Wharton Editorial Style Guide

Maintain a consistent style in everything written for and about the Wharton School. 
This style guide is designed to help you, the content producer, prepare copy for publication, and it refers specifically to Wharton’s editorial style. Whether you’re writing text for a brochure or website, editing stories for your program’s newsletter, or creating a flyer to announce a campus event, you should use this guide as a reference to create a consistent style in everything written for and about the Wharton School.
This is also a helpful resource to share with interns, guest bloggers, and occasional content creators from inside and outside the School to ensure that our brand voice is consistent across all channels, no matter who’s writing the copy.

Writing Tips

The tone of all Wharton communications should convey the scale and reach of the School, reinforce its core values, and be mindful of Wharton’s many stakeholders.

Wharton’s Identity Kit will help you to create this tone in your writing. In addition, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Incorporate Wharton values in your writing whenever possible. All of our communications tell a story about the School, and it is important that we all work together to communicate a consistent message.
  • Make your writing accessible to a global audience — and be sensitive to varied cultural perspectives. Thus, avoid using contractions (e.g., “can’t” for “can not”) or idiomatic expressions (e.g., “bottom line,” “have it made,” or “set up shop”). Additionally, add the U.S. country code, +1, to your phone number in email, letters, and other correspondence to similarly internationalize your communications: +1.215.898.1179 (phone), +1.215.386.4304 (fax).
  • Write in a style that is formal but not stiff. Use active verbs wherever possible. For example, “The Wharton School attracts the world’s best and brightest students,” rather than, “The world’s best and brightest students are attracted to the Wharton School.”
  • Choose simple and direct language (e.g., “use” rather than “utilize”).
  • Vary sentence length. A short sentence can add impact as well as “breathing room.”
  • Use language that suits the medium. For example, the web requires easily scanned copy with shorter sentences that use hyperlinks to provide more in-depth information.
  • Consider the diversity among the School’s alumni base and student body when selecting examples or quotations and be sure to include a variety of viewpoints.
  • Proof and fact-check your work. Communications with errors convey an attitude of carelessness and incompetence.

General Overview of Style

On most matters of style, follow The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. When the AP Stylebook does not address a specific question, refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.

For questions of spelling, use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Use the first spelling listed. The rules described in this manual are intended for most publications and websites containing running text. Exceptions may be made for other types of promotional materials, such as invitations, event schedules and programs, course catalogs, calendars, and rosters.


abbreviations and acronyms Use full title in first reference; use acronym in subsequent reference. (See also Common Acronyms appendix.) Omit periods in the names of degrees, programs, and titles, including: PhD, MBA, MS, BA, BS, AMP, WCIT, CEO, COO, CFO, EVP, IPO, MD.

  • Use unpunctuated postal abbreviations for states, but use U.S. and U.K.
  • Use “noon,” not “12:00 noon.”

academic calendar terms Lowercase names of seasons unless part of a formal event name (e.g. the Spring Fling).

  • Correct: The fall 2016 semester ends in December.
  • Incorrect: The Fall 2016 semester ends in December.

academic departments Capitalize the formal names of departments, offices, programs, committees, and institutions when referring to those at Wharton; do not capitalize informal names and incomplete designations.

  • Correct: Department of Finance or Finance Department
  • Incorrect: The Wharton School’s department of finance

Do not capitalize the words offices, departments, programs, or committees when referring to more than one individual office or department.

  • Example: The professor sent a letter to the departments of finance, economics, and business administration.

See Appendix for a full list of academic departments.

active/passive verbs Use active verbs instead of passive constructions: “Professor Smith teaches the class” instead of “This class is taught by Professor Smith.” Whenever possible, avoid “is” as the main verb in a sentence in favor of a more dynamic or specific verb.

administration Do not capitalize “administration” within text, e.g., “The administration determined to eliminate breaks from the workday.”

addresses Use the route abbreviations Ave., St., and Blvd. and the directional abbreviations W., E., S., and N. with numbered addresses.

  • Example: 1900 W. Jefferson St.

Spell out these route and direction descriptions when a numbered address is not used.

  • Example: West Jefferson Street

Exception: An actual published mailing address on a book or promotional piece is not abbreviated.

  • Example: Send completed form to The Wharton School, 3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Lowercase and spell out all route names when used without numbers and with more than one name.

  • Example: Chestnut and Walnut streets

Always use numerals for address numbers.

  • Example: 4 Oak Lane

Use words and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names. Use numerals with a two-letter superscript for 10th and above.

  • Example: 7 Fifth Ave. 100 21st St.

Abbreviate state names when used alongside city names. Write out state names when used alone. Exceptions are made for invitations and other formal materials.

  • Example: He grew up in Baltimore, Md.
    He attended college in Maryland.

Use postal abbreviations when using a full address with ZIP code. Exceptions may be made for invitations and other formal materials. (See states entry for the full list of standard and postal abbreviations for state names.)

  • Example: Baltimore, MD 21212

Note: There is no comma between the state and the ZIP code.

See entry on building addresses.

advisor An educator who advises students in academic and personal matters. Preferred spelling is advisor not adviser.

alumni and alumnae A male graduate is an “alumnus”; a female graduate is an “alumna.” Two or more female graduates are “alumnae.” “Alumni” is used for a group of male alumni or a group of mixed male/female alumni. In print, we generally use: alumnus, alumna, and alumni. Wharton graduate(s) can be used as a gender-neutral option.

Use of “alum” is acceptable as gender-neutral alternative when using a more casual tone in media like blogs and social media. Avoid “alums.”

When referring to Wharton alumni, always include their degree abbreviation and year or expected year of graduation. Use a comma to separate the name from the degree abbreviation. The degree abbreviation is followed by an apostrophe and the last two digits of the graduation year, e.g., “John Smith, WG’07.”

