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Do not use any type of abbreviation not readily recognizable by the reader. Use unit and program abbreviations only for internal unit communications. In communications intended for students and the public, use the full name of an ASU unit, an approved ASU abbreviation (see below) or use a good work-around with words like center, institute, office, school and college.

Do not follow an organization’s full name with an abbreviation, acronym or initialism in parentheses or set off by dashes. If an abbreviation would not be clear on subsequent reference without this arrangement, do not use it.


Abbreviation.  Any shortened form of a word or phrase. Use periods in most two-letter abbreviations; however, do not use periods for abbreviations in headlines unless required for clarity.
Examples: abbrev., lb., Mr.

Acronym.  Pronounceable word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words. Use lower case for acronyms of more than six letters unless the acronym is a company name (i.e., Nabisco), begins a sentence or is listed otherwise in the AP Stylebook or Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
Examples: radar (RAdio Detecting And Ranging), Nabisco (NAtional BIScuit COmpany)

Initialism.  Acronym or abbreviation that is not pronounced as a word; each letter is pronounced. Use all-caps without periods.
Examples: BBC, FBI, PDF, USA

Refer to the AP stylebook for more details.

See Addresses: U.S. States.

Academic Degrees

Capitalize only the official diploma title (Bachelor of Arts), and use full wording on first reference. (The only exception to full wording is in the ASU Academic Catalog. See below: Academic degrees in ASU Academic Catalog.) In subsequent mentions, use associate degree (not associate’s), bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate or doctoral degree.

The program or concentration (e.g., art, art history) is not abbreviated and is not capitalized unless it includes a proper name (Spanish, etc.).  

Use abbreviations such as BA and PhD after a person's name only when the need to identify many individuals with their degrees spelled out on first reference would be cumbersome, such as on a list of administrators on the inside cover of a publication. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, not after just a last name. (The ASU Academic Catalog is the only ASU exception to this standard.)

Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree, and do not combine a courtesy title for an academic degree with the degree abbreviation in the same reference (see examples below).

Punctuate as follows:

  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but not in associate degree.
  • Omit periods in degree abbreviations: BA, MS, PhD, etc.
  • Capitalize only the official diploma title (Bachelor of Arts); concentrations are not capitalized (art, philosophy).


  • The transfer student entered ASU with an associate degree from the community college.
  • His bachelor’s degree is in physical education.
  • She earned a Master of Communication with a concentration in broadcast journalism.
  • This program culminates in a Bachelor of Science in chemistry.
  • Professor John Jones has a doctorate in psychology.
  • NOT: She earned a BA in broadcast journalism.
  • NOT: Dr. Sam Jones, PhD, will speak at the event.

See Capitalization: Majors and Titles: Academic.

Academic Degrees in ASU Academic Catalog. In the ASU Academic Catalog only, abbreviate academic degrees on first reference and use the corresponding word in subsequent instances: associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate or doctoral (note: no apostrophe for associate).

  • A student in this program will earn a BA in broadcast journalism. (first reference)
  • Note the admission requirements for a master's in physical education. (subsequent reference)
  • NOT: the BA in Broadcast Journalism

Arizona State University

In a first reference, use the full name of the university: Arizona State University. The abbreviation ASU is acceptable in subsequent references, but do not introduce it as an abbreviation in parentheses. An exception to writing out the name on first reference can be made in internal publications, published under an ASU masthead, when there is no question who owns the content. In subsequent references, authorized forms are ASU and the university. Do not shorten to Arizona State.

  • Arizona State University consistently attracts top quality students from Arizona and across the nation.
  • Students enrolling at the university have access to faculty members who are elite in their fields of study.

Building Codes

Use full building names when communicating to the public. Exceptions: Use building codes in tables and when giving directions. Official building names and matching codes are found online:


In a first reference, use the full name of the campus, as in Arizona State University at the Tempe campus or the West campus of Arizona State University. ASU’s Polytechnic campus is also correct. The letter c in campus is lowercase. For internal communications, or subsequent references in a publication, the generic word campus may be used, or campus names may be shortened to Tempe, West, Polytechnic or Downtown Phoenix. Do not use acronyms, such as DPC, or bridged forms, like ASU West. The campus names are:

  • ASU Online
  • Downtown Phoenix campus
  • Polytechnic campus
  • Tempe campus
  • West campus

The ASU locations in Lake Havasu City and at Eastern Arizona College are not referred to as campuses.

Center, College, Department, Institute, School, University

The full name should be used on first reference. Second and subsequent references to an organization can use the official abbreviation (see chart below) or a good work-around with words like center, institute, office, school and college. Avoid using acronyms to reference any university unit. Make the association to the university clear and foremost. Do not use ampersands, even for official ASU unit names, in text.

  • Explore the many majors available in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • The College of Public Programs is offering a free seminar.
  • New College students must meet with an advisor this week. (second reference)
  • NOT: The CLAS convocation will be held in Wells Fargo Arena.

See Capitalization: Center and Formatting: Ampersand.

Official Name

Official Abbreviation

Barrett, the Honors College

Honors or Barrett

College of Health Solutions

Health Solutions

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Liberal Arts and Sciences

College of Nursing and Health Innovation

Nursing and Health

College of Public Programs

Public Programs

College of Technology and Innovation

Technology and Innovation

Graduate College

Graduate College

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Design and the Arts Institute or 
Herberger Institute

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Teachers College

New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

New College

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


School of Letters and Sciences

Letters and Sciences

School of Nutrition and Health Promotion


School of Sustainability


University College

University College

W. P. Carey School of Business


Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


Vice President Offices

Use the full name of the office on first reference. It may be abbreviated on subsequent references, depending on context. Acronyms should not be used, with the exception of CFO.

Official Name

Official Abbreviation

Executive Vice President and Provost of the University


Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer


Senior Vice President and General Counsel

General Counsel

Senior Vice President and Secretary of the University

Secretary of the University

Senior Vice President and University Planner

University Planner

Senior Vice President for Educational Outreach and Student Services

Educational Outreach and Student Services

Senior Vice President for Knowledge Enterprise Development


Vice President and Chief of Staff

Office of the President

Vice President for Public Affairs

Public Affairs

Vice President for University Athletics


Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Human Resources

Chief Information Officer

University Technology



This page was last modified on July 11, 2013