Skip to main content
Brand Guide Banner Elements of the Brand
Elements of the ASU brand

Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviation Any shortened form of a word or phrase. Use periods in most abbreviations.

Do not use periods for abbreviations in headlines unless required for clarity.

  • abbrev.
  • lb.
  • Mr.

Acronym A pronounceable word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words.

Use only an initial cap and then lowercase for acronyms of more than five letters unless listed otherwise in the Associated Press Stylebook or Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition.

  • Nasdaq (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations).
  • Nabisco  (National Biscuit Company).

Acronyms for units across the enterprise are common but should be avoided in public-facing communications. 

Initialism An abbreviation similar to an acronym, but not pronounced as a word. Each letter is pronounced.

Use guidelines

Do not use abbreviations that are not readily recognizable. 

  • Less commonly known words or phrases should be spelled out on first reference and may be abbreviated thereafter.
  • If an abbreviation would not be clear on subsequent reference without this arrangement, it should not be used.
  • If it is the official name of an organization, an abbreviation may be used.
  • See Tests for acceptable usage of the SPEAK and TOEFL abbreviations.

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 or its approved abbreviation (see Center, College, Word list) or use a workaround such as center, institute, office, school, college.

Do not follow an organization’s full name with an acronym, abbreviation or initialism in parentheses or set off by dashes. 

  • 🚫  Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR)
  • 🚫  School of Earth and Space Exploration — SESE

Arizona State University

On first reference, use the full name of the university: Arizona State University. Use ASU in subsequent references, but do not introduce it as an abbreviation in parentheses. Not: Arizona State University (ASU).

An exception to using the full name on first reference may be made in internal publications, published under an ASU masthead, and when there is no question as to 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.
  • 🚫  The academics at Arizona State are top-notch.

Building codes

Use full building names when communicating to the public.

However, in tables and when giving directions, use ASU’s official building codes rather than full building names.

Official building names and matching codes by campus:

Campuses

ASU campuses are:

  • Downtown Phoenix campus
  • Polytechnic campus
  • Tempe campus
  • West campus

On first reference, use the full campus name: Arizona State University at the Tempe campus, the West campus of Arizona State University, ASU’s Polytechnic campus. In these names, “campus” is not capitalized.

For internal communications or subsequent references, the generic campus may be used, or campus names may be shortened: Tempe, West, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix. Not: DPC, ASU West, ASU Poly, Poly campus.

Note: Polytechnic campus versus school The Polytechnic campus is not synonymous with The Polytechnic School which is one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, though that school is located on the Polytechnic campus.

Note: ASU Online is not a campus, but may be referred to in copy as an online campus. See Campus descriptions.

ASU@Lake Havasu, programs offered at Eastern Arizona College, the ASU California Center and The Washington Center, and ASU’s collaborative programs with Mayo Clinic may not be referred to as campuses.

Centers, colleges, departments, institutes, schools, university

The full name of an academic unit should be used on first reference: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Subsequent references may use endorsed abbreviations (see chart below) or a workaround preceded by “the”: center, institute, office, school, college.

Ampersands are not acceptable in text. Official ASU unit names use the word “and”: Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Ampersands are acceptable only in endorsed logos, wordmarks and company names. See Logos, Company names.

Avoid using acronyms to refer to any university unit. Make the association to the university clear and foremost.

  • Explore the many majors available in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • The College of Health Solutions is offering a free seminar.
  • New College students must meet with an advisor this week.
  • Not: The CLAS convocation will be held in Desert Financial Arena.

See Capitalization.

Note: Polytechnic

  • The Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University — full reference for The Polytechnic School.
  • The Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus — Campus added when describing The Polytechnic School and its programs.

Academic units

Official name
Official abbreviation
Barrett, The Honors College
Barrett
College of Global Futures
Global Futures
College of Health Solutions
Health Solutions
College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Integrative Sciences and Arts
Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation
Nursing and Health Innovation
Graduate College
Graduate College
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Design and the Arts
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering*
Engineering
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Education
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
New College
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
ASU Law
School of Complex and Adaptive Systems
SCAS
School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Future of Innovation in Society
School of Sustainability
Sustainability
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The College
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Thunderbird
University College
University College
W. P. Carey School of Business ("W. P. Carey" must appear on one line)
Business
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Journalism
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
Public Service and Community Solutions

*See “NOTE” above

ASU administration

Use the full name of an office. Refer to the current list: asu.edu/about/leadership.

