or somewhere in the text as the University of Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Capitalisation of Schools

When referring to a School, Centre or other academic unit without using its full name, always capitalise its initial letter. This is particularly important to avoid confusion when communicating with prospective undergraduate students, most of whom will be attending a school or college themselves at the time that they are applying to universities.

Listing multiple schools

When listing multiple Schools, do so alphabetically, following the order below:

  1. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
  2. School of Business
  3. School of Dentistry
  4. School of Health Sciences
  5. School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  6. School of Life Sciences
  7. School of Medicine
  8. School of Science and Engineering

Where the full name of a School has been established in a passage of text, subsequent references may be shortened to the School, but avoid altering the order of words in the School's name or using any abbreviations.

✅ the School of Life Sciences

[subsequent references to] the School

❌ the Life Sciences School

Well-known Centres

The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification and the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy are also well-known brand names and, wherever possible, should be referred to in full. The abbreviations CAHID and CEPMLP should never be used within University publications, but can be used on the website when spacing is an issue.

In contexts where it is not immediately clear that the Centre forms part of the University (such as a press release), ensure that the University of Dundee is mentioned somewhere in the text.

The School of Business

The School of Business should never be referred to as 'Dundee Business School', 'the Business School' or 'DBS'. The usual School shorthand for subsequent references is acceptable.

✅ University of Dundee School of Business

✅ UoD School of Business [subsequent references when informal or short of space]

[subsequent references to] the School

✅ the School of Business

❌ the Business School

❌ the Dundee Business School



(This list applies to all external references to the School of Business. UDSB is an acceptable shorthand in staff communications.)

School of Medicine

The School of Medicine should never be referred to as 'Dundee Medical School' or 'Ninewells Medical School'. Ninewells Hospital should not be referred to as 'Ninewells Hospital and Medical School'. You can use 'medical school' as a generic concept but should use lower case for both words.

✅ University of Dundee School of Medicine

✅ School of Medicine

✅ medical school [use lower case]

❌ Dundee Medical School

❌ Ninewells Medical School

❌ the medical school

❌ Ninewells Hospital and Medical School

Semester versus term

The University in general has two semesters per year with vacations in between.

There are some courses such as Medicine which have specialised timetables. They can use term to clarify that this is different to the standard setup.


When talking about the place the University has received in league tables and rankings, avoid use of the word 'Top' in any location, as it's ambiguous.

❌ We are ranked top in the UK for Applied Basket Weaving.

In headings or call outs, use 'number 1' (or similar). Do not capitalise the 'n' (unless at the start of the heading as normal). Use a digit in this location even for numbers under 11, as it's clearer, but in paragraph text you should observe the usual rules around writing numbers under 11 in full.

✅ Applied Basket Weaving - number 1 in the UK [header]

❌ We are ranked number 1 in the UK in Applied Basket Weaving.

✅ We are ranked number one in the UK in Applied Basket Weaving.

When forced to by space constraints, you may use 'no.' with a full stop in place of 'number' headings.

Avoid use of 'first' in headers, but this is acceptable in paragraph text for variety and ease of phrasing. Do not use '1st' in any location.

❌ Ranked first in the UK for Applied Basket Weaving [header]

✅ We are ranked first in the UK in Applied Basket Weaving.

DUSA | The Union

When referring to DUSA and/or the Union, the preferred usage is:

DUSA | The Union


Post-nominal titles

Post-nominal initials or titles are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a particular position, qualification, accreditation, office or honour. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters.

The order is as follows:

  1. civil honours
  2. military honours
  3. QC or MP
  4. degrees
  5. diplomas
  6. certificates
  7. membership of academic or professional bodies

All abbreviations of degrees and other distinctions, whether all upper-case or a mixture of upper and lower-case, should appear without internal full stops.

✅ Dr A Smith OBE MA MLitt PhD PGDip PGCert

❌ Dr A Smith M.Litt. Ph.D.

These should only be used when relevant – for example, on an academic profile page.


When a male professor has been knighted he becomes Professor Sir. When a female professor is knighted she becomes Professor Dame. Once the full name has been given, subsequent mentions in text and quotes should be Sir Anthony and Dame Alice.

UK Biobank recently announced the appointment of Professor Sir Michael Ferguson to its Board.

Royal naming conventions

When the occasion arises to name members of the royal family, we do not capitalise 'the' but capitalise the first letter of the title e.g. Queen, King.

If necessary to do so, prefix this with Her/His Majesty or HM.

Her Majesty the Queen has officially opened the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee.


Building names

  • 1 Airlie Place
  • 1 Cross Row
  • 1 Perth Road
  • 2 Airlie Place
  • 3 Cross Row
  • 3 Perth Road
  • 4 Airlie Place
  • 6 Airlie Place
  • 8-10 Airlie Place
  • 14 Airlie Place
  • Airlie East
  • Belmont Flats
  • Belmont Tower Residences
  • Bonar Hall
  • Botanic Garden
  • Carnegie Building
  • Carnelley Building
  • College Hall
  • Computing Centre
  • Crawford Building
  • Dalhousie Building
  • Dental Hospital
  • Discovery Centre
  • DUSA|The Union
  • Enquiry Centre
  • Ewing Annexe
  • Ewing Building
  • Fleming Gym Building
  • Frankland Building
  • Fulton Building
  • Harris Building
  • 5-7 Hawkhill
  • Heathfield Residences
  • Jackie Wood Centre
  • Mackenzie Building
  • Main Library
  • Matthew Building
  • Medical Sciences Institute (MSI)
  • Ninewells Hospital
  • Old Medical School (OMS)
  • Old Technical Institute (OTI)
  • Peters Building
  • Queen Mother Building
  • Scrymgeour Building
  • Seabraes Residences
  • Sir James Black Centre
  • Tayforth University Officer Training Corps (TUOTC)
  • Tower Building
  • Wellcome Trust Biocentre
  • West Park Conference Centre
  • West Park Flats
  • West Park Villas

Ninewells Hospital should not be referred to as "Ninewells Hospital & Medical School" as this implies there is a "Ninewells Medical School". The same logic applies to the Dental Hospital.

