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Phone(775) 784-6187
Fax(775) 784-6150
Location Clark Administration
Address 1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  NV  89557-0208


Abbreviations and acronyms

Avoid abbreviations in general. Spell out words commonly abbreviated in everyday speech, such as laboratory, agriculture, mathematics.

Avoid using unfamiliar acronyms. Spell out the name of the organization on first reference, followed by the acronym in parentheses. On second reference, use the acronym only.

Use periods only with acronyms of two letters: U.N., U.S., M.D., R.N.

Although periods are still used in many abbreviations, often they may be omitted: CPA, GPA, MBA, ACT, SAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE .

Do not abbreviate the words department, institute or association in narrative text.

Abbreviating the University of Nevada, Reno:

For first reference, use the following:

The University of Nevada, Reno (this is the official name of the University).

Avoid using "UNR." On second reference use "the University" or "Nevada".

Academic degrees

If necessary to mention someone’s degree, try to avoid using an abbreviation and use a phrase such as: “John Smith, who has a doctorate in engineering.”

Use “Dr.” only for medical doctors.

Spell out academic degrees when space allows. Don’t capitalize them: John Smith earned his master of business administration degree in 2004.

Uses with master or bachelor to form the possessive: He earned his master’s degree in music; She graduated with a bachelor’s in English.

When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas: John Smith, Ph.D., spoke to students today.

Some examples of common academic degrees:

  • bachelor of science – B.S.
  • master of arts – M.A.
  • doctor of philosophy – Ph.D.
  • doctor of education – Ed.D.
  • doctor of medicine – M.D.

Academic departments

Uppercase formal department names: the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Lowercase otherwise: the history department.

Rule of thumb: A department name is considered the formal, capitalized version when it is listed as "Department of (full name of department)."

Academic honors

Terms such as cum laude, magna cum laude, with distinction, are used lowercase. The honors for cum laude distinction, in descending order, are: summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude. Italicize these names.

Academic titles

Capitalize formal titles such as chancellor or chairman when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere.

Academic years

Lowercase: freshman; sophomore; junior; senior; graduate, postgraduate, postdoctoral.


Not advisor.

Alumna, alumnus, alumnae, alumni

Alumna = woman who has graduated from the University

Alumnae = a group of women graduates

Alumnus = a man who has graduated or a person of non-specified gender

Alumni = a group of men, or group of men and women

Alumni, referring to in print

At the University of Nevada, Reno, six credits qualifies an individual to be classified as an alumnus.

If at all possible, identify alumni of the University using the following conventions:

For holders of bachelor’s degrees, use an apostrophe followed by the person’s class year with the person’s degree field in parentheses, lower case unless a proper noun such as English. No need to specify whether it was a B.A. or B.S.

John Smith ’98 (history) spoke to a group of high school students. (Note that this is a “right” curly apostrophe, i.e.: ’, NOT a single open-quote mark ‘ ) John Smith ’98 (history)

For holders of graduate degrees, use the same convention if an academic specialty can be determined: John Smith ’98M.D. (dermatology), Sally Jones ’81M.A. (anthropology). With the MBA, it is not necessary to specify “business administration” in parentheses because there is only one possible specialty within an MBA – business administration.

Note: there is no space between year and degree.

Use a comma to separate two or more degrees: John Brown ’85 (English), ’88M.A. (sociology) arrived on Friday. No need to set off the string of degrees with commas.


Spell out “and” in most instances. Use only if part of an official title: Environmental Health & Safety (ampersand is part of official title); Music and Dance (ampersand is not part of official title).

One exception occurs in the use of headings vs. body copy. A heading  or a navigation item on a web page, for example, benefit from the use of an ampersand, both in terms of space constraints and readability.


When writing years, use an apostrophe in shortened versions: The 1960s are a hazy memory ;
The ’70s were known for disco music.

An apostrophe should be use d in pluralizing single letters: He expects to get all A’s this semester.

Don’t use an apostrophe for plurals of degrees: She has enough credits for two MBAs.

Artemesia / artemisia

Artemesia is the correct spelling for the street on which Argenta Hall is located.

Artemisia is the correct spelling when referring to the University yearbook.


ASUN, no punctuation, is the acceptable abbreviation for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the University’s undergraduate student government body. Spell out on first reference.


Capitalize award only when it is part of the name of an award. John Smith won the Student Employee of the Year award.

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  NV  89557-

(775) 784-1110
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