Seoul National University: Wikis


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Seoul National University
Latin: Universitas Nationalis Seulensis[1]
Motto Veritas lux mea
(Latin, literal translation: "The truth is my light". non-literal: "The truth enlightens me".)
진리는 나의 빛
Established 1946
Type National
Endowment KRW 134.2 billion[2]
(USD 145.6 million)
President Lee Jang-Moo, Ph.D.
Faculty 2,064[3] (2008)
Staff 991[3] (2008)
Students 26,605[3] (2008)
Undergraduates 16,006
Postgraduates 10,559
Doctoral students 2,602
Location Gwanak, Seoul, South Korea
Campus Urban, 1.4 km² (350 acres)
16.57 km², including the arboretums and other campuses.
Colors Blue      
Mascot Crane
Seoul National University Logotype
Seoul National University
Hangul 서울대학교
Hanja 서울大學校
Revised Romanization Seoul Daehakgyo
McCune–Reischauer Sŏul Taehakkyo
Note: The word 首尔大学 (traditional: 首爾大學) is frequently used in many Chinese contexts, as in Chinese Wikipedia. This is, however, not a traditional hanja name, because the Chinese characters used in the word do not represent the Korean sound of the word, but rather the Chinese. Thus it is merely a Chinese transliteration, rendered as Shǒuěr Dàxué in pinyin. Other names such as 汉城国立大学 have been used historically.

Seoul National University (SNU), colloquially known in Korean as Seoul-dae (서울대), is a national research university in Seoul, Korea, ranked 24th in the world in publications in an analysis of data from the Science Citation Index[4] and 47th in the world and 7th in Asia by The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2009[5] as well as 81-83rd worldwide by the Global University Ranking 2009.[6]

Founded in 1946, Seoul National University was the first national university in South Korea, and served as a model for the many national and public universities in the country. Seoul National University has been recognized for its leading role in Korean academia, and entry into the university is viewed as a ticket to success. Recently, the Ecole des Mines de Paris - MINES Paris Tech reported that SNU is ranked 5th in the world in terms of the number of alumni currently holding CEO positions in Fortune 500 enterprises.[7]

Throughout its history, Seoul National University has been regarded as the most eminent of all post-secondary educational institutions in South Korea. It is regarded as the most renowned university by the general public and recruits top-notch high school students.[8]

To join the international trend of learning, the university's faculty includes more than 350[9] non-Koreans, which is about 10 per cent of the total. Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and Fields Medal recipient Hironaka Heisuke are on the faculty roster.[10]

Today Seoul National University comprises sixteen colleges and six professional schools, with a student body of about thirty-thousand. It has two campuses in Seoul: the main campus in Gwanak, and the medical campus (named Yeongeon Campus after its neighbourhood) in Jongno. SNU is notable for its "fleet-style"[11] system, offering diplomas for virtually every academic field, from aerospace engineering to Western history.[11]





Although the University was founded in 1946, some of its colleges, and its former main campus (the current medical campus) can trace their lineage to Kyongsong University, formerly Keijō Imperial University, established as one of Japan's 9 imperial universities.

The schools merged were

  • "Gyeongseong University" (Gyeongseong Daehakgyo 경성대학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Normal College" (Gyeongseong Sabeom Hakgyo 경성사범학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Women's Normal College" (Gyeongseong Yeoja Sabeom Hakgyo 경성여자사범학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Law College" (Gyeongseong Beophak Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성법학전문학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Industrial College" (Gyeongseong Gongeop Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성공업전문학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Mining College" (Gyeongseong Gwangsan Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성광산전문학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Medical College" (Gyeongseong Uihak Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성의학전문학교)
  • "Suwon Agriculture College" (Suwon Nongnim Jeonmun Hakgyo 수원농림전문학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Business College" (Gyeongseong Gyeongje Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성경제전문학교)
  • "Gyeongseong Dentistry College" (Gyeongseong Chigwa Uihak Jeonmun Hakgyo 경성치과의학전문학교)


The main gate of Seoul National University, known by its nickname, the Sha (샤) gate. The shape of the gate is formed by the characters ㅅ,ㄱ,ㄷ, the initial letters of its full Korean name (corresponding to SNU in English).

Seoul National University was founded on August 22, 1946 by merging ten institutions of higher education around the Seoul area, pursuant to "The Law Concerning the Foundation of Seoul National University." The schools merged were: Kyŏngsŏng University, Kyŏngsŏng Colleges of Law, Industrial Engineering, Mining, Medicine, Economics, Dentistry, the Normal School, the Women's Normal School, and Suwon Agricultural College. The first president was Harry B. Ansted. [1] For over a year and a half, there was a large protest movement by students and professors against the law of the US military government in Korea merging colleges. Finally, 320 professors were fired and more than 4950 students left the school.