POS, iPOS

A Program of Study is a list of courses and culminating experience which maps the requirements for completion of a degree program. The POS is submitted and revised electronically via the interactive iPOS system. Once the POS is submitted, it becomes a student’s official plan of study.

As clearly as possible, distinguish between the plan (whether unofficial or official) and the method of submitting the official version.

Spell out the phrase on first reference and use the POS or the plan thereafter; do not use parentheses.

  • A plan of study maps the requirements for completion of a degree program.
  • The student’s POS is submitted electronically and revised interactively through iPOS in My ASU.
  • The plan submitted through iPOS becomes the student’s official POS.

Tests

Names of test sections, such as verbal or quantitative, are not capitalized. Several of these practices are accepted style guide variances; e.g., abbreviations in parentheses following the full name.

  • ACT Use only the initials when referring to the previously designated American College Testing.
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Spell out with the initialism on first reference (ASU Writing Guide variance); ESOL thereafter.
  • GMAT Use only the initials when referring to the Graduate Management Admission Test.
  • GRE Use only the initials when referring to the Graduate Record Examination.
  • IELTS Use only the initials when referring to the International English Language Testing System.
  • LSAT Use only the initials when referring to the Law School Admission Test.
  • MCAT Use only the initials when referring to the Medical College Admission Test.
  • Miller Analogies Test Spell out.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Spell out with the initialism on first reference (ASU Writing Guide variance); PTE thereafter.
  • SAT Use only the initials when referring to the previously designated Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Scholastic Assessment Test.
  • Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit and SPEAK Spell out on first reference; use the initialism thereafter. Not Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK).
  • TEAS Use only the initials when referring to the Test of Essential Academic Skills.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language and TOEFL Spell out on first reference; use the initialism thereafter. Not: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

U.S. states

Data tables: In formats such as data tables of information, use the USPS two-letter state abbreviations, uppercase, no periods.

Mailing address: Use the USPS two-letter abbreviations (uppercase, no periods) when addressing correspondence for mailing, using full addresses, including ZIP code. See format sample above.

 

Use in text

 

See Addresses for use of states in mailing addresses.

Abbreviation: 

  • The names of U.S. states are not abbreviated in text. Spell out the names of all 50 states, even when used with the names of cities or military bases.
  • Note: The two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for states — Tempe AZ — is appropriate only in mailing addresses and data tables. It is never acceptable in text.
  • In short-form listings of political party affiliation (R-Ariz.) note the uppercase and lowercase constructions with periods, below. Even in the case of party affiliation, these states are not abbreviated: AlaskaHawaiiIdahoIowaMaineOhioTexasUtah.
Ala.
Ariz.
Ark.
Calif.
Colo.
Conn.
Del.
Fla.
Ga.
Ill.
Ind.
Kan.
Ky.
La.
Md.
Mass.
Mich.
Minn.
Miss.
Mo.
Mont.
Neb.
Nev.
N.H.
N.J.
N.M.
N.Y.
N.C.
N.D.
Okla.
Ore.
Pa.
R.I.
S.C.
S.D.
Tenn.
Vt.
Va.
Wash.
W.Va.
Wis.
Wyo.

Commas: Place a comma after the state name unless ending a sentence. Refer to The Associated Press Stylebook for additional punctuation rules.

Capitalization: 

  • When state is used with of, it is not capitalized: the state of Arizona.
  • Do not capitalize state when used as an adjective: state Rep. William Smith; the state Transportation Department; state funds. The same principle applies to city: the city of Tempe.

New York vs. New York city and Washington State versus Washington, D.C.

  • Use New York state when necessary to distinguish the state from New York City (city is capitalized, state is not).
  • Use state of Washington or Washington state when necessary to distinguish the state from the District of Columbia. (Note: Lowercase "state" to avoid confusion with a university.)
  • Washington should be used in most story references to the U.S. capital because of the name recognition globally. Use Washington, D.C., with the added abbreviation only if the city might be confused with the state. In this case, use Washington, D.C., on first reference to the nation’s capital, Washington on subsequent references. Do not use District of Columbia as a reference, unless referring to an official designation, such as a local government name. Note: Commas (always use two) and periods.

Refer to The Associated Press Stylebook for other uses and examples.