For dual or joint degrees, give the individual degree abbreviations, with the apostrophe and year, separated by a comma. Example: for Tom Jones, a 2004 graduate of the Huntsman Program, the degree abbreviation would be, “Tom Jones, W’04, C’04.”

Note: Alumni who have not graduated do not get affiliations after their names.

See also degree abbreviations.

ampersand (&) Use ampersand only when it is part of a formal name or needed for fit in publication lists or web page navigation. The ampersand should not be used in place of “and.”

apostrophes Apostrophes indicate possession, never plurals:

  • “The orange’s rind was bitter” but “We bought a kilo of oranges.”
  • Decades (“the 1970s”) do not have an apostrophe.
  • Plural last names (“This house belongs to the Smiths”) do not have an apostrophe.
  • Plural abbreviations (“PhDs”) do not have an apostrophe.
  • “It’s” means “it is.” It does not mean “belonging to it,” e.g., “The ship dropped its anchor.” “Its” never has an apostrophe when it means “belonging to it.”

athletics When referring to University of Pennsylvania sports teams, capitalize proper names and lowercase general team names.

  • Examples: The University women’s basketball team won last night.
    The Penn Quakers amassed a 13-1 record in the Ivy League.

General guidelines for athletic-related terms are as follows:

  • Philadelphia Big Five (Spell out “five.”)
  • Ivy League used as athletic league
  • Atlantic 10 Conference (Don’t spell out “10.”)
  • student-athlete (Use hyphen, not an en or em dash.)
  • 4×800 meter (No space between numbers and “x.”)


Black Capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity, and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person. (AP, June 2020)

Wharton buildings in Philadelphia are named and abbreviated as follows:

           Colonial Penn Center                         CPC
           Jon M. Huntsman Hall                      JMHH
           Lauder-Fischer Hall                           LFH
           Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall            SHDH
           Steinberg Conference Center           SCC
           Vance Hall                                            VH

Use the complete name on first reference in text. Huntsman Hall is acceptable as a second reference for Jon M. Huntsman Hall.

For mailing and internal purposes room and suite numbers may be written as follows:
           JMHH F60
           SHDH 320

For external audiences, the full building name may be used for clarity:
           Vance Hall, Suite 111
           Jon M. Huntsman Hall, Suite F30

bulleted lists Each bulleted item that completes a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a period (Example 1). With items that are single words or short phrases, you may drop the period, as long as you are consistent (Example 2).

Example 1: Get started on the admissions process:

  • Talk with an academic advisor.
  • Schedule a visit to campus.
  • Begin your online application.

Example 2: To complete your online application to Wharton’s MBA program, you’ll need:

  • undergraduate transcripts
  • faculty recommendations
  • GMAT/GRE results

In general, it is best to format each list using parallel structure. If some items are sentences, then all items should be sentences. If some items begin with verbs, then all items should begin with verbs. It is also important to list bulleted items in some sort of logical order—whether it be alphabetical, chronological, or order of importance.

Business Radio Use SiriusXM’s Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School on first reference. Business Radio is acceptable on second reference.


capitalization of academic degrees Capitalize Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, etc. Do not capitalize the field or program of study unless it is a proper name or contains one (e.g., English or American economics). Do not capitalize master’s, bachelor’s, or associate’s when used before the word “degree.” Use an apostrophe in all cases.

center / program Use the full name of the program or center in the first reference, and then shorten it appropriately. Only capitalize the words “center” and “program” when used as part of the formal name.

  • Example: Thank you for your gift to the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School. Your generosity allows the center to break new ground in the real estate industry.

See Appendix for a complete list of Wharton’s research centers and initiatives.

commas Commas are used to prevent confusion in meaning. Commas also separate independent clauses that are joined by a coordinating conjunction including: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet. For example: The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave.

  • Use the serial comma. In other words, use a comma before “and” in a series of objects or adjectives. Example: We want to go to the park, the zoo, and the movies.
  • Use a comma or commas to set off the abbreviations Jr., Sr., and Esq. Example: Carl Harris, Jr., is here now.
  • Use commas to separate parts of geographical places. Example: Have you visited St. Louis, Missouri?
  • Use commas in a sentence to set off clauses, phrases, and words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
  • Use a comma to introduce a quote, e.g., Sally said, “I won’t go.” However, use a colon to introduce a long quotation.

Refer to AP Stylebook for further direction on use of commas.

China Knowledge@Wharton The China version of Knowledge@Wharton, published in traditional and simplified Chinese, launched in March 2005. See Knowledge@Wharton.

Cluster/Cohort/Learning Team system Capitalize Cluster, Cohort, and Learning Team. Debuted in 2012 as part of the curriculum redesign, the Cluster/Cohort system gives students a more accessible way to create community in a large class of 860 students. Each class is broken down into four Clusters (210 students in each); 12 Cohorts (72 students in each); and 144 Learning Teams (five to six students in each).

Each Cluster is associated with a mascot — Cluster 1 Lions, Cluster 2 Dragons, Cluster 3 Bees, and Cluster 4 Dragons. Clusters are numbered 1 through 4 (always use numerals) and Cohorts are indicated by letters A through L.

Commencement The University hosts the Commencement ceremony and Wharton hosts Graduation ceremonies.

concentrations Wharton undergraduates receive a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree, so they do not have formal majors. Instead they choose one or more concentrations. Capitalize formal concentration names. See Appendix for full list of current undergraduate concentrations. 

course department abbreviations Abbreviate the department name of a course when it is followed by the course number.

  • Example: ACCT 101.

Consider your audience and purpose — write out a course name in full on first reference then abbreviate on second reference for clarity, if appropriate.

  • Example: Business Economics and Public Policy: Business in the Global Political Environment (BEPP 203).

