Areas covered under abbreviations are:

acronyms • dates • days • degrees • departments • majors and areas of concentration • names • numbers • time • states


  • As a general rule, when referencing Alma College, AC is not considered an acceptable abbreviation for an external audience. 

EXCEPTION: Student organizations are permitted to use AC as an acronym.

  • Acronyms are always spelled out on the first usage. The second reference to the organization can use just the acronym.

EXCEPTION: It is acceptable to use NCAA on a first reference.

  • Acronyms contain no periods.

Alma College is a member of the Michigan Intercoll­egiate Athletic Association, the oldest athletic association in the nation. The MIAA sponsors 22 sports.

See Associated Press style manual for athletics abbreviations.

Examples of acronyms commonly used by Communication and Marketing:

Alma College Union Board     ACUB
Alma Symphony Orchestra     ASO
American College Test     ACT
Administrative Personnel Committee     APC
Academic Standards Committee     ASC
Center for Responsible Leadership    CRL
Center for Student Opportunity    CSO
Educational Policy Committee     EPC
Faculty Personnel Committee     FPC
Free Application for Federal Student Aid     FAFSA
Grade Point Average     GPA
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association    MIAA
Model United Nations     Model     UN
National Collegiate Athletic Association     NCAA
President’s Advisory Council     PAC
Program of Emphasis     POE
Scholastic Assessment Test     SAT
Students Offering Service     SOS
Students for a Sustainable Future    SF2
United States of America     USA
Women’s Issues Advisory Board     WIAB


the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [official name]
United States: U.S. [no space between]


  • Name of month can be abbreviated within the text when a date follows it. When the month stands alone, write it out.

On Feb. 23, we plan to go to Florida.

It seems that February is a good time of the year to go to Florida.

  • When a number is used, don’t combine it with letters.

RIGHT: The concert is Sept. 2 in Dunning Memorial Chapel.

WRONG: Members of the Choir Tour Committee met Sept. 2nd in the Fireside Lounge.

  • No comma is used between a month and a year.

The meeting was in May 1991.

  • When month, day and year are given, a comma follows the day and the year.

The reception was in Clack Art Center May 24, 1991, for students and staff.


  • In text copy do not abbreviate days of the week.

RIGHT: Most classes meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

WRONG: There are a few labs on Tues. and Thurs.

  • Days of the week may be abbreviated when used in lists.


  • The following are abbreviations for the degrees that Alma College grants:

Bachelor of Arts    B.A.
Bachelor of Science    B.S.
Bachelor of Fine Arts    B.F.A.
Bachelor of Music    B.M.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing    B.S.N.

  • The following are the preferred abbreviations for the honorary degrees that Alma College grants:

Doctor of Divinity    D.D.
Doctor of Fine Arts    D.F.A.
Doctor of Humanities or Humane Letters    L.H.D.
Doctor of Laws    L.L.D.
Doctor of Literature or of Letters    Lit.D.
Doctor of Science    D.Sc.
Juris Doctor    J.D.

  • Other abbreviations College staff may have:

Doctor of Business Administration    D.B.A.
Doctor of Education    Ed.D.
Doctor of Ministry    D.Min.*
Doctor of Philosophy    Ph.D.
Master of Business Administration    M.B.A.
Master of Divinity    M.Div.
Master of Theology    M.Th.

  • When the abbreviations for degrees are used, they always require periods.

Note: According to the AP style do not use “Dr.” for earned Ph.D.s.


  • Do not abbreviate the word department in publications or releases.

*See capitalization section for exceptions.

Majors and Areas of Concentration

Abbreviations for names of academic majors and areas of concentration at Alma College follow. The registrar has identified and assigned abbreviations for the fields of study at Alma College. These abbreviations are used in the Academic Catalog and in the registration process. They are a part of the shared database on the campus and may not be changed without consulting the registrar.

ACT     Accounting
AMS     American Studies
ANT     Anthropology
ART     Art and Design
AST     Astronomy
ATH     Athletic Training
BCM     Biochemistry
BIO     Biology
BTC     Biotechnology
BUS     Business Administration
HCA     Health Care Administration
CHM     Chemistry
CEP     Christian Education
COG     Cognitive Science
COM     Communication
CSC     Computer Science
DAN     Dance
ECN     Economics
EDC     Education
EDS     Educational Studies
ENG     English
ENV     Environmental Studies
EHS     Exercise and Health Studies
FOR     Foreign Service
FRN     French
FIN     Finance
FYS     First-Year Seminar
GEN     General Studies
GGR     Geography
GEO     Geology
GRM     German
GER     Gerontology
HCA     Health Care Administration
HST     History
IBA     International Business Administration
INS     Integrated Science (Education)
IPH     Integrative Physiology and Health Science
LAR     Language Arts (Education)
LIB     Library Research
MGM     Management
MKT     Marketing
MTH     Mathematics
MUS     Music
NSC     Neuroscience
NMS     New Media Studies
NUR     Nursing
PHL     Philosophy
PHY     Physics
POL     Political Science
POE     Program of Emphasis
PSY     Psychology
PAF     Public Affairs Institute
PBH     Public Health
REL     Religious Studies
SED     Secondary Education
SST     Social Studies
SOC     Sociology
SOA     Sociology and Anthropology
SPN     Spanish
SPEDC     Special Education
THE     Theatre
THD     Theatre and Dance
WGS     Women’s and Gender Studies


  • Don’t use abbreviations for given names.

