Sungkyunkwan University

For the former Confucian academy, see Sungkyunkwan. For the subway station to Natural Sciences Campus, see Sungkyunkwan University Station. For the university in North Korea, see Koryo Songgyungwan University.
Sungkyunkwan University
Motto 仁義禮智 인의예지
Motto in English
Humanity, Righteousness, Propriety, Wisdom[2]
Type Private
Established 1398
Affiliation Confucianism
President Chung Kyu-sang
Academic staff
5,123 [3]
Students 27,454 [3]
Undergraduates 19,224
Postgraduates 8,230
Location Jongno-gu, Seoul and Suwon, South Korea
Campus Urban
Colors      Green
Mascot Ginkgo
Sungkyunkwan University
Revised Romanization Seonggyungwan Daehakgyo
McCune–Reischauer Sŏnggyun’gwan Taehakkyo

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU or simply Seongdae, Hangul: 성균관대학교; hanja:成均館大學校) is a private research university with campuses in Seoul and Suwon. Originally, it was founded in 1398 by the Joseon Dynasty located in the heart of central Seoul.[4] It was authorized as Sungkyunkwan, the foremost educational institution of Joseon, by the great code of the state administration[5] pertaining to the royal assent.[6]

Today, the university has two campuses: the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus in Seoul, and the Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon. Twelve schools and four colleges offer degrees at the bachelor's level; twelve graduate schools confer various degrees at both the masters and doctoral levels. SKKU offers Korea’s first fully English-taught Global MBA program, which has gained tremendous international recognition.[7] SKKU also has one of the best medical schools in South Korea, which is affiliated with the world-famous Samsung Medical Center. Samsung partnered with SKKU in 1965-1977 and took up its partnership again in 1996. Recent years have seen a trend of SKKU rising in university rankings, consistently placing in the top 3 nationally.[8]


The Humanities and Social Sciences Campus in Seoul is located in the heart of central Seoul, uphill from the old Sungkyunkwan Confucian institute, on the same hill as Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung, two of Seoul's royal palaces, and Jongmyo. It is located near Hyehwa-dong and Daehangno. The nearest subway station is Hyehwa Station on Seoul Subway Line 4.

The Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon is located within walking distance from Sungkyunkwan University Station, in the northwest of the city. The Natural Sciences Campus was established in 1978. This campus is situated 45km away from Seoul on a 250-acre site in northern Suwon. The campus is home to five colleges and two schools as well as numerous graduate schools.


See also: Sungkyunkwan
The 600th Anniversary Building

Sungkyunkwan was established in 1398 to offer prayers and rituals to Confucius and his disciples, and to promote the study of the Confucian canon. It was located within the city walls of the capital Hanseong, or modern-day Seoul. It followed the example of the Goryeo-period Gukjagam, which in its latter years was also known by the name "Sungkyunkwan." Most Korean culture and Hangul have been archived by Sungkyunkwan scholars over hundreds of years.[9] Sungkyunkwan was Korea's foremost institution of higher learning under the Joseon Dynasty education system.

During the period of Japanese rule, the traditionally higher-education Sungkyunkwan was derogated and then almost closed by the Governor-General of Korea in favor of the new imperial universities. After liberation from the Empire of Japan, however, it was reopened as a college by the United States Army Military Government in Korea. Before long, it was reinstated by the ex-rector of Sungkyunkwan, Kim Changsook, and then expanded to a comprehensive university in 1953.

As Korea modernized and underwent social and economic reforms, SKKU has played an important role in academic freedom in higher education and also kept alive traditional ethics in Korean society.

In 1946, enrollment numbered 155. The number of graduates now totals approximately 130,000.

Sungkyunkwan now operates two campuses: the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus in Seoul and the Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon.


Industry collaboration

Samsung partnered with SKKU in the period of 1965-1977 and renewed the partnership in 1996. The partnership has helped SKKU realize its vision in pursuit of globalization and fostering talented graduates with Samsung.[11] Through the partnership, SKKU has developed high-quality research infrastructure and achieved excellent human resource management.