Some versions of the campus map use numbered locations, however these numbers are inconsistent between versions. When giving directions, you should therefore never use "number 2 on the campus map" and instead state the building name, street, or postcode for GPS.


✅ City campus

❌ Main campus

✅ Ninewells campus

✅ Kirkcaldy campus

❌ Fife campus

An A to Z of University of Dundee style

@ signs

The @ symbol should only be used in email addresses or for certain social media handles, such as @dundeeuni on Instagram. It should not be used in service or department names, or as a synonym for the word at.

capital a, lower case l, with hyphen

not advisor

Alumni is a plural noun referring either to a group of male graduates or to a group of both male and female graduates.

The singular alumnus refers to one male graduate.

Alumna refers to one female graduate.

The plural alumnae refers to a group of female graduates.

applicant visit days
An applicant day is for prospective students who have applied to Dundee. The applicants are personally invited to these and they are relevant to the subject they applied to. We do not publicise these externally as they are conversion events rather than recruitment.

_TheCloud should always be referred to using its exact SSID, so _TheCloud (has no space between The and Cloud and has _ at start). This service is run by “Sky WiFi”. As this is a brand, it uses a capital W and F unlike our standard usage)

no accented e

coronavirus pandemic
the two years following February 2020. avoid crisis or other emotive terms. never use unprecedented times

sentence case with initial cap, never use COVID as you pronounce it as one word, not a collection of letters

driving licence
not drivers licence, lowercase

ed-u-roam (education roaming), always lowercase – even at the start of a sentence


❌ webmail
❌ groupwise
❌ dMail
❌ e-mail

Avoid the use of webmail as it sometimes makes students think that our system "isn't a real email".
If you need to specifically refer to the web version of Outlook, rather than the desktop app, or accessing via a phone, use Outlook on the web.

capital E, not EventBrite, not Event Bright

not E-Vision

never fayre: Freshers’ Fair, Sports Fair, Careers Fair

these never are frequently asked questions, and are a poor way of presenting information. Find out more from

International Baccalaureate
International Baccalaureate with upper case letters, higher level / standard level with lower case

iPad, iPhone
iOS devices can be used to describe both together

abbreviation rendered in capitals since rebrand, Institute of Sport and Exercise on first use


✅ Main Library (preferred form)

✅ Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Library (preferred form)
✅ DJCAD Library (preferred abbreviation – first reference should always be spelled out in full)
❌ Never DoJ Library or DOJ Library

✅ Robertson Trust Medical Library (preferred form)
✅ Medical Library (preferred abbreviation – first reference should always be spelled out in full)
✅ Medical Library at Ninewells Hospital (alternative abbreviation when clarification of location is required)
❌ Never Ninewells Library

✅ Kirkcaldy Campus Library (preferred form)
✅ Kirkcaldy Library (preferred abbreviation – first reference should always be spelled out in full)
❌ Never Fife Campus Library

Library Services
This is no longer referred to as Library and Learning Centre or LLC. When referring to the building in the middle of City Campus, this is called Main Library

MacBook Pro, macOS (with lower m), never MAC

My Dundee
My Dundee has a space, capital M, and capital D. Only use My Dundee, we don’t need three names for the same thing. MyDundee without a space is a Dundee City Council service.

❌ Blackboard
❌ MyDundee
❌ myDundee

not on-line (although consider whether the word is redundant - an online form is not the amazing innovation it was in 1996)

open day
An open day is for prospective students who have not yet applied to the University. These are held before the UCAS deadline and are public events open to all.

If referring to a specific event, capitalise.

✅ Come to our Open Day on 24 September
✅ We hold regular open days

Outlook is Microsoft's email client, which works differently on different platforms.

✅ Outlook on the web
❌ webmail
✅ Outlook on the desktop
❌ Outlook client
✅ Outlook via mobile app

the overuse of please, particularly in lists, can make instructions harder to read. Maximum one please per page.
see also: welcome

lowercase p, not folio, portfolios have not been physically submitted for many years, so there is no need for archaic prefixes such as digital or e-

students write reports, they don't report to buildings; we're not an army.

(car park payment app) two Gs, the second G is capitalised

The University in general has two semesters per year with vacations in between.

There are some courses such as Medicine which have specialised timetables. They can use term to clarify that this is different to the standard setup.

Sports Union
no apostrophe, advise against overuse of SU due to confusion with shorthand for Students' Union common in England

student ID card / student ID number
The correct usage is student ID card and student ID number.

✅ student ID card
❌ matric card
❌ matriculation card
✅ student ID number
❌ matric number

Students' Association
has possessive apostrophe after the s (not Student's). Also applicable if using Students' Union. See also DUSA The Union

Always specify which format a user needs to use for a service:

  • username – jbloggs
  • full username –
  • email address -

V&A Dundee
Do not spell out as Victoria & Albert. No spaces on either side of the ampersand

Welcome is the time of year when new students matriculate and join the University, typically in September and January, though some courses begin in August.

The event begins on the Saturday when new students move into accommodation and continues into the following week.

As this constitutes a period longer than 7 days, the event should never be referred to as Welcome Week.

there is no need to "welcome" people to a webpage or leaflet
see also: please

not WiFi, not Wi-Fi, not wireless