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MIT Bulletin Style Guide

While there are many ways to say something, the MIT Bulletin follows a set of standards in order to produce a cohesive publication and a consistent experience for the reader. Use this guide as you work with your department's program description and subject listing to ensure the content meets catalog standards.

  • If an instructor name has two initials, separate them with a space (Incorrect: J.A. Hoffman; Correct: J. A. Hoffman).
  • Instructor field must be kept to a maximum of three names.
  • Do not use first-person pronouns (we, our, us, etc.).
  • Avoid using "in-class," i.e. "in-class exercises." "Exercises" alone implies they are done in class.
  • Avoid using the term "hands-on," which is not particularly informative. It is preferable to instead describe what exactly makes the subject/project "hands-on" (e.g., "Students make" or "Involves a project in which").
  • If a subject characteristic has its own field in CIS (such as joint, SWE, repeatable for credit, etc.), do not repeat that information in the description. This data is displayed in the subject listing.
  • Present tense only (Incorrect: "Students will write;" Correct: "Students write").
  • Do not use "this subject," "this class," etc. These are obvious references which are unneccessary for the purpose of the catalog description and add bulk to the overall size of the subject listing.
  • Use "term," not "semester."
  • Spell out "and" instead of using "&." The "&" may be used in transcript titles only (for space reasons).


Term or Word

 

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

21st century (n)
21st-century (adj)
3-D (n, adj) or three-dimensional (adj)
9/11

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al Qaeda
AM/FM

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bestseller
big bang theory
biomolecular

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c. year (circa year)
CAD/CAM
case study (n, adj)
cash flow (n)
Cold War
Course 15 (uppercase C if a program of study, followed by Arabic numeral)
cross section
cross-cultural

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decision-maker
decision-making
dot-com (n, adj)

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Earth (planet), earth (dirt)
end use (n)

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fall term, fall
fieldwork
field-worker
filmmaker
flow rate (n)
follow up (v)
follow-up (n, adj)
   

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galaxy (referring to ours!)
go-cart
groundwater (n, adj)

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health care
hip-hop (n)

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in depth (adv)
in-depth (adj)
input/output

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life cycle (n)
life-cycle (adj)

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man-made (adj)
mapmaker, mapmaking
melt down (v)
meltdown (n)
midterm (adj)
multimedia
multiscale

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nonlinear
nonparametric (adj)

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offshore (n, adj)
on campus, off campus (adv)
on-campus, off-campus (adj)
online (adj, adv)

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policymaking
postdoctoral (adj, adv)
postwar (no hyphen)
present-day
prime time (n)
prime-time (adj)
problem-solving (n, adj)

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rate-limiting (adv)
real-world (adj)
roundtable (n, adj)

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scale up (v)
scale-up (n)
socioeconomic
space-time (n)
spring term, spring
start up (v)
start-up (n)
state of the art (n)
state-of-the-art (adj)
storytelling (n)

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team-building
teamwork
theater (not theatre)
trade off (v)
trade-off (n)
turnkey (adj)

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United States (n)
universe (lowercase)
US (adj, or referring to a unique organization)
upper-level
 

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wavelength
website
well defined (adv)
well-defined (adj)
well established (adv)
well-established (adj)
worldwide (adj, adv)

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x-ray
   

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Relevant Links

Catalog Standards

Title and Transcript Title: Naming a Subject

Transcript Titles: Standard Abbreviations

Subject Descriptions