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Rebranded KAIST logographic.gif
Established February 16, 1971
Type National
President Kang, Sung-Mo Ph.D.
Academic staff
1,140[1] (2013)
Administrative staff
322[2] (2008)
Students 10,249[1] (2013)
Undergraduates 4,047[1] (2013)
Postgraduates 6,202[1] (2013)
2,311[1] (2013)
Other students
1,187[1] co-terminal MS/PhD (2013)
Location Yuseong, Daejeon, South Korea South Korea
Campus Urban
1,432,882 square metres (354.07 acres) (Daedeok Campus)[2]
413,346 square metres (102.14 acres) (Seoul Campus)
Affiliations AEARU, LAOTSE, AOTULE, ASPIRE League.
Website www.kaist.edu/edu.html
Hangul (Full Name No Longer In Use) /
Hanja / 카이스트
Revised Romanization Hanguk Gwahak Gisurwon / Kaiseuteu
McCune–Reischauer Han'guk Kwahak Kisurwŏn / Kaisŭt'ŭ

KAIST is a public research university located in Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea. KAIST was established by the Korean government with the help of American policymakers in 1971 as the nation's first research oriented science and engineering institution.[3] KAIST has approximately 10,200 full-time students and 1,140 faculty researchers and had a total budget of US$765 million in 2013, of which US$459 million was from research contracts.[1] From 1980 to 2008, the institute was known as the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. In 2008, the name was shortened to KAIST.

KAIST ranked 60th globally and 12th in Asia in the QS World University Rankings (2013/14), making it the second in the country,[4] while it came second in the independent regional QS Asian University Rankings (2014), considered as the best Korean institution.[5] Moreover, it was placed 16th in Materials Science and 24th in Engineering and Technology by QS of the same year.[6]

Times Higher Education ranked KAIST the third best university under the age of 50 years in the world in its 2014 league table.[7] In 2007 KAIST adopted dual degree programs with leading world universities to offer its students diverse educational opportunities and strengthen academic exchanges; since then with Carnegie Mellon University,[8] the Georgia Institute of Technology,[9] Technische Universität Berlin,[10] and the Technische Universität München.[11]


Korean representatives and Frederick E. Terman discuss the establishment of the institute.

The institute was founded in 1971 as the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS) by a loan of US$6 million (US$33 million[12] 2012) from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by President Park Chung-Hee.[3] The institute's academic scheme was mainly designed by Frederick E. Terman, vice president of Stanford University, and Chung Geum-mo, a professor at the Polytechnic Institution of Brooklyn.[13] The institute's two main functions were to train advanced scientists and engineers and develop a structure of graduate education in the country. Research studies began by 1973 and undergraduates studied for bachelor's degrees by 1984.

In 1981 the government merged the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) to form the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, or KAIST. Due to differing research philosophies, KIST and KAIST split in 1989. In the same year KAIST and the Korea Institute of Technology (KIT) combined and moved from Seoul to the Daedeok Science Town in Daejeon. The first act of President Suh upon his inauguration in July 2006 was to lay out the KAIST Development Plan. The ‘KAIST Development Five-Year Plan’ was finalized on February 5, 2007 by KAIST Steering Committee. The goals of KAIST set by Suh were to become one of the best science and technology universities in the world, and to become one of the top-10 universities by 2011. In January 2008, the university dropped its full name, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and changed its official name to only KAIST.[14]


February 16, 1971 Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS), Hongneung Campus, Seoul is established
March 5, 1973 Candidates matriculate for master's degree
August 20, 1975 First commencement for the master's program
September 12, 1975 Candidates matriculate for doctorate degree
August 19, 1978 First commencement for the doctoral program
December 31, 1980 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is formed by merger with KIST
June 12, 1989 KAIST and KIST separate, KAIST retains institution name
July 4, 1989 KAIST merges with Korea Institute of Technology, relocates to Daejeon
December 17, 1990 First commencement for bachelor's degree students
October 1, 1996 Establishes Korea Institute of Advanced Study (KIAS)
May 4, 2004 Founds National Nanofab Center (NNFC)
January 1, 2008 Officially changes name to acronym KAIST, replacing the spelled-out name
March 1, 2009 Acquires Information and Communications University (ICU), renaming it KAIST Information Technology Convergence Campus



A statue of Jang Young Sil, a Korean scientist, in front of science library, Daejeon campus

Admission to KAIST is based on overall grades, grades on math and science courses, recommendation letters from teachers, study plan, personal statements, and other data that show the excellence of potential students. It is Korea’s first test-free admissions system.