RIGHT: Benjamin Harrison

WRONG: Benj. Harrison

RIGHT: William Dicken

WRONG: Wm. Dicken

  • Nicknames are put in double quotation marks.

Russell “Mac” MacKinley

  • Jr., Sr., II and III after a person’s name are part of that name and should not be set off by a comma.
  • Do not use a comma to separate an alumnus’ name from graduation year when writing for internal college publications. For formal occasions, media work, or for century clarification refer to “Class of 1969.”

Daniel Raleigh ’69 [College publications]

Daniel S. Nichelson, class of 1999, Memorial Scholarship [Journalistic style]

  • On second reference to an individual’s name within body copy, use the last name only (journalistic style especially for releases and Accents). When composing copy for short biographies for programs or publications, it is acceptable to use a person’s title (especially Dr.) and last name for a second reference. Be consistent within the piece being written.

The history majors “gave solid presentations and held their own against some very tough questions from the audience,” according to Dr. Patrick Furlong, professor of history and Alma’s PAT advisor. “There were 24 papers, and they were all of an extremely high quality, according to all the organizers with whom I spoke,” said Furlong.

Lynn Coddington ’73 began playing tennis as a hobby, but her experiences on the court have influenced more than just her backhand. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the tennis team, Coddington was inducted into the Alma College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.


  • Write out numbers of one digit; use numerals for numbers of two digits or more.

RIGHT: The professor reported that 20 students enrolled in Math 101.

WRONG: Research projects were completed by 3 students and 5 professors.

  • Write out numbers beginning sentences.

RIGHT: Twenty students have enrolled in Math 101.

WRONG: 25 percent of Alma’s students participate in musical organizations.


7-week course
3-2 Program
2.5 GPA


  • Time of day: Use a.m. and p.m., lowercase.
  • The periods may be dropped if space does not allow for them.
  • Noon and midnight should not be abbreviated nor used with a number.

RIGHT: Parents will meet at noon for lunch.

WRONG: The dance ended at 12 midnight.


  • Spell state names in full when alone.
  • Addresses in correspondence use two-letter postal abbreviation.
  • When sending a release out of state (hometown or appointment story) include Michigan after all cities except Detroit.

Freshman Molly McNutt of Saline, Mich., enjoyed working in the small-group setting.

  • When sending a release in state, Michigan cities do not need state name unless it can be misconstrued as a city in another state. Use your own judgment for hometown releases; it can depend on where the release is sent.

RIGHT: Two Alma College students from St. Louis are on the Dean’s List.

WRONG: Aaron Mulderer of Ashley, Mich., is a member of the Scots men’s soccer team.

RIGHT: Alexander Abercromby and Henrietta Henshaw of St. Louis, Mo., are recipients of Alma College Merit Awards.

  • Use traditional, not postal, abbreviations for states. Use the postal abbreviations only for addressing envelopes.
State Abbreviations
State Postal Traditional     State Postal Traditional
Alabama AL Ala.     Montana MT Mont.
Alaska AK Alas.     Nebraska NE Nebr.
Arizona AZ Ariz.     Nevada NV Nev.
Arkansas AR Ark.     New Hampshire NH N.H.
California CA Calif.     New Jersey NJ N.J.
Colorado CO Colo.     New Mexico NM N.M.
Connecticut CT Conn.     New York NY N.Y.
Delaware DE Del.     North Carolina NC N.C.
Florida FL Fla.     North Dakota ND N.D.
Georgia GA Ga.     Ohio OH Ohio
Hawaii HI Hawaii     Oklahoma OK Okla.
Idaho ID Ida.     Oregon OR Org.
Illinois IL Ill.     Pennsylvania PA Pa.
Indiana IN Ind.     Rhode Island RI R.I.
Iowa IA Iowa     South Carolina SC S.C.
Kansas KS Kans.     South Dakota SD S.D.
Kentucky KY Ky.     Tennessee TN Tenn.
Louisiana LA La.     Texas TX Tex.
Maine ME Maine     Utah UT Utah
Maryland MD Md.     Vermont VT Vt.
Massachusetts MA Mass.     Virginia VA Va.
Michigan MI Mich.     Washington WA Wash.
Minnesota MN Minn.     West Virginia WV W.Va.
Mississippi MS Miss.     Wisconsin WI Wis.
Missouri MO Mo.     Wyoming WY Wyo.
Federal district:
District of Columbia