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Is “University” Capitalized In Writing? When & When Not To

Is “University” Capitalized In Writing? When & When Not To

You will always have to refer to your education level when writing essential documents like a resume and curriculum vitae. However, ensure you embrace the correct spelling, grammar, and capitalization when you do. If you have an issue when writing about the word university in titles and texts, you probably want to know, is “university” capitalized?

When using “university” to refer to an education level as a common noun, don’t capitalize it. But it is also vital to note some instances like at the start of a sentence, and in a complete university name, you need to capitalize the word. For that reason, learn the known rules that apply.

The best way to learn about this word and write it correctly starts with knowing its meaning. The term “university” is a noun that means an institution of higher learning. It is a common noun, and like any other common noun, when you write the word in a sentence case, don’t capitalize it. Let’s now narrow down on the rules.

couple students reading

Rules for Capitalizing University

The general rule of writing the word “university” is that if you use it as a common noun, do not capitalize it. But, in cases where the word functions as a proper noun, write it in capital letters. The rule stands out when writing other nouns besides “university.”

The difference between common and proper nouns is that a common noun is a generic name for one item in a class or group. On the other hand, proper nouns are nouns for a person, place, or thing identifying a single entity. For example, depending on how you write a sentence, the word university can either be a common or a proper noun.

Here are times when the word “university” refers to a proper noun.

  • When referring to a specific university
  • When using along with the name of the university
  • When the information in the sentence can only refer to just one university

When Referring to a Specific University

If you read the word “university” in a different context, you will notice inconsistency in capitalization. At times, people use the word to refer to the higher learning institution. Other times people write the word “university” to refer to a specific entity.

That is why you can write the word “university” in upper or lowercase letters. So, each time you write the word “university” when referring to a specific entity, capitalize it.

Example sentences:

  • One of the things that I like about my University is that it has secure hostels for the students.
  • We will not be around on Saturday since we will take Tom on a tour of our University.
  • I chose this University since it offers great courses.

When Using the Word Along with a University Name

Each time you include the name of the higher learning institution, the word “university” turns out to be a proper noun. With that in mind, when you write the word, follow the English rules set when writing proper nouns.

Simply, whenever you write about a specific university and include the institution’s name, ensure you capitalize the word. It’s because when you use a particular name to write about a certain university, then the word automatically becomes a proper noun.

Example sentences:

  • I got a letter of acceptance from the University of Virginia.
  • Our football team will be playing against Oxford University.
  • I plan to enroll for a master’s degree at UCLA University.

When Referring to a Specific University

The other time the word “university” becomes a proper noun is when the information used in the sentence only applies to a specific university. That’s when you talk about something that people will connect to a certain university.

Since the name “university,” in this case, will be referring to a specific institution, ensure that you capitalize the word. You will not have followed the right grammar and capitalization rules if you do not. Improper capitalization of the word “university” might seem less impactful, but doing so could disgrace your entire information, and that is why proper capitalization is important.

Example sentences:

  • The fundraiser aims to help rebuild the University that burnt down last year in Texas.
  • It is in the University where they met for the first time.
  • John told us that the University his grandfather built was one of the best in the country.

Exceptions for Capitalizing University

There are times when the word university doesn’t need capitalization. That applies whenever the word is not linked to any specific learning institutions. In such cases, the word “university” is a common noun. Therefore, if you use the word “university” as a common noun, you should apply the common noun rules.

Since “university” refers to a higher learning institution, most people feel that not capitalizing it degrades the school, but that is not the case. According to the English language, common nouns should not be capitalized when written in a sentence. The same applies when writing the word “university.”

campus woman pc

More Alternative Rules and Edge Cases When Capitalizing University

Here are some additional instances when not to capitalize the word “university:” When referring to a building and administrators, faculty, or students that make a university.

Don’t capitalize the word university when you are referring to a building. In this case, the word is a common noun, so stick to the rules. Let’s look at three example sentences.

  • The university is infested with mice, so all the students were asked to go home.
  • The hallway and the university’s dining area were refurbished and looked great.
  • He had difficulty teaching music since the university faculty building is at one end and the music room is at the other end.

If you are writing “university” to refer to the administrators, faculty, or students, you also do not capitalize the word. In this case, the word “university” is a common noun. Learn more from the examples below.

  • I felt out of place since most of the people at the party were university students.
  • I was doing online research to find out the qualifications of a university administrator.
  • Is it easy to get a full university scholarship?

10 Examples of Correct University Use In Sentences

Example sentences show you how the word fits correctly in different contexts while applying the capitalization rules. Read these ten example sentences to understand the best way to write “university” in various sentences.

  1. The BOD was happy to learn that our University has achieved all its goals this year.
  2. Stephen is now at Columbia University doing his master’s.
  3. She was a professor of biology at Beijing University.
  4. His goal is to ensure that he gets a place at his father’s University.
  5. It is vital to note that one of the qualifications we will be looking for before hiring is a university degree.
  6. The information on the website says that the University accepts applications even from overseas students.
  7. Did you visit him at the University last week?
  8. Students thought that once they left the University, they had jobs waiting.
  9. Chen is discriminated against in the workplace because, unlike his peers, he was not a university student.
  10. She could not wait to leave the village and get to Oxford University.


It might seem confusing, but it is easy to know when to capitalize “university” if you know the capitalization rules. The main thing to know is when to use the word as a common or proper noun in a sentence. If it is a common noun, ensure that you do not capitalize it. However, if it is a proper noun, then capitalize the word. If you understand this concept, you will never make a mistake.