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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Author: plweil

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

The legal name of the building at 330 N. Orchard Street; it houses the private Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR), the public Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), and programming staff of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF); to avoid confusion between the building (Institutes) and one of the research entities (Institute), the building is informally called the Discovery Building.

headlines, subheads

See the lists below as guides to using lowercase or uppercase when these words appear in headlines and subheads. CMS 8.59 is recapped below; CMS 8.160 gives examples; CMS 8.161 discusses hyphenated compounds in headline-style titles. The cover of On Wisconsin follows sentence-style capitalization rather than headline style. For headlines in news releases and Inside UW–Madison, capitalize only the first word, proper names, and proper nouns.


  • articles (a, an, the)
  • prepositions, regardless of length, except when they’re used adverbially or adjectivally, when they’re stressed, or when they make up part of a Latin expression used adverbially or adjectivally: De Facto, In Vitro, etc.
  • the coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so 
  • to and as 
  • the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text: de, von
  • the second part of a species name, even if it’s the last word


  • the first and last words in headlines and subheads, regardless of length
  • all other major words: nouns, pronouns, verbs (including Is, Are), adverbs, adjectives
  • some conjunctions


In general, hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid confusion or to form a single idea from two or more words: much-needed clothing (clothing is badly needed) versus much needed clothing (the clothing is abundant and needed). Do not use them in pairs to create an em dash.

Hyphenate compound modifiers preceding a noun: well-run establishment, ill-fitting garment, full-time job, smoke-free restaurant. A compound modifier following the noun it describes does not require a hyphen, but it is not incorrect to use one: The restaurant is smoke free. When a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun occurs instead after a form of the verb to be, the hyphen is usually retained to avoid confusion: The man is well-known, The woman is quick-witted.

Compounds formed by an adverb ending in -ly plus an adjective or participle are not hyphenated before or after a noun: fashionably dressed. See also em dashes, en dashes, and CMS 6.76–6.77.


use numerals with periods rather than numerals with parentheses; be consistent about capitalizing the first word of a new line or not; use a colon to introduce a list or series: The menu lists three kinds of dessert: pie, cake, and pudding; use a colon after an introductory statement that contains the words as follows or the following; use a colon or period after other statements introducing lists


use Madison to refer to the city, not the UW–Madison campus; referring to the Madison campus is acceptable when it’s clear that the UW System is the subject


do not capitalize majors, programs, specializations, or concentrations of study when they are not part of an official department name or title, but proper nouns are capitalized: She received a bachelor’s degree in history; She majored in economics; He majored in English and French; view a list of undergraduate majors


compound words using this prefix are closed when the second word is not a proper noun or a figure: midweek, midterm, midsummer, but mid-January, mid-1960s


the rules of prefixes apply, but in general, do not use a hyphen with non: noncredit, nondegree, nondiscrimination, nonsexist, nonprofit, nontraditional


representing some departures from Chicago style (which covers numbers in Chapter 9):

  • spell out zero through nine
  • use numerals for 10 and higher
  • use numerals with thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands (4,000; 50,019; 100,000; 807,996)
  • with round numbers greater than one million (million, billion, trillion), write out the words for one million (or billion, etc.) through nine million; use the numeral and word for numbers that begin with 10 and higher (10 million, 64 billion, 835 trillion)
  • for large, round fractions using decimal points, use a numeral and spell out million, etc. (2.3 million, 4.5 billion, 8.7 trillion)
  • the same rules apply to ordinals (second, 21st, 127th) that apply to cardinals (two, 21, 127); do not superscript ordinals
  • page numbers are always numerals, including 1 through 9, no matter where they appear
  • in course catalogs, use numerals for credits (1 credit, 24 credits, a 2-credit course)
  • spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence (Twenty-five students are enrolled. Three credits of history must be completed by the senior year.)
  • do not hyphenate number as part of a compound adjective (number one city, number two ranked team) or as a predicate adjective (We are number one in the league.)


use numerals and spell out the word percent: 1 percent, 3 percent, 89 percent; do not hyphenate the numeral and percent when they function as a compound adjective: 4 percent jump; the symbol % is acceptable in lists, tables, and charts, but not in running text except in scientific, mathematical, and highly technical contexts; see also CMS 9.18


