About SNU / History


History /


1895 - 1945Laying the foundation for a modernized national institution of higher education

During the Korean Empire, the first national institutions of higher education were established, laying the foundation for a post-liberation national university.

1907 A Class for the Education Department of the Korean Medical Center
1907 A Class for the Education Department of the Korean Medical Center
  • 1895The establishment of the Legal Training School,
    the Seoul (Hansung) Normal School
  • 1899The establishment of the Euhakkyo (Medical School)
  • 1901The establishment of the School of Agriculture,
    Commerce and Engineering
  • 1904The establishment of the Great Han Medical Center

1946 - 1953Korea's first national university

Despite the fact that the Korean War broke out soon after SNU opened as a national university, SNU continued to teach its students.

  • Oct. 15, 1946The opening of SNU (9 colleges and 1 graduate school): Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry, Commerce, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine; including School of Nursing and Nursing Education
  • June 25, 1950June 25, 1950: The outbreak of the Korean War
  • Feb. 19, 1951Operated classes through the Busan Wartime Nations University
  • Apr. 20, 1953Divided the College of Arts into the College of Fine Arts and the College of Music
  • Sept. 18, 1953Returned to the main campus in Seoul and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

1954 - 1960Post-War Reconstruction of the nation's universities

Undaunted by the war devastation, everyone worked together with the goal of 'building a national university'.

1955 SNU Entrance Exam
1955 SNU Entrance Exam
  • 1954 - 1962The Minnesota Project
    Phases 1 and 2 cost USD 9,791,000
    218 SNU Professors went to the US to study
  • Jan. 13, 195910 new departments including the Department of Korean Music and the Department of International Relations
  • Apr. 19, 1960Six students were shot by police in the April 19 Revolution
  • May 23, 1960The launch of the inaugural SNU Student Council

1961 - 1974A university that shapes the future of its people

By recruiting young, remarkable professors and accepting outstanding students, SNU established itself as 'Korea's flagship university'

  • 1961 - 1973Established and expanded upon professional graduate schools: Graduate School of Public Administration (1961 -), Graduate School of Judicial Research & Training (1962 - 1971), Graduate School of Education (1963 - 1975), Graduate School of Business (1965 - 1975), Graduate School of Mass Communication (1967 - 1975), Graduate School of Environmental Studies (1973 -)
  • Apr. 15, 1968SNU’s ‘10 year Plan for Comprehensivization’
  • Feb. 12, 1969Launch of the SNU Alumni Association
  • Mar. 21, 1970Selecting Gwanak Mountain as the new SNU campus
  • Apr. 08, 1970SNU Establishment Act
  • Apr. 02, 1971Gwanak Campus opening ceremony

1975 - 1986Making the Gwanak Campus one comprehensive university

Other than the College of Medicine located in the Yeongeon Campus, and the College of Agricultural in the Suwon Campus, the other colleges and graduate schools have been located to the Gwanak campus.

Jan. 11, 1975 Gwanak campus completed
Jan. 11, 1975 Gwanak campus completed
  • Jan. 21, 1975Moving to the Gwanak campus
  • Feb. 28, 1975The ‘SNU Establishment’ Amendment
    The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences divided into three: Colleges of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The College of Business Administration established
  • Mar. 05, 1975The first entrance ceremony on Gwanak campus
  • May 15, 1975 Opening of the Central Library
  • Jan. 10, 1980 Moving the College of Engineering to Gwanak marked the completion of campus integration

1987 - 1999Achieving democracy

Students and professors resisted the dictatorship in order to achieve democratization, within the school and in the nation.

May 17, 1984 Student protests in front of the main gate
May 17, 1984 Student protests in front of the main gate
  • Sept. 29, 1984First elected student council
  • Jan. 21, 1987SNU Long-term Development Plan (1987 - 2001), with the goal of creating a university at the level of international graduate schools
  • June 1987Participating in the June Democratic Movement and gaining autonomy for academic institutions
  • Aug. 14, 1991Kim Chong-un becomes the first elected SNU president

2000 - 2010Becoming a world-class research university

SNU implements a long-term plan to further strengthen its undergraduate education and to become a research-oriented university

  • 2002SNU listed in the top 30 of the Science Citation Index (SCI)
  • Apr. 04, 2003Decided to introduce the Regional Balance Admissions in 2005
  • Sept. 23, 2003The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences moved to Gwanak campus
  • 2005Listed in the top 100 universities in the THE-QS World University Rankings
  • Oct. 29, 2007Released the ‘SNU Long-term Development Plan’ (2007 - 2025)

2011 -Becoming a leading university through corporatization

By switching from a government institution to an autonomous corporation, SNU began its journey to become a world-leading university.

Apr. 05, 2006 Lecture by the recipient of SNU’s first Education Award(Department of Economics, Professor Yi Chun-gu)
Apr. 05, 2006 Lecture by the recipient of SNU’s first Education Award(Department of Economics, Professor Yi Chun-gu)
  • Dec. 28, 2011Seoul National University changed its legal status from a government institution to an incorporated university law
  • Feb. 2012Creation of the vision: ‘A community of knowledge and creativity leading the world’
  • June 12, 2014Completion of the Pyeongchang campus Listed 31st in the QS World University Rankings
  • Feb. 05, 2015Opening of the Kwanjeong Library
  • Mar. 2016Launch of the Diversity Committee
  • Dec. 2017Announcement of the Siheung campus
  • Nov. 2018Opening of the RYU Hoi Jin Library
  • Aug. 2019Launch of the AI Committee
  • Mar. 2020Opening of the Graduate School of Data Science
  • Oct. 2020Completion of Phase 1 of the Siheung Campus