Kim Il-sung University

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Kim Il-sung University
Kim Il-sung University.jpg
Type Public
Established 1 October 1946 (1946-10-01)
President Thae Hyong-chol
Location Ryongnam-dong, Taesong District, Pyongyang, North Korea[1]
39°3′29″N 125°46′6″E / 39.05806°N 125.76833°E / 39.05806; 125.76833Coordinates: 39°3′29″N 125°46′6″E / 39.05806°N 125.76833°E / 39.05806; 125.76833
Campus Rural
Kim Il-sung University logo.png
Kim Il-sung University
Chosŏn'gŭl 김일성종합대학
Hancha 金日成綜合大學
Revised Romanization Gim Il-seong Jonghap Daehak
McCune–Reischauer Kim Il-sŏng Chonghap Taehak

Kim Il-sung University, founded on 1 October 1946, is the first university built in North Korea.[2] It is located on a 15-hectare campus in Pyongyang, the nation's capital. Along with the main academic buildings, the campus contains 10 separate offices, 50 laboratories, libraries, museums, a printing press, an R&D centre, dormitories and a hospital.[3] There is a sizeable computer lab, but it has only limited internet access.[4] The university is named in honour of Kim Il-sung,[2] the founder and first leader of North Korea. Courses in both the department of social sciences and the department of natural sciences take five years to complete.[3]


On 25 May 1946 the Preparatory Committee was composed by the founding universities. In July 1946, the interim People's Committee of North Korea decided to establish a University (ordinance No. 40). Kim Il-sung proclaimed on 1 October 1946 the founding.

In 1948, four university faculties (Faculty of Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Medicine) were separated from Kim Il-sung University, to form the origin of Pyongyang University of Technology (currently Kim Chaek Industrial University), Sariwon Agricultural University and Pyongyang University School of Medicine.

Buildings at the Paeksong Revolutionary Site near Pyongsong, to which many students from Kim Il-sung University were moved during the Korean War, for reasons of safety.

During the Korean War, the university was located at Baeksong-ri under Mt. Jamo in Suncheon-gun, which was far from the centre of the city. By late 1955, the reconstruction of the main building on the Pyongyang campus was in progress and soon the university moved back to the centre of Pyongyang.

After the war, Kim Il-Sung University became known as a hotbed of intellectual dissent. Academics supported more intellectual freedoms than Kim loyalists, and disadvantageous factions within the Workers' Party of Korea were over-represented in university staff. Following the Revolutions of 1956 in Hungary and in Poland, North Korean exchange students were quickly repatriated from the affected countries. The students started asking "improper" questions on campus, causing alarm.[5] After that, up to one hundred students and several prominent staff members were purged. The purging of the university gave further impetus to purges against functionalists all over the country.[6]

By the end of 1970s more than 50,000 students graduated annually from the university. In addition, the university was an important asset of for the Korean People's Army to train its personnel. Since the 1970s, English courses have been taught at the university.

Until 2004, Pak Kwan-o, an authority on nuclear physics and current Chairman of the People's Committee of Pyongyang (De facto Mayor), had been serving as the president for 17 years.[7] Since 2009, the its president was Song Ja-reeb.[8] The current president since 2014 is Thae Hyong-chol.[9]


Social sciences

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Government and economics
  • Law
  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Korean language
  • Foreign languages
  • Kim Il-sung Revolutionary History
  • Kim Jong-Il Revolutionary History

Natural sciences

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Atomic Energy
  • Automation

Notable alumni

Kim Il-sung University, c. 1960

See also


  1. ^ University, Kim Il Sung (2016). "Ryongnamsan". Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h York, Rob (12 December 2014). "Kim Il Sung University has new website". NK News. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Wingfield-Hayes, Rupert (4 May 2016). "A rare look inside North Korea's Kim Il Sung University". BBC News. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ Lankov 2002, p. 96.
  6. ^ Lankov 2002, p. 97.
  7. ^ [“北 평양시장 경질...전 김일성대 총장 박관오씨 새로 임명 [North, Replaced the Mayor of Pyongyang... New mayor is Pak Kwan O, Former President of Kim Il Sung University],” Donga Ilbo, 5 April 2007,]
  8. ^ Yoon Geun Young, “정운찬 전 서울대 총장, 김일성대 총장 만나고파 [Former President of Seoul National University, Jeong Un-chan Wants to Meet the President of Kim Il Sung University],” Newsis, 8 March 2009,
  9. ^ "State leadership bodies elected". The Pyongyang Times. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  10. ^ Choe Sang-Hun and Martin Fackler (14 June 2009). "North Korea's Heir Apparent Remains a Mystery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  11. ^ Kim, Song-A (9 May 2007). "Photos of Kim Jong Il's Brother, Kim Pyong Il and Recent Visits". Daily NK. Retrieved 25 October 2007.

Works cited

Further reading

  • Kim Jong-un (27 September 2016). On the Basic Tasks Facing Kim Il Sung University in the New Era of the Juche Revolution: Letter to the Teaching Staff and Students of Kim Il Sung University on the 70th Anniversary of Its Founding (PDF). Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House.

External links

  • Official website
  • Official website of the Telecommunications College of Kim Il Sung University (in Korean)
  • 360 degree panorama of the Kim Il-sung University Main Building
  • 1996 article from the Korean Central News Agency
  • "Kim Il-sung University" by Andrei Lankov 11 March 2008
  • 김일성종합대학 (金日成綜合大學) from Naver Encyclopedia (in Korean)
  • The Pyongyang Youth and Kim Il Sung University, Daily NK, 21 September 2006
  • Photo of the entrance
  • Danahar, Paul (13 February 2010). "Meeting North Korea's 'Generation next'". BBC News.
  • Kim Il Sung University picture album at Naenara
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