Most compound words using this prefix do not take a hyphen; with some, however, a hyphen is added to indicate that something is happening again: recover (to improve) vs. re-cover (cover again), recreate (to enjoy leisure) vs. re-create (to create again); the admissions office uses re-entry student; see also prefixes


  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; the college; CALS
  • Wisconsin School of Business; UW–Madison’s business school; the school
  • School of Education; the school; SoE
  • College of Engineering; the college
  • Graduate School, the school
  • School of Human Ecology; the school
  • The Information School; iSchool@UW–Madison; the iSchool (formerly School of Library and Information Studies)
  • The International Division, the division
  • School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the school
  • Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; the La Follette School; the school
  • University of Wisconsin Law School; UW Law School (not the UW Law School); the school
  • College of Letters & Science; the college; L&S
  • Mead Witter School of Music; the music school; the school
  • School of Medicine and Public Health; the school; SMPH
  • School of Nursing; the nursing school; the school; SoN
  • School of Pharmacy; the pharmacy school; the school
  • School of Social Work; the school
  • School of Veterinary Medicine; the school; SVM

System campuses

use an en dash except as noted below; uppercase System with UW System institutions, which comprise four-year campuses, 13 UW Branch campuses, UW College Courses Online, and UW Extended campus; see also CMS 6.81

Four-year campuses

  • UW–Eau Claire
  • UW–Green Bay
  • UW–La Crosse
  • UW–Madison
  • UW–Milwaukee
  • UW Oshkosh
  • UW–Platteville
  • UW–Stevens Point
  • UW–Stout
  • UW–Superior
  • UW-Whitewater

UW Branch campuses

  • University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire–Barron County
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Marinette Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee at Washington County
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee at Waukesha
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fond du Lac
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities
  • University of Wisconsin–Platteville Baraboo Sauk County
  • University of Wisconsin–Platteville Richland
  • University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point at Marshfield
  • University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point at Wausau
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at Rock County
  • University of Wisconsin Colleges Online


Use the present tense when reporting ongoing work, current affairs, and impromptu remarks of speakers; use past tense to report remarks made in speeches, votes, actions of committees, and other one-time past events: Brower says the work will be complete by summer. The chancellor told the Faculty Senate in her address last week that the budget would pass.

that and which

Use that for essential clauses; use which for nonessential (parenthetical) clauses: General Education Requirements, which include courses in mathematics, must be satisfied; Credits that must be completed before the senior year fall into two categories.

theatre, theater

Use theater, not theatre, except when theatre is used in a formal title: University Theatre, Department of Theatre and Drama, Hemsley Theatre, Mitchell Theatre; but Wisconsin Union Theater and Theater Gallery. Hemsley and Mitchell Theatres are in Vilas Hall. Theater Gallery is in Memorial Union.


  • use figures (8 p.m., 4 a.m.) except for noon (12 p.m.) and midnight (12 a.m.)
  • use a colon to separate hours from minutes
  • use lowercase, periods, and no space between the letters for a.m. and p.m.
  • do not include a colon or minutes if the time is exactly on the hour (11 a.m., but 3:30 p.m.)
  • avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. in the morning
  • with time ranges, use the words from and to, not from and an en dash (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., not from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
  • with time ranges without the word from, use an en dash with no spaces (Monday–Friday, 2–4 p.m.); if both times are a.m. or p.m., include the a.m. or p.m. with the later time only (8 to 11:30 a.m., 1:30–5 p.m., but 9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
  • when preparing copy for news releases or Inside UW–Madison, use a hyphen, not an en dash or the word to (from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • see also CMS 9.38, 9.39, and 10.41

time zones

lowercase central standard time, eastern time zone, mountain daylight time, and the like except references to Pacific: Pacific daylight time; capitalize abbreviations: CDT, EST; see also CMS 8.90

titles of people

in general, capitalize titles only when they are formal titles that appear directly before a name: Chancellor Jane Doe, Professor John Doe; but the chancellor, the professor; do not confuse titles with occupation descriptions: movie star Bette Davis, astronaut John Glenn; capitalize titles that precede names and refer to more than one person with the same title: Professors Jane Doe and John Smith; see also CMS 8.19–8.33 (especially CMS 8.28 about academic titles); see also academic titles

