Editorial Style Guide

The intent of this Editorial Style Guide is to serve as an effective resource for communicators across the Brown campus to establish consistency in editorial style for websites, print publications, social media and more. Learn more about the Editorial Style Guide or download a PDF of the style guide.

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Lowercase in all uses.

  • the Pembroke campus
  • Brown’s College Hill campus


campus buildings and spaces

Some of the more commonly referenced buildings and spaces are included here, along with others that are frequently misused. For current and historical information on other spaces, the campus map maintained by Brown’s facilities department serves as an effective resource:


Annmary Brown Memorial

the College Green

De Ciccio Family Auditorium

(While often referred to on campus as the main green, the formal name of this space is the College Green; main green, in lowercase, is acceptable for informal usage.)

the Front Green
(also known as the Quiet Green; both are acceptable)

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
(on second reference: Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, the Granoff Center)

List Art Building

Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle

(formerly known as Lincoln Field, though this name should no longer be used; on second reference: Simmons Quad)

Salomon Center for Teaching

(on second reference: Salomon Center)

the Sharpe Refectory

(commonly referred to as the Ratty, which is acceptable in informal uses or with brief explanation when writing for external audiences)

 the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center
(on second reference: the Campus Center; this is commonly referred to on campus as Faunce in reference to its original name, Faunce House, but the building should be called by its updated name)

T.F. Green Hall

the Walk
(the midblock connection between the main Brown campus and the Pembroke campus)


Do not use periods at the end of captions that are not complete sentences.


The Center for Careers and Life after Brown. Acceptable to use CareerLAB on first reference to an internal audience.


not "catalogue"

centers and institutes

For centers and institutes at Brown, list the full formal name on first reference. On second reference, the key name in the title is acceptable (e.g., Watson, Cogut or Swearer). Do not capitalize “center” or “institute” on subsequent reference when used without the name.

  • The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs presented a symposium. The institute welcomed speakers from five nations.


Lowercase centuries and spell out the first through ninth. Use a hyphen when the century is used as a modifier.

  • third century
  • 19th-century classical music

civil rights

Lowercase when used generally but uppercase for the Civil Rights Movement.

class affinity

class years

Capitalize alumni classes and current and future classes.

  • Class of 1963
  • Class of 2021
  • Lila Byam, member of the Class of 2017

Do not capitalize class designations: sophomore; junior; senior. The preferred term for an entering student is “first-year student” instead of “freshman.” Do not use the class year preceded by an apostrophe.

  • She is a first-year student. 
  • The undergraduate committee member is sophomore Shetal Shah. 

(See: “alumni designations/class affinity”)

the College

Brown's undergraduate program

College Hill


Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it begins a complete sentence. Otherwise, for lists and single words, the first word should be lowercase (unless it is a proper noun). Use one space only after a colon.

  • The study covered three areas: nuclear waste, industrial waste and cancer cases.
  • The answer to the question was obvious: World War II.
  • He wasn’t sure: Should he go to France or to Spain?


Brown’s style does not call for use of the serial/Oxford/Harvard comma. Therefore, use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before “and” or “or” in a simple series.

  • The building is made of brick, steel and iron.

However, include a comma if clarification calls for it, including when an element within a series contains a conjunction: 

  • My three favorite kinds of sandwiches are turkey, peanut butter and jelly, and pastrami.

Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

  • The professor unlocked the classroom, and the students hurried inside.

Use a comma to separate multiple modifiers of a noun.

  • It was a long, complicated explanation.
  • She was a well-regarded, world-renowned expert in child development.

Use a comma in numbers higher than 999.

  • 1,250

Use a comma to indicate if the reader understands or is told that the item or clause is the only one of its kind.

  • Emily Bronte’s novel, “Wuthering Heights,” received mixed reviews. (It was her only novel.)
  • Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Jane Eyre” was published under the pseudonym Currer Bell. (She published multiple novels.)
  • His wife, Claire, also was a donor. (The reader understands people have one spouse.)


Capitalize the official University ceremony for graduates.


Brown has concentrations, not majors. Names of concentrations should be lowercase unless they contain proper nouns.


Capitalize the official University ceremony for entering students that opens the start of the academic year every fall.

the Corporation of Brown University, the Corporation

course names

Course titles should be capitalized. Do not use quotes or italics.

  • Transpacific Asian American Studies will be offered next semester.