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Style Guidelines

abbreviations and acronyms
Spell out each word in the acronym in the first reference. In subsequent references, refer to the abbreviation/acronym. Alternatively, you can refer to the center, the committee, the program, etc.

  • The Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS) does not offer degrees. CAMS is located in College Hall. Please see the enclosed map for additional instructions on how to reach the center.
Some of the more commonly used acronyms. Please consult the separate list of names for a more complete list.
  • American University of Beirut (AUB)
  • Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES)
  • Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS)
  • National Social Security Fund (NSSF)
  • Policies and Procedures Review Committee (PPRC)
  • University Student Faculty Committee (USFC)

academic degrees
Always use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.

  • You must have a master’s degree in order to apply for that position.
  • Leila has a master’s in economics, but Walid has a master of science in economics.
  • He has a bachelor’s in French literature.
Use the following abbreviations: BA, MA, MS, PhD.
  • She received an MA in agriculture.
Capitalize the formal name of a degree.
  • AUB offers a Master of Science in Nursing, but he earned his master’s degree in the United States.
  • The Faculty of Arts and Sciences grants a BA and MA in English Literature.

When listing more than one department in a series, don’t capitalize. Similarly, for a series of dignitaries with the same title, do not capitalize:

      The departments of English, civilization sequence, and mathematics…

      Those attending the event included ministers Salim Sayegh, Mohammed Khalifeh, and Ziad Baroud.

Per the The Chicago Manual of Style, which we follow: “When referring to the official name of a department, use caps; when referring to a department more generally or with a phrase that varies from its official title, lowercase: Charlene is now the Sophonisba Breckinridge Professor of Demographic Studies in the University of Des Moines Department of Sociology. She has wanted to work in that sociology department since she was eight years old.”

Per University of Michigan style guide: “Standard style guides, including The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, require lowercase letters in running text for such things as job descriptions and unofficial department names. Capitalize official department names in running text. Lowercase shortened or unofficial names. Refer to the individual department, office, or unit for its official name: Faculty members from the geography, anthropology, and ethnic studies departments are cooperating on this project.”

When using a general term for a group of departments, do not capitalize:

      The humanities departments or the basic sciences departments…

For complex titles, such as former minister or ex-MP or the late minister or then-prime minister, only capitalize the original title itself and consider all else as qualifiers. When in doubt, replace former with another adjective, such as beautiful or corrupt… If this still sounds right, then do not capitalize that part of the title:

      The speech was given by former Minister Talal Arslan.

      The donation was given by former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.


alma mater

The college one attended (lowercase)

“Alma Mater”

The song (uppercase, in quotes)


  • Alumnus (male)
  • Alumni (pl. male)
  • Alumna (female)
  • Alumnae (pl. female)
Use lower case without periods.

American University of Beirut
When referring to the University in documents to be distributed off-campus, the first reference should be the full name, “American University of Beirut.” Thereafter, write “AUB.”

When using the word “university” to refer to AUB, capitalize when a noun; lower case when an adjective.

The ampersand (&) should be used only with the names of companies if the ampersand is part of the official company name. In all other cases use the word “and.”

Arabic names

In terms of alphabetizing, consider the El and Al, the Abu/Abou, etc., as part of the family name. So El Hajj is a family name that starts with "e."

Spell out “academic year” the first time. After that you may use “AY” instead.

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buildings and rooms
Always capitalize names of buildings. Capitalize rooms when using room numbers or a building name. Lowercase elsewhere.
  • The Office of the President is located in College Hall.
  • The Department of Philosophy is in Nicely Hall, Room 301.
  • The meeting place, Room 148, is in Fisk Hall.
  • The room is in West Hall.
  • The event will be held in Auditorium B1.
Refer to the AUB catalogue, the University’s corporate bylaws, and the separate list of names if you are not sure of the correct name or spelling of a particular committee, department, building, place, or person.

The reference to a building should be listed first by the full official name and can be followed by the common name, i.e. Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, Olayan School of Business or Rafic Hariri School of Nursing, Hariri School of Nursing. (However, that does not in any way change the official name of the department or building.  In the official publications, the official name of the department or building should be used.)


