UW Brand

Word list and common terms

The main references for all University of Washington communications are the current editions of The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Italics are used to highlight key terms throughout this document; they do not mean that the word or phrase should be written in italics.



academic courses

  • Capitalize formal names of academic courses per standard capitalization rules for composition titles (do not enclose in quotation marks): History of Architecture; Basic Concepts of New Media.
  • Enclose more descriptive names of courses in quotation marks and use standard capitalization rules for composition titles: “The Arts of Japan: A Visual and Cultural History.”

academic degrees

  • Avoid degree abbreviations if possible. If degree information is essential to the story, try to embed more descriptive, humanizing language in the text: “UW gynecologic oncologist Jane Husky addressed the group” instead of “Jane Husky, M.D., addressed the group.”
  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc. This less formal usage is preferred over Bachelor of Arts in X, Master of Science in X, etc.
  • Use periods when abbreviating: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph.D. (Note no periods in MBA.) Use abbreviations only when it is necessary to identify many individuals by degree on first reference and the preferred descriptive method is too cumbersome.
    • Use abbreviations only after a full name and set the abbreviation off by commas: Jane Husky, Ph.D., spoke at the conference.
  • Do not combine a courtesy title with an academic degree.
    • Incorrect: Dr. Jane Husky, Ph.D.
    • Correct: Jane Husky, Ph.D. or Dr. Jane Husky.

academic season and quarters

  • Lowercase: autumn quarter or winter quarter 2019.

academic titles

  • Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chair, dean or provost when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere.
    • E.g., Jane Husky, provost at the University of Washington, studied biology. Before the lecture, Provost Jane Husky will address the group.
  • Lowercase modifiers such as department.
    • E.g., … department Chairwoman Jane Husky.


  • Not advisor. (Note exception: UW Medicine uses patient advisors.)

alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus

  • Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school; alumna (alumnae in the plural) for a woman.
  • Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.
  • If degree information is essential to the story, use description in the text rather than listing degree information: Before completing her biochemistry degree in 2012, Jane Husky …
    • If space is too limited for description, such as in a photo caption, include the graduation year after the name with commas on either side: Joe Husky, ’79, accepted the award.
    • See entry on academic degrees.

a.m., p.m.

  • Lowercase with periods.
  • Include a space between the numeral and a.m. or p.m.: 10 a.m.


bachelor’s, bachelor’s degree, B.A., B.F.A., B.S.

Be Boundless

  • The UW’s tagline. As text within copy, title case (capitalize the first letter of each word): Be Boundless.
  • Do not italicize (only the graphic version is italicized, and it should not be modified in any way).
  • When using the tagline as a graphic element, do not modify the formatting.
  • Lowercase boundless when using the word on its own in copy.


campus references and UW brands

  • Spell out the University of Washington on first reference.
    • In the noun form, always include the article (the): This year, the University of Washington will host the conference. Researchers at the UW are working to cure diseases.
    • In the adjective form, omit the article (the): University of Washington students traveled to Olympia to meet with legislators. Renowned for international collaboration, UW researchers are leading the way.
  • Acceptable second references are the UW, the University and Washington.
  • Capitalize University when referring specifically to the UW: The University will host HuskyFest this weekend. At the meeting, University leaders discussed …
  • Use the University of Washington when referring to the Seattle campus or all three campuses as a whole.
  • Never use UW Seattle or main campus.
  • On first reference, use the University of Washington Tacoma and the University of Washington Bothell. On subsequent references, use UW Tacoma and UW Bothell (note no the in the shortened reference): UW Tacoma is an urban-serving university. More than 55 degrees are available at UW Bothell.
    • Do not use the term branch campus.
    • Tacoma campus and Bothell campus are also acceptable (do not capitalize campus).
    • Limit the use of Seattle campus. Instead try rephrasing: At the University of Washington in Seattle …
    • Avoid using UWT or UWB except in internal documentation.
  • See entry on UW Medicine.
  • See entry on UW Online.
  • See entry on UW Professional & Continuing Education, UWPCE.