The university's second president was Lee Chunho (이춘호; 李春昊), who served beginning in October, 1947.

The college of law was founded by merging the law department of Kyŏngsŏng University with Kyŏngsŏng Law College. The university absorbed Seoul College of Pharmacy in September, 1950, as the College of Pharmacy. This had previously been a private institution.[12]

During the Korean War, the university was temporarily merged with other universities in South Korea, located in Busan.

College of Medicine

Seoul National University Hospital and the College of Medicine trace their history to Gwanghyewon, also known as Jejungwon, which has been claimed as the first western medical institution in Korea, founded by royal support in 1885. This assertion has however been disputed by medical historians, as lacking any tangible evidence.It is widely accepted that Gwanhyewon is instead a direct predecessor to Severance Hospital and Yonsei University's College of Medicine.[citation needed] It is suggested that Seoul National University Hospital and the College of Medicine are related, rather, to Daehan Hospital founded in 1907, which was supported by Japanese Resident-General Itō Hirobumi.


Originally, the main campus (which embraced the College of Humanities and Sciences and College of Law) was located on Daehangno (University Street) in Jongno. Most parts of the university relocated to a new campus in Gwanak in the period between 1975 and 1979. Part of the former main campus in Jongno is still used by the College of Medicine, the College of Dentistry and the College of Nursing and is now called Yeongeon Campus.

In 1975 the main campus of the university moved to the newly constructed Gwanak Campus.

2006 was the sixtieth anniversary of the university.


Undergraduate colleges

Graduate schools

General programs

  • Graduate School of Humanities
  • Graduate School of Social Sciences
  • Graduate School of Natural Sciences
  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Graduate School of Arts
  • Graduate School of Medicine
  • Interdisciplinary Programs

Professional schools


Seoul National University is considered the most competitive university in South Korea. From 1981 to 1987, when an applicant could apply only to one university at a time, more than 80% of the top 0.5% scorers in the annual government-administered scholastic achievement test applied to SNU, many of them unsuccessfully. The fraction of SNU applicants among the top 0.1% scorers exceeded 95%. Seoul National University is undisputed as the most prestigious university in Korea, and some students who are not accepted to SNU opt to re-take the College Scholastic Ability Test and try again the next year.


Seoul national university 60th anniversary emblem.png

SNU graduates dominate South Korea's academics, government, politics and business. The concentration of SNU graduates in legal, official, and political circles is particularly high. Two-thirds of South Korean judges are SNU graduates, although the country's judicial appointment system is based solely on open competitive examinations. In government, slightly more than half of South Korea's elite career foreign service corps, recruited on the basis of a competitive higher diplomatic service exam, are from SNU. Similarly, among the high-ranking government officials who were recruited by an equally competitive higher civil service exam, SNU graduates take up more than 40 percent. On the political side, four out of seven presidential candidates in 2002 were SNU graduates. The school is also often criticized by some South Koreans for being elitist and bureaucratic.[citation needed]

International Rankings

The Times Higher Education Supplement World University Rankings 2009 lists SNU at No. 47, and the university has steadily increased in rankings every year.[13] The Shanghai Jiao Tong university ranking places Seoul National University at No. 152[14] which places more emphasis on publications in the area of natural sciences as well as on the number of alumni who have become Nobel Prize winners. Seoul National also had the third highest number of students who went on to earn Ph.Ds in American institutions in 2006.[15]


Seoul National University is made up of two Seoul-based and one Suwon-based campuses: the Gwanak Campus is situated in the neighborhood of Sillim-dong, Gwanak-gu; and the Yeongeon Campus is north of the Han River in Yeongeon-dong, Jongno-gu; and the Gwanggyo Campus is east of the Suwon-si in Iui-dong, Yeongtong-gu. The main campus in Gwanak-gu was established in 1975 by the SNU Comprehensive Plan. At present, there are about 200 buildings, over half of which have been constructed since 1990. The school’s medical, dental and nursing schools, as well as the main branch of Seoul National University Hospital, are located on the former site of Kyungsung University’s medical department at the Yeongeon Campus. In 2003, the Colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine were relocated from Suwon to Gwanak. In 2009, The Graduate School of Convergence Science Technology(GSCST) consists of three department(Nano-convergence,Digital-information-convergence,intellectual-convergence) were established in Gwanggyo campus.


