Writing Style Guide - Abbreviations | University of Portland

Writing Style Guide - Abbreviations

Use periods for abbreviations that end in lowercase letters (a.m. or Mrs. or etc.) but use no periods for abbreviations that include one or more capital letters (MBA or PhD). 

Academic Degrees

Omit periods in abbreviations of academic degrees. For example:



Always spell out the full name, title, or phrase the first time you refer to it in text, followed immediately by the acronym in parentheses. Then use the acronym for each and every subsequent use. It is not necessary to note the acronym in parentheses if there is only one reference. Use University-specific acronyms sparingly for material presented to the public.

Jane Doe, senior mechanical engineering major, was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF grant will allow her to…

The event is sponsored by performing and fine arts (PFA). The PFA program hosts many plays and concerts during the school year.

Courtesy Titles (and the use of "Dr.")

In prose, avoid the use of courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr.) Use the abbreviation “Dr.” to refer to a doctor of medicine, dentistry, or veterinary science. It is not used to refer to people who hold a doctorate degree in a non-medical field. 


Abbreviations are acceptable for days of the week:

Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.

If your text includes more that one day, be consistent: abbreviate all of the days or none of them. 


Abbreviations are acceptable for Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Use no punctuation if listing only the month and the year, but set the year off with commas if listing the day of the month as well.

The basketball game is on Thursday, Feb. 16.

The snowstorm was in Feb. 2011. 


Use the two-letter postal code abbreviation for states: OR, WA, CA

University of Portland

For first reference, use “the University of Portland.” Second reference and thereafter, use “the University” or “UP.”

The University of Portland is in Portland, OR. The University was founded in 1901 by the Congregation of Holy Cross. UP is home to more than 4,000 students.