penn state mark

Visual & Editorial Standards | Editorial Style

Penn State Information

Below are many of the decisions that have been made about the way Penn State—its people, programs, and procedures—should be presented in text for publications. Many questions about University style must be solved on a case-by-case basis. However, these general points may be helpful to you.

how text fits into the Penn State visual identity system

Penn State is the communicative name for the University. All publications originating from Penn State should use the communicative name rather than the full name. The full name (The Pennsylvania State University) is reserved for formal documents, legal contracts, some mailing addresses, and form entries, such as the line, “Make checks payable to The Pennsylvania State University.” The full name also is used in the formal version of the statement of nondiscrimination. It may be used in some faculty listings and on formal certificates, if the originating department checks with the Department of University Publications first.

In text, the words Penn State are separate and both should be capitalized. Penn State may be referred to as the University on subsequent mention, but only if you are referring to the entire institution, not just a single campus, college, or other location. It is not acceptable to call the University PSU.

If the University visual identity mark appears on the cover of a publication, on a certificate, or on any other page that has words on it, the words Penn State or The Pennsylvania State University need not be used on the same page as part of a title, heading, or cover text. The mark serves as the identifier.

For further information regarding the mark, contact Karen Magnuson, assistant director and manager, University Editor Representative System, in the Department of University Publications: 814-863-1870.

Penn State campus names

Penn State is a complicated institution. Thus, it is important to use consistent terminology when communicating about the University and its campuses.

To prospective students, parents, and Pennsylvania residents, the Penn State name and location of a campus will mean more than an administrative/academic designation such as “college.” Campus names should always be used for location-specific references. Therefore, when communicating with external audiences, avoid use of Abington College, Altoona College, Berks College, and Capital College unless it is absolutely necessary for clarification.

The University College is composed of the fourteen campuses that are not associated with one of the location-specific colleges (those mentioned above, plus Penn State Erie). It is an administrative term for internal use only, and should never be used in any external communications about Penn State.

When you refer to a Penn State campus, do so as listed below. Use the full name on first mention and the partial name indicated on subsequent mention.

College or campus?

Abington College, Altoona College, Berks College, Capital College, and University College are not Penn State campus names. They refer to administrative/academic entities and should be used only in that context and only as necessary to clarify the academic standing of the campus.

Correct: Jennifer was a first-year student at Penn State Berks.

Incorrect: Jennifer was a first-year student at Penn State Berks College.

NOTE: When referring to campuses of the University College as well as single-campus colleges, the preferred term is campus rather than location.

Other campuses

Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies (first reference); Penn State Great Valley (subsequent reference). Alphabetize under “G.”

Penn State Hershey Medical Center/College of Medicine—The official name of the clinical enterprise is Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; on subsequent reference, Penn State Hershey Medical Center; the Medical Center (uppercase “M” and “C”). Alphabetize under “H” for Hershey. On first mention, Penn State College of Medicine; on second reference, College of Medicine; the college. Alphabetize the College of Medicine under “M” for Medicine.

Penn State University, The Dickinson School of Law or Penn State Law (on first reference); the Law School (on subsequent reference). Alphabetize under “L.”

Pennsylvania College of Technology (on first reference); Penn College (on subsequent mention). Penn College is an affiliate of Penn State.

Penn State World Campus (on first reference); World Campus (on subsequent mention). Note that the name World Campus is a registered trademark of The Pennsylvania State University.

Listing Penn State campuses

In Penn State publications, a listing of all twenty-four campuses should appear as listed below. (Note that the Penn State World Campus is listed but not counted as a twenty-fifth campus.)

Penn State Campuses

To the or not to the?

Whether to use the in front of a campus name depends on the judgment of the writer, the meaning of the sentence, and the way the sentence reads. Most of the time, the is appropriate but it’s not always necessary.

It’s best to use the if you’re distinguishing one campus from another:

She attended the York campus for two years and the University Park campus for two years.

Although you may if you want to, it’s not necessary to use the if you’re referring to the same campus all the way through a printed piece:

Penn State Shenango campus has a lot to offer.

Students find a variety of academic and social activities at Shenango campus.

NOTE: Always include and cap The when referring to Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and follow The Behrend College with a comma in running text.

change of assignment

When a student moves from another campus in the Penn State system to Penn State University Park, he or she is not transferring, but rather moving from one campus to another within the Penn State system. Use change-of-assignment to describe the student and relocate or move toto describe the action. The same descriptions apply to students who move to Penn State Erie or Penn State Harrisburg for their final two years.

