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I am writing a job application which lists the universities I have given invited talks at. What I would like some advice on, is whether I should always write each university out in full, or whether I should always use the common acronym / abbreviation associated with that university (if any), or whether it should depend on how well-known that acronym / abbreviation is.

For example, consider the following passage:

I have given talks at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Melon University, the University of California Berkeley, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, University College London, the Technical University of Munich, Kings College London, Manchester Metropolitan University.

If I were to use all the acronyms / abbreviations, then it would read:

I have given talks at MIT, Caltech, CMU, UC Berkeley, ETH Zürich, UCL, TMU, KCL, MMU.

Now, some of these acronyms / abbreviations are well-known (the first few), but some are not (the last few), particularly for non-academics.

But would it look strange if I used a mixture? Let’s see:

I have given talks at MIT, Caltech, CMU, UC Berkeley, ETH Zürich, UCL, Technical University Munich, King's College London, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Yes, that looks a bit strange to me. So what rule should I use? Should I be consistent, or should I decide for each university what rule to use?

1 Answer 1

When the abbreviation is actually better known than the full name, go with the abbreviation. Otherwise, use the full name. That will render the last option you proposed (though it would be fine to write TU Munich as well).