titles of works

see CMS 8.156–8.201 and follow the guidelines below, which include specific CMS references; when preparing copy for news releases or Inside UW–Madison, refer to the Associated Press Stylebook

italicize (and use initial caps) for these titles

  • albums: 8.197
  • annual reports: 8.186
  • art exhibits: 8.201
  • art pieces/art works: 8.198
  • blogs (blog names versus individual blog posts): 8.192
  • books: 8.168
  • brochures: 8.186
  • cartoons (printed): 8.200
  • CDs: 8.197
  • choreographed dance works
  • comic strips/comics series: 8.200
  • concerts
  • dance works with titles
  • documentaries (films): 8.189
  • drawings: 8.198
  • DVDs: 8.197
  • epic/long poems (vs. short poems): 8.181
  • films: 8.189
  • long musical compositions: 8.195
  • magazines: 8.171
  • movies: 8.189
  • newsletters
  • newspapers: 8.170

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • oratorios: 8.194
  • operas: 8.194
  • paintings: 8.198
  • pamphlets: 8.186
  • periodicals: 8.168
  • photographs (individual images): 8.198
  • plays: 8.183
  • podcast series: 8.189
  • poems (epic/long): 8.181
  • published works
  • radio series (not one-time programs or individual episodes): 8.189
  • reports: 8.186
  • statues: 8.198
  • symphonies and other long instrumental compositions: 8.195
  • television series (not one-time programs or individual episodes): 8.189
  • tone poems: 8.194
  • video games: 8.190

use roman type, initial caps, and quotation marks for these titles

  • blog posts (individual blog posts versus blog names): 8.192
  • chapters (book chapters and parts): 8.177
  • clickable buttons on a website
  • dissertations: 8.188
  • essays: 8.177
  • fables: 8.185
  • fairy tales: 8.185
  • folktales: 8.185
  • lectures (individual lectures, not lecture series): 8.87
  • magazine articles: 8.177
  • manuscripts: 8.188
  • newspaper articles: 8.177
  • nursery rhymes: 8.185
  • podcast episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • poems (short versus epic/long): 8.181
  • presentations
  • prom themes
  • radio episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189
  • short musical compositions: 8.194
  • short poems (vs. epic/long poems): 8.181
  • short stories: 8.177
  • songs: 8.194
  • speeches: 8.87
  • television episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189
  • theses: 8.188
  • unpublished works: 8.188
  • YouTube videos
  • websites’ titled sections, pages, special features: 8.191

use roman type, most likely capitalized, with no quotation marks, for these titles

  • artworks of antiquity: 8.198
  • awards (middle initials are acceptable if they’re named after people): 8.83
  • book series and editions: 8.176
  • campaigns
  • catalogs
  • classes: 8.86
  • conferences
  • courses: 8.86
  • exhibitions and large-scale fairs (versus art exhibits): 8.201
  • film series (an event series, not the films themselves)
  • forms: 8.187
  • forums
  • games (board, card, children’s, active are typically lowercase; brand-named are uppercase): 8.190
  • large-scale fairs and exhibitions (versus art exhibits): 8.201
  • lecture series (not individual lectures): 8.87
  • magazine columns and departments: 8.177
  • newspaper columns and departments: 8.177

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • panel discussions
  • prizes (middle initials are acceptable if they’re named after people): 8.83
  • seminar-type programs
  • symposia
  • websites: 8.191
  • workshops
  • works of antiquity: 8.198

On Wisconsin and Badger Insider magazines

  • On Wisconsin magazine
  • Badger Insider magazine
  • department titles are roman, with no quotation marks
  • feature article titles are roman, with quotation marks

Wisconsin Idea

This refers to former UW president Charles Van Hise’s declaration that “I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every home [some sources say family] in the state”; that is, he wanted the work of the university to extend to the boundaries of the state and beyond. Today this is viewed as global reach and influence. Lowercase the in the Wisconsin Idea. There is some debate as to when Van Hise made this declaration: some sources say 1904; others say 1905. Cite a date at your own risk.

