With a short series (list), use commas. However, do not use a comma before the final conjunction.
- Students will need compasses, rulers and calculators.
With a long or complex series (list), use semi-colons.
- His main research areas include: 20th century literature and criticism; aesthetics of criticism in the postmodern era; deconstructionist criticism and French literature; and theatre history for set designers.
Note that at the end of a series of semicolons, “and” or “or” may be omitted, however the final series semicolon cannot be omitted.
(See the Commas section.)
For more information on punctuation, see the CP Stylebook.