The meeting was scheduled for all change-of-assignment students from Schuylkill and Hazleton campuses.

After two years at the Shenango campus, Mayala moved to Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, to complete the program.

mailing addresses

Additional information about U.S. mailing regulations can be found in Postal Addressing Standards, available from Mailing Services at the University Park campus, 814-865-4051.

Automation is changing requirements for U.S. mail. To be read by machines, envelope information should be typed in all caps, with no punctuation except for the hyphen in the zip-plus-four code, leaving two spaces between the city and state abbreviation and the state abbreviation and the zip. For times when all caps seem to put a strain on the eyes, try using all caps in a smaller type size.

For University Park campus addresses, keep the full University name in the address as the line above the room number and building name:

At University Park campus, some offices are located off campus. An example of how to address these offices for U.S. mail is:

Note that although a University Park campus mailing address is used, the zip code 16801 is used for University Park campus offices that are located in State College. To send material to downtown University Park campus offices via intercampus mail, use the name, department name, and building name:

Rebecca Cohn, Travel Services, Rider Building

The correct zip code for University Park business reply envelopes is 16802-9976. The correct zip code for University Park business reply cards is 16802-9959. For University Park business reply letters heavier than one ounce, use 16802-9989.

For sending material via U.S. mail to Penn State campuses other than University Park, use the campus name, person’s name, office or department name, and address:

Use PA, not Pa., in Pennsylvania mailing addresses. Use U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for other states in mailing addresses.

A detailed mailing list of Penn State campuses can be obtained from University Mailing Services, 108 Business Services Building; or refer to Appendix 6 in the General Forms Usage Guide for a list of all leased property addresses.

NOTE: There has been confusion regarding the zip-+-4 codes for the admissions office postal box and rooms 0100–0199 in the Business Administration Building—both were listed as 16802-3000. This duplication has been resolved as follows:

The zip-+-4 code for rooms 0100–0199 in the Business Administration Building remains 16802-3000; the zip-+-4 code for the admissions office postal box has changed to 16804-3000. This new code for the admissions office applies only for mail being sent to the office postal box, and should not be used as part of their return address on letterhead or envelopes.

Call Mailing and Addressing Services, 814-865-4051, with any questions.

Penn State campuses

(updated August 2009)

academic and administrative titles

Titles are capitalized when they immediately precede names and are used as part of the names.

Dean Jeanne DuBois said …

Associate Professor Hans Ringger said …

Titles are lowercased if they follow names or are used to help describe or identify people further.

Jill Johnson, professor of history, …

Well-known professor of history Jill Johnson, …

If the person holds a named professorship or chair, such as an endowed professorship, capitalize the title whether it precedes or follows the name:

Dan Miller, Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics …

Erwin W. Mueller Professor Jan Smith …

Gita Bashir, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry …


Instructor in, not instructor of
Professor emeritus, not emeritus professor
Professor of, not professor in—but, professorship in
Research associate in, not research associate of

When the title includes the specific name of an academic or administrative unit, the name of the unit is capitalized.

Sondra Wong, director of the Office of Style and Substance, …

Dr. Randy Jones, dean of the College of Science, …

The word president is capped whenever it is used to refer to current and former Penn State presidents, whether it’s before or after the name. This policy is designed to make it easy for readers to quickly determine that a printed piece refers to the University President as opposed to any other president.

When naming Penn State faculty, staff, or students in a document, in most cases the person should be described or identified by title, such as “James Gonzalez, a graduate student in chemical engineering, … ” or “Dr. Caitlin Martin, technical specialist for the college, … ”

Those who have earned doctorates should be referred to as, for example, Dr. Maria C. Lastname on first reference and Dr. Lastname in later references. Those who have not earned doctorates should be referred to, for example, as Frederick N. Lastname on first reference. In later references, those without doctorates may be referred to by last name only or by last name and courtesy title, such as: Mr. Lastname, Ms./Mrs./Miss Lastname (according to preference), or Ms. Lastname when the named person can’t be consulted and preference is unknown. (However, if Dr. is used with one name, use courtesy titles with all other names as well: “Dr. Smith and Mr. Jones… ” )

Titles and academic degrees earned by University faculty and staff are listed in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin and in the faculty/staff list that appears in the back of some of the Baccalaureate Degree Programs Bulletins. If you believe a person’s title has changed since the most recent list was published, check with the person or with the office of the dean or division head of the college or administrative unit where the person works.

