There have been disputes among locals and district councilors over the station's name. Some have suggested to restore the previous official name "Belcher" (寶翠, [pǒutsʰɵ̄y], bou2 ceoi3) after The Belcher's, a housing development in the area, as well as Belcher Street and Belcher Bay. Some believed that the MTR Corporation's decision to change the name to "University" was not well consulted within the community, while others worried that it might cause confusion with another existing University Station on the East Rail Line. Some have also suggested "Shek Tong Tsui", after the area the station will serve.
In August 2009, MTR named the station "Hong Kong University". The latest revision changed the English name to "HKU", the abbreviation of the nearby University of Hong Kong.
The MTR Corporation let out a tender for the construction of the Sai Ying Pun and University Stations and 2.2 km of tunnel. In 2009, the design and architecture was awarded to Aedas in joint verture with AECOM. The construction work was awarded to Gammon Construction, (half owned by Balfour Beatty) for 4.7 billion HK dollars.  Construction commenced in 2010 and is expected to be complete by 2014.