See Appendix for a full list of course department abbreviations under Academic Departments.  

course titles Capitalize initial letters of principal words. Do not put them in quotation marks.

  • Example: She is taking Introductory Business Statistics this semester.


dashes and hyphens

  • Em-dashes (—) separate sentence fragments and are often used to emphasize a key point. Wharton Marketing and Communications recommends putting spaces on both sides of an em-dash, especially in website text, to make the text easier to read. Be wary of overuse.
    • Example: “Contributing to education — to the solution of society’s problems — is an important goal.”
  • En-dashes (–) Use to indicate time and number ranges. If you would use the word “to,” then use an en dash. Close up spaces around en-dashes.
    • Examples: 2018–20, March 17–21, and 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Hyphens (-) separate word clusters as in Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall and Lauder-Fischer Hall. Hyphenate a compound modifier (two or more words that combine to express a single concept) when it appears before a noun. Hyphens are not used with vice dean, vice president, coworker, codirector, copresident, and cofounder. Follow merriam-webster.com for further direction about when to hyphenate. There is no space before and after a hyphen.
    • Examples:
      • decision-making models / models for decision making
      • on-campus housing / housing on campus
      • entry-level position / position at entry level
      • second-year students / students in their second year
      • middle- and upper-level managers

dates Can be represented as February 14 and 14 February. Never use superscript. Leave off “th,” “st,” and “rd” from ordinal numbers in dates, for example: “May 10” rather than “May 10th.”

Avoid using numbers only to show month/date/year as date conventions vary across Wharton’s global audience. For instance, 05/12/16 may be construed as “December 5, 2016” in Europe, while it is read as “May 12, 2016” in the United States.

Use an en-dash to separate the numbers of a date range. A comma is required after the year when a date appears within the body of a sentence. Example: “I hope you will be able to join us for the next Global Forum, which will be held June 22–23, 2016, in Amsterdam.”

Other ways to correctly represent a date:

  • day Saturday, not: Sat or saturday
  • month February, not: Feb or february
  • year December 1983 or February 17, 1958, not: December, 1983 or February 17 1958 Succession of years: 2000–06 or 1996–2005.
  • decade 1830s, not 1830’s
  • century 18th century or eighteenth century (Note: century is not capitalized, and “1700s” is a decade, not a century)
  • circa When only an approximate date is available. The abbreviation “c.” (Latin: circa, “about”) may be used.

See also entry on time.

Dean  Dean or Dean of the Wharton School — do not use Wharton dean. Capitalize as a title, as in Dean James or Dean Grossman. On subsequent references, use the Dean with a capital.  When referring to the deans in general, do not capitalize.

  • Example: On Sunday, Dean Erika James met with deans from across the University’s 12 schools.

See also entry on titles.

Dean Erika James It is not necessary to mention the Dean’s faculty appointment unless it is pertinent to the content or it is part of formal communication, such as a program or invitation.

  • Formal correspondence includes Erika James, Dean and Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise
  • In remarks prepared for senior leadership to be delivered to alumni audiences we often refer to her as “Dean Erika James”

degree abbreviations

  • GR Wharton Doctorate (PhD issued by the School of Arts and Sciences)
  • W Wharton bachelor’s degree (undergraduate, Bachelor of Science in Economics)
  • WG Wharton master’s degree (MBA)
  • Hon Wharton honorary degree
  • WEv Wharton Evening School (undergraduate, BBA)

For direction on how to abbreviate other Penn degrees, see upenn.edu/gazette/schools.html.

Note: When preceding the word “degree,” the word “bachelor’s,” “master’s”—used with an apostrophe—should not be capitalized.

See entry on names for more usage notes.

department chairpersons Use “Chairperson” not “Chair.” Capitalize when used as a part of a title. See also titles.

deputy provost See entry on titles.

Draft Honor Roll An annual online document that acknowledges all donors to The Wharton Fund.

Doctoral program See entry on Wharton Doctoral Programs.


e.g. When you mean “for example,” use e.g. (Latin phrase exempli gratia.) When you mean “that is” or “in other words” use “i.e.” (Latin phrase id est.)

em-dash and en-dash See entry on dashes and hyphens.

EMBA See entry on Wharton MBA for Executives Program.

email Do not use dash in email. For branding purposes, always include the @wharton.upenn.edu domain when referencing a Wharton email address.

endowed (named) professorships

  • Schoolwide endowed professorships exist in addition to a professor’s appointment in a department. In these cases, list both titles, separated by a semicolon, with the endowed professorship first: e.g., Michael Useem, William and Jacalyn Egan Professor; Professor of Management.
  • A schoolwide endowed professorship with a field attached (e.g., the Jacob Safra Professor of International Business) follows the same format: e.g., Richard Herring, Jacob Safra Professor of International Business; Professor of Finance.
  • Endowed professorships tied to a specific field include the field in their title. In these cases, the professor has only one appointment: e.g., Sidney G. Winter, Deloitte and Touche Professor of Management.
  • Wharton Faculty webpages are the best resource for professors’ exact titles.
  • Use “the” before an endowed professorship only when referring to the professorship itself and not its holder: e.g., “the Deloitte and Touche Professorship of Management” but “Deloitte and Touche Professor Sidney Winter.”

events Capitalize the formal names of all Wharton-sponsored special events.

  • Example:
    • Convocation
    • Graduation
    • Homecoming
    • MBA Orientation
    • MBA Reunion Weekend
    • Welcome Weekend

executive boards Members of Wharton’s executive boards help define and implement the School’s strategic mission and goals. Wharton’s executive boards include: Board of Overseers; Graduate Executive Board; Undergraduate Executive Board; Executive Board for Executive Education; Executive Board for Asia; Executive Board for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EMEA); Executive Board for Latin America; Wharton Alumni Association Board of Directors. Use lowercase when referring to the executive boards as a group or in general; capitalize when referring to a specific Executive Board.