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  • The AUB campus is beautiful.
  • Events take place on campus.
Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
  • The party was an on-campus event.
Campus Master Plan

It is increasingly the style in English to lower case many words that were capitalized in the past. There is no value judgment associated with a decision to lower case, e.g., “president” when referring to Fadlo Khuri or “senate” when referring to the University Senate. It is simply a matter of style.



Use chairman, chairwoman, vice chairman, vice chairwomen

Capitalize the first word after a colon in a title.

Use commas to separate elements in a series. Even in a simple series, put a comma before the conjunction.
  • The student is taking classes in history, English, mathematics, and science.
  • The student wants to major in sociology, philosophy, or political science.
committees and boards
Capitalize the word “committee” or “board” when it is part of a formal title.
  • The AUB Logo Committee meets next week.
  • The Board of Deans meets on Thursday. The board meets on Thursday.
  • The Alumni Association Board of Directors meets next week.
  • The Board of Trustees usually meets in New York.
  • The board meets next week.
Refer to the AUB catalogue, the University’s corporate bylaws, and the separate list of names if you are not sure of the correct name or spelling of a particular committee, department, building, place, or person.

computer terminology (see also Internet terminology)
  • Email
  • Internet
  • On-line
  • Web page
  • Website
  • Lebanese pounds are designated as LL.
  • US dollars are designated as $. Both the abbreviation (LL) and the symbol ($) precede the numbers with no space; $5 and LL10,000.
  • Payment must be made in US dollars.
  • The foundation made a grant of $17 million.
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Do not use an apostrophe when pluralizing dates:
  • the 1980s, not the 1980’s
Do not contract dates:
  • the 1980s, not the ’80s or the eighties
When using ranges of years, do not include the century for the second year in the series:
  • 2001-02 (not 2001-2002) academic year
Spell out all months, especially when using alone or with a year only.
  • Liberation Day is May 25.
  • We met in January 1994.
Avoid abbreviations such as st, nd, and th.

When a phrase uses only a month and year, do not separate the year with commas.
  • He moved to Beirut in September 1998.
When a phrase refers to a month, day, and year, use commas as follows:
  • She was born September 21, 1947, in Cyprus.
Spell out the number when used with “century.”
  • She is particularly interested in the seventeenth century.
departments, offices, and other campus units
Capitalize the names of departments, divisions, and offices. Use lower case for the words “department,” “division” or “office” when they appear alone. Capitalize the field when it’s used to mean the department, division, or office specifically. Do not capitalize the field when it’s used in a general sense.
  • She works in student affairs. (the field)
  • Talal Nezameddin, the dean of Student Affairs, has been at AUB for many years. (the university office)
  • Safa Safa works in Communications. (the university office)
  • The History Department can be found in College Hall. It is a small department.

Refer to the AUB catalogue, the University’s corporate bylaws, and the separate list of names if you are not sure of the correct name or spelling of a particular committee, department, building, place, or person.

Disabled, handicapped, impaired
check guidelines on this link:


All doctors, including PhD holders—medical or otherwise, should be addressed using the “Dr.” salutation

drop out (v.)

dropout (n.)

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Use three periods separated by spaces to indicate something left out of a quotation.
  • Thoreau wrote “The spirit of American radicalism is destructive and aimless . . . the conservative party . . . is timid, and merely defensive of property.”


Professor Emeritus: “Professor Emeritus Salibi . . .”  “He is a professor emeritus of . . .” CMS: 8.31 academic titles: the professor emeritus (masc.), the professor emerita (fem.), professors emeriti (masc. or masc. and fem.), professors emeritae (fem.); Professor Emerita Neugarten (Note that emeritus and emerita are honorary designations and do not simply mean retired).

Expected graduates
Similar to what is used in the Class Notes section of MainGate.

• Kadim Al Saher (BA, expected ’16)
• George Wassouf (BS, expected ’17)
• Nancy Ajram (MS, expected ’16)
• Amr Diab (PhD, expected ’18)

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Capitalize when referring to one of the six faculties at AUB with the complete name; lowercase in reference to the faculty and faculty members.
  • Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS)
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)
  • Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FEA) [Maroun Semaan​]
  • Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)
  • Faculty of Medicine (FM)
  • There are six faculties at AUB.
  • Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (SB)
  • But, the school is located in the Old Pharmacy Building.



