COA Writing Guidelines and Stylebook

For more information, see the university’s style dictionary or the AP Stylebook. 


abbreviations and acronyms

In general, do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize. Never abbreviate university, department or association.

Abbreviations of degrees, expressions of time and names of countries take periods with no space between the elements.

  • Ph.D.
  • a.m.
  • U.S.

To prevent awkward line breaks in printed material, do not put a space between initials used as a first name.

  • E.B. White

Do not use periods in abbreviations of phrases longer than two words or when each letter is pronounced.

  • FBI
  • NATO

Add an “s” but no apostrophe to plural forms of abbreviations.

  • The committee was made up of CEOs and CFOs.

The first mention of organizations, firms, agencies, groups, etc., should be spelled out.

  • The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station is the state’s primary engineering research agency. TEES was established in 1914.

academic colleges and departments

Capitalize only if referring to a specific academic unit by its full, proper name.

  • School of Architecture
  • architecture department
  • Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning
  • She is a professor of construction science

Aggie Workshop

Annual series of charrettes and lectures hosted by the Texas A&M student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

articulated degrees

Programs where students earn credit toward undergraduate and graduate degrees at the same time, often earning the degrees more quickly.

Automated Fabrication & Design Lab (Fab Lab)

The school’s large-scale research and fabrication lab for student, faculty and industry projects.



Summer camp designed to give high-achieving high school students an opportunity to experience the professions within the school.

Celebration of Excellence

Annual ceremony that celebrates the outstanding performances of selected architecture students, including the top five Master of Architecture Final Study projects.


A smaller, interdisciplinary, collaborative effort, revolving around specific research or educational activity, whose participants are involved in more than one academic department or unit. It is administered by a director or agency director or someone holding a lower title. Its focus is largely on externally supported research or educational activities broader than those interests of an individual department or administrative unit.

Center for Health Systems & Design (CHSD)

Center that focuses on evidence-based design and planning of health facilities and healthy communities.

Center for Heritage Conservation (CHC)

Professional center for interdisciplinary research and service projects on all aspects of built and natural heritage.

Center for Housing & Urban Development (CHUD)

Center dedicated to leading the creation of sustainable housing and communities through research and community engagement.


An intense period of design or planning activity. May also refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem.

class year

As appropriate, include the last two digits of the class year after the name, with an inverted apostrophe, as in the examples below. When referring to a former student with multiple degrees, list the degrees in the order in which they were received. When referring to a couple who are both former students, include the last two digits of the class year with an apostrophe after each person’s name.

  • Mays Business School is the namesake of Lowry Mays ’57.
  • “Northgate had fewer bars and more pickup trucks when I was a student,” said John O’Reilly ’77, ’79 (MBA).
  • Marvin ’98 and Marlene Finkelstein Smith ’03

COA North

Building in downtown Bryan that houses offices and classrooms for the School of Architecture.

School of Architecture

The School of Architecture offers a top-notch education in disciplines that address critical, complex challenges in our natural, built and virtual environments.

Colonias Program

Texas A&M University Colonias Program partners with a wide variety of public and private agencies to provide services that increase self-sufficiency and enhance the quality of life for colonias residents all along the Texas-Mexico border.

Construction Academies

Programs for high school students to introduce them to the study and field of construction science. Hosted by the Department of Construction Science.

Construction Industry Advisory Council (CIAC)

CIAC consists of construction industry leaders and former construction science students who advise department administrators and faculty on contemporary construction issues and influence the department’s strategic direction and course content.


A hands-on construction experience for students and professionals in the built environment sector. Students participate while studying abroad in the UK.


Accepted abbreviation for Construction Science, especially in headlines.

CRS Center for Leadership & Management in the Design & Construction Industry (CRS Center)

Center that continues the contributions of Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS) architectural design firm as a locus for education, research, and public service.



See Appendix A for specific degrees available from the college.

If your readers might not be familiar with academic degrees, it usually is better to use a phrase instead of an abbreviation.

  • John Jones, who has a doctorate in architecture, said his study found that the salaries of web designers should be doubled.

