Style Conventions

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Increase communication through the strategic use of language. 


Avoid abbreviations in running text, except when part of names, street addresses, courtesy titles, or academic degrees.

Although periods are used with some abbreviations, current trends in English are moving away from using them.

  • CPA; SBE; GPA; USA; US Air Force; LTC (for Lt. Col.)

Academic Degrees

  • Abbreviate and capitalize academic degrees when used following a name.
    • Bachelor of Science, BS
    • Master of Science, MS
    • Doctor of Philosophy, PhD
    • Master of Business Administration, MBA
    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering, BSE
    • Doctor of Education, EdD
    • Master of Education, MEd
    • Doctor of Arts, DA
    • Master of Engineering, MEng
  • Abbreviations are also capitalized when used with the full, complete degree.
    • BS in Mechanical Engineering
    • PhD in Physics
  • In news stories and publications, Dr. is for medical doctor only, not for someone with a PhD. More information 


  • College of Business
  • College of Computing, CC
  • College of Engineering, COE
  • College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, CFRES
  • College of Sciences and Arts, CSA


  • Air Force ROTC, AFROTC
  • Army ROTC, not abbreviated
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, ME-EM department or ME-EM


  • US Highway 41, US-41
  • Michigan Highway 26, M-26

PI and Co-PIs

Principal Investigator and co-Principal Investigators spelled out without parenthetical abbreviation upon first reference. PI or co-PI on second reference.


States are spelled out. Postal abbreviations (MI, etc.) are only used in address forms.

  • He lives in Houghton, Michigan.


The following titles are abbreviated when preceding names.

  • Dr.
  • Mr.
  • Ms.
  • Mrs.
  • Rev.
  • Hon.
  • St.

United States

  • US or USA. No periods, except when the text is in all capital letters, then use U.S. for clarity.

Upper Peninsula 

  • Spell out Upper Peninsula on first use, UP (no periods) on second reference. 


  • i.e., = that is
  • e.g., = for example
  • Senior Vice President, SVP
  • terabyte, TB
  • gigabyte, GB