The students' dormitory Gwanaksa

Gwanak Campus, the main campus, is located in the southern part of Seoul. It is served by its own subway station on Line 2. Yeongeon Campus, the medical campus, is located on Daehangno(University Street), northeast Seoul. The defunct Suwon Campus, the agricultural campus, also known as the Sangnok Campus (Evergreen Campus), used to be located in Suwon, about 40 km south of Seoul. The agricultural campus moved to Gwanak in Autumn 2004, but some research facilities still remain in Suwon.

Public transit access

Gwanak Campus

  • Gwanak Campus is served by Seoul National University Station of Seoul Subway Line 2. Although the station is named after the university, it is located about a 1.5 km away from the campus. The university runs shuttle buses between the station and the campus on weekdays. The dormitories can be reached from Nakseongdae Station.
  • Airport bus 603 connects the university with Incheon International Airport.
  • There are several Seoul metropolitan buses that stop by the main gate of the university:
    • Trunk buses (Blue): 501, 651 and 750.
    • Branch buses (Green): 5412, 5511, 5513, 5515, 5516, 5614, 6511 and Gwanak 02.
  • Gwanak 02 Branch bus (Green) enters by the rear gate from Nakseongdae Station.
      • Note: Bus numbers 02, 5511, 5513 and 5516 circulate in-campus while other lines just stop by the main gate.

Yeongeon Campus

  • Yeongeon Campus is located near Hyehwa Station of Seoul Subway Line 4.
  • Buses that stop on Daehangno (University Street) connect Yeongeon Campus with other areas:
    • Trunk buses (Blue): 101, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 140, 143, 150, 160, 161 and 162.
    • Branch buses (Green): 2112, Jongno 07 and Jongno 08.



The passageway through the Central Library building

Seoul National University Library is located behind the university administrative building in the 62nd block of the Gwanak Campus. In 2009, the library’s total collection of books, including all the annexes, was approximately 4 million volumes. The present chief librarian, Dr. Kim Jong-seo, professor of religious studies in the College of Humanities, took office in 2009.

Furthermore, the Central Library has constructed a digital library, which in addition to the regular library collection provides access to university publications, ancient texts, and theses. Included here are countless images of pamphlets, lecture slides, and insects. The digital library also offers access to video of university exhibitions, scientific events, symposia, and seminars.

The library was first opened in 1946 as the Seoul National University Central Library, inheriting its facilities and books from Kyungsung University. In 1949, the name of the library was changed to the Seoul National University Library Annex. When the main branch of the library was relocated to the Gwanak Campus in January 1975, it was renamed the Seoul National University Library, and then renamed again in 1992 the Seoul National University Central Library.

In 1966, provisions were made to systematize the library's collections. As the measures came into effect, the original library was organized into 12 separate annexes for each of the university’s colleges: engineering, education, physics, art, law, theology, pharmacology, music, medicine, dentistry, administration, and agricultural sciences. Two years later, in 1968, libraries for newspapers and the liberal arts were added to bring the total number of annexes to 14. However as the main branch was moved to the Gwanak Campus, the education, physics, legal, theological, administrative, newspaper, liberal arts, and pharmacological libraries were combined in a single building. The following year the art and music libraries were also added to the main branch, while the dentistry and medical libraries were amalgamated into one. With the integration of the engineering library into the main branch in 1979, only the agricultural and medical libraries remained as separate annexes. A new law library was established in 1983 with funds from alumni, and in 1992 the Kyujanggak Royal Library was subdivided from the main library as an independent organization and is now known as the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies.

With the transfer of the College of Agricultural Sciences from the Suwon to Gwanak Campus, the Agricultural Library was also moved in 2005. As of 2006 there were seven remaining library annexes for management, the social sciences, agriculture, law, medicine, dentistry, and international studies.


Seoul National University Museum is located at the Gwanak Campus. It originally opened alongside the university in 1946 under the name, "The Seoul National University Museum Annex." The original 2-story Dongsung-dong building, which was erected in 1941, had served as the Kyungsung Imperial University Museum until it was transferred intact to SNU. When the museum was moved to the sixth floor of the Central Library, in 1975, it was renamed the Seoul National University Museum. The museum was then moved to newly constructed facilities, next to the Dongwon Building, in 1993, which it has occupied to this day. Dr. Park Nak-gyu is the present director.