Full scholarships are given to all students including international students in the bachelor, master and doctorate courses.[citation needed] Doctoral students are given military-exemption benefits. In addition, many courses are provided in English. According to JoongAng Daily National Rankings, more than 80% of major courses taught at KAIST are conducted in English.

Governed by a special law, the university has an autonomous and flexible academic system. Other South Korean colleges and universities are required to abide by government-directed admissions and curriculum requirements. Undergraduate students can join the school through an “open major system” that allows students to take classes for three terms and then choose a discipline that suits their aptitude. In addition, undergraduate students are free to change their major anytime.KAIST has also produced many doctorates through the integrated master’s and doctoral program and early-completion system. Students must publish papers in internationally renowned academic journals for graduation.[15]


KAIST produced a total of 48,398 alumni from 1975 to 2014, with 13,743 bachelor's, 24,776 master's, and 9,879 doctorate degree holders. As of April 2014, 10,146 students were enrolled in KAIST with 3,980 bachelor’s, 2,918 master’s, and 3,518 doctoral students.More than 70% of KAIST undergraduate students come from specialized Science High Schools and Science Academies, which are for students gifted in science and mathematics. In Korea, the general consensus is that KAIST students are geniuses in their field. A TV series called “KAIST” that aired from 1999-2000 depicted the students as such.

On average, about 600 international students from more than 70 different countries come to study at KAIST, making KAIST one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country.

After graduation, about 70% of undergraduate students pursue a higher degree and more than 50% stay at KAIST for a Master’s degree.

45-50% of new students are selected through KAIST Early Admission, which allows them to skip their final year of high school. In addition, many students choose to enroll in the integrated master’s and doctorate program, resulting in a large number of students earning a Ph.D degree while still in their twenties.


Former Full emblem of KAIST, used until 2010.

KAIST is organized into 6 colleges, 2 schools and 33 departments/divisions. KAIST also has three affiliated institutes including the Korea Institute of Advanced Study (KIAS), National NanoFab Center (NNFC), and Korea Science Academy (KSA).[16]

College of Natural Science[edit]

College of Life Science & Bioengineering[edit]

College of Engineering[edit]

College of Information Science & Technology[edit]

School of Innovation[edit]

College of Liberal Arts and Convergence Science[edit]

  • Graduate School of Culture Technology
  • School of Humanities & Social Sciences

College of Business[edit]

Affiliated Institutes[edit]

A view of the main campus

College of Natural Science[edit]

KAIST’s College of Natural Sciences has 3 undergraduate departments (Department of Physics, Department of Mathematical Sciences, and Department of Chemistry) and 1 graduate program (Graduate School of Nanoscience & Technology). Also, research teams are organized under each of the specialized areas of the Institute of Natural Science. Core research of government agencies and major industries, global academic exchange, and international joint research is in progress. The College of Natural Sciences was ranked 47th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings. Since the establishment of the college, approximately 2,200 undergraduates, 2,600 master’s students, and 1,700 Ph.D. students have graduated and are actively serving as global leaders in various areas.

College of Life Science and Bioengineering[edit]

The College of Life Science and Bioengineering is composed of the Department of Bio & Brain Engineering, Department of Biological Sciences, and Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering. The multidisciplinary Department of Bio & Brain Engineering fosters a creative workforce that is capable of creating new knowledge and techniques in the fusion areas of electronics, computers, and nanotechnology based on biomedical science.

College of Engineering[edit]

Humanoid Robot, Hubo walks 1.2 km/h by itself, and has 10 fingers and 41 joints

The KAIST College of Engineering is composed of 1 undergraduate school (School of Mechanical Engineering Systems – Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Ocean Systems Engineering), 4 departments (Civil & Environmental Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science Engineering, Nuclear & Quantum Engineering), and 2 graduate schools (Graduate School of EEWS and The Cho Chun Shik Graduate School for Green Transportation). The College of Engineering was recently ranked 25th in the 2013 THE World University Rankings (engineering division) and 36th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings (19th for Mechanical Engineering and 20th for Chemical Engineering). The College of Engineering has graduated approximately 3,500 undergraduates, 7,500 master’s students, and 3,800 Ph.D. students – the graduates are active in various fields as global leaders.

