Let standard American English pronunciation be your guide in all written and spoken contexts:
a historic (not an historic)
an honor (h is silent)
a united front
an 1840s plantation
See also abbreviations and acronyms.
abbreviations and acronyms
Unless a term is used repeatedly or space is at a premium in a chart or table, there is no reason to abbreviate most words. Choose a short form (such as Samford in place of Samford University) rather than an abbreviation, unless the abbreviation is widely used and understood.
Consider whether the acronym or abbreviation is a replacement for a previous full name. For example, JVC was once Japan Victor Corporation, but JVC is now its official name.
Acronyms and some common abbreviations do not require periods. Examples include FBI, CIA and IRS.
Often, the need not be used with acronyms, although it is needed with many abbreviations.
ACT, SAT, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, MAT, MCAT and other entrance examination titles usually don’t need to be spelled out, even on first reference. Use Arabic numerals in constructions such as SAT-1.
Let pronunciation determine your choice of a or an with abbreviations and acronyms:
an M.B.A. program
a C&BA course
an FBI agent
an IRS audit
an IMAX movie
Form the plurals and possessives of acronyms and abbreviations by adding s or ’s. If the abbreviation uses periods or other internal punctuation to separate its letters, or if the use of s alone is likely to create confusion, use ’s to form both the plural and possessive.
Acronyms and abbreviations almost always are capitalized, but their capitalization doesn’t necessarily mean the words for which they stand must be capitalized when spelled out.
PBL, problem-based learning
See also academic degrees; departments; divisions; course numbers and titles; days of the week; geographic terms and names; months; state names; titles of people.
These may be abbreviated in text in most instances. When they are, periods are required:
No spaces are needed within the abbreviation—use no spaces between periods and the letters that follow them.
Degrees should always be abbreviated when they follow a name.
Form the plurals and possessives of abbreviated degrees by adding ’s:
Do not capitalize academic degrees when they are spelled out.
Wrong:He earned his Master of Business Administration in 1994.
Right:He earned his master of business administration in 1994.
Master and bachelor take the ’s only when used in place of master of or bachelor of.
Wrong: master’s of fine arts
Right:master of fine arts
Right: master’s in sculpture
Bachelor’s and master’s never need to take the plural possessive. When writing of more than one degree, consider adding degrees for greater clarity.
Tricky: At the end of her studies, she’ll have master’s in a total of five fields.
Better: At the end of her studies, she’ll have master’s degrees in a total of five fields.
Do not combine courtesy titles and academic degrees.
Wrong: Mr. John Smith, Ph.D.
Right: John Smith, Ph.D.
Wrong: Dr. Mary Jones, Ph.D.
Right: Mary Jones, Ph.D.
People who hold the J.D., or juris doctor, are not called “Dr.” Those who hold the terminal degree in that field—the doctor of juridical science, or J.S.D.—are.
When listing Samford University faculty members, cite only the highest degree attained, plus any relevant professional designation. Common professional designations such as RN and CPA require no periods.
Jane Smith, Ph.D., RN
Mary Jones, M.Acc., CPA
Following is a list of commonly used academic degrees and their abbreviations. Degrees offered by Samford University are in bold type.
associate of applied science—A.A.S.
associate of science—A.S.
associate of science in nursing—A.S.N.
bachelor of arts—B.A., A.B.
bachelor of arts in communication—B.A.Comm.
bachelor of arts in divinity—B.D., D.B.
bachelor of arts in education—B.A.Ed.
bachelor of arts in journalism—A.B.J., B.A.J.
bachelor of business administration—B.B.A.
bachelor of fine arts—B.F.A.
bachelor of general studies—B.G.S.
bachelor of landscape architecture—B.L.A.
bachelor of laws—LL.B.
bachelor of music (applied music, music theory)—B.M., B.Mus.
bachelor of music education—B.M.E., B.M.Ed.
bachelor of science—B.S.
bachelor of science in aerospace engineering—B.S.A.E.
bachelor of science in agriculture—B.S.A.
bachelor of science in agricultural engineering—B.S.A.E.