You may want your publication to have an informal tone and wish to use first names. If so, on first reference give the person’s full name (with Dr., if appropriate) and title or position, and use the first name on second and later references. It is not acceptable to call some people by their first names and others by title and last name or by last name alone within the same publication. Nor is it acceptable to use courtesy titles with some last names but not with others within the same publication. An exception is that children, after being identified by first and last name, may be referred to by first name alone even though adults are referred to differently.

Note: It is redundant to refer to someone as, for example, Dr. Paul Lastname, Ph.D. Use either Dr. Paul Lastname or Paul Lastname, Ph.D.


Effective July 1, 2005, all former campus executive officers assumed the title of "chancellor," followed by the respective campus:

Jack Burke, chancellor of Penn State Erie

Lori Bechtel, chancellor of Penn State Altoona

This change was made to reflect the expanded role that Penn State's campus executives have assumed in the past decade, and places them at the same level as campus leaders at similar institutions. The chancellors of all Penn State campuses report directly to the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.

Chancellors who previously served as academic deans of the single-campus colleges (Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Berks, and Capital) continue to serve in this capacity, although they do not use the title of "dean," which would duplicate the academic nature of the "chancellor" title.

academic degrees

Spelled out: associate degree; baccalaureate degree, bachelor’s degree; master’s degree; doctoral degree, doctorate; bachelor of arts, master of science, doctor of philosophy

Abbreviate degrees with periods and without spaces: B.A.; M.S.; Ph.D.; M.Mus.; M.Eng.; M.B.A.; D.Ed.; J.D.; M.D., etc. See the entry M.B.A./MBA in this section for some exceptions. Note that the honorary doctor and master of law degrees are abbreviated LL.D. and LL.M. (not L.L.D. or L.L.M.).

Plural of B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and other abbreviations with periods—B.A.’s; M.A.’s; Ph.D.’s, etc. That’s Chicago Manual style, designed to prevent confusion. With plurals of acronyms where no periods are used, do not use an apostrophe (e.g., CACs). Use B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and other degree abbreviations primarily in listings, such as departmental faculty rosters:

Alicia Kwanda, professor of physiology, B.A., Temple University; M.S., Syracuse University.

It’s more readable in regular text to spell the degrees out:

He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

academic year

fall semester, spring semester, summer session, intersession—no caps when used to refer to the time of the academic year. Usesummer session when you’re referring to the time of academic year. When you’re referring to the sessions themselves (the six- and eight-week sessions), use Summer Sessions(capped), as that is the name for Penn State’s summer programs.

It’s the Office of Summer Sessions (with an s).

The word commencement is lowercased, as is the semester (spring commencement, fall commencement).

ADA statements

The following ADA alternative-format statement must be included in ALL publications (except formal invitations) in easy-to-read type, directly above the statement of nondiscrimination.

This publication is available in alternative media on request.

The following ADA accommodation statement must be printed in any publication that describes a specific program or special event (except formal invitations). It should be included in the section describing how to register for the program or how to locate further information.

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact __________ in advance of your participation or visit.

A contact person’s name and telephone number should be provided in the statement where indicated above.

See the University Policy section for the Spanish version of each statement.

administrative area

Do not capitalize the reference to a general administrative area of the University in which a person works.


Admissions is used to refer in a collective way to the many different types of admission (e.g., freshman, transfer, readmission, provisional, nondegree, and extended). Admissionsalso is used when referring to the fact that thousands of students are admitted: the admissions of thousands vs. the admission of an individual.

Admission is used to refer to a single type of admission (e.g., freshman admission, transfer admission). Use admission when referring to an individual’s admission.

admissions office

It’s the Undergraduate Admissions Office on first mention; the admissions office thereafter, except in certain predetermined admissions pieces.

Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Meet me in the admissions office this afternoon.

Contact the admissions office at any Penn State campus.

advanced standing student
advance registration, advance register
affirmative action statement

See Statement of Nondiscrimination and University Editor number.

The Arboretum at Penn State

On first reference; simply the Arboretum (capped) on subsequent reference.

Lowercase "the" in reference to designated areas within the Arboretum: the March Bowl, the Pavilion, the Winter Garden.

The Arboretum, located on the north end of campus, is a facility for teaching, research, and outreach, with the mission of finding solutions through interdisciplinary scholarship to the challenge of maintaining healthy and appealing landscapes in the presence of a growing human population.