  • One word, not hyphenated.

centers, programs (capitalization of)

  • Capitalize center or program only if it is part of the formal name: Simpson Center for the Humanities; Latin American Studies Program; students in the speech pathology program will…

certificate, certificate program

  • Capitalize the formal name of a certificate program: Certificate in Project Management, Certificate in Audio Production.
  • Do not capitalize program unless it is part of the formal name. Unless using the full certificate name, do not capitalize the area of study nor the word certificate in narrative text: The Certificate in Editing program begins this fall. The editing certificate program includes a number of guest speakers.

committees, boards and leadership terms (capitalization of)

  • Capitalize committee only when it is part of a formal name: the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee.
  • Lowercase board of directors unless it is part of a formal name: UW Alumni Association Board of Directors. The board of directors will discuss the issue.


departments, colleges (capitalization of)

  • Capitalize the formal name of an academic department or college: the University of Washington Department of Communication, College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Lowercase the informal name (except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives): the geography department, the history department, the law school, the Italian department, the department of English.


  • Use the term residence hall instead.



  • When referring to an academic body, treat faculty as a collective noun taking a singular verb: The UW’s faculty leads the nation in securing research funding.
  • Use faculty members with a plural verb when referring to several individuals: Faculty members in the arts department are restructuring the curriculum.

first-year student(s)

  • Refers to both first-time, full-time college students and transfer students. Use instead of freshman/freshmen, unless referring only to the freshman class.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

  • Hutchinson Center or FHCRC on second reference. Always include the UW faculty title when writing about faculty who work at the Hutchinson Center before including their Hutchinson Center administrative position.
  • When writing about research at the Hutchinson Center that is being conducted by a faculty member who is a UW affiliate, it is appropriate to refer to the Hutchinson Center first.

freshman, freshmen

  • Use the term first-year student(s) instead, unless referring specifically to students in the freshman class.

full-time, full time

  • Hyphenate as an adjective: Many students have full-time jobs.
  • Do not hyphenate as an adverb: She goes to school full time.

fundraiser, fundraising


geographic regions

  • Lowercase north, south, northeast, etc., when they indicate compass direction: They drove east.
  • Capitalize when they designate regions: The Pacific Northwest is a hub of innovation. The storm swept across the Midwest.


Harborview Medical Center

  • Use Harborview on second reference. Use HMC on internal documentation only.

health care, health-care

  • Two words as a noun, no hyphen: world-class health care.
  • Hyphenate as an adjective: health-care program.

Health Sciences Center

  • Administrative umbrella designation for the six health sciences schools (dentistry, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, public health and social work) and the affiliated multidisciplinary research centers. Full formal name: Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center.

Husky Experience

  • Capitalize in all instances. For example: The Husky Experience encompasses the transformative educational opportunities that help our students discover their passions.


  • Capitalize when referring to UW students, alumni or UW teams: Around the world, Huskies are making a positive impact through community service.

Husky Marching Band

  • Use when referring to the marching band.

Husky Nation



  • Capitalize when preceded by the name of a state: the Washington Legislature.
  • Capitalize in subsequent specific references and in constructions such as the 100th Legislature, the state Legislature.
  • Lowercase legislature when it is used generically: No legislature has approved the amendment.



  • Lowercase except for proper nouns or adjectives: The award recipient majored in anthropology and minored in European studies.

master’s, M.A., M.S.


  • Abbreviation for Master of Business Administration; no periods.


off campus, on campus

  • Hyphenate as an adjective: on-campus dining.
  • Do not hyphenate as an adverb: dining off campus.



  • More common way of referring to the Pacific-12 Conference; do not put Pac in all caps.


  • Do not abbreviate.
  • Do not use on second reference unless part of a quotation.

Purple Friday

Purple Pride


quarters, terms, academic seasons (capitalization of)

  • Lowercase academic quarters: spring quarter, winter quarter.


Rainier Vista


  • Use No. as the abbreviation for number to indicate position or rank: The UW is ranked No. 1 in XYZ.
  • For rankings where the UW does not rank first, the preferred usage is: According to XYZ, the UW ranks third in …

Red Square

  • The preposition on is typically used when describing an event happening at this location: Join your fellow Huskies on Red Square for W Day, the UW’s birthday celebration.

residence hall

  • Use instead of dorm/dormitory.


Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA)

  • An alliance between Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine. Cancer patients receive inpatient treatments at UW Medical Center and Seattle Children’s.
  • Use SCCA on second reference.
  • When referencing physicians who practice within the SCCA structure, use the UW faculty title: Dr. Barbara Goff, UW professor of obstetrics and gynecology practicing at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Seattle Children’s

  • This is the official name. Use Children’s on second reference.
  • Many of the Seattle Children’s physicians are UW faculty members. Check the UW directory. Preferred format when writing about Seattle Children’s faculty is to use the official UW faculty title: Dr. Robert Smith, UW professor of pediatrics and chief of Seattle Children’s cardiology unit.


  • No hyphen. (Note: This is an AP Style exception to Webster’s New World College Dictionary.)



  • Include a hyphen, per AP Style.

Suzzallo Library, the Suzzallo Library Reading Room


the Ave

  • Acceptable, more colloquial way to refer to University Way (note no period on Ave).

the Quad

they, them, their (singular)

  • May be used as singular pronouns if an individual prefers them or if their gender identity is unknown.
  • Note that the singular they takes a plural verb: They are majoring in communications.


  • Not towards.


  • The symbols ® and ™, often used in ads and product packaging, should be included at first reference but are not necessary in subsequent references.




  • Closed up as both an adjective and an adverb, per AP Style.

University of Washington, UW (the)


  • Hyphenate as an adjective (also note capitalization of University when referring specifically to the UW): the University-wide event.

UW Bothell

UW Cheer and Dance

  • Use when referring to the cheer and/or dance team.

UW Continuum College

  • UW Continuum College expands the reach of the University of Washington with programs that meet the needs of learners at various phases of their lives, including UW Professional & Continuing Education, International & English Language Programs, Summer Youth, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and dozens of fee-based degree programs.

UW Educational Outreach, UWEO

  • The former name of the organization now called UW Continuum College.

UW Extension

UW Medicine

  • The umbrella name (not University of Washington Medicine) for the system. When referencing the UW’s clinical system of care, use UW Medicine health system. On second reference, refer to it as the health system.
  • Currently, UW Medicine comprises the following eight entities:
    • Harborview Medical Center: Use Harborview on second reference. Use HMC on internal documentation only.
    • Northwest Hospital & Medical Center: The full name is preferred, but Northwest Hospital may be used if space is limited. Always use an ampersand instead of and. NWH may be used for internal documentation only.
    • Valley Medical Center: Use Valley Medical Center or VMC on second reference. Never shorten to Valley for internal or external audiences.
    • UW Medical Center: Use University of Washington Medical Center on first reference primarily when communicating with markets outside of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI). Otherwise use UW Medical Center. UWMC is acceptable on second reference for all audiences, but UW Medical Center is preferred. (Note: There is no the in front of UW Medical Center.)
    • UW Neighborhood Clinics: Use neighborhood clinics on second reference. When referencing where a neighborhood clinic is located, write: UW Neighborhood Ravenna Clinic, UW Neighborhood Shoreline Clinic. Do not note the number of clinics in the UW Neighborhood Clinics system; instead note that clinics can be found throughout the Puget Sound region. Where appropriate, list the clinic locations.
    • UW Physicians (UWP): The faculty practice plan. In reference to the organization, use a singular verb: UW Physicians is releasing financial reports. Otherwise, a plural verb is usually better. If the meaning is something other than physician members of the practice plan, it is better to use another form, such as: physicians affiliated with UW Medicine.
    • UW School of Medicine: On second reference, the school may be used.
    • Airlift Northwest: The shortened Airlift is used for internal audiences and on second reference in external communications. Do not use ALNW.
  • See entries on Seattle Children’s, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

UW Medicine at South Lake Union

  • Refer to the South Lake Union campus as UW Medicine at South Lake Union.

UW Online

  • As a branch of UW Professional & Continuing Education (UWPCE), UW Online provides fee-based certificate and degree programs designed for working professionals.
  • Note capitalization of UW Online: As a UW Online student, you’ll join a vibrant learning community of fellow Huskies from around the globe.

UW Professional & Continuing Education, UWPCE

  • UW Professional & Continuing Education is the organization formerly known as UW Extension. UWPCE offers hundreds of courses and certificate and degree programs designed and scheduled to meet the needs of working professionals.
  • The abbreviation UWPCE may be used on second and subsequent references.
  • See entry on UW Online.

UW Tacoma


Washington state

  • Lowercase state: state of Washington or Washington state.
  • Note that Washington State refers to the university in Pullman, Washington.


  • One word, lowercase.