About SNU / History


History /


1895 - 1945Creation of modern higher education system

Korean Emperor Gojong establishes a modern higher education system to promote the nation’s independence.

1907 A Class for the Education Department of the Korean Medical Center
1907 A Class for the Education Department of the Korean Medical Center
  • 1895Legal Training School and Hansung Normal School are established
  • 1899Medical School is established
  • 1901Schools of Agriculture, Commerce, and Engineering are established
  • 1904The Nursing Education Division of Great Han Medical Center is established

1946 - 1953Founded as the premier national university

Seoul National University becomes the first comprehensive university of independent Korea, founded with the primary aim of producing intellectual elites who would lead the newly liberated country.

  • Oct. 15, 1946Seoul National University opens with 9 Colleges and 1 Graduate School: Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry, Commerce, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine and the Graduate School
  • June 25, 1950Korean War breaks out during the student registration period
  • Feb. 19, 1951Operated classes through the Busan Wartime Nations University
  • Apr. 20, 1953College of Arts divided into the College of Fine Arts and the College of Music
  • Sept. 18, 1953The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Administration Office returns to Seoul

1954 - 1960Reconstruction after the Korean War

Aided by countries all over the world, the University makes a rapid recovery, propelled by the Korean people’s collective desires for a strong education for the young generation.

1955 SNU Entrance Exam
1955 SNU Entrance Exam
  • 1954 - 1962Minnesota Project for reconstruction and development of Seoul National University provides 9,791,000 USD of financial aid, and 218 SNU professors are sent to universities in the US for training. Most of the aid is given in the critical fields of agriculture, engineering, medicine, and public administration
  • Jan. 13, 195910 new departments are created, including the Department of Korean Music and the Department of International Relations
  • Apr. 19, 1960Six students are shot by the police in the April 19 Revolution
  • May 23, 1960The 1st SNU student council is organized

1961 - 1974A University Shaping the Future of Its People

By recruiting young, promising professors and outstanding students, SNU establishes itself as 'Korea's flagship university'

  • 1961 - 1973Professional Graduate Schools newly established or expanded: Graduate School of Judicial Research & Training (1962-1970), 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-), Graduate Schools of Public Administration and Health (expanded)
  • Apr. 15, 1968SNU’s’ 10 year Plan for Comprehensivization’
  • Feb. 12, 1969Seoul National University Alumni Association established
  • Mar. 21, 1970Gwanak Mountain selected as the site of the new SNU campus
  • Apr. 08, 1970SNU Establishment Act
  • Apr. 02, 1971Construction of the newly integrated campus in Gwanak initiated

1975 - 1986Centralizing the campus in Gwanak

SNU merges its multiple campuses into three main locations: Gwanak main campus, Yeongeon medical campus, and Suwon agricultural campus.

Jan. 11, 1975 Gwanak campus completed
Jan. 11, 1975 Gwanak campus completed
  • Jan. 21, 1975Move to Gwanak campus
  • Feb. 28, 1975Education units reformed: 13 colleges, 1 graduate school, and 6 professional graduate schools restructured as 3 colleges for general studies, 12 colleges for specialized studies, and 3 professional graduate schools.
  • Mar. 05, 1975The first entrance ceremony on Gwanak campus
  • May 15, 1975 Central Library opens
  • Jan. 10, 1980 Campus integration complete with the moving of the College of Engineering to Gwanak campus

1987 - 1999Achieving Democracy

After a long struggle for democracy, the university becomes normalized, leading to a great increase in the number of students and faculty members.

May 17, 1984 Student protests in front of the main gate
May 17, 1984 Student protests in front of the main gate
  • Sept. 26, 1984SNU student council re-established
  • Jan. 21, 1987SNU Long-term Development Plan (1987 ~ 2001) initiated, with the goal of creating a university on par with international graduate schools
  • June 1987SNU members participate in the June Democratic Movement, seeking autonomy for academic institutions
  • Aug. 14, 1991Professor Kim Chong-un elected as SNU’s president. It is the first direct election in which all faculty members vote.
  • May 31, 1995South Korean government announces its Plan for Education Reform in Preparation for Globalization and the Age of Digitalization.
  • Mar. 11, 1999South Korean government launches its Brain Korea 21 (BK21) project, , a 140 billion KRW plan to enhance the global competitiveness of Korean research universities. Thirty SNU research teams are selected for the project.

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. 2003Balanced Regional Admission approved for 2005
  • Sept. 23, 2003The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences moved to Gwanak campus
  • 2005SNU listed in the top 100 universities according to QS World University Rankings
  • Oct. 29, 2007The ‘SNU Long-term Development Plan’ (2007 ~ 2025) is released

2011 -Becoming a Leading University through Corporatization

Transitioning from a government institution to an autonomous corporation, SNU begins 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 changes its legal status from a government institution to an incorporated university
  • Feb. 2012Creation of the motto: ‘A community of knowledge and creativity leading the world’
  • Aug. 20, 2012Launch of the SNU Human Rights Center
  • June 12, 2014SNU Pyeongchang campus, a bio-technology complex opens
  • Sept. 16, 2014Ranked 31st among world universities according to QS World University Rankings
  • Feb. 05, 2015With the opening of the new Kwanjeong Library, SNU’s library system becomes the largest in Korea
  • Mar. 2016Launch of the Diversity Committee
  • Dec. 2017Announcement of Plans for the new Siheung Campus
  • Nov. 2018Opening of the Museum of Science and Technology
  • Aug. 2019Launch of the AI Committee
  • Mar. 2020Opening of the Graduate School of Data Science
  • Oct. 2020Completion of Phase 1 of the Siheung Campus