AMA abbreviations

Something often overlooked when learning to write in AMA style is that AMA requires the use of abbreviations for common words, phrases, titles and journals, especially in the references list.

Abbreviations

The following resource provides some common abbreviations you may use; however, there are hundreds of AMA abbreviations overall. To find a complete list, refer to pg. 441 of the AMA manual of style. (You can find one at the Writing & Speaking Center!)

Academic degrees, certifications and honors

These abbreviations should be used in bylines and when writing the full name of a person in the text. Degrees and certifications below the master’s level are usually not included unless they are the highest held credential by a contributor or author.

  • Doctor of Philosophy -> PhD
  • Master of Business Administration -> MBA

Days and months

Generally, days and months are not abbreviated in AMA; however, abbreviations may be used in charts or tables to conserve space. Days and months are abbreviated by writing only the first three letters of the word.

  • August -> Aug
  • Tuesday -> Tue

States

States (and Canadian provinces) should be abbreviated in the reference list and in addresses, but not when used in the text. In this case, the standard two-letter abbreviations are used.

  • Nevada -> NV

Names and titles of persons

Given names should not be abbreviated in the text nor in bylines, unless you are using initials as indicated by the author or an abbreviation as part of their name.

  • Joshua St. James
  • Phillip Simmons Jr.
  • D.M. Norris

Business firms

In the text, spell out company names exactly as the company does, but omit periods after abbreviations (e.g. Inc. Inc). In references, remove punctuation such as periods and commas, replace “and” with “&,” and omit “the” when part of the publisher’s name in order to save space.

  • In the text: F.C. Collins and Barry Inc.
  • In the reference: FC Collins & Barry Inc

Agencies and organizations and technical/clinical terminology

It is common for organizations to be known by abbreviations or acronyms. These acronyms should be used within the text; however, because some organizations may have identical abbreviations, the full name should be spelled out at first mention in the text with the acronym to be used following in parentheses.

  • American Academy of Audiology -> AAA
  • United States Food and Drug Administration -> FDA
  • Alzheimer’s Disease -> AD
  • Evidence Based Medicine -> EBM

Names of journals

In general, journal titles are abbreviated to save space in the reference list. There are a few guidelines to follow when abbreviating titles for commonly used terms and structures, but when considering medical terminology, you should consult the list of appropriate journal abbreviations found on pg. 472 of the AMA Manual of Style. (You can find one at the Writing & Speaking Center!)

  • Journal titles that are one word are not abbreviated
  • “The” is removed from journal titles
  • More than 2 letters must be removed from a word in order for an abbreviation to be valid
  • Journal titles are followed by a period in the reference list
  • Examples of common abbreviations:
    • Journal -> J
    • American -> Am
    • Medical -> Med
    • Clinical -> Clin
    • Science -> Sci
      E.g., American Journal of the Medical Sciences -> Am J Med Sci.

Contributed by: Emily Tudorache