Writing Style Guide

This guide answers questions specific to the University of Florida. Unless an exception is listed in the University of Florida style guide, the Associated Press Stylebook should be followed.


If an editorial question is not addressed below, please contact the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing at brittany.alana@ufl.edu.

Our Name
The University of Florida is the institution’s official name and is used on all formal occasions and on first reference. On the second and additional references, “Florida” is recommended. For further references for brevity and limitation of space, “UF” should be used. Do not capitalize common uses of university.

Addressing Academic Degrees
In a departure from the AP Stylebook, do not use the term Dr. before a name. Instead, follow the name with degree abbreviations to establish academic credentials. Example: Mike Lauzardo, M.D., and Matthew LaVoie, Ph.D., were recognized for their accomplishments. Consult the AP Stylebook entry for properly using apostrophes (bachelor’s and master’s). For doctoral degrees, the preferred form is to say a person holds a doctorate and name the individual’s area of specialty. Degrees should continue to be spelled out (example: John Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English, not a B.A. in English).

Academic Departments
Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives—for example, the political science department or the Department of Political Science. Avoid “of” when possible: the English department instead of the department of English. Capitalize the full names of schools, major centers, and institutes on the first reference but not those of programs and curricula. When using a list of schools or units together, use lowercase. Example: Established with the schools of medicine, pharmacy, journalism, and public health. Capitalize formal titles of departments: Warrington College of Business, College of Business, etc., and lowercase informal titles like business department.

Academic Titles
As a standard, use AP Stylebook. Your college may have specific references to your college concerning academic titles, and use the AP Stylebook as a reference. Some helpful tips are:

  • Always check the accuracy of the academic title before publishing. This can easily be done with the college, department, or unit’s communicator who will be able to share the most relevant information for that person. 
  • For example, a person teaching in a subject in contrast to a person who has knowledge of a subject: an instructor in mathematics versus a professor of computer science.
  • Do not assume any faculty member is a full professor. Check with the department if necessary. Sometimes titles reflecting recent appointments or promotions do not immediately appear in campus directories or websites.
  • Avoid preceding a name with a long title.

If formal titles are listed before the name, ensure they are capitalized and spelled out preceding the name, such as Professor Jane Doe. Do capitalize and spell out formal titles before a name, such as UF Mascot Albert Alligator. Be mindful to lowercase the title if it is used alone, such as “the professor said they would attend,” or if it is used after a name. See the AP Stylebook for a reference

Exceptions include the names of endowed professorships on the first reference—preferably after the faculty member’s name. Capitalize all of the words in the proper title of the professorship. (Albert E. Gator, Abigail Adams, Professor of Early American Studies)

Identify all alumni with the class year. Include graduate designations for alumni who did not earn undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida. Examples: Albert E. Gator ’70,  Alberta Gator ’84 (JD).

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 
Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the first reference. Use Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the second reference.

Board of Governors
The Florida Board of Governors is a 17-member governing board that serves as the governing body for the State University System of Florida, including all Florida public universities. Use the full name on the first reference; the board may be used on subsequent references.

Board of Trustees
The University of Florida Board of Trustees is the public body corporate of the university. It sets policy for the institution and serves as its legal owner and final authority. Use the full name on the first reference; BOT may be used on subsequent references. 

Century Tower
Constructed in 1953 to honor UF alumni killed in the world wars, the tower takes its name from the fact that it was built during UF’s centennial year. The tower stands 156 feet tall.

Students who serve as official ambassadors for UF.

Classes, Courses
Lowercase when referring to courses and classes: I took fine arts and business classes. Uppercase if referring to a specific name of a class or the class uses a proper noun or numeral: I took Psychology 2000 and Spanish 1000.

Use the full name of all colleges or departments on the first reference. Note colleges below with donor names must retain their full names on all references unless noted otherwise. If the language becomes cumbersome, you can rephrase: “Their business classes” rather than “Their classes in the Warrington College of Business.”

  • Heavener School of Business 
  • Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
  • Fredric G. Levin College of Law — Second reference: law school or college, NOT Levin Law College, Holland Law Center, or School of Law. Formerly College of Law. Note the uncommon spelling of “Fredric.”
  • Warrington College of Business

UF’s colors are orange and blue. It is acceptable to say “orange and blue.” It is inappropriate to reverse the order and say “blue and orange.” 

This word is often added to formal titles to denote that retired individuals retain their rank or title. When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with the general practice of academic institutions: Professor Emeritus Samuel Eliot Morison, Dean Emeritus Ashanti Washington, or Samuel Eliot Morison, professor emeritus of history; Ashanti Washington, dean emeritus.

Florida Blue Key
Never FBK (except in headlines). Florida Blue Key is a leadership and service honorary. It was formed in 1923 to help organize the annual Homecoming celebration.