Audiovisual Services

Previously hyphenated as Audio-Visual Services. The abbreviation AVS is still used.


Milton S. Eisenhower Auditorium; Schwab Auditorium; Palmer Lipcon Auditorium (in the Palmer Museum of Art); Esber Recital Hall (in Music Building I)

Berkey Creamery

New name for the University Creamery, recently reopened in the new Food Science Building on the east side of campus. Use full name (Berkey Creamery) on first mention; the Creamery on subsequent mention.

Big Ten

Cap and spell out as shown. Penn State is one of twelve schools in the Big Ten Conference. The others are:

The University of Chicago, while not a member of the Big Ten athletic conference, is a member—with the Big Ten universities—of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic consortium.


It’s no longer the Penn State Bookstore on Campus. Use Penn State Bookstore on first reference to the bookstore at University Park campus; the bookstore after that. Names of campus bookstores should be capped as necessary.

Bryce Jordan Center; Jordan Center

Use full name on first reference (no The). On second reference, the Jordan Center is preferred, and on subsequent reference, simply use the center.

bulletins (catalogs)

The Penn State Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin, the Undergraduate Bulletin; the Penn State Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin, the Graduate Bulletin. The full names of the bulletins are in italics, as is the partial name of each bulletin on subsequent mention.

The Penn State degree programs bulletins are now online only.


Cap on all references.

Students should contact the Bursar’s office before registering.

Registration cannot be completed without prior approval from the Bursar.

The Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business; Smeal College of Business

"Administration" has been dropped from both the official and communicative names. In text, use Smeal College of Business on first mention and Smeal College on subsequent mention. Alphabetize under Business.


Lowercase, even in campus names: Shenango campus, University Park campus.

Career Services

Formerly Career Development and Placement Services. Located in the Bank of America Career Services Center.

college and university names

For correct stying of names of colleges and universities other than Penn State, consult American Universities and Colleges, available as a reference tool at Pattee Library or in the Department of University Publications at the University Park campus. For foreign colleges and universities, check the International Handbook of Universities. It is preferable to designate a foreign college or university as it would itself—any translation, if necessary, can follow in parentheses: Universität zu Koln; Turun Yliopisto (University of Turku). Also, check the college or university's official website.

college names within the University

Uppercase College when used as part of the proper name of a college; lowercase when used with the unofficial name of a college. Lowercase when used alone, whether it refers to a specific college or not.

They enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Belinda was most interested in the engineering college.

The college offered a number of psychology courses.

Commonwealth Campuses; Commonwealth College

Do not use these phrases. Use Penn State campuses instead.

College of Communications

Don’t forget the s. Alphabetize under Communications.

Continuing and Distance Education/Continuing Education/continuing education

Continuing and Distance Education is now the Division of Outreach and Cooperative Extension. Continuing Education (capped) is one unit within that division.

Continuing Education encompasses the areas of Conferences and Institutes, the State College Office of Continuing Education, the Williamsport Continuing Education Center, the Continuing Education Outreach Operations Office, the Intensive English Communication Program, the Institute for Justice Education and Research, Management Development Programs and Services, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Labor Studies, the Wastewater Biology Program, and the Alumni Continuing Education Office. All other area and regional offices, including those at other Penn State campuses, are referred to as Continuing Education offices.

Lowercase continuing education when referring to the function; cap when referring to the unit or program.

She wanted to enroll in the course to further her continuing education efforts.

The courses were part of Penn State’s Continuing Education program.

He received credits through Continuing Education at Penn State.

Continuing Education Unit

Continuing Education Units, based on a standard of 1 unit per ten hours of classroom contact, are awarded to participants in some Continuing Education courses. On subsequent reference, use CEU, no periods or spaces. Plural is CEUs, no apostrophe.

Upon completing the course, each participant receives a certificate or record of the 2.0 CEUs earned.

Cooperative Education Program

Cap all three words when full program name is used. Co-op is capped when it refers to Penn State’s Co-op program, but lowercased in general and descriptive references (co-op student, co-op assignment).

copyright issues

For information or questions on copyright issues, contact the Copyright Clearance Office in the Department of Document Services, 107 Business Services Building, 814-865-2679.

course names, numbers, descriptions

Names of courses should be given as they are listed in the appropriate bulletin. Ordinarily, a course name and number appear together in all cases, along with the General Education suffix, if any.