Through this partnership, SKKU has developed world-leading academic programs in software development, mobile communications engineering, energy engineering, nanotechnology, business, medicine, and law.[12]

Through the Samsung Global Scholarship Program (GSP), each year 15-25 students are selected for Seoul National University's engineering program or SKKU's Graduate School of Business (SKK GSB). Selected GSP students currently study for three semesters. Previously, it was four semesters, including a possibility of spending a semester at one of SKK GSB's top partner universities in the U.S. (MIT Sloan, Columbia University, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business or Indiana University's Kelley School of Business).

SKKU's medical school is affiliated with Samsung Medical Center.

The Samsung University Library built in 2009 on the Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon is designed to resemble an open book.[13]

Rankings and reputation

As of September 2016
University rankings
ARWU[14] 151-200
Times[15] 137
QS[16] 106
ARWU[17] 20
Times[18] 12
QS[19] 19

Globally, SKKU is ranked 106th by the QS worldwide university rankings. In the Times Higher Education 2016-2017 world university ranking, SKKU is ranked 137th.

In the QS Asia rankings in 2016, SKKU is ranked 19th. The high ranking is attributed to SKKU's international engagement including short-term study abroad programs and dual-degree programs, as well as its industry ties to Samsung and its graduate reputation as evidenced in the high employment rate of SKKU graduates.[20] SKKU was ranked second after Seoul National University in the Joongang Daily university rankings of 2015.[21]

In the Financial Times, SKK GSB Global MBA has also been ranked as #59 worldwide, one of the top 11 in Asia, and #1 MBA in Korea.[22]


SKKU's motto, "Humanity, Righteousness, Propriety, and Wisdom" (仁, 義, 禮, 智), reflects the basic spirit of Confucianism. These four cardinal virtues express humankind's four inherent elements of spirit, action, conscience, and intellect. Humanity abides in the heart that loves, righteousness abides in the heart that knows right from wrong, propriety abides in the heart that knows forbearance, and wisdom abides in the heart that perceives. Confucian philosophy attests to man's innate goodness, and at the same time recognizes that this quality must nevertheless be awakened and nurtured. These four principles, which comprise SKKU's educational philosophy, are the basis for higher education's goals of the search for truth and the establishment of social justice, which are, in turn, based on humanity.

University symbol

The university's symbol is two giant ginkgo trees (Natural Monument No. 59). Located in the original historic campus of Sungkyunkwan, they are considered one of the school's key symbols.[23] Both trees are male and thus do not bear fruit. Planted in 1519 by Yun Tak, a former president of Sungkyunkwan, they hold symbolic meaning in Confucianism because Confucius is said to have loved reading, pondering, and teaching his disciples under a ginkgo tree. These trees also represent longevity and enlightenment, both held important in Korean culture.

Faculty, Staff, and Enrollment


Full-Time Professors: 1,423 Total Faculty: 5,123

Administrative Staff

Office Workers: 255 Technicians: 36 Part-Time Workers: 167 Total: 458

Student Enrollment

Undergraduate: 19,357 Graduate: 7,677 Total Enrollment: 27,034

International Student Enrollment

Degree Seeking: 1,821 Non-Degree Seeking: 1,848 Total International Enrollment: 3,669


Humanities and Social Sciences Campus

The deep roots of the university are so strongly entwined with Seoul that the university cannot be described in isolation from the city. Like the university, Seoul is the center of Korea's remarkable economic growth over the past 40 years with its unique tradition and current modernity. Seoul was the seat of government as early as the Baekje Kingdom for over 1,500 years. However, the city became more important with the establishment of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392, when it became the capital city. The campus of SKKU is situated inside Seoul city walls, within the original capital of Joseon.

Located uphill from the original Sungkyunkwan site, the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus is spread over a hill looking down on Jongmyo Royal Shrine, which has been designated by as a National Treasure.

Currently, six schools, three colleges and many graduate schools call the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus their home. To commemorate the founding philosophy of the university, the 600th Anniversary Memorial Hall, which houses the Academy of East Asian Studies, was constructed on this campus. This new facility has a floor space of 31,930 square meters as well as four underground levels and six above-ground storeys.