Spell out “fiscal year” the first time. After that you may use “FY” instead.

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Prime Minister Rafic B. Hariri


Health care

Health care- as a noun
Health-care- as an adjective
Healthcare- only if used in official names, etc.

Hon. DHL for Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Hon. MA for Honorary Master of Arts

Charles W. Hostler Student Center

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Internet terminologies
Some commonly used Internet, computer, and telecommunications terms:
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Cell phone: two words
  • Chat room: two words
  • Cookie
  • Cyberspace: one word
  • Domain name: two words
  • Double click: two words
  • Dpi: dots per inch, a measure of print and screen resolution
  • Email (remove the hyphen from e-mail)
  • End user (n), end-user (adj)
  • Firewall: one word
  • Freeware: free software: one word
  • Hyperlink: one word
  • Hypertext: one word
  • JPEG, JPG: all caps
  • On-line Community
  • Screen saver: two words
  • World Wide Web: initial caps
  • Workstation: one word
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Muslim titles
  • Grand Mufti
  • Sheikh
  • Ayatollah
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
  • Mullah
  • Imam
  • Umma
  • The department offers a number of different majors.
  • She has the option of majoring in history, chemistry, or English.
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When writing for an AUB publication such as MainGate, use the last name of a person after their full name has been introduced in the text.
  • AUB Professor Emeritus Nicola Ziadi is a distinguished historian. The MainGate editors interviewed Ziadi at his home in Beirut over tea.
  • Alumna Lina Khoury embarked on a career in arts administration soon after graduating from AUB. “I wanted to combine my passion for the fine arts with my business training,” explains Khoury.
Refer to the AUB catalogue, the University’s corporate bylaws, and the separate list of names if you are not sure of the correct name or spelling of a particular committee, department, building, place, or person.

Spell out all numbers up to nine. Use figures for all others beginning with 10. When referring to percentages, always use figures. Spell out "percent" except when used in tables and in scientific texts.
  • The student attended three classes today.
  • The soccer team won 15 games last year.
  • Approximately 2 percent of AUB alumni live in Michigan.
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professor Use the title “professor” for all faculty members of professorial rank.
  • John Smith, a new assistant professor of history, has just arrived at AUB. Professor Smith will be speaking to the alumni group on Thursday.
Do not use two titles.
  • President Fadlo Khuri or Dr. Fadlo Khuri, but never President Dr. Khuri.
proper names
Refer to the AUB catalogue, the University’s corporate bylaws, and the separate list of names if you are not sure of the correct name or spelling of a particular committee, department, building, place, or person.

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quotation marks
When using quotation marks, always place the comma and period within the quotation marks. Use single quotation marks only for a quote within a quote.

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Religions, faiths, and holy works should always be capitalized:
Use “the Prophet Muhammed”, not “Muhammed.”

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seasons Lowercase spring, summer, fall, and winter, when used alone or with semester:
  • The conference will take place this spring.
  • The first delegation is expected to arrive in spring 2003.
  • The spring 2006 semester will begin January 28.
Do not capitalize.
  • English 236 is not offered in the spring semester.
Do not capitalize.
  • The summer session ends early this year.

Shiite/Shia, Shias

Refer to the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for all spellings, including geographical and biographical names.

Sunni, Sunnis

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Capitalize when used as a title before a person's name.

  • President Fadlo Khuri opened the session.
  • Director of Information and Public Relations John Smith spoke to the students.
Capitalize in a list of participants.
  • Fadlo Khuri, President, AUB
  • Iman Nuwayhid, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences
Do not capitalize when used alone or after the title-holder's name.
  • The president gave the first address.
  • Fadlo Khuri, president of AUB, received a gift.

Do not use two titles.

Executive Vice President for Medicine and Global Strategy Mohamed Sayegh or Dr. Mohamed Sayegh, but never Executive Vice President for Medicine and Global Strategy Dr. Mohamed Sayegh.


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United States
Spell out “United States” when a noun; use “US” as an adjective.
  • While in the United States he studied US history.
university senate
Capitalize when full formal name is used. Lowercase when only “senate” is used as either noun or adjective.
  • The University Senate discussed promotion policy during its meeting.
  • The senate will be meeting next week.
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