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Term and Abbreviation or Acronym

Definition or Notes

& instead of and

The word "and" is preferred in text, except in the case of a proper name: Scrooge & Marley. The ampersand is acceptable in headings (if used consistently) or to save space, as in menus.

advisor vs. adviser

Use advisor. Although adviser is also acceptable, most of our sites, such as Academic Advising, use advisor.

Adobe Reader

not Adobe Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Reader

African American, Asian American

Do not hyphenate when used as nouns. Hyphenate when used as adjectives: African-American traditions

all vs. all of

All is preferable.  Example: I hope you enjoy all the activities.

BA, MA, MEd, PhD

No periods, no spaces

associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate

Write academic degrees in lowercase, except when used as titles or in lists. However, the abbreviations are capitalized. more at Style tips


UMass Dartmouth capitalizes "Black" when referring to race.


Use cancellation (although cancelation is also an acceptable spelling).


One word


Example: course catalog


Avoid for naming links—use descriptive text instead.


One word


One word


One word


Try to avoid. Replace with "for example."


No hyphen or initial caps

fall, winter, spring, summer

No need to capitalize unless used as a title: Fall Family Festival.


More commonly used in place freshman. Note the hyphen.

freshman vs. freshmen

Freshman is both a singular noun and an adjective. Freshmen is a plural noun and is not an adjective.
NOTE: We are moving to the term first-year across many of our sites: first-year applicants, first-year students.

full-time, full time

Hyphenate in use as adjective before a noun; no hyphen is needed when used after a verb.

She has a full-time job. You can study full time.


Try to avoid.


Lower case.

login (n.)

When referring to your assigned name. Example: "Meg's login was margaret1." Note: at UMass Dartmouth, we refer to the username and password as the UMassD Logon.

log in (v.)

When describing an action to be performed. Example: "When you log in, enter your new password."

logon (n.)

Special use at UMass Dartmouth; we refer to the username and password as the UMassD Logon.

Massachusetts or MA

Not generally necessary after a city or town in the Commonwealth. When referencing cities in other states, omit the state’s name if it’s unnecessary: Baltimore. Break this rule to ensure clarity and accuracy: Florence, MA or Florence, Italy?


One word


One word


part-time, part time

Hyphenate in use as adjective before a noun; no hyphen is needed when used after a verb.

She has a part-time job. You can study part time.

skill set

Two words


The term we use to describe our region.

through vs. thru

Do not use thru. If space is an issue, such as in a table, use a hyphen or an en dash.  For example, Monday – Wednesday or M – W.

upper-level students

Use this term to describe sophomores, juniors, and seniors as a group. Avoid upperclassmen.

vendor vs. vender

Use vendor. Although vender is also acceptable, most of our sites use vendor.




lowercase, one word


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