Note: Wharton’s executive boards are different from advisory boards, such as the Wharton Leadership Advisory Board and the Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

Executive Education See entry on Wharton Executive Education.

Expert in Residence Capitalize with no hyphens. This also applies to similar constructions like Entrepreneur in Residence and Executive in Residence.


faculty See entries on names and endowed (named) professorships.

fewer and less “Fewer” refers to items that can be counted; “less” refers to items that cannot be counted.

  • Example: He has less stress when he teaches fewer students.

first-year student(s) Do not use 1st year. Should be lowercase and hyphenated when used as an adjective. In informal usage, First Years can also be used as a noun for first-year MBA students.

Floor In addresses, Floor should always be capitalized, i.e., 14th Floor.


Graduation When referring to Wharton’s Graduation ceremony, capitalize.

  • Example: MBA Graduation is held in the Palestra.
    Students are looking forward to MBA Graduation.

Note: The University of Pennsylvania holds Commencement while Wharton hosts Graduation, which is school-specific.

See also entry on events.


hashtags Use hashtags to indicate social media campaigns using the capitalization style of the tag itself.

  • Example: #MyWharton

headlines Use title case for headlines and sentence case for decks, introductory subheads that clarify or elaborate on the headline.

For headlines, capitalize every word except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, or, for, nor), and prepositions (e.g., to, in) under four letters. For decks, only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns.

  • Example:
    • Head: Advice From a Teacher Turned MBA
      Deck: Ami’s background in education proved to be an asset to the
      Wharton community.

hyphens See entry on dashes and hyphens.

Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business A four-year undergraduate program in which students pursue two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School. May be referred to as the Huntsman Program in IS&B in second reference.


INSEAD See entry on Wharton/INSEAD Alliance.

i.e. When you mean “that is,” or “in other words,” use “i.e.” See e.g.

italics Use italics for book titles, newspaper titles, radio and television series, movies, plays, magazines, and online newspapers and magazines. Do not use italics for an initial “the” when newspapers and periodicals are mentioned in text.

    • Example: She reads the Wall Street Journal every morning.
    • Use italics for foreign words that are not typical American usage, e.g., voilà or gracias.
    • Do not use italics or quotation marks for the names of software programs. Treat them as brand names and capitalize them, e.g., Microsoft Word.

Indigenous Capitalize Indigenous when referencing the original inhabitants of a place.

    • Example: The Leni Lenape tribe are the Indigenous people to present-day New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

interdisciplinary Involving two or more academic disciplines.

international and regional offices Wharton maintains international and regional offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing (PWCC), Singapore (Executive Education), and London (Alumni Relations). They serve as resources to assist prospective and current students, faculty, alumni, and corporate representatives throughout the world.

internet Do not capitalize when used within text.


Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology A four-year undergraduate program in which students pursue two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and either a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering (BAS) from Penn Engineering. May be referred to as M&T in second reference.

Jon M. Huntsman Hall This $139.9 million, 324,000 square-foot facility on 38th and Walnut Streets is named for Wharton alumnus Jon M. Huntsman, W’50, Hon’96, a corporate leader and philanthropist who donated $40 million to the School as the founding gift toward the building’s construction. Use the full building name in the initial reference and Huntsman Hall in subsequent references.

Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies The Joseph H. Lauder Institute is a 24-month joint-degree program in International Studies. Lauder students pursue an MA in International Studies from the School of Arts and Science along with an MBA from the Wharton School or a JD at Penn Law. The Program consists of several components, including the Lauder Summer Immersion, Lauder Intercultural Ventures (LIV) and Global Knowledge Laboratory (GKL). Students and alumni of the program may designate their degree and class year. Example: Joseph H. Lauder, WG’18, G’18.

  • Referring to the program:
    • Use full name of program in formal writing for the first reference.
    • On second reference you may use:
      • Lauder Program
      • joint-degree MA in International Studies
  • Referring to students and alumni of the program:
    • Lauder student
    • Wharton-Lauder student
    • Joseph Lauder, WG’18, G’18
  • Programs of Concentration:
    • There are six Programs of Concentration: Africa; East and Southeast Asia; Europe; Latin America; South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa; and the Global Program. A student’s primary affiliation is with a Program of Concentration: Europe Program, East Asia Program, etc. At the time of admission, candidates must designate a “Target Language” which should have some relation to his or her Program of Concentration.
  • Referring to a Program of Concentration:
    • Correct: Africa Program of Concentration, Africa Program
    • Do not use “tracks.”
  • Examples:
    • John has a Wharton major in finance and is in the Lauder Africa Program.
    • John, WG’19, G’19, has a finance major and is in the Lauder Africa Program.
    • John is an MBA/MA student at the Lauder Institute.
    • John applied to and was accepted into the Lauder Program.
    • John is in the Lauder Africa Program with an MBA finance major.
    • John, WG’19, G’19
    • Major: Finance, Lauder Africa Program of Concentration


Knowledge@Wharton The online business analysis and research journal of the Wharton School. This journal is available in several languages, including simplified and traditional Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. There is also a site for students and educators, Knowledge@Wharton High School. Knowledge@Wharton may be referred to as K@W in subsequent references. Note: Do not italicize.


Lauder See entry for Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies

long term/long-term Hyphenate only when used as a compound adjective.

  • Examples:
    • We will win in the long term.
    • He has a long-term assignment.


majors MBA students choose among 18 majors. Undergraduates have concentrations (See also concentrations.) When using the formal major name, lowercase. Only capitalize subject areas that are also proper names or languages (e.g. English, Spanish, or American history).

  • Example:
    • Steve is an economics minor but he will get a degree in finance.
    • An exception may be made if it’s part of an official list, like a brochure or Admissions piece. See Appendix for a full list of current MBA majors.

midterm The middle of an academic term or a political term of office. One word, do not hyphenate.