CLASS 033 (GH) Roman Civilization

For course numbers, always use numerals, using zeros to create a three-digit number. The General Education suffix, if any, is part of the course number and should not be omitted; for example, BI SC 001 (GN). To prevent confusion, a course’s name should be listed along with its number; for example, BI SC 001 (GN) Structure and Function of Organisms. Check the most recent edition of the General Education Guidebookor the appropriate bulletin for General Education suffixes and correct course names. This also applies to diversity designations.

Course descriptions (as they appear in the bulletin) should be used with numbers and titles, or readers should be referred to the appropriate bulletin for descriptions.

Note: When used alone, course titles should be set in roman type and capped.

Becky looked forward to her Roman Civilization class.


See Berkey Creamery.

credits in, units of

Always use numerals: 3 credits; 18 credits in history; a 3-credit course; 4 units of English; 1 unit of geometry; 2 units of a foreign language. Also, use numerals when referring to credit hours.

Credit is earned in a subject, not of it; therefore, a major may require 25–29 credits in health education, but it does not require 25–29 credits “of” health education. It is the opposite for units: units “of”a subject, not units “in” a subject.

crime statistics

Some admission applications require a statement on the availability of crime statistics for that particular Penn State campus. For more information and the text of the statement, contact the Department of University Safety.

Dean’s List


department names

Cap when used as formal name: Department of Art History; lowercase as informal name: the art history department, the department.

Department of Communication Arts and Sciences; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

There is no s at the end of communication.

discipline-based colleges/schools

There are thirteen, based at Penn State University Park:


Separated by a slash, not a hyphen.

James M. Elliott Building

Formerly the Rider I Building at University Park campus. Location of the Office of Human Resources.

endowed professorships; named professorships and titles of chairholders

Cap all nouns in the title, whether the title appears before or after the person’s name.

Dan Miller, Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics …

Erwin W. Mueller Professor Jan Smith …

Patrick Bashir, Distinguished Professor of Biology …

John Stone, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Chemistry …


Acronym for Equal Opportunity Planning Committee .


It’s the Penn State Cooperative Extension on first mention; extension , no cap, on subsequent mention.

faculty, graduate faculty

Lowercase, as shown.

faculty: plural or singular?

Faculty, like other collective nouns, is used with the singular form of a verb when considered one unit and the plural form of a verb when considered as a group of individuals.

The faculty insists that students be allowed to speak.

The faculty include distinguished scholars in many fields.

the Farmers’ High School

Penn State began as this.

Federal Work-Study Program

Note that there is a hyphen in this name and that it is capped. It can be Work-Study Program in second and later references.

Lowercase work-study when used in a general sense (i.e., not referring to the specific program).


When used to refer to an academic Fellow, cap on all references. Fellowship, when not used as part of the name of a specific fellowship, is not capped.

fields of study, Penn State programs

Do not cap names of fields of study. Cap the names of majors or minors when used as specific programs offered at Penn State. Do not cap the words major, minor, option, or program, only the program name if appropriate.

He was studying history at Penn State.
He majored in History at Penn State.

The college offers the Aerospace Engineering major.

The Nursing program has undergone changes.

When referring to specific degree programs at Penn State, cap the program name but not the degree:

Penn State offers a master of engineering degree program in Engineering Science.

The master of engineering degree in Environmental Engineering is a highly competitive degree program.

financial aid

Consult the current Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin for current names of fellowships, loans, grants, etc. Or call the Office of Student Aid, 814-865-6301.

freshman, freshmen

Avoid this word. It’s part of a perpetuation of language-based stereotypes. Use first-year students to avoid sexism. If it’s impossible NOT to use it, remember that freshmen is the plural, but it’s freshman year, freshman students (as an adjective).

general deposit


General Education

Uppercase when referring to the University’s program.

grade-point average

Hyphenate grade-point average. Avoid abbreviating this if you can, in the interest of reducing “alphabet soup” in language. But if you can’t resist the urge, use GPA (all caps, no periods).

Office of Graduate Enrollment Services

The offices of Graduate Admissions and Graduate Programs have combined to form the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services, located in 114 Kern Building.

Graduate School

Uppercase on all mentions that refer to Penn State’s Graduate School. Lowercase when using it in a general sense or for graduate schools at other colleges and universities.

Health and Human Development complex

The complex housing the College of Health and Human Development consists of three buildings: Henderson Building, Henderson Building South, and Health and Human Development Building East.


