King's College London - which has campuses in Waterloo and at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals - is to rebrand as 'King's London' in the new year.
In an email to staff and students, King's College London principal Ed Byrne wrote: "As you know King's has evolved dramatically over recent decades to become one of the largest universities in the UK with vibrant activities in almost every area of academic endeavour.
"Our tradition is a long and honourable one and our name 'King's College London', often abbreviated to 'KCL', is well known to the academic community and to most students in the UK.
"However, our research conducted over the last 18 months with potential students, parents, staff, students and alumni, revealed that our current name was causing considerable confusion: is King's a residential college, is it an academic college akin to the colleges of Oxbridge, or is it an educational institution of some other type such as a further education college?
"Internationally, there was further misunderstanding as 'College' is not a widely understood term in many countries. Going forward, we will refer to ourselves as a university rather than a college wherever possible.
"I fully recognise and understand that many staff and students, past and present, have an emotional connection to 'College', however I believe that in today's highly competitive global marketplace, King's needs to be bold about its ambitions and shout about its many achievements.
"The purpose of a very modest repositioning is to deal with these concerns sensitively and constructively."
Professor Byrne said that King's College London will remain the institution's legal name.
More than 6,000 people have signed a petition opposing the change of brand.