MOOCs Massive open online courses. Wharton provides MOOCs through Coursera.

multidisciplinary Of, relating to, or making use of several disciplines at once.

multinational A company or corporation operating in more than two countries.


names Use full name on first reference. In subsequent references, use last name for alumni and staff and first name for students. For faculty, depending on use and tone, you may choose between using only the last name or Professor and last name

  • Example:
    • Janice Bellace was appointed deputy provost for the University of Pennsylvania last fall. This past year, Bellace oversaw both undergraduate and graduate education, in addition to supervising the faculty appointments and tenure process at Penn.
  • Company names: Spelling and formatting should be accurate even if they conflict with normal usage, e.g., Yahoo! or GlaxoSmithKline. OK to mention a student or alumni company name and include URL as a hyperlink but content should not be promotional and there shouldn’t be any call to action to visit the company’s website. The CTA should always come back to Wharton, not the alum.  
  • Wharton students: When referring to Wharton students on first reference, include their degree program and the expected year of graduation by using either class year or degree abbreviation, e.g, WG’17. Note: It’s acceptable to use the year on second reference for clarity or succinctness. Use discretion.
    • Example: Undergrad — “Richard Lee, a Wharton junior with a finance concentration…” or “Richard Lee, W’18”
    • Example: Graduate Student — “a second-year MBA student,” “WG’17,” or “…a third-year Ph.D. student…” for grad students.
    • Alternatively, you may also use:
      • Undergrads/Undergraduates: freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior
      • Graduate students: first-year or second-year MBA student or candidate. First Year or Second Year acceptable in informal usage.
      • EMBA: specify Wharton San Francisco/Wharton Philadelphia or East Coast/West Coast
      • PhD: Wharton doctoral student
    • For prospective students, refer to them as Wharton applicants if they’ve already applied. If you’re referring to an earlier stage in the process, use prospective Wharton students or simply prospective students.
  • Wharton alumni: When referring to Wharton alumni on first reference, always include their degree abbreviation and year or expected year of graduation.
    • Use a comma to separate the name from the degree abbreviation. The degree abbreviation is followed by an apostrophe and the last two digits of the graduation years, e.g., “John Smith, WG’07” Note: Four digits should be used for clarity with older degrees, e.g., “Richard Jones, W’1918”
    • For dual or joint degrees, give the individual degree abbreviations, with the apostrophe and year, separated by a comma. Put degrees in order of award date, or if the same year, put Wharton first.  Example: for Tom Jones, a 2004 graduate of the Huntsman Program, the degree abbreviation would be, “Tom Jones, W’04, C’04.”
    • Alumni who have not graduated do not get affiliations after their names.
    • When using the degree identifier in a sentence, follow the year with a comma to separate.
  • Wharton faculty: Wharton Faculty webpages are the best resource for professors’ exact titles.
    • Generic faculty titles should be lowercase if they follow the name and uppercase if they precede the name.
      • Examples: Corinne Low, assistant professor of business economics and public policy Associate Professor Corinne Low, who teaches in the Business Economics and Public Policy department
      • Schoolwide endowed (named) professorships exist in addition to a professor’s appointment in a department. In these cases, list both titles, separated by a semicolon, with the endowed professorship first: e.g., Michael Useem, William and Jacalyn Egan Professor; Professor of Management.
        • A schoolwide endowed professorship with a field attached (e.g., Jacob Safra Professor of International Business) follows the same format: e.g., Richard Herring, Jacob Safra Professor of International Business; Professor of Finance.
        • Endowed professorships tied to a specific field include the field in their title. In these cases, the professor has only one appointment: e.g., Sidney G. Winter, Deloitte and Touche Professor of Management.

    numbers Spell out numbers one through nine when used in a sentence. Use numerals for 10 and above. Also, numbers beginning a sentence must always be spelled out.

    • Example: Three times a year, the Wharton School comes together to connect alumni around the world.

    Use numerals in headlines, email subject lines, HTML page titles, and social media.

    • Example: 5 Things I Learned from Wharton’s Africa Business Forum (Headline)
      Subject: Presentation file 1 of 2 attached (Email subject line)

    Other ways to correctly represent numbers:

    • Use commas to divide numbers of more than three digits, e.g., 2,567.
    • Use hyphens for numbers in compound adjectives, e.g., a 34-year-old man.
    • Use figures for all numbers in a list if one of the numbers is more than one digit, e.g., 0.06 percent, 1 percent, and 12 percent.

    When numbers and units of measurement are used as adjectives, they should be hyphenated.

    • Examples: 12-inch rule; 19th-century painter; three-mile limit; 100-yard dash; one-inch margin; 15-week semester; eight-week session; but a 10 percent increase.

    See also entries on dates, percent, and social media.


over and more than Use “more than” when you mean in excess of or greater than. Use “over” when you mean higher in position or when referring to age.

  • Example: More than 50 students in the class are over 21.


People Supporting Penn (PSP) Produced by Central Development each fiscal year, this online University-wide donor recognition website includes Wharton donors. Make sure to italicize.

Penn Wharton China Center Located in Beijing, Penn Wharton China Center opened in March 2015. It may be referred to as PWCC on second reference.

percent When indicating a percentage in text, use the word “percent,” not the symbol %.

  • Example: When the 2006 MBA class achieved a rate of 98 percent participation, they were able to double their gift with the help of two alumni challenge grants.

You may use the % symbol in charts, graphs, tables, and scientific or mathematical material. When used, there is no space between the number and the % symbol.

periods Use one space after a period.

  • Periods go inside quotation marks at the end of the sentence.
  • Omit periods in degree abbreviations and acronyms, e.g., PhD, MBA, AMP, WCIT, PO Box
  • Use unpunctuated U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for states, but use U.S. and U.K.

