NC State vs. NCSU

How should I address the University?

In general usage, the recommended naming is “NC State University.” Other options can be “NC State,” or “North Carolina State University.” The official full name of “North Carolina State University at Raleigh” is to be avoided, due to the implication that there’s another NC State somewhere else.

Can I use “NCSU”?

Under no circumstances, with the exception of a url ( should “NCSU” be used, either internally or publicly.

Why not?

Back in the 2000s, NC State did some market research on the name recognition of “NCSU” vs. “NC State.” What we discovered was that “NC State” had good name recognition across the country, but “NCSU” was not well-known or well-understood outside the South. At the time, we were trying to strengthen our brand by paring down the multitude of ways you could refer to the university, so that was the origin of our decision to save “North Carolina State University” for super-formal occasions, like commencement and Founders’ Day, because it’s the most cumbersome of our names; to call ourselves “NC State” or “NC State University” the vast majority of the time; and to eliminate “NCSU” altogether as the weakest form of our name. 

That’s why NCSU is never to be used in any communications intended for any public audience, whether internal or external. To make sure members of our community get in the habit of using on-brand terminology, we prefer that people refrain from using NCSU even in emails within the university or on platforms like Slack. Besides, once it’s on the internet in any form, there’s no telling who may eventually see it. 

Published in FAQ.