13 of the World’s Top 20 Universities Misspell “University” on Their Web sites

July 18, 2009

This may be a little embarrassing for the top 20 universities in the world, but as a writer, mistakes like this can happen, especially if a non-writer-but-writer-for-today doesn’t edit his or her own work. And every writer knows that editing is a part of writing.

The Web site,, survey reveals that on average, 14.2 percent of pages on the top 20, most prestigious universities’ Web sites contained at least one genuine spelling error. For example, Yale misspelled, “Yale University” and Harvard misspelled, “professor.”

McGill University in Canada had the fewest errors, with only 34 and Duke University had the most errors with 300. The top five misspelled words include: accommodation, technology, university, harassment and research.

“The number of errors on each site shocked us. A university’s website is often the first point of contact for prospective students and staff,” said Kevin Garber, general manager. “Spelling errors can convey sloppiness, which detracts from the message that a high quality education is on offer.”

The top 20 universities include: Harvard University, Yale, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, California Institute of Technology, Imperial College London (UK), UCL (University College London), University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Duke, Johns Hopkins University, Cornell, Australian National University (Australia), Stanford, University of Michigan, University of Tokyo and McGill University (Canada).

The survey was conducted with an automated spell-checking platform from It analyzed the first 1,000 pages from each Web site from the top 20 universities in the world, which was ranked by the Times Higher Education – Quacquarelli Symonds Report.

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