Philly Philadelphia is preferred; however, Philly is acceptable in marketing materials or content that takes a more casual tone.

phone numbers Use periods, not dashes or parentheses, when writing phone numbers. Add the U.S. country code, +1, to your phone number in email, letters, and other correspondence to appeal to a more global audience.

Correct: +1.215.898.1000
Incorrect: (215) 898-1000

pre-term Lowercase with hyphen.

President of the University of Pennsylvania Use the capitalized full phrase in first reference and “President” in subsequent references.

program / center See entry on center / program.

pronouns A singular noun takes a singular pronoun: “A mother loves her children” not “A mother loves their children.” A plural noun takes a plural pronoun: “All students should hand in their homework.”

  • Try to avoid using “he” as a generic pronoun. Often this can be done by making a sentence plural or by eliminating the pronoun entirely.

Example: “All students must hand in their homework” or “Every student must hand in homework.”

  • If a generic pronoun is unavoidable, do not use “he.” In more formal text, use “he or she.” In less formal text, you can use “s/he.”


quotation marks

  • Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. Example: “It is time,” said the dean, “for the school year to begin.”
  • Semicolons and colons always go outside quotation marks.
  • Question marks and exclamation points go inside quotation marks if they are part of the quotation itself.

Example: I asked myself, “What is the meaning of life?” Versus: When will we finish what someone called “this long, hard slog”?

  • A quotation inside a quotation is set off with single quotation marks: The dean said: “Let us remember that, as Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’”


registered trademarks Follow AP Style.

Report to Investors The Report to Investors is an annual publication acknowledging all donors who made gifts to the Wharton School during the fiscal year (July 1–June 30).

research centers and initiatives Wharton’s more than 20 research centers and initiatives reflect the full diversity and rigor of research interests and activity at the school.

These interdisciplinary centers serve as a meeting of the minds for Wharton and Penn faculty, students, and members of the business community, who come together to study and debate key business challenges. Their work generates courses, academic programs, community outreach, published research, and partnerships among academics, government, and industry.

Reunion  Use the term Wharton MBA Reunion Weekend in first reference and then the shortened version Reunion (always capitalized).

See Appendix for a complete list of Wharton’s research centers and initiatives.


San Francisco See Wharton San Francisco

school When referring specifically to The Wharton School, the School should be capitalized.

  • Example: The Wharton School regularly updates the curriculum to reflect the most current practices and trends in business. The School will be rolling out a redesigned undergraduate curriculum next year.

second-year student(s) Do not use 2nd year. Should be lowercase and hyphenated. Second Year can be used in informal usage.

semicolons A semicolon is used to avoid comma confusion. Semicolons are used in lists when the items in the list already include commas, as is often the case with lists of professors and/or alumni.

  • Example: Steven Kimbrough, professor of operations and information management; Sally Smith, WG’86; and Nicholas Gonedes, professor of accounting.

A semicolon’s grammatical use is to separate two independent clauses, which could stand alone as two complete sentences.

  • Example: Use the Wharton School in the first reference; use Wharton in subsequent references.

SiriusXM’s Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School On first reference, use SiriusXM’s Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School. On second reference, you can use Business Radio.

social media Use direct links to social media accounts online. In print, use social media icons when possible. Display social media account names using the punctuation and capitalization conventions of the social media channel itself.

  • Examples:
    • Twitter @wharton
    • Facebook WhartonSchool
    • YouTube thewhartonschool
    • Instagram whartonschool
    • Google Plus +Wharton

For inline text references, you may also use the full account URL.

  • Example: Follow us at instagram/whartonschool, twitter.com/wharton, and facebook/WhartonSchool.

SPIKE SPIKE is a suite of online tools designed for Wharton students and built into one web-based interface. It is not an acronym.

states Follow AP style. Write out state names in body text and use state abbreviations in lists, tables, nonpublishable editor’s notes, credit lines, date lines, and photo captions. Use abbreviations in short-form identification of political party affiliation.

students See entry on names.

superscript Never use superscript ordinal numbers. Leave off “th,” “st,” and “rd” from ordinal numbers in dates, for example: “May 10” rather than “May 10th.”


time Use figures, except for noon and midnight. Identify morning and evening hours as a.m. and p.m., for example: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning; instead use 10 a.m. today.

See also entry on dates.

titles Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before a name (i.e., Dean Erika James, Professor Mauro Guillén, or Director of MBA Admissions Blair Mannix).

  • Lowercase titles when they are not used with an individual’s name (i.e., The dean spoke before the graduating class).
  • Lowercase titles in the body of text, and when they are set off from a name by commas. (i.e., Howard Kaufold, vice dean of Wharton Graduate Division, will be contacting you soon.) This applies to chief executive officer, president, copresident, etc.
  • Capitalize titles within the address block of correspondence.


URL Don’t capitalize and always include hyperlink. Use the shortest web address that will work when you type it into a web browser.

Example: wharton.upenn.edu instead of http://www.wharton.upenn.edu.

United States Use U.S. to refer to the United States. Also see states.

University of Pennsylvania may be referred to as Penn or the University in second reference; should never be referred to as the University of Penn. Capitalize when using University in reference to Penn.


website Lowercase and all one word to reference a site on the internet.

Washington, District of Columbia The correct inclusion of the city of Washington, DC in an address is without periods between “D” and “C”. When referring to Washington, DC in the text of a letter, only include “DC” when referring to a proper name (i.e., the Wharton Club of Washington, DC or the Wharton Club of Washington, DC Scholarship Fund).

WEMBA Internal descriptor for the Wharton MBA Program for Executives. Do not use this acronym in external communications. See Wharton MBA Program for Executives.