Cap when formal name of campus program (e.g., Campus Honors program; Penn State Mont Alto Honors program). Lowercase in informal use (honors program, honors student, honors courses).

Housing and Food Services Contract

Cap as shown.

HUB-Robeson Center

Opened in 1999 when the Hetzel Union Building was expanded to include the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. Use full name on all references.

Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Full name: The Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Use Huck Institutes on subsequent reference. Formerly the Life Sciences Consortium. Since the Huck Institutes is an umbrella organization, it should be treated as a single entity:

The Huck Institutes is responding to rapid changes in technology.

ID card

Refers to Penn State student identification card. Cap ID, with no periods or spaces. Do not cap card. Faculty/staff card is not capped.

Innovation Park at Penn State

Formerly Penn State Research Park. A mixed-use development welcoming personal and professional services, research and development firms, light manufacturing, offices, and laboratories. Built on 130 acres of University land, two miles northeast of University Park campus.

Use full name on first reference, andInnovation Park on second and subsequent mention (note caps).

International Programs

See the entry for University Office of Global Programs.


Formerly Exercise and Sport Science; a major offered through the College of Health and Human Development.


The Morrill Land Grant Act set forth goals for land-grant universities.

Penn State is a land-grant university.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

Subsequent reference: Larson Institute; the institute. Formerly the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI).

Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education

on first mention; Leonhard Center or the center on subsequent mention. (pronounced len’ ard)


Library Information Access System–no periods or spaces, all caps for abbreviation. Use the full name first, the abbreviation on subsequent mention.

College of the Liberal Arts

College of the Liberal Arts , not College of Liberal Arts; whether to use the in text when referring to liberal arts as a field depends on the sentence. Alphabetize under Liberal Arts .

Libraries, University

It’s University Libraries on first mention; the Libraries thereafter. For a specific library, on first mention use the library name and cap Library with it: Pattee Library. Lowercase library when using the word by itself on subsequent references.

mailing and addressing guidelines

campus mail

The address format is: recipient’s name, department name, and building name. There is no need to include a city, town, or zip code.

Janet Jones, Travel Services, Procurement Building

U.S. Postal Service mail

Please follow these guidelines when typing addresses:

For correct University mailing addresses, please consult the Penn State Directory onlineor the faculty/staff phone directory.

Use the following format for all return addresses:

Note: There are two spaces between “city” and “state” and between “state” and “zip code.”

Be sure to use the correct five-digit zip code. Zip codes can be found on this link to the U.S. Postal Service website

Some University Park off-campus locations do not use the 16802 zip code:

Human Resources, James M. Elliott Building, University Park PA 16801 (not 16802)

To locate zip codes for Penn State employees, consult the Penn State Directory online. For Penn State office zip codes, consult the faculty/staff phone directory. When in doubt, contact the recipient directly.

bulk mail

In order to qualify for bulk mail (Standard A Nonprofit rate), a mailing must:

Document Services will prepare your bulk mailing according to postal standards and include the appropriate postal form. Certain types of advertising and products are not eligible for the Standard A Nonprofit rate. For details, contact Addressing and Mailing Services at 814-865-7544.

Use the following format for the return address on all Standard A Nonprofit mailings:

Use of a bar code for bulk mailings may allow the mail to be processed more efficiently. Document Services can evaluate your project and apply the appropriate bar code (certified by the U.S. Postal Service) as necessary. For more information, call 814-865-7544.

For bulk mailings that qualify as permit mailings, permit indicia are printed in the upper right corner, in the same spot a postage stamp might be affixed. For mail from the University Park campus, the indicia is:

Please note that the “State College, PA” pertains only to the permit indicia for bulk mailings. The official city, state, and zip code for addresses is “University Park, PA 16802.”

Other Penn State campuses have their own nonprofit mailing permits. Contact the Office of Business Services at your campus for indicia formatting information and regulations.

business reply mail

For University Park business reply mail, the following official zip codes should be used:

For further information on addressing and mailing regulations, contact Addressing and Mailing at Document Services, University Park campus (814-865-7544).

Materials Research Laboratory; Materials Research Lab

Materials Research Laboratory is the department name; Materials Research Lab is the building name.

Matson Museum of Anthropology

Use full name on first reference (note caps); Matson Museum (note caps) or the museum (lowercase) on subsequent mention.


