Oxford Brookes writing style guide

This A-Z guide provides clear, easy-to-search guidance on style, spelling and grammar for all of our printed and digital communications at Oxford Brookes Univerity. It is arranged alphabetically with 1 letter per page, so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

For a quick overview, including the most common words and style points, browse our quick overview guide.

We will be reviewing the guide regularly, so do let us know if you have any comments or suggestions. Please get in touch at CommsServices@brookes.ac.uk

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Quick overview

This is a quick overview of the Oxford Brookes writing style guide. It includes the most common words and style points that we use.


  • Don’t use full stops between the letters of any abbreviation, eg GCSE (or GCSEs), NHS, LEA, HEFCE, TEF.
  • Write out the word in full first time, with the short version in brackets, then use the short version, eg Oxford Brookes International (OBI) is responsible for supporting international students.

academic faculties and departments

  • School of Education, Humanities and Languages (each main word capitalised, no ampersand)
  • Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
  • School of Law and Social Sciences
  • Oxford Brookes Business School (not Oxford Brookes University Business School)
  • Oxford Brookes students (Oxford Brookes is an adjective). 

A-levels (with hyphen)


bullet points

  • Long bullets should be treated as full sentences and should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop.
  • If your bullet points follow as part of a sentence, start each point with lower case letters, and put a full stop at the end of the last point.
    The advantages of living in halls include
    • it’s easy to budget - no utility bills
    • most rooms are en suite
    • support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


  • John Henry Brookes Building (capital ‘B’ for building)
  • Joel Joffe Building.


  • Headington Campus (not ‘Gipsy Lane Campus’, ‘Gipsy Lane site’ or ‘Headington Hill site’)
  • Headington Campus, Marston Road site
  • Harcourt Hill Campus
  • Wheatley Campus
  • Swindon Campus.


Only use capital letters when absolutely required.
Capitalise the names of organisations and companies: 

  • School of Architecture but subsequently use lower case for the school
  • Brookes Union but the union
  • John Radcliffe Hospital but the hospital
  • The exception is University with a capital U when talking about Oxford Brookes, eg The University has outstanding teaching spaces.


  • Paterson Joseph, Chancellor.

Clearing (with capital C) - UCAS system


  • Use the word course rather than ‘programme’. (‘Course’ is more widely understood by external audiences.)
  • Capitalise each main letter of the course title, eg Animal Biology and Conservation.
  • Generic subject areas are lower case, eg We offer a wide range of business and management degrees.
  • Capitalise course modules, eg Introduction to Materials.
  • Capitalise Semester 1 and Year 1 (rather than semester 1 or year 1).


  • Use dashes sparingly to explain or add emphasis, eg See our website for the latest information - links are at the bottom of each page.
  • Use normal dashes ‘-’ instead of en/em dashes (web only).


  • 26 January 2017
  • 1850s
  • the 19th century but 20th-century art
  • 2005-15 (print only)
  • 2005 to 2015 (web only).

disability language

  • Use disabled people, disabled students not expressions that depersonalise such as ‘the disabled’.

eg/for example

  • In external communications, avoid using eg; instead use for example, for instance, such as, like or including.


healthcare (one word)


  • Use a hyphen where words are paired together as adjectives, eg four-year course, full-time students, world-leading research, and practice-based teaching.
  • But our research is world leading and the work is computer related.
  • Use a hyphen where vowels or consonants collide, eg take-off, part-time, co-operate.

job titles

  • Job titles held by specific people are upper case, eg Professor Alistair Fitt is Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.
  • Generic job titles are lower case, eg Professor Alistair Fitt is a vice-chancellor.
  • General references to job titles are lower case, eg The course leader offers individual tutorials as required.


  • We use commas to separate items in a list within text, eg Brookes Sport offers a wide range of high-quality facilities including gyms, sports halls and outdoor pitches for tennis, football, hockey and more. Don’t use semicolons for this purpose.
  • No comma is used before the word ‘and’ or ‘or’, unless a comma is required to avoid ambiguity, eg We also have a climbing wall, swimming pool, steam and sauna room, and indoor rowing centre.
  • For bulleted lists, no commas are needed at the end of each line.


Print only

  • Spell out whole numbers one to ten; use figures from 11.
  • Where using percentages, always use figures, eg The survey showed that 7% of students did not agree.
  • Use a comma to denote thousands, eg 1,000.
  • Use m instead of million, eg £220m is being invested in our campuses over the next 10 years (no spaces between figure and ‘m’).

Digital only

  • Use numerals rather than words for all numbers.

Open Day

  • Use initial capital letters when referring to Open Days run by Oxford Brookes. This is also the case for Applicant Day.

Oxford Brookes University

External audiences (including prospective students)

  • Oxford Brookes University in full first time, then the University or Oxford Brookes (do not shorten to just ‘Brookes’ for external audiences unless it’s part of a student/graduate quote).
  • use Oxford Brookes International (not OBU or OBI).

Internal audiences (including current students)

  • Use ‘Brookes’ as well as ‘Oxford Brookes’ or ‘the University’.


  • Use % not per cent.
  • Always use figures with percentages, eg The survey showed that 7% of students did not agree.

phone numbers

  • No hyphens, and spacing as follows, eg +44 (0) 1865 488888.
  • For internal extension numbers use x8888 (not ‘x 8888’ or ‘ext. 8888’).

Pro Vice-Chancellor


  • BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), LLB (Hons) - bachelors’ degrees (or bachelor’s degree)
  • MA, MSc, MBiol, MMath, MPlan, MSci - masters’ degrees (or master’s degree)
  • PhD
  • DipHE (diploma of higher education)
  • foundation degree - Fd(A) or Fd(Sc)
  • PGCE (postgraduate certificate in education)
  • PGCert (postgraduate certificate)
  • PGDip (postgraduate diploma)

quotation marks

  • Use double quotation marks for quotations, eg “That’s a great idea,” he said. Use single quote marks for a quote within a quote.
  • When quoting material from a report or survey use single quotation marks: Most students visiting our careers service rated staff as ‘very welcoming’ or ‘extremely welcoming’.

social media

When referring to social media on website/materials:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • X
  • WhatsApp
  • Wifi
  • YouTube.

subject areas

  • Subject areas are lower case, eg We offer a wide range of business and management degrees.
  • Course titles are capitalised, eg Students on our Paramedic Science course develop six core skills.

terms of address

List in the following order:

  • After a person’s name, list academic qualifications with first degrees first and in ascending order (BA, MA, MBA, DLitt, PhD).
  • Followed by memberships (FRSA, MCIPD, FCA, IMechE).
  • Academic titles come before the state honour, eg Professor Sir Liam Donaldson.


  • Use 5.00pm not ‘5pm’ or ‘17.00’. (For exams the 24-hour clock is used, making it compatible with Moodle and PIP.) 
  • Use 12 noon or 12 midnight.


Books, magazines, conferences, exhibitions, films, reports, projects

  • Use italics with capital letters for each main word, eg The Lord of the Rings, Journal of Psychiatry, HESA Destination of Leavers 2016

Chapters, articles and sections

  • Use single quotes and a capital letter for first word only and no italics, eg See the section in the report entitled ‘Student research stories’.


website addresses

  • Leave out ‘https://’ so the address is: www.brookes.ac.uk
  • Only include ‘https’ if it doesn’t have a ‘www’: https://photolib.brookes.ac.uk