Wisconsin Union

This refers to the organization that manages Memorial Union, Union South, and Union activities. Use Memorial Union or Union South to refer to the physical buildings. The Wisconsin Union (organization) prefers that people use Union only when referring to activities sponsored by the Wisconsin Union — not to specific locations — but students and alumni often use Union to refer to Memorial Union. The Wisconsin Union is a private entity that’s separate from UW–Madison, so do not use UW–Madison Union or UW Union.


In general, avoid abbreviations in running text. The ampersand (&) is not a substitute for and. Use abbreviations and the ampersand only when part of official names. If the name of the abbreviation may be unknown to some readers, use the full name on first reference. See individual entries for usage for specific abbreviations.

acronyms and initialisms

Although we refer to campus units by acronyms in speech and internal publications (such as DoIT for the Division of Information Technology), acronyms should not be used exclusively except for those commonly used both inside and outside the university community (NASA, FBI). To eliminate confusion when using lesser-known acronyms, spell out the full name on the first mention, with the acronym in parentheses following. Acronyms are made plural by adding an s if there are no periods in the acronym (IOUs) and adding ’s if there are periods in the acronym (vol.’s). See the Chicago Manual of Style for more on the appropriate use of acronyms.


In running text, use numerals and figures for numbered addresses (123 Main Street) and spell out the words Street, Avenue, Place, Boulevard, etc. (except for news releases or copy for Inside UW–Madison, in which such words are abbreviated when using numbered addresses according to AP Style). Abbreviate directions in street names: single-letter directions take a period (N. Main Street, E. Washington Avenue); two-letter abbreviations take no periods (NW Maple Street, Seventh Avenue, SE). Include the complete campus street addresses only when publicizing an off-campus event and for publications intended for off-campus audiences. Separate the street address, phone, web address, and the like with a semicolon and use one space between the state abbreviation and zip code. Department of Economics, 7470 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-2989; fax 608-262-0000;; Include area codes for telephone and fax numbers when the audience is off campus.

advisor, adviser

Use advisor for materials produced for admissions, academic advising, housing, and registrar offices. Use adviser for all other uses. It is most important to be consistent within a single publication or family of publications.

alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a person who identifies as a man who has graduated from a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a person who identifies as a woman. Use alumni when referring to groups that include both men and women. In very informal usages, alum is an acceptable alternative. These terms can also be used for people who attended a school but did not graduate.


the official team name of UW–Madison men’s and women’s athletics teams; acceptable as a substitute for the UW for teams and athletes on second reference; synonymous with graduates, fans, and friends of the university

Big Ten

not Big 10; UW–Madison is one of 14 institutions in the Big Ten Conference; the others are Indiana University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of Maryland, and Rutgers University

capital, capitol

a capital is a city that is the seat of government or known for its eminence in a particular field (fashion capital); a capitol is a building where a legislature meets; lowercase capitol when referring generically to Wisconsin’s state capitol building, but the building in Washington, DC, is the Capitol


avoid unnecessary capital letters: use them only when one of the principles listed in this guide, the dictionary, or the Chicago Manual of Style justifies their usage.

In particular, the following should be capitalized:

  • Proper nouns for people, places, or things: Allison, Atlanta, the Alamo
  • Proper names: when they are an official part of the full name of a person, place, or thing: Democratic Party, Lake Mendota, Park Street, Charles River, West Virginia, College of Letters & Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Lowercase when these stand alone in subsequent or generic references: the party, the lake, the street, the river, the state, the college, the university. Per CMS 8.56 and 8.66, uppercase these words in plural usages: the Democratic and Republican Parties, Langdon and State Streets.


to include or contain (the whole comprises the parts): Wisconsin comprises 72 counties; it is synonymous with composed of: Wisconsin is composed of 72 counties; comprised of is incorrect


Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, University of Wisconsin–Madison chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, UW–Madison chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, UW chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, the chancellor


in a series of three or more elements, use a serial comma; for Inside UW–Madison and news communications and institutional websites maintained by University Communications, do not use a serial comma

course numbers and titles

use the department abbreviation (or full name) with a space separating the department, the course number, and the course name: Poli Sci 377 Nuclear Weapons and World Politics; department abbreviations appear in the Course Guide; when referring to courses without including the number, do not use quotation marks: Physical Systems of the Environment, Solid State Physics


when clustered or in a tabular format, use numerals: 3 credits, a 4-credit course, 1 credit hour; when including the number of credits in a list of courses, use the abbreviation cr with no period: Poli Sci 377 Nuclear Weapons and World Politics, 3 cr; Music 231 Elementary/Intermediate Violin, 2–4 cr.; in running text, spell out credits: All students must take 3 credits in art history; for additional examples, see the academic Guide


In running text, use bachelor’s degree, bachelor of arts degree, bachelor of science in physics, master’s degree, doctorate, and the like in place of degree abbreviations because they are more readable; use abbreviations only when necessary to distinguish the specific type of degree or when using full terms would prove cumbersome, such as when there are multiple degrees; do not use periods; form the plural by adding an s; the word degree should not follow a degree abbreviation.

Do not list certificates (nursing, law, education, and the like) as degrees, but an exception is made to include the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) following an individual’s name because the program has a long and proud history at the UW.

Here are many of the degree abbreviations in use at the university:

  • BA – bachelor of arts, bachelor’s degree
  • BBA – bachelor of business administration
  • BM – bachelor of music
  • BS – bachelor of science, bachelor’s degree
  • DJ or DJS – doctor of juridical science
  • DMA – doctor of musical arts
  • DPM – doctor of pharmacy
  • DVM – doctor of veterinary medicine
  • EdD – doctor of education
  • EMBA – executive MBA
  • JD – doctor of law
  • LLB – bachelor of laws
  • LLM – master of laws, but us ML instead
  • MA – master of arts, master’s degree
  • MAcc – master of accountancy; use instead of MAC, MA, or MS
  • MBA – master of business administration
  • MD – doctor of medicine
  • MFA – master of fine arts
  • MGCS – master of genetic counselor studies
  • ML – master of laws
  • MLI – master of legal institutions
  • MM – master of music
  • MPA – master of public affairs
  • MPAS – master of physician assistant studies
  • MPh – master of philosophy
  • MPH – master of public health
  • MS – master of science, master’s degree
  • MSW – master of social work; MSW (vs. MSSW) is the more common designation
  • PDE – professional development/engineering
  • PharmD – doctor of pharmacy
  • PhD – doctor of philosophy


Capitalize when used as part of a complete, formal, and official name: Department of Art History. Lowercase when used as an informal name, generically, or casually as a descriptor: the art history department, the political science department, the department, department guidelines, department chair, a political science committee, the zoology and bacteriology departments. Use lowercase on second reference: the College of Letters & Science, the college; the Law School, the school; UW–Madison, the university, the UW; the Department of History, the history department, the department; the Center for Limnology, the limnology center, the center; the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, the office. Words such as department can be omitted on second reference: history, philosophy. Do not capitalize department names when they are used to indicate the subject a professor teaches: Dave Brown of anthropology.

emeritus, emerita, emeriti, emeritae, emerit

Use the singular, emeritus or emerita, when referring to one male or one female former faculty member, respectively; use the plural, emeriti, when referring to an all-male or mixed-gender group use emeriti; for an all-female group use emeritae. The word emeritus follows the noun: professor emeritus, Professor Emeritus Jack Brown.

In May 2022, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution to change the use of emeritus/emerita in faculty policies and procedures to the gender-neutral emerit, and to encourage its use in campus policies, systems, and communications.

See also alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae.


can be considered offensive, so find alternatives: for countries, use other countries or countries outside the United States; for languages, use languages without the word foreign when possible; for students, use international students, students from other countries, students from outside the United States; for study, use study abroad, study in other countries, study outside the United States

foreign words and phrases

if the word is found in the main body of the dictionary, it’s become mainstream enough that it does not need to be italicized; if it’s found in the Foreign Words & Phrases section (page 1460 of the dictionary), italicize it; on second reference, such a word is not italicized; an exception is Latin scholarly words and phrases, which are not italicized; see also CMS 7.49, 7.53, and 7.54


spell out simple fractions and use a hyphen: three-quarters of the book, four-fifths of the students; use numerals for more complex fractions; see also CMS 9.14–15