The degree is M.B.A., with periods, in all references. However, when referring to the program or to a person who has earned the degree, use MBA—no periods, no spaces. Plural: M.B.A.’s, MBAs.

Marisa Shala, B.S., M.B.A., will head the task force on improving MBA negotiating skills.

Two hundred MBAs attended the alumni workshop.

named colleges (in lists)

List separately from other colleges when part of a list in running text.

The program is presented in cooperation with the Smeal College of Business, the Eberly College of Science, and the Colleges of Engineering and the Liberal Arts.

The Nittany Lion Inn

On first reference (capitalize The); the Inn on subsequent reference. Note that the Inn has a State College, not University Park, mailing address: 200 W. Park Ave., State College  PA  16803.

Nittany Lion Shrine

Cap when using full name. Lowercase shrine when using alone.

Noll Physiological Research Center

No longer Noll Human Performance Lab; a research center within the College of Health and Human Development. The building name is simply Noll Lab.


Stands for Open Access to the Student Information System (computer network with terminals at all Penn State campuses).

office names

This tends to be tricky. Cap the formal name of the office, but lowercase when used informally.

Jason had an appointment in the Office of Student Aid.

Carmen was late leaving the student aid office.

option, major, program

For specific options that are part of specific Penn State programs, capitalize the name of the option, but not the word option: Actuarial Mathematics option; Athletic Training option. This follows the same logic as University style does for program or major specific to Penn State: Music major; Biology program. Remember that a field of study is not capped (majoring in engineering) but a specific Penn State degree program is (majoring in Architectural Engineering Technology).


Generally, lowercase: orientation; orientation week; orientation programs

Outreach and Cooperative Extension

Formerly the division of Continuing and Distance Education. The new division encompasses the following units: Cooperative Extension, Continuing Education, Distance Education/World Campus, and Public Broadcasting.

Palmer Museum of Art; Museum Store

It’s the Palmer Museum of Art on first mention and the museum on subsequent mention. It’s the Museum Store on first mention; on subsequent mention, it’s either the full name, with caps, or the store, no caps. Some museum publications have special style sheets that are a little different from this general style.

Pattee Library and Paterno Library

Official name for the two major libraries at University Park campus. Paterno Library was built adjacent to the existing Pattee Library, which underwent extensive renovations; the two libraries were dedicated in fall 2000.

Paul Robeson Cultural Center

On first reference; the Robeson Center on subsequent references.

Penn State Centre Stage

In fall 2010, the School of Theatre’s academic-year production season combined with Pennsylvania  Centre Stage (the summer professional production season) to form Penn State Centre Stage. The term  Pennsylvania Centre Stage should no longer be used, as the entity no longer officially exists.

Penn State Press

Full name is The Pennsylvania State University Press, but the preferred usage is Penn State Press. Also known as the University Press.

Penn State Research Park

See Innovation Park at Penn State.

The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel

On subsequent mention: the Penn Stater. Located in the Innovation Park at Penn State. Formerly the Penn State Conference Center Hotel; originally the Penn State Scanticon.

Penn State songs

“Alma Mater,” Fred Lewis Pattee; “Fight on State,” Joe Sanders ’15; “The Nittany Lion,” J. A. Leyden ’14.


All caps. Acronym for the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program, Penn State’s statewide technical outreach network.

program names, capping

Program should be capped only when it is part of a formal name, particularly one whose initials are used as an abbreviated name: Minority Engineeering Program (MEP) , Women in Engineering Program (WEP) .

See fields of study, Penn State programs and option, major, program in this section.

Reber Mechanical Engineering Building

Name change. No longer just Mechanical Engineering Building.

recreational facilities

Recreation Building (Rec Hall on subsequent reference); Intramural Building (IM Building on subsequent reference)


Cap on all references.

Students should check with the Registrar before enrolling.

Contact the Registrar’s office for more information.

residence hall; resident assistant; resident instruction

Use residence hall, not dormitory.

It’s resident assistant on first mention and RA, no periods, as an abbreviation on subsequent mention. Plural of RA is RAs, no apostrophe.

Lowercase resident instruction.

room numbers and building names

Use the room number and building name, as follows:

121 Wagner Building on first mention;

121 Wagner on subsequent mention.

If a building name is used without a room number, use the word Building, Lab, or the equivalent on every reference, and cap: Schwab Auditorium; Moore Building.