bachelor of science in biological engineering—B.S.B.E.
bachelor of science in business administration—B.S.B.A.
bachelor of science in chemical engineering—B.S.Ch.E., B.Ch.E.
bachelor of science in chemistry—B.S.Chem.
bachelor of science in civil engineering—B.S.C.E., B.C.E.
bachelor of science in commerce and business administration—B.S.C.B.A.
bachelor of science in computer science—B.S.C.S.
bachelor of science in education—B.S.Ed.
bachelor of science in electrical engineering—B.S.E.E.
bachelor of science in engineering—B.S.E.
bachelor of science in environmental health—B.S.E.H.
bachelor of science in family and consumer sciences—B.S.F.C.S.
bachelor of science in forest resources—B.S.F.R.
bachelor of science in geology—B.S.Geo.
bachelor of science in human environmental sciences—B.S.H.E.S., B.S.Hu.Env.Sci.
bachelor of science in industrial engineering—B.S.I.E.
bachelor of science in mechanical engineering—B.S.M.E.
bachelor of science in medical technology—B.S.Med.Tech., B.S.Med.T.
bachelor of science in metallurgical engineering—B.S.Met., B.S.Mt.E.
bachelor of science in microbiology—B.S.Micro., B.S.Micr.
bachelor of science in mineral engineering, mining—B.S.Mng.E., B.S.Min.E.(Min.)
bachelor of science in mineral engineering, petroleum—B.S.Pet.E., B.S.Min.E.(Pet.)
bachelor of science in nursing—B.S.N.
bachelor of science in physics and astronomy—B.S.P.A.
bachelor of science in physics—B.S.Pcs.
bachelor of science in pharmacy—B.S.Phr., B.S.Phar.
bachelor of social work—B.S.W.
doctor of business administration—D.B.A.
doctor of dental medicine—D.M.D.
doctor of education—Ed.D.
doctor of humanities—L.H.D.
doctor of juridical science—J.S.D., S.J.D.
doctor of laws—LL.D.
doctor of letters—D.Litt., Litt.D.
doctor of medicine—M.D.
doctor of ministry—D.Min.
doctor of musical arts—D.M.A.
doctor of osteopathy—D.O.
doctor of pharmacy—Pharm.D.
doctor of philosophy—Ph.D., D.Phil.
doctor of public administration—D.P.A.
doctor of public health—D.P.H.
doctor of science in nursing—D.S.N.
doctor of social work—D.S.W.
doctor of veterinary medicine—D.V.M.
juris doctor (doctor of law) not juris doctorate—J.D.
master of accountancy—M.Acc.
master of agricultural economics—M.A.E.
master of agricultural extension—M.A.Ext.
master of applied mathematical sciences—M.A.M.S.
master of art education—M.A.Ed.
master of arts—M.A.
master of arts in communication—M.A.C.
master of arts for teachers—M.A.T.
master of avian medicine—M.A.M.
master of business administration—M.B.A.
master of comparative law—M.C.L.
master of divinity—M.Div.
master of education—Ed.M., M.Ed.
master of fine arts—M.F.A.
master of forest resources—M.F.R.
master of historic preservation—M.H.P.
master of home economics—M.H.E.
master of landscape architecture—M.L.A.
master of laws—LL.M.
master of laws in taxation—LL.M. in Taxation
master of library and information studies—M.L.I.S.
master of library service—M.L.S.
master of mass communication—M.M.C.
master of music—M.Mus.
master of music education—M.Mus.Ed.
master of plant protection and pest management—M.P.P.P.M.
master of public administration—M.P.A.
master of public health—M.P.H.
master of science—M.S., M.Sc.
master of science in aerospace engineering—M.S.A.E.
master of science in biochemistry—M.S.Bio.C.
master of science in chemical engineering—M.S.C.E.
master of science in chemistry—M.S.Chem.
master of science in civil engineering—M.S.C.E.
master of science in commerce—M.S.C.
master of science in computer science—M.S.C.S.
master of science in criminal justice—M.S.C.J.
master of science in education—M.S.Ed.
