Degree Program Style Guide

Your degree program plan becomes part of your official college transcript so use these style guidelines when entering information into DP Planner. To see the complete guideline, click on the title to expand the view.

All degree programs should be free of errors in spelling and similar in style and format.

The format for capitalization is title case.

Empire State College’s preferred writing style for all official documents capitalizes all principal words, including conjunctions and prepositions of four letters or more. Do not capitalize short words in titles (such as: the, of, a, and, etc.) unless located at the beginning of the title.


Correct: Writing for College and Career
Incorrect: Writing For College And Career

Correct: World History II, Circa 1600 to Present
Incorrect: World History II, circa 1600 to Present

Correct: Humanities Through the Arts
Incorrect: Humanities through the Arts

Correct: Earth Science With Environmental Awareness
Incorrect: Earth Science with Environmental Awareness

Correct: Care for the Person With Bipolar Disorder
Incorrect: Care for the Person with Bipolar Disorder

Correct: The United States Since 1877
Incorrect: The United States since 1877

Advanced Standing - Transcript Credit

Names of all colleges and universities should be written out fully, without abbreviation.

Begin all State University of New York institution titles with "SUNY/" and all City University of New York institution titles with “CUNY/.”

See the list of all SUNY and CUNY colleges.

If possible, list courses in the order in which they appear on the originating transcript.

Do not combine courses.

Numbers should always be Roman numerals regardless of the format used on the original source transcript.

Type out the full source and course titles as much as possible. Abbreviations should not be used.

Use college catalogs to decipher transcript listings. College Source Online has current and past college catalogs for most institutions. Note: Empire State College username and password are required to access this resource.

Course level (introductory or advanced) is usually indicated by the originating institution. The course level is typically reflected in the course numbering system, which varies by institution.

Courses from two-year colleges are not considered advanced level.

Pre-evaluated Learning Credit

Credits derived from credit recommendations by the American Council on Education or The National College Credit Recommendation Service should be listed with the name of the organization at which the learning took place, followed by ACE or NCCRS in parenthesis.


New York Institute of Massage (NCCRS)
Defense Acquisition University (ACE)

Source titles should be listed as above whether the official documentation takes the form of a letter or transcript from the originating organization or an ACE transcript.

When more than one originating organization appears on a single ACE transcript, the source titles should be listed separately.


Cope Institute (ACE)
PADI International, Inc. (ACE)

Transcripts of courses taken at a non-U.S. institution, can be evaluated by one the following approved evaluation services:

List these sources in the credit by evaluation section of the degree program with the school name, country and evaluator acronym in parenthesis.


Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina (WES)
Kanpur University, India (ECE)
Barnaul State Pedagogical Institute, Russia (EP)

  • Advanced Placement Examinations (ACE)
  • College Level Examination Program (ACE) or (ESC PLE)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (ACE)
  • Excelsior College Examinations (ACE)
  • NYU Foreign Language Proficiency Examination
  • Thomas Edison College Examination Program (ACE)

Military credit comes from one of four sources:

  • JST (Joint Services Transcript)
  • AARTS (Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript)
  • SMART (Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript)
  • Military DD214.

When listing credit from these sources, each course should be listed as a separate source title with the ACE identifier number.


JST: AR-2201-0399 (ACE)

AARTS: MOS-92R-001 (ACE)


Military DD214: MOS-153-003 (ACE)

All Empire State College professional learning evaluation titles should be followed by the abbreviation ESC PLE in parenthesis.

See the list of all current Empire State College professional learning evaluations.


NYS Real Estate License (ESC PLE)

Individualized Prior Learning Assessment Titles

All individualized prior learning assessment should be listed under the source title of Independent Study, regardless of the source of the learning.

Course titles should match the evaluator recommendation.

Empire State College Studies

Full contract titles should be listed on the degree program cover page and should match the contract title exactly.