Use an apostrophe.

  • bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and so on.

Uppercase when spelled out.

  • Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy and so on.

Use abbreviations such as B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S. and Ph.D. (with periods and no spaces between letters) only when needed to identify many individuals by degree on first reference or if usage would make the preferred form cumbersome. Spell out all others. Use these only after the person’s full name, and set the abbreviation off by commas.

  • John Wimberly, Ph.D., is president of the National Association of Underwater Basketweaving Professionals.

Department of Architecture (ARCH)

The Department of Architecture educates students in the theory and practice of architectural and environmental design to maximize creative impact on the global societies of the 21st century.

Department of Construction Science (COSC)

The Department of Construction Science leads the way as one of the finest programs of construction higher education in the nation.

Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning (LAUP)

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning educates students in areas related to landscape architecture, urban planning, and land and real estate development.

Diversity Council

Executive advisory council composed of faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students from throughout the college that advocate for equal treatment for all.

Diversity Hackathon

Annual 24-hour event where teams are challenged to solve diversity-related issues. Hosted by the Diversity Council.

Diversity Peer Advisor Leader (DPAL)

Diversity Council program of trained student mentors who assist School of Architecture international students.


em dash

Put a space on both sides of the dash.

  • Leadership — a Texas A&M core value — is developed through more than 1,000 student-led clubs and organizations.


Fab Lab

See Automated Fabrication & Design Lab.

Francis Hall

Construction Science facility. Abbreviated FRAN on campus maps only.


Gig ’em

Two words. Capitalize and use an inverted apostrophe. 


Hard Hat Ceremony

Construction Science ceremony where each graduating student receives a personalized hard hat as a memento of their time at Texas A&M. Sponsored by the Construction Industry Advisory Council (CIAC).

Harold L. Adams Interdisciplinary Design Charrette for Undergraduates (ICU)

Interdisciplinary design competition hosted by the School of Architecture. Undergraduate students from throughout the college form five-member teams in an exercise reflecting a real-world problem-solving scenario.

Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center (HRRC)

Center dedicated to understanding of the nature and impact of hazards upon humans and the environments in which they live. 



A large integrative unit, housing intercollegiate or interagency activities. It is administered by a director reporting to a dean or agency director or someone with a title above dean or agency director.  It is focused largely on externally supported research or educational activities that are much broader than those interests of a given college or administrative unit.

Institute for Sustainable Communities (IfSC)

The university’s focal point of interdisciplinary sustainable community research, engagement and high impact service learning.

international students

This phrase is preferred over foreign students.



Lesser administrative, educational or research entities, usually residing within an academic department or unit.

Langford Architecture Center

Three building complex that houses the School of Architecture. Referred to as Langford A, B, and C. Abbreviated ARCA, ARCB, and ARCC on campus maps only.

Langford Living Wall

“Green” wall outside Langford B created from waste metal from the automotive industry and native plants. Created by Ahmed Ali, assistant professor of architecture, and Bruce Dvorak, associate professor of landscape architecture.



Open-use and general working area with 3D printers and laser cutters in Langford A.


Outstanding Alumni

The Outstanding Alumni award is the highest honor the college bestows on former students.



Lesser administrative, educational or research entities, usually residing within an academic department or unit.


student employee

This phrase is preferred over student worker.

Student Organizations

Participation in the “other education” is an integral part of the Texas A&M experience. A large part of this is participating in student organizations. Student organizations related to our disciplines include:

  • Aggie Screenwriting Acting and Media Production Club (AGGIE S.W.A.M.P CLUB)
  • American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
  • American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)
  • Association of Student Planners (ASP)
  • Christian Architecture Leaders (CAL)
  • Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)
  • Emerging Green Builders (EGB)
  • Facility Management Student Chapter (FMC)
  • Future Leaders in Urban Planning (FLUP)
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • Real Estate Development Association (REDA)
  • Student Health Environments Association (SHEA)
  • Urban & Regional Sciences Student Organization (URSSO)


Classroom spaces specifically set up for creative work, including painting, architecture, sculpture, woodworking, graphic design, animation, and more.

study away

School of Architecture requirement that all students spend one semester away through study abroad, serving an internship, or studying at another U.S. university.

study abroad

Texas A&M courses taken by Aggies while studying outside of the United States.