Museum of Art

The new building of the Museum of Art

Museum of Art, Seoul National University (SNUMoA) was established in 1995, with contributions from the Samsung Cultural Foundation, after a proposal from Dr. Lee Jong-sang, a professor of Oriental Art. The building designed by the Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, with construction entrusted to the Samsung Group. This 4450m² structure sits three stories above and below ground. Its major distinguishing feature is the forward area which almost appears to be floating in the air. Construction was undertaken from 2003 to 2005, just off the Gwanak Campus’ main gate while the opening took place on the June 8, 2006. Dr. Jung Hung-min assumed the directorship of the gallery in 2006.


Dormitory of Seoul National University, named Gwanaksa, where the undergraduate and graduate students, and family dormitory are located. It founded at August, 1975, with 5 Gwanaksa buildings and 1 welfare building, which housed 970 male students and the female dormitory, was founded at February, 1983. By June, 2007, there were 1 administration building, 2 welfare buildings, 12 undergraduate dormitory buildings, 6 graduate students’ dormitory buildings, and housed 3,680 students. Unlike other schools, there is no curfew hour. Now the old Gwanaksa building is in the course of re-construction, the construction started in February, 2008, and planned to be ended in 2011. When the construction is completed, the old Gwanaksa building will be holding 3500 students, which was 2200 before (now the Gwanaksa is divided into old building and new building). The Yeongeonsa located in Yeongeon campus, which is medical school of Seoul National University. The Yeongeonsa can house 533 undergraduate students, and 17 household of family dormitory.


Editorial building of the students' newspaper

The first edition of the paper was launched while seeking refuge from the ravages of the Korean War, on February 4, 1952. In 1953 it was moved to Dongsung-dong in Seoul, where from 1958 even editions for high school were published. Financial difficulties in 1960 led the paper to cease printing for a time. It was relocated to the Gwanak Campus in 1975 where it has been in continuous publication until the present day. At the time of its first launch the paper was sold for 500 won a copy, sometimes twice a week. Now, however, it is distributed for free every Monday. The school paper is not available during schools breaks or exams.

Notable alumni



  • Choi In-Hoon, novelist
  • Kim Chi-Ha, poet
  • Kim Seung-ok, novelist
  • Lee Hyo-Seok, novelist
  • Lee Yangji, a second-generation Zainichi Korean Japanese novelist
  • Park Wan-Seo, novelist
  • Yi Munyol, novelist and political commentator, who attended the College of Education but did not graduate
  • Yi Sang, novelist







  • Seoul National University Debate Association (SNUDA)
  • Passionate Pioneers of the Good Rich (Seoboodong): an academic club dedicated in studying the method of accumulating, augmenting, and utilizing wealth. (official website:
  • Yeo Min Rak (여민락,與民樂) : a Korean traditional music club, specifically Jeong-ak(정악,正樂). Students take up one or more traditional musical instruments and participate in yearly performances. (
  • Due to the large campus size, there are more than 100 clubs in activity.

Photo gallery

See also


  1. ^ "Website of Roman Law Study Group" (in Korean). College of Law, Seoul National University. Retrieved July 28, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Seoul National University Foundation Facts" (in Korean). Seoul National University Foundation. Retrieved December 28, 2005. 
  3. ^ a b c "Seoul National University Facts" (in Korean). Seoul National University. Retrieved August 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ Retrieved on February 11, 2009
  5. ^ Retrieved on October 9, 2009
  6. ^
  7. ^ Retrieved on August 19, 2009
  8. ^ Ohmy News (Korean)
  9. ^ "Faculty listing as of 1 October 2008". Website. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  10. ^ Choi, Naeun (2008-11-10). "Nobel Prize Winner Paul Crutzen Appointed as SNU Professor". Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  11. ^ a b Lee, Jung-hoon, "With its sixtieth anniversary coming, SNU seeks for future plan" (Korean). Shin Dong A (July 2006): 136-161. Retrieved on September 30, 2007
  12. ^ "History of the College of Pharmacy". SNU College of Pharmacy website. Retrieved July 24, 2005. 
  13. ^ "The Times Higher World University Rankings". The Times Higher Education Supplement. TSL Education. 
  14. ^ Jiao Tong Rating
  15. ^ Graduates of Chinese Universities Take the Lead in Earning American Ph.Ds -

Further reading

  • Seoul National University, "서울대학교 40년사"(The 40 years history of Seoul National University), 1986.

External links

Coordinates: 37°28′N 126°57′E / 37.46°N 126.95°E / 37.46; 126.95 (Seoul National University)


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