Natural Sciences Campus

Samsung Library at Natural Sciences campus

Just like Seoul, the university grew rapidly, and the expansion called for a new campus. The original site was preserved as the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, while the expanding science programs were moved to a new campus in Suwon.

The university's modern Natural Sciences Campus was established in 1978. This campus is situated 45 km south of Seoul, on a 250-acre (1.0 km2) site. The campus is home to five schools, two colleges and various graduate schools. The management of the Natural Sciences Campus is considered a paragon of educational administration in Korea.

When the new campus was built, the idea of an equal dual campus system was new to Korean higher education; this system remains unique in Korea. Some comprehensive universities located in large cities have tried to meet the need for expansion by founding separate, usually smaller campuses in rural areas. Besides solving the problem of physical expansion, the separate campus system brought the University many opportunities for growth.

Suwon preserves the traditional beauty of the Joseon era (1392–1910), but it also now flourishes as a center for business, education and economic research, due to its proximity to major industrial complexes.

In an effort to serve society by building a bridge between academia and the industrial sector, the Science Technology Park (STP), is being developed at this campus. The university, industries in the surrounding area, and the government have combined forces in this project...

Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology

Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology

SAINT is the abbreviation of Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology. This institute opened on March, 2005.

SAINT was founded on March 1, 2005 as one of the four core programs of Sungkyunkwan University’s VISION2010+ plan to be ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. With the financial support from Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), its goal is to become one of the world's top 5 nanotechnology-related institutes. The current director of SAINT is Michael Grätzel.

Sungkyun Language Institute

Sungkyun Language Institute (SLI) is a semi-autonomous division of Sungkyunkwan University. English, Japanese, Mandarin and Korean are all taught, though Mandarin is not taught at the Suwon campus. Korean is taught at six levels from beginner to advanced levels. There are 18 lecturers of Korean and 16 foreign lecturers of English at the campus in Seoul, with 14 foreign English lecturers in Suwon, while the two Japanese lecturers based in Suwon are themselves Korean. There are also several foreign lecturers of other languages in Seoul and Korean lecturers of English on both campuses. SLI is managed separately from the university and the management follows different systems of organisation on the two campuses, yet they both fall under an umbrella level of administrative management.


Both credit and non-credit classes are taught. The English credit courses are chiefly in Academic Writing and Academic Presentations, though there are also ESP (English for Specific Purposes) classes in Business English, English for Scientific Purposes, English Literature and Current English at the Suwon campus. Non-credit classes are less specialised, and are therefore more typical of ESL environments. These are also open to people who are not registered as students at Sungkyunkwan University to attend. It is not uncommon for members of staff or local residents to attend such classes. For the main courses (Academic Writing and Presentations), SLI produces its own books, which are published by Sungkyunkwan University Press and which have thus far been revised on a yearly basis.


SLI has a "Global Zone" – a room in which students may relax, study, read, browse the web, view online lectures, attend conferences, watch international TV, or seek English assistance from the lecturers – on each site.

Notable international programs

Sungkyunkwan University has a high number of international students, making up over 10% of the total undergraduate student body. In 2011, the population of international students at SKKU surpassed 1,000.[24] There were over 2,700 international students enrolled at SKKU in 2013, and each year more than 2,000 Korean students from SKKU go abroad. SKKU maintains partnerships with over 653 universities in over 73 countries around the world, and has agreements with 21 overseas institutions to offer dual-degree programs.[25]

International Summer Semester

A majority of SKKU's international students attend the International Summer Semester (ISS) program, usually held from late June to late July. Started in 2008, it has grown to over 1,500 students from over 65 universities in over 25 countries.

SKKU ISS 2012 Boryeong Mud Festival Field Trip
SKKU ISS 2015 Gyeongbokgung Palace Tour

Winter International Student Experience

SKKU's Winter International Student Experience (WISE) is newer than its ISS program. It started in 2015 and occurs ever January for just under four weeks. It is a bit smaller than the ISS with around 200 students from 26 universities and 16 nations each year and growing. It is offered especially for students from warmer regions including Southeast Asia, South America, and Australia to experience winter life in Korea.

