ASU Brand Guide - Elements of the Brand
Elements of the ASU brand

Abbreviations and acronyms


An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase

  • Use periods in most abbreviations. 
    • ✅ Do: abbrev.
    • ✅ Do: lb.
    • ✅ Do: Mr.
    • ✅ Do: vs. Spell out versus in copy, but use vs. in short expressions.
    • ✅ Do: Jr. and Sr. Do not precede by a comma.
  • Do not use periods for abbreviations in headlines unless required for clarity.
  • 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. 

Degree abbreviations

See Academic programs, degrees, courses and tests.


Initialism is a specific kind of abbreviation, similar to an acronym, but not pronounced as a word.

  • Each letter is pronounced.
  • All uppercase without periods: 
    • ✅ Do: ASU
    • ✅ Do: BMW
    • ✅ Do: FBI
    • ✅ Do: NGO
    • ✅ Do: PDF

Refer to Associated Press Stylebook for details and exceptions.

Common initialisms



AI Use artificial intelligence. AI may be used in subsequent references.
AR Use augmented reality. AR may be used in subsequent references.

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.






  • 🚫 Don't: Do not shorten to Arizona State.
  • ✅ Do: Arizona State University consistently attracts top-quality students from Arizona and across the nation.
  • ✅ Do: Students enrolling at the university have access to faculty members who are elite in their fields of study.
  • 🚫 Don't: The academics at Arizona State are top-notch.
CEO See Titles.

Spell out on first reference. The adjectival form may be abbreviated as ESL on subsequent references.






  • ✅ Do: She was an English as a second language instructor.
  • ✅ Do: That is an English as a second language program.
  • ✅ Do: The student was enrolled in an ESL program. (second reference)
  • ✅ Do: He speaks English as a second language.

Acceptable in all uses for frequently asked questions. For one set of questions and answers, use FAQ. For separate sets of questions and answers on different topics use FAQs.






  • ✅ Do: Read the FAQ before you build your first robot.
  • ✅ Do: Read the FAQs before you build a robot and a laptop.


A Plan 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 iPOS system, or the Interactive Plan of Study. Once the POS is submitted, it becomes a student’s official plan of study.



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



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






  • ✅ Do: A Plan of Study maps the requirements for completion of a degree program.
  • ✅ Do: The student’s POS is submitted electronically and revised interactively through iPOS in My ASU.
  • ✅ Do: The plan submitted through iPOS becomes the student’s official POS.
  • No periods, uppercase.
  • An initialism for Portable Document Format.
P.S. This initialism is a shortened form of postscript. Periods, no spaces, no colon before the text that follows. 
RSVP No periods, all uppercase. Not: RSVP, please, as SVP stands for S’il vous plait — “please” in French.
SDG Use Sustainable Development Goals on first reference. SDG may be used in subsequent references.
TTY Telephone services for those with hearing loss. Acceptable on first reference. Do not use TDD.
U.S. Used as a noun or adjective for United States and acceptable on first reference. Use periods except in headlines: US. See also USA.

Spell out versus, but use vs. in short expressions.




  • ✅ Do: He weighed taking a biology class versus a chemistry class in the fall semester.
  • ✅ Do: The webinar focuses on renting vs. buying.
VR Use virtual reality. VR may be used in subsequent references.



See Times, Days, months, seasons, years.



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

  • Acronyms for units across the enterprise are common but should be avoided in public-facing communications. See ASU units.
  • Do not follow an organization’s full name with an acronym, abbreviation or initialism in parentheses or offset by dashes. 
    • 🚫 Don't: Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR)
    • 🚫 Don't: School of Earth and Space Exploration — SESE
    • 🚫 Don't: School of Earth and Space Exploration — SESE — lorem ipsum
  • Acronyms with more than five letters: 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. This guidance only applies to non-ASU entities as some ASU entities use acronyms longer than five letters.
    • Nasdaq: National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.
    • Nabisco: National Biscuit Company.
    • Exception: ASURITE, see Common acronyms

Common acronyms

ASU See Common initialisms
ABOR On first reference, spell out Arizona Board of Regents. ABOR is acceptable on subsequent uses.

Referred to as ASURE in all references.



ASURE is an acronym for Arizona State University Research Enterprise, part of ASU Enterprise Partners.



ASURITE (all caps). As a part of the ASU community, you are provided an ASURITE account (or ASURITE ID or ASURITE User ID; calling it your “ASURITE” is vague). It is the primary login for many ASU services and access, including My ASU.



ASURITE is an acronym for Arizona State University Rational Information Technology Environment.



Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The abbreviation is acceptable on first reference.


ASU’s Federal School Code (all initial uppercase) is 001081. In subsequent references, use the uncapitalized short form: school code.

MAPP, Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program

(when referring to a student’s pathway to ASU) or Maricopa-ASU Pathways Program (when referring to the institutional partnership).






  • Spell out the full name of this program on first reference. 
  • It may be abbreviated in subsequent references. 
  • Do not show the initialism in parentheses after the first reference.
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Use NASA on all references.


ASU units: Centers, colleges, departments, institutes, schools

See ASU locations, campuses, buildings and units.

Building codes

See ASU locations, campuses, buildings and units.


See ASU locations, campuses, buildings and units.


See Academic programs, degrees, courses and tests.


See Academic programs, degrees, courses and tests.

U.S. states 

See Addresses and U.S. states.