Wharton Council The Wharton Council is the organization that oversees and coordinates all undergraduate Wharton clubs and activities. The Wharton Graduate Association (WGA) serves the same function for MBAs.

Wharton Doctoral Programs Wharton Doctoral Programs (Note the “s”) has nine programs of study.

Wharton Executive Education A division of the School that works with companies and individuals in a nine- to 12-month learning process that is designed collaboratively with clients, delivered by Wharton faculty, and monitored to produce specific outcomes.

Wharton Follies One of the most active MBA student clubs at Wharton. Each year, Follies members write and perform an original musical comedy that exposes the amusing side of business school and corporate life.

The Wharton Fund Wharton’s unrestricted donor fund. The Wharton Fund (“The” is always capitalized) should never be referred to as “the Wharton Annual Fund” or “the Annual Fund” or “the Fund.”

Wharton Global Forums Held two to three times a year in different locations, the Wharton Global Forums are used as an outreach tool to better connect alumni around the world. Use “the Forum” in subsequent references; never use Global Forum. When using in a sentence and including the location, write “Wharton Global Forum in Miami” not “Wharton Global Forum Miami.”

Wharton Graduate Association (WGA) The student government organization of Wharton’s graduate program, the WGA is the primary vehicle for coordinating and managing student activities and initiatives, both academic and extracurricular. Use WGA in subsequent references.

Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards (WIBTA) Given by the Wharton School and Infosys Technology Ltd., the annual Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards (WIBTA) recognize visionaries and organizations that use technology in an innovative and creative manner to revolutionize their industries. Use WIBTA in subsequent references.

Wharton-INSEAD Alliance The alliance between the Wharton School and INSEAD combines the resources of two world leaders in management education to deliver top-quality business education to students and executives across four dedicated campuses: Wharton’s U.S. campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and those of INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore.

Wharton MBA Program Wharton’s academic program offering a Master of Business Administration degree. You may use MBA in subsequent references. We do not use Master’s or Master’s degree to describe the program.

Wharton MBA Program for Executives A degree-granting MBA program equivalent to the full-time MBA program. The program is designed for middle- and upper-level managers who wish to continue their careers while advancing their management knowledge through the MBA program. You may use Executive MBA or MBA for Executives in subsequent references.

When we use the long name it should always read “MBA Program for Executives”, not MBA for Executives Program. The idea is that we are the same MBA Program, then for Executives.

  • Class references: Internally and externally, Wharton MBA Program for Executives graduates should be referred to by their graduating class year, WG’18, or as a member of the Class of 2018. This conventional reference holds more meaning and familiarity for external audiences than our internal designation of Class 42.
  • Digital reference: H1 and H2 header tags will use the EMBA designation. Subsequent references will refer to the MBA Program for Executives.

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) A comprehensive web-based data management system that allows faculty and students to easily retrieve information from a wide variety of financial, economic, and marketing data sources.

Developed in 1993 to support faculty research at the Wharton School, the service has since evolved to include more than 200 prominent academic institutions and financial research organizations. Use WRDS in subsequent references.

Wharton San Francisco Formerly Wharton West. (Similarly, Wharton Philadelphia, formerly Wharton East.) The Wharton School’s campus in San Francisco offers the MBA Program for Executives, Executive Education courses, and custom programs for companies, alumni programs, and conferences. San Francisco is always in italics. (We no longer include a vertical bar.)

Wharton School The name “the Wharton School” is used for the School and its administrative units. When representing the School, use the “The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania” or “The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania” once in every communication.

May be referred to as Wharton or the School in second reference; should never be referred to as the “Wharton School of Business.” If citing in text as “the Wharton School,” never capitalize “the” unless this phrase begins the sentence

Example: “The Wharton School is pleased to present…” versus “Presented by the Wharton School, this program provides…”

Also see Wharton boilerplate.

Wharton Partnership The Wharton Partnership is the Wharton School’s corporate relations program for fostering industry/academic collaboration. The Partnership engages with more than 200 corporations and foundations. Use “the Partnership” in subsequent references.

Wharton Digital Press Wharton’s digital publishing program publishes ebooks and print books from 15,000 to 30,000 words in length.

Wharton Online Learning (Formerly Wharton Online) Wharton’s online learning program offers free, Signature, and Verified courses and Specialization tracks via Coursera and other MOOC platforms. These courses are not for Wharton credit and are different from Lifelong Learning.

Wharton Women Wharton’s MBA and undergraduate programs support student organizations that focus on the personal and career development of women in business. The name of the undergraduate club is “Wharton Women.” The name of the MBA club is “Wharton Women in Business (WWIB).”

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Conference Through the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference, the African-American community at the Wharton School acknowledges and memorializes the contributions and ideals of Whitney M. Young, Jr., an educator, humanitarian, author, and civil rights leader.

Strictly Wharton Style

Academic Departments

• Accounting (ACCT)

• Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP)

• Finance (FNCE)

• Health Care Management (HCMG)

• Legal Studies and Business Ethics (LGST)

• Management (MGMT)

• Marketing (MKTG)

• Operations, Information and Decisions (OID)

• Real Estate (REAL)

• Statistics (STAT)

Common Acronyms

• AMP Advanced Management Program

• BAS Bachelor of Applied Science

• BSEcon Bachelor of Science in Economics (Not to be confused with BSE: Bachelor of Science in Engineering)

• BEPP Business Economics and Public Policy

• EA External Affairs

• E&I Entrepreneurship and Innovation

• GCP Global Consulting Practicum

• GIP Global Immersion Program

• GMC Global Modular Course

• IS&B International Studies & Business

• INSEAD Wharton INSEAD Alliance

• K@W Knowledge@Wharton

• KWHS Knowledge@Wharton High School

• M&T Management and Technology

• MOOC Massive Open Online Courses

• OID Operations, Information and Decisions Department

• PPI Public Policy Initiative

• PWC Penn Women’s Center

• SIM Social Impact Management

• WCAI Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative

• WCIT Wharton Computing and Information Technology.