Texas Target Communities (TTC)

Service learning program and university-wide community engagement initiative that works alongside local governments and community stakeholders to create sustainable communities across Texas. 


Wright Gallery

Gallery located in Langford A dedicated to showcasing the visual arts with a focus on diversity. 

Appendix A

Degrees by Program

Department of Architecture (ARCH)

FieldProgramProgram Abbr.DegreeDegree Abbr.
ArchitectureMaster of ArchitectureM.ArchMaster of ArchitectureM.Arch.
ArchitectureMaster of Architecture (Career Change)CC-M.ArchMaster of ArchitectureM.Arch.
ArchitectureMaster of Science in ArchitectureM.S. ArchMaster of Science in ArchitectureM.S.
ArchitectureMaster of Science in Architecture + Master of ArchitectureM.S. + M.ArchMaster of Science in Architecture; Master of ArchitectureM.S.; M.Arch.
ArchitectureDoctor of Philosophy in ArchitecturePh.D. ArchDoctor of Philosophy in ArchitecturePh.D.
Environmental Design – Architectural StudiesBachelor of Environmental DesignENDSBachelor of Environmental DesignBED

Department of Construction Science (COSC)

FieldProgramProgram Abbr. DegreeDegree Abbr.
Construction ScienceBachelor of Science in Construction ScienceCOSC (or COAL)Bachelor of Science in Construction ScienceB.S.
Construction ManagementMaster of Science in Construction ScienceMSCM (or COMG)Master of Science in Construction ManagementM.S.
Construction ScienceDoctor of Philosophy in Construction SciencePh.D. COSCDoctor of Philosophy in Construction SciencePh.D.

Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning (LAUP)

FieldProgramProgram Abbr.DegreeDegree Abbr.
Landscape ArchitectureBachelor of Landscape ArchitectureBLA (or LAND)Bachelor of Landscape ArchitectureB.L.A.
Landscape ArchitectureMaster of Landscape ArchitectureMLAMaster of Landscape ArchitectureM.L.A.
Land & Property DevelopmentMaster of Land & Property DevelopmentMLPD (or LPDV)Master of Land & Property DevelopmentM.L.P.D.
Urban & Regional PlanningBachelor of Science in Urban & Regional PlanningB.S. URPNBachelor of Science in Urban & Regional PlanningB.S.
Urban & Regional PlanningMaster of Urban PlanningMUPMaster of Urban PlanningM.U.P.
Urban & Regional PlanningDoctor of Philosophy in Urban & Regional SciencesURSCDoctor of Philosophy in Urban and Regonal SciencesPh.D.

School of Architecture

FieldProgramProgram Abbr.DegreeDegree Abbr.
University StudiesBachelor of Science in University Studies – Global Arts, Planning, Design & ConstructionUSARSBachelor of Science in University StudiesB.S.

Articulated Degree Programs

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture + Master of Land and Property Development
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture + Master of Urban Planning
  • Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning + Master of Land and Property Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning + Master of Urban Planning


  • Architectural Fabrication & Product Design
  • Architectural Heritage Conservation
  • Art & Architectural History
  • Facility Management
  • Sustainable Architecture & Planning
  • Urban Planning


Certificates offered through the college or its affiliated research centers.

CertificateAdministered byFor
Environmental Hazard Management CertificateHazard Reduction and Recovery Center (HRRC)Graduates
Diversity CertificateDepartment of Multicultural ServicesUndergraduates
Health Systems & Design CertificateCenter for Housing and Urban Development (CHUD)Graduates
Historic Preservation CertificateCenter for Heritage Conservation (CHC)Graduates
Sustainable Urbanism CertificateCenter for Housing and Urban Development (CHUD)Graduates
Transportation Planning CertificateCenter for Housing and Urban Development (CHUD)Graduates