City University (City U) (or formerly known as Unity College International) was founded in April 1984 by a group of scholars with extensive experience in both local public universities and reputable overseas universities. Registered with the Ministry of Higher Education under the former Education Act 1961, City U was known then as the Petaling Jaya Community College (PJCC). It was established at a time when there was a growing awareness that it was necessary for the private sector to complement the national education effort. Its aim item was to equip high school leavers with extensive academic exposure to the American degree system moderated by the Consortium of American Universities and Colleges (CAUC).
This was done through a biennial meeting in the United States. Since 1984, PJCC has successfully transferred over 20 batches of students to more than 100 universities and colleges throughout the United States, with many gaining places into the Ivy League universities for degrees in engineering (electrical, civil, mechanical and computer), journalism, business administration, finance, banking, accounting, marketing, insurance, economics, information systems, computer science, psychology, pharmacy, music and TESL. Although there were several private higher institutions in Malaysia, PJCC was the pioneer in the field for preparing students for transfer to the American universities. The University College was acquired by the Selia Group in 1998 as part of the company's desire to be a responsible corporate citizen. Under the new management, City U extended its international education cooperation with universities from England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, United States, Indonesia and several Malaysian public universities to cater for the expanding demand for higher education.