Writing Style

This guide, adapted from the Texas A&M University System style guide, uses the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual as its primary source for questions of written style. Where the AP stylebook does not address a topic, we prefer The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed. or later), which is generally used in major publishing as well as in literary and scholarly works. Most dictionaries will suffice to address particular word usage, but we recommend Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed. or later). A supplementary resource regarding style sensitivity is the Health Writer’s Handbook (second edition) by Dr. Barbara Gastel.

VMBS-specific terms

College and program names

For formal uses and on first reference within written pieces, spell out “Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences” —using the ampersand symbol (&) and not the word “and”—followed by VMBS in parentheses. On second (and subsequent) mention, use the abbreviation.

An acceptable shortened second reference is “Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.”

“Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine” or “VetMed” (when referring only to the professional program) is acceptable on second reference.

“Texas A&M Biomedical Sciences” or “BIMS” (when referring only to the undergraduate and graduate programs) is acceptable on second reference.

If you are using “school,” whether for internal audiences or on subsequent mention after you have established which college is referenced, do not capitalize “school.”

VMTH names

The name of our hospital is the “Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital” and the acceptable abbreviation is “VMTH.”

When communicating about the Large Animal and Small Animal sections of the VMTH, please refer to them as the “Large Animal Teaching Hospital” (LATH) and the “Small Animal Teaching Hospital” (SATH). (Please note that the word “hospital” is correct, while the word “clinic” is not.)

The Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine

The first mention of someone who was the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine should be as follows: “Dr. [First name][Last name], the former Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine.” Capitalize everything except “the former” and “of.”

Dr. [Last name] is always “Dr. [First name] [Last name], the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine” on first mention unless there is a very good reason to refer to them as something else. The “the” helps their title be less confusing. On second and subsequent mention, refer to them as “[Last name].”

Texas A&M-Specific Terms

When referencing the Texas A&M System, use “The Texas A&M University System” on first reference (with a capital “T” in “the”) and “the A&M System” or “Texas A&M System” on second mention. In publications for internal audiences, the word “system” can be used alone on second mention. Lowercase “system” unless beginning a sentence. Do not put a space between the letters and the ampersand (i.e., A & M). On first mention, use “Texas A&M University” NOT “Texas A&M.” “Texas A&M” is the appropriate abbreviated form on second and subsequent mention. Do not EVER use TAMUS or TAMU.

Referencing other A&M System members

When listing other universities, agencies, and the health science center, always use the institution’s complete name on first reference and its preferred acronym or abbreviation on second mention. (See table below.)

Institution Preferred Abbreviation
Texas A&M University Texas A&M
Texas A&M University at Galveston TAMUG
Texas A&M University at Qatar Texas A&M at Qatar
Prairie View A&M University PVAMU
Texas A&M University-Commerce A&M-Commerce
Tarleton State University Tarleton
West Texas A&M University WTAMU
Texas A&M University-Kingsville Texas A&M-Kingsville
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi A&M-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M International University TAMIU
Texas A&M University-Texarkana A&M-Texarkana
Texas A&M University-Central Texas A&M-Central Texas
Texas A&M University-San Antonio A&M-San Antonio
Texas A&M AgriLife Research AgriLife Research
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station TEES
Texas A&M Forest Service TFS
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service AgriLife Extension
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service TEEX
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory TVMDL
Texas A&M Transportation Institute TTI
Texas A&M System Sponsored Research Services SRS
Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization STC
Texas A&M Health Science Center (not “Sciences”) TAMHSC

Referencing A&M system administration

The following are correct references for the A&M System Board of Regents:

  • Board of Regents
  • The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents
  • Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System
  • the A&M System Board of Regents (on second reference)
  • Texas A&M System Board of Regents (on second reference)

Lowercase “board” and “regents” if used separately. (i.e.: At its regularly scheduled meeting, the board discussed the importance of collaboration between A&M System universities and agencies.)


Use chairman or chair in references to positions on the Board of Regents, even for female members.


  • Wendy Gramm was chairman of the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs.
  • She also was chair of an ad hoc committee.

Referencing specific members of the Board of Regents

Regent first name last name


  • Regent Joe Smith
  • Regent Jane Doe

Referencing system executive officers and offices

The offices in the A&M System building in College Station should be referred to as “System Offices,” and they should be considered a plural noun. Example: The System Offices provide support for the members of the A&M System. Capitalize names of offices, such as “Office of the Chancellor” or “Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.”