Florida Gators
Informally used, Gators may stand alone – Go Gators! We refer to all sports teams at the University of Florida as the Florida Gators, not the UF Gators or UF Florida Gators. Gator Nation can informally refer to all University of Florida graduates, staff, faculty, and fans. 

Florida Museum of Natural History
Formerly known as the Florida State Museum. Use “the museum” on the second reference. One of Florida’s three state museums. The museum was moved to Powell Hall on the west side of campus in 1999.

This sports drink was invented in the mid-1960s by James Robert Cade, a UF nephrologist.


Grade point average: UF grade point averages are based on a 4.0 scale. This is written out for news releases. Abbreviations are accepted internally.

Lowercase when referencing the fraternity and sorority system. 

Capitalize when referring to UF’s annual event.

Inter-Residence Hall Association
Use association or IRHA as the second reference for internal publications.

Don’t capitalize when preceding a name. Ex: said interim President Albert E. Gator.

Competitive teams from different universities.

Competitive units within the confines of a single community or institution.

Land Grant
A land grant institution and member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), UF was established thanks to the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862. This law encouraged states to create agricultural and mechanical arts universities. Today the land-grant mission is characterized by a problem-solving approach to research-based education paired with the broad dissemination of knowledge directly to the public via extension services and outreach programs.

Majors, Programs
Do NOT capitalize majors, programs, specializations, or concentrations of study in news releases when they are not part of a designated degree: She received a Bachelor of Arts in history. She majored in economics.

National Collegiate Athletic Association
Use NCAA on the second reference.

Oxford Commas
Using the Oxford comma in a simple series before the conjunction is the preferred style at the University of Florida.

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School
Part of the College of Education, K-12.

President, President’s Office
Capitalize if used as a reference to an official title. See “Academic Titles” for use cases.

Orientation program for entering first-year students given each year during summer terms A & B.

Never abbreviate. Lowercase before a name, but capitalize Professor Emeritus as a conferred title before a name: Professor Emeritus Susan Johnson. Do not continue in the second reference unless part of a quotation.

Reitz Union
Use Reitz Union. Do not use J. Wayne Reitz Union.

Acceptable on the first reference for Reserve Officer Training Corps. No periods.

Semester Names
Fall 2021, Spring 2022, or Summer B are common and accepted in higher education environments.

State University System
SUS on the second reference. The 12 universities included in the State University System are:

  • Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee (FAMU)
  • Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton (FAU)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers (FGCU)
  • Florida International University in Miami (FIU)
  • Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland
  • Florida State University in Tallahassee (FSU)
  • New College of Florida in Sarasota
  • University of Central Florida in Orlando (UCF)
  • University of Florida in Gainesville (UF)
  • University of North Florida in Jacksonville (UNF)
  • University of South Florida in Tampa (USF)
  • University of West Florida in Pensacola (UWF)

Stephen C. O’Connell Center
The official name is Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Use this on the first reference. O’Connell Center on the second reference. 

Student Descriptors
The gender-neutral terms “first-year student,” “second-year student,” “third-year student,” and “fourth-year student” are preferred by the university administration for freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior, respectively,  in all uses. 

Student Housing
Do not refer to student housing as dorms or dormitories. Use the proper name of each building. The descriptor “Residence Halls” can be used when referring to undergraduate, non-greek, on-campus housing. For graduate and family housing,  use the term “UF graduate student and family living options.” 

University Athletic Association
UAA or the association on the second reference.

University Police Department
UPD or police department on the second reference.

UF Health
UF Health exists first and foremost as a brand signature. It reflects the academic health center, which includes health-related colleges in addition to centers, institutes, hospitals, physician practices, and other clinical programs and services. UF Health may be used in the copy when referencing the collective academic health center. Never abbreviate UF Health to UFH. 

  • UF Health should be spelled out as University of Florida Health on the first reference in the text or body copy and may be written as UF Health on subsequent references.
  • When written as text or body copy, there should always be a space between UF and Health. Correct: UF Health. Incorrect: UFHealth.

For more on the UF Health brand, visit: creativeservices.ufhealth.org/identity-standards/marketing-style-guide/

UF/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) has a branding initiative designed to market UF/IFAS statewide and support all the daily work faculty and staff do. A consistent identity and unified presence make the UF/IFAS brand strong and recognizable. For more on UF/IFAS brand, visit: branding.ifas.ufl.edu/brand-guidelines/ 

Websites and URLs
If you are listing a website address on a printed document or in a digital space, do not use http:// or www. in front of the address. Examples of appropriate uses: ufl.edu and college.ufl.edu. The recommendation is not to use www., but please check if your url functions without this.