Graduate School of Business

In 2004 SKKU launched Korea’s first fully English-taught Global MBA program in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Indiana Kelley School of Business, which is currently ranked 59th in the world in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings. The SKK GSB Global MBA has also been ranked by the Financial Times as the #1 MBA in Korea, Top 11 in Asia and 59th worldwide.[22] In the 2015 Financial Times(FT)’ ranking for the top 100 full-time Global MBA programs in the world, SKK GSB ranked 59th, giving it the distinction of being the only Korean school to put its name in the rankings. For this survey, 159 business schools around the world and its 9,700 graduates of 2011 were involved. Key indicators in assessing the rankings were salary raise after graduation, employment, school recommendation, diversity of the student and faculty etc. Top spot in this year’s ranking went to Havard MBA making it the third consecutive time, or the sixth time in total, for the school. Following were London School of Business(LSB) and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. with Stanford Graduate School of Business, second last year, taking joint fourth seat along with Insead in France.


Sungkyunkwan University's Department of English Language and Literature is the birthplace and home of the Korean affiliate of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE-Korea or ASLE-K). ASLE-Korea hosts two conferences a year (Spring and Fall) and publishes Literature and Environment (문학과환경),a journal dedicated to extending ecocritical scholarship, with articles written primarily in Korean and English.

The old campus of Sungkyunkwan was the setting for the fusion historical drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal about a female student who disguises herself as a male in order to attend the boys-only Confucian academy. The setting resulted in increased interest in SKKU from international audiences who watched the drama.


Current Library Holdings: 1,830,806 (bound volumes)

Central Library: 914,228 / Samsung Library: 610,023
Jongyeonggak Library: 146,187 / Library of Medicine: 11,330 / Law Library: 56,438 / Library of Architecture: 2,600

University Area: 3,593,341 m²

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus: 1,394,154 m² / Natural Sciences Campus: 2,199,187 m²
(including Tobong Varsity Teams Training Center: 61,339 m² / Botanical Gardens: 329,222 m² /
Samchuk Seaside Retreat: 2,390 m²)

Building Area: 344,510 m²

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus: 141,803 m²
Natural Sciences Campus: 202,707 m²

Notable alumni

Politics, Diplomacy and Public Service

Business, Economy and Finance



Historical figures

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sungkyunkwan University.


  1. Abbreviations of Sungkyunkwan University in Korean: 성대(成大; Seongdae). English: SKKU
  2. Mission & Vision, Sungkyunkwan University
  3. 1 2 대학소개>대학현황>현황. Retrieved on 2016-03-19.
  4. SKKU Official Brochure 2013
  5. Gyeongguk Daejeon, the great code
  6. Sungkyunkwan in the code of Gyeongguk Daejeon
  7. Financial Times Business School Ranking
  8. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2013 - South Korea". Shanghai Ranking. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  9. Studying in SKKU, University of Massachusetts Boston
  10. ::: 자랑스런 성균관 꽃피우는 유교문화 올바른 인성교육 성균관 예절교실 :::. Retrieved on 2012-05-19.
  11. Global leading programs with Samsung
  12. "Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) – Our Organizing Partner". QS-APPLE. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  13. Kelly, Toni. "Sungkyunkwan University - Samsung Library". Exploring Learning Spaces and Libraries in Asia. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  14. "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  15. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". Times Higher Education. 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  16. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  17. "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  18. "Asia University Rankings 2016". Times Higher Education. 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  19. "QS University Rankings: Asia 2016". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  20. Oh, Kyu-wook. "SKKU on path to become top global university". Korea Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  21. "SNU at No. 1 in university survey". Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  22. 1 2 "Global MBA Ranking 2015". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  23. "교목 (은행나무)". Sungkyunkwan University website. Archived from the original on 2005-11-20. Retrieved 2006-04-24.
  24. Kwon, Jungyun (16 December 2011). "Korea's international students reach out". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  25. Oh, Kyu-wook (9 October 2013). "SKKU on path to become top global university". Korea Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014.

Coordinates: 37°35′14″N 126°59′39″E / 37.58722°N 126.99417°E / 37.58722; 126.99417

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