Avoid abbreviations and acronyms to the greatest extent practical. Always identify programs, organizations and associations by their full names in the first reference, and on the Web, that means on every page.

Use words (the committee, association, office, center, institute, program) instead of the abbreviation.

Widely recognized abbreviations, such as ACT for American College Test and NCAA for National Collegiate Athletic Association, may be used without introducing the full name, provided the initials are more widely known than the name and the initials are used in context. (What is the median ACT score for the class? The Broncos are making their fifth trip to the NCAA tournament.)

Abbreviations for laws (FERPA, HIPAA) and financial aid programs (FAFSA) may be used, but only after the full name has been introduced, and on the web, that means on every page.

Do include the abbreviation in parentheses after the full name.
Use Western Student Association (WSA)

In general, use periods with two-letter abbreviations (U.S.). Do not use periods with abbreviations of three or more letters (WMU, USA). Always use periods with abbreviations for academic degrees, except MBA.

WMU offices, departments and programs

Most abbreviations for WMU offices, departments and programs are homemade, unknown outside our University and unfamiliar to many or most of our own students, alumni, faculty and staff. Don't use them.

Go to and search the abbreviation "OT." Out of 92 listings for "OT," four of the top five results will be occupational therapy. HHS for health and human services, HR for human resources, and IT for information technology produce similar results. Abbreviations used for most of our offices, departments and programs return no results.

Instead of HIGE
First reference: Haenicke Institute for Global Education
Afterward: Haenicke Institute, the institute

Instead of OSE
First reference: Office of Student Engagement
Afterward: student engagement, the office, our office, our staff

Instead of ORI
First reference: Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
Afterward: research, research office, the office, our office

Abbreviations for Western Michigan University

Acceptable abbreviations may be used, but only after the full name Western Michigan University has been introduced on first or second reference. On the Web, the full name should appear in the body text of as many pages as practical.

Do not use the nickname Bronco(s) as a general reference to the University in contexts such as Bronco course offerings or Bronco commencement. Do not refer to WMU as "the brown and gold."

Acceptable: WMU, the University, Western and Western Michigan

Abbreviations for academic degrees

The following are the correct abbreviations for many of the degrees offered by WMU, past and present. This is not a complete list of degrees offered.

  • 2C.T. (Two-Year Teaching Certificate)
  • Au.D. (Doctor of Audiology)
  • B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)
  • B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration)
  • B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts)
  • B.M. (Bachelor of Music)
  • B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
  • B.S.E. (Bachelor of Science in Engineering)
  • B.S.M. (Bachelor of Science in Medicine)
  • B.S.W. (Bachelor of Social Work)
  • D.P.A. (Doctor of Public Administration)
  • Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)
  • Ed.S. (Specialist in Education)
  • J.D. (Juris Doctor)
  • Litt.D. (Doctor of Letters; honorary)
  • LL.D. (Doctor of Laws; honorary)
  • LL.M. (Master of Laws)
  • M.A. (Master of Arts)
  • M.D.A. (Master of Development Administration)
  • M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts)
  • M.I.D.A. (Master of International Development Administration)
  • M.M. (Master of Music)
  • M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration)
  • M.S. (Master of Science)
  • M.S.A. (Master of Science in Accountancy)
  • M.S.E. (Master of Science in Engineering)
  • M.S.N. (Master of Science in Nursing)
  • M.S.W. (Master of Social Work)
  • MBA no periods (Master of Business Administration)
  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • Sc.D. (Doctor of Science)