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A

Academic titles

Generally, it’s best to follow the name with a title: Roary Panther, professor of marketing. If it’s necessary to precede a person’s name with their academic title, do not capitalize the title: professor of marketing Roary Panther.

Do not use Dr. as a title, except when referring to a medical doctor (MD).

Add/drop period

Use the / between add and drop always.

B

Building

Refer to buildings by the names listed in the MMC mapBBC map. Abbreviations and acronyms are acceptable only when referring to a specific location within that building. When referring to the building without a specific location, spell out.

Examples

Right

PC 421 or PC, first floor

Right

Primera Casa was FIU’s first new building.

Buttons

Buttons should always describe the action the user is taking. Use simple, persuasive language in buttons:  DoneNextOK, etc. Put your pitch in your headings and copy, not in buttons. Use title case in button copy.

C

Campuses and centers

FIU has two main campuses: Modesto A. Maidique Campus in West Miami-Dade County and Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami. Use the full name on first reference with the acronym in parenthesis immediately after: (MMC) or (BBC). The acronym alone acceptable on second reference.

For spelling and style for all other locations, see the Locations page in FIU.edu.

Classes vs courses

Keep in mind the subtle differences. A class is the period of time in which students meet to learn from a given professor. A course is a set of classes or plan of study on a particular subject.

D

Degrees

Abbreviate degrees in tabular information: BA, BFA, BS, MA, MBAMDMFAPhD, etc. Everywhere else, write out all academic degrees: bachelor of, master’s indoctorate inbachelor’smaster’sdoctorate’s.

When necessary to refer to associate degrees (which we do not offer):  associate degreeassociate’s. While associate degrees do entail some degree of specialized coursework, they do not formally have a major. A student earns an associate degree, but never an  associate in.

Style general

Right

Graduate with your bachelor’s in 4 years

Right

Students can earn a master’s in communication at the School of Communication + Journalism

Style in tabular form (such as in a degrees list)

Right

Architecture (MArch)

Art (BFA) - Digital Arts

Biochemistry (PhD)

Wrong

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Department and division names

Always check the website of a given department or division for proper names. Unless explicitly required by that unit, repeating department of or division of is not necessary. See Capitalization for more style guidance.

E

Email

Do not use e-mail or capitalize the E. Hyperlink the email text by putting  mailto: followed by the email address in the 'Link Source.' In the example below the source would read  mailto:info@fiu.edu.

Examples

Right

Please email our office directly

Right

Send requests via email to info@fiu.edu

F

FAFSA

Abbreviation is acceptable on first use. Do not repeat the word application after FAFSA.

FIU or Florida International University

It is not necessary to spell out the full name of our university. FIU is acceptable in all uses. No periods.

Consider context when deciding to spell out or just use FIU. Is your audience current students, FIU employees or alumni? Just FIU is likely enough (and easier to read). But for audiences new to the FIU brand, Florida International University is best.

G

Green School vs GSIPA

Refer to the school by its full name, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, or simply the Green School – do not use GSIPA.

I

Images

Where appropriate, use alt tags on images to provide a pleasant experience to users visiting our sites with the use of assuasive technologies. It’s not necessary to use them on purely decorative items, but any time an image conveys information, an alt tag is necessary. Learn more about alt-tags. Avoid using images with text as a replacement for a font.

Learn more about choosing and editing Images for the web.

Information architecture standards

In general, avoid audience segmentation for primary site navigation. Instead, group like-content in groups under logical headings: academicsabout uscontact usalumnigivingnews & eventsresearch, etc. Segmented audience pages can be embedded in the footer or as a tertiary navigational element, with Digital Communications’ approval.

L

Locations

See campuses and centers.

Links

Do not use “gibberish” links or “click here” constructions. Instead, it’s better to link a descriptive phrase that gives the user more information. This approach is also cleaner and more adaptable to user interfaces that don’t use the cliché “click,” such as assistive technologies or touch screens.
Ideally, structure your writing such that the link is at the end of the sentence. 

Examples

Right

Get the student handbook.

Wrong

Get the handbook at http://someurl.com/files/handbook.pdf

Wrong

Click here to get the handbook.

M

Majors

When referencing a major, only capitalize names of languages:  a student majoring in Englisha student majoring in physics. Students major in a subject, they are not their majors: 

Examples

Right

Jimmy is majoring in architecture.

Wrong

Jimmy is an architecture major.

MyFIU

Note the use of case. Always hyperlink the text to the student portal. While not incorrect, PantherSoft is less often used to refer to the student portal. Use MyFIU to avoid confusing students. Do not use https://my.fiu.edu/ or my.fiu.edu unless necessary to indicate the exact URL.

Do not recreate IT support on your website. Division of IT offers resources for students in their Knowledgebase. There’s also a quick MyFIU tutorial on OneStop.

O

OneStop

OneStop is a single word – no spaces and the S is always capitalized. You do not need to list the full name OneStop Enrollment Services, however, you should explain what OneStop is on first reference to the organization, location on campus or website.

R

Resident assistant

RA only acceptable on second reference.

S

Scholarships

The Academicworks scholarship search engine should be referred to as FIU Scholarship Search as it is throughout the Office of Scholarship website. Do not use Academicworks.

Semester vs term

Both are acceptable but semester is more widely used. Whichever you use, stay consistent in your word choice.

Student Government Association

SGA on second reference. Capitalize the formal name, but not in generic reference: Student Government Associationstudent government.

Student Organizations Council

SOC on second reference.

U

Underline

Do not underline text. Links should be the only underlined text. Using the underline can cause the user to mistake the text for a link causing confusion and frustration. Use bold or italics for emphasis instead.

Examples

Right

Submit your application by the deadline, April 1.

Wrong

You must have your student ID to attend this event.