Schreyer Honors College

Established through an endowment from William A. and Joan L. Schreyer; one of the most comprehensive scholars programs in the nation. Participating students are Schreyer Scholars; cap Scholars on all subsequent references.

Eberly College of Science

It’s the Eberly College of Science on first reference and the college thereafter. Do not use College of Science alone. Alphabetize under Science.

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

Cap as shown on first mention; Shaver’s Creek (cap) or the center(lowercase) on subsequent mention.

Shaver’s Creek is a part of Penn State, under Continuing Education. It includes the Nature Center (natural and cultural history exhibits and live animals); the Raptor Center (injured hawks, owls, and eagles); and Horatio’s Natural History Bookstore. The center features environmental education programs, team-building programs, rental facilities, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, and gardens. For more information, call 814-863-2000.

Statement of Nondiscrimination (affirmative action statement)

All University publications (except formal invitations) must carry a form of the Statement of Nondiscrimination. In general, the complete text of the statement should always be used. However, in certain situations a shortened version may be used. Exceptions to the use of the complete text are to be made by the University Editor or designated representative.

See the University Policy section for the complete text of the official University nondiscrimination statement (English and Spanish versions).

The shortened version: Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

On second reference: Stuckeman School. Part of the College of Arts and Architecture, it is housed in the Stuckeman Family Building.

Student Health Center

Opened in 2008. Houses University Health Services and the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), both formerly located in Ritenour Building.

student loans

The names of some student loan programs have changed in the recent past. The Stafford Loan is now the Federal Stafford Loan. The Perkins Loan is now the Federal Perkins Loan. See the Student Aid section of the Baccalaureate Degree Programs Bulletin for correct names of other programs.

Also, the term “recommended completion date” is now preferred over “deadline.”

teaching assistant

It’s teaching assistant on first reference; TA —caps, no periods—after that.

School of Theatre

Formerly the School of Theatre Arts, in the College of Arts and Architecture.


A scholarly paper written to earn a graduate degree at Penn State, whether at the master’s or doctoral level, is a thesis (not a dissertation). Plural: theses.


Formal reference: Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon; second or familiar reference: Dance Marathon; continuous mentions: THON (all caps)


Board of Trustees—cap on first mention; the board or the trustees thereafter.


University should be capped any time it refers to Penn State. Do not cap university if the reference is a general one, even if Penn State is in the same sentence.

Penn State is an affirmative action, equal opportunity university.

When students leave for semester break, they usually return to the University three weeks later.

State College residents strive to build a pleasant university community.

University Editor (U.Ed.) number

Every University publication that circulates outside the University system should include a University Editor number. The number may be placed on a printed piece with approval of your college or administrative unit’s University Editor Representative or the Department of University Publications.

University Faculty Senate

On first reference; on all subsequent references, just faculty senate (lowercase).

University Health Services

University Health Services on first mention; health services thereafter.

University Office of Global Programs

Formerly Office of International Programs. The University Office of Global Programs has five subsections: Education Abroad, Finance and Business Services, General Administration and Planning, Global Relations and Promotion, and International Student Advising (formerly International Student Services).

University Park Airport

About twenty-five commuter flights are available daily both to and from the University Park Airport. US Airways Express has service to Philadelphia; United Express to Washington/Dulles; and Delta to Detroit. Phone 814-865-5511.

University Park

The Penn State University Park campus is located in the borough of State College and surrounding townships. University Park is the name of the post office substation for use in mail addressed to the University Park campus, but is not itself a geographic location. Therefore, the University Park campus or things or events occurring there should not be described as located in University Park, Pennsylvania, because such a place does not exist. They should be described as being on the Penn State University Park campus.

University Scholars Program; University Scholars; Scholars

No longer used. The program has been expanded and augmented to become the Schreyer Honors College. Participating students are Schreyer Scholars; continue to cap Scholars on subsequent reference.


It’s University-wide, hyphenated, but it’s statewide, nationwide, and just about every other “-wide”; spelled solid. University-wide is hyphenated as an adjective before a noun, but two words as an adverb or after a noun. Consult the Chicago Manual (Table 7.90) and the Hyphens section of this manual.

World Campus

On first reference: Penn State World Campus; thereafter, the World Campus.

Penn State established the World Campus in response to an increasing interest in virtual university campuses that provide anytime-anywhere learning. The World Campus offers specialized signature programs (including undergraduate and master’s degrees, certificate programs, and continuing education opportunities) in a variety of academic disciplines.


©2009 The Pennsylvania State University