Editorial Style Guide
Consistent style and usage are essential to conveying quality and professionalism in our written communications. Click below for a guide to Colby standards on capitalization, punctuation, and more.
Contact the Office of Communications.
1. Academic Degrees
A.B. (no space after first period)—abbreviation for Artium baccalaureus, bachelor of arts, the degree Colby grants
B.A.—bachelor of arts
M.B.A.—master of business administration
Ed.D.—doctor of education.
Right: James T. Kirk has a Ph.D. in astronomy.
James T. Kirk has a doctorate in astronomy.
The word degree should not follow a degree abbreviation, and the degree initials (A.B.) should not be used with a Colby class year.
Wrong: He has a B.A. degree in history.
Right: He has a B.A. in history.
Right: She earned her Ph.D. at Harvard.
Wrong: Dan Harris ’93, B.A., is an author and a newsman.
When referring to degrees in general, lowercase the first letter of the degree and use the apostrophe + s (’s).
Right: They all had doctoral degrees in engineering.
Right: He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
Right: She earned two master’s degrees.
Lowercase formal names of academic degrees: bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, master of arts, doctor of philosophy. Colby degree: bachelor of arts (written out) and A.B. (abbreviation for the Latin Artium baccalaureus)
Abbreviate months (Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.) if you include a date. Do not abbreviate months when used alone or only with a year. Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June, or July.
Spell out the names of states when they stand alone. Abbreviate according to AP (below), not postal rules when a state is listed with a city or town in text. Use a comma following the state name when the sentence continues.
Right: The sophomore came from Lompoc, Calif., to study chemistry.
4. Other Countries
Spell out names of countries when they stand alone. Use United States as a noun; use U.S. as a modifier.
Right: We enrolled students from Labasa, Fiji, and Lusaka, Zambia, in the current class.
Right: U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Patrick Duddy ’72 returned to the United States.