master of science in electrical engineering—M.S.E.E.
master of science in engineering—M.S.E.
master of science in engineering (environmental engineering)—M.S.E. (environmental engineering)
master of science in engineering mechanics—M.S.Mh.
master of science in engineering science and mechanics—M.S.E.S.M.
master of science in environmental management—M.S.E.M.
master of science in human environmental sciences—M.S.H.E.S., M.S.Hu.Env.Sci.
master of science in industrial engineering—M.S.I.E.
master of science in information science—M.S.I.S.
master of science in library science—M.S.L.S.
master of science in marine science—M.S.Marine Sc., M.S.M.Sci.
master of science in mechanical engineering—M.S.M.E.
master of science in metallurgical engineering—M.S.Mt.E.
master of science in microbiology—M.S.Micro.
master of science in mineral engineering—M.S.Min.E.
master of science in nursing—M.S.N.
master of social work—M.S.W.
master of science in social work—M.S.S.W.
master of science technology—M.S.T.
master of tax accounting—M.T.A.
master of theological studies—M.T.S.
academic divisions, Samford University
Cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude and with distinction receive no special treatment in straight copy:
She graduated magna cum laude.
See abbreviations and acronyms.
In most publications, give addresses for Samford University departments and offices as follows:
Office or department name
800 Lakeshore Drive and/or
P.O. Box 29XXXX (campus box number)
Birmingham, AL 35229
205-726-XXXX or toll-free 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX
XXXXXX@samford.edu (e-mail address)
samford.edu/XXXX (website address)
Phone and fax numbers, e-mail address and website address may be omitted as appropriate.
Note: U.S. Postal Service regulations require Samford University as the first line of the return address in some circumstances.
Always leave off the 1- before telephone or fax numbers, with the exception of toll-free numbers.
Four-digit Samford Box numbers are not P.O. Box numbers without the prefix 29.
P.O. Box 29XXXX
African American (n.), African-American (adj.)
AFROTC, Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps
Use the letter-by-letter method, alphabetizing up to the first comma that is not part of a series. Spaces, hyphens, apostrophes and slashes and the letters that follow them are considered part of one word. For example:
leftism, in Europe
leftism and the 1980s
left, right and ambidextrous
In personal names, an initial or initials used in place of a given name come before any name beginning with the same letter:
Smith, A. Tiffany
Smith, B. D.
Alphabetize acronyms letter by letter.
Alphabetize numbers as if they were spelled out.
Accented or other specially treated letters—such as those with umlauts—should be alphabetized as though unaccented.
Personal names containing particles such as de la, di, la, von, van and saint should be treated on a case-by-case basis, because spacing after such elements varies according to personal
preference. Consult a biographical dictionary. Alphabetize M’, Mc or Mac letter-by-letter—not as though M’ or Mc were an abbreviation for Mac.
alumna, alumnus, alumnae, alumni
Use alumna when referring to a woman who has attended a school; use alumnae to describe a group of such women. Alumnus refers to a man who has attended a school; alumni describes a group of such men, or a group of men and women. Avoid the abbreviations alum and alums when possible.
United States or U.S. is more precise.
See United States, U.S.
Spell out and in most instances. Reserve the ampersand for use as a design element; in charts and other places where space is at a premium.
Any almost always takes a plural verb, because it really means “one or more”
Do any of you want ice cream?
Use a singular verb and pronouns.
Wrong: Anyone can be president—if they know the right people.
Right: Anyone can be president—if he or she knows the right people.
as well as
Avoid overusing in place of and;as well as has the sense of too or also, rather than simply and.
athletic and athletics
Use athletic as an adjective to describe someone or something with athletic ability. Use athletics to describe someone or something related to the field of athletics.
He is an athletic individual.
He is the director of athletics.
The athletics program includes 17 sports.
Lowercase when used alone. Capitalize when the proper name is used, Samford University Auxiliary.
Capitalize award only when it is part of the name of an award; otherwise, it should be lowercase, except when it appears in composition titles, tables of contents or other places where most other words are capitalized.