• WGA Wharton Graduate Association

• WHEA Wharton External Affairs

• WIBTA Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards

• WRDS Wharton Research Data Services

• WWIB Wharton Women in Business

Donor Recognition Societies (Penn)

Benjamin Franklin Society Founded in 1955, the Benjamin Franklin Society is the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership annual giving circle. Members of the Benjamin Franklin Society make a bold statement each year through their gifts of $2,500 or more to The Wharton Fund. Do not use the abbreviation BFS in formal writing, but, internally, it is referred to as BFS. This is a University-wide annual giving recognition society, with Ambassador as its highest level at $25,000 and above.

The Hattersley Society Recognition society for all alumni and friends who have provided for Wharton’s future through life income, bequest and other estate and planned gifts. The Hattersley Society is the Wharton chapter of the Harrison Society, Penn’s University-wide recognition program. Estate and planned gifts qualify for membership in both.

The Academy University-wide recognition society for donors who have provided lifetime gifts of $1 million and above to Penn.

Donor Recognition Societies (Wharton-Specific)

  • Dean’s Circle Recognition level for donors to The Wharton Fund of $100,000 and above.
  • Anvil Society Recognition level for donors to The Wharton Fund of $50,000–$99,999.
  • Joseph Wharton Society Recognition level for gifts to The Wharton Fund of $25,000–$49,999. Do not use the abbreviation JWS in formal writing, but, internally, it is referred to as JWS.
  • Founder Recognition level for gifts to The Wharton Fund of $10,000–$24,999.
  • Fellow Recognition level for gifts to The Wharton Fund of $5,000–$9,999.
  • Associate Recognition level for gifts to The Wharton Fund of $2,500–$4,999.
  • Young Franklin Society Recognition level for gifts to The Wharton Fund of $1,000-$2,499 for classes up to the fifth year reunion.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business

Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology

MBA/MA Lauder Joint Degree in International Studies Program

MBA in Health Care Management

Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management

The Francis J. & Wm. Polk Carey JD/MBA Program

MBA Majors

Actuarial Science
Business Economics and Public Policy
Entrepreneurial Management
Environmental and Risk Management
Health Care Management
Information: Strategy and Economics
Insurance and Risk Management
Marketing and Operations Management (Joint Major)
Multinational Management
Operations, Information and Decisions
Organizational Effectiveness
Real Estate
Strategic Management

Research Centers and Initiatives

Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab

Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research

Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research

Center for Health Management and Economics

Center for Human Resources

Center for Leadership and Change Management

Council on Employee Relations (formerly Labor Relations Council)  

Financial Institutions Center

Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management

Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL)

Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research

Jay H. Baker Retailing Center

Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies

Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Penn Wharton China Center

Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative

Pension Research Council

Risk Management and Decision Processes Center

Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research

Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center

SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management

Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII)

Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center

Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI)

Wharton Global Family Alliance

Wharton-INSEAD Center for Global Research & Education

Wharton People Analytics Initiative

Wharton Penn/Risk and Insurance Program

Wharton Small Business Development Center

Wharton Sports Business Initiative

William and Phyllis Mack Institute for Innovation Management

The Wharton School Statistics

10 academic departments

95,000 alumni in 153 countries around the world

225+ standing and associate faculty members

20 research centers and initiatives

5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students
Nearly 9,200 annual participants in executive education programs

20+ undergraduate concentrations

18 MBA majors

200+ MBA electives and 15+ interdisciplinary programs

9 doctoral programs
1.8 million subscribers worldwide to Knowledge@Wharton

80+ alumni clubs that create local hubs within an expanding worldwide community.

Undergraduate Concentrations

Actuarial Science
Behavioral Economics
Business Economics & Public Policy
Environmental Policy & Management
Global Analysis*
Health Care Management & Policy
Insurance & Risk Management
Legal Studies & Business Ethics*
Managing Electronic Commerce*
Marketing & Communication
Marketing & Operations Management
Operations, Information and Decisions
Real Estate
Social Impact and Responsibility*

* Denotes a secondary concentration, meaning that students will also need to have another concentration.

These words can be slippery. Here’s how we write them.

  • add-on (noun, adjective), add on (verb)
  • back end (noun), back-end (adjective)
  • beta
  • checkbox
  • child care
  • coursework
  • coworker
  • database
  • double-click
  • drop-down (noun, adjective), drop down (verb)
  • e-commerce (the industry)
  • ePub
  • email (never hyphenate, never capitalize unless it begins a sentence)
  • emoji (singular and plural)
  • front end (noun), front-end (adjective)
  • fundraising
  • geolocation
  • hands-on
  • hashtag
  • health care
  • homepage
  • integrate
  • internet (never capitalize unless it begins a sentence)
  • login (noun, adjective), log in (verb)
  • Like (the social media activity)
  • long term, long-term (hyphenate only when used as a compound adjective)
  • noncredit
  • nonprofit
  • nontraditional
  • OK
  • online (never capitalize unless it begins a sentence)
  • opt-in (noun, adjective)
, opt in (verb)
  • pop-up (noun, adjective), pop up (verb)
  • prerequisite
  • pre-term
  • signup (noun, adjective), sign up (verb)
  • startup (noun, no hyphen)
  • sync
  • tweet, retweet
  • username
  • URL
  • website
  • WiFi

The following terms are often used incorrectly:

Correct / Incorrect

None of the students is going… / None of the students are going…

The faculty is meeting at 1 p.m. / The faculty are meeting at 1 p.m.

Need Help?

If you have questions regarding grammar, punctuation, editorial style, or anything related to this guide, the Digital Contact Team in Wharton Marketing and Communications will be happy to help.