College of Information Science and Technology[edit]

College of Information Science and Technology consists of 8 departments (Department of Electrical Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Department of Information and Communications Engineering, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Department of Knowledge Service Engineering, Department of Industrial Design, Division of Web Science and Technology, Graduate School of Information Security) In particular, the College of Information Science and Technology will continue to pursue convergence research done by the IT industry, and offer advanced education and construct research systems, in order to contribute to our nation’s reputation as a leader in the field of IT Convergence.

College of Liberal Arts and Convergence Science[edit]

The College of Liberal Arts and Convergence Science is composed of the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Graduate School of Culture Technology, Department of Business and Technology Management, Graduate School of Future Strategy, Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy. The College of Liberal Arts and Convergence Science pursues openness between science and liberal arts, education with active communication, and a manifestation of harmony between mathematical logic and emotional imagination.

College of Business[edit]

KAIST Business School (also known as KAIST College of Business) is a graduate school for research and teaching in science and technology. The College of Business focuses on management education grafted with technology and is the first university in Korea to introduce an American MBA education system. KAIST Business School provides various MBA programs (Techno-MBA, Social Entrepreneurship MBA, Finance MBA, IMBA, Information and Media MBA, Executive MBA, Professional MBA, Green MBA.


A view of the main campus
KAIST Main Library

KAIST has two campuses in Daejeon and one campus in Seoul. The university is mainly located in the Daedeok Research Complex in the city of Daejeon, 150 kilometers south of the capital Seoul. Daedeok is also home to some 50 public and private research institutes, universities and high-tech venture capital companies.

The Daejeon campus (besides Daejeon Expo Park) plays main roles including lectures, research activities, housing services. It has a total of 29 dormitories where all students wishing to reside can stay. Twenty-three dormitories for male students and four dormitories for female students are located on the outskirts of the campus, and two apartments for married students are located outside the campus.

KAIST Seoul Campus is the home of the Business Faculty of the university. Graduate school of finance, management and information & media management is located there. The total area of Seoul Campus is 413,346 m2 (4,449,220 sq ft). Its primary goal is to achieve an optimal combination of engineering and business studies which will make engineers more effective at their craft.

The Munji campus, previously ICU (Information and Communication University) campus, KAIST Information Technology Convergence Campus near main campus, has a total of two dormitories, one for undergraduate students and the other for graduate students.

Main Library[edit]

KAIST Main Library was established in 1971 as KAIS library, and it went through a merge and separation process with KIST library. It merged with KIT in March 1990. A contemporary 5 story building was constructed as the Main Library, and it is being operated with an annex library. The library uses the American LC Classification Schedule.[17]

Daedeok Innopolis[edit]

Daedeok Innopolis, formally known as the Daedeok Science Park, is a cluster of institutions in research and development of technology located in Daedeok Valley in northern Daejeon. The cluster is built around KAIST, Chungnam National University, a group of government research institutes in applied technologies, corporate research centers and more than 1,000 venture companies.[18]


Seven KAIST Institutes (KIs) have been set up: the KI for the BioCentury, the KI for Information Technology Convergence, the KI for the Design of Complex Systems, the KI for Entertainment Engineering, the KI for the NanoCentury, the KI for Eco-Energy, and the KI for Urban Space and Systems. Each KI is operated as an independent research center at the level of a college, receiving support in terms of finance and facilities. KAIST is currently conducting research planned by the government and private businesses that are worth mounts as much as 100 billion won. In terms of ownership of intellectual property rights, KAIST holds 2,694 domestic patents and 723 international patents so far.[19]

Unusually for a mainstream scientific institute, KAIST has an active creation science presence: it has had a creation science display on campus since 1993, and has a creationist group, the Research Association for Creation Science;[20] see creationism in South Korea for context and details.

Electric vehicles[edit]

Researchers at KAIST have developed an electric transport system called Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), where the vehicles get their power from cables underneath the surface of the road via non-contact magnetic charging (a power source is placed underneath the road surface and power is wirelessly picked up on the vehicle itself). As a possible solution to traffic congestion and to improve overall efficiency by minimizing air resistance and so reduce energy consumption, the test vehicles followed the power track in a convoy. In July 2009 the researchers successfully supplied up to 60% power to a bus over a gap of 12 cm (4.7 in) from a power line embedded in the ground using power supply and pick up technology developed in-house.[21]

Academic rankings[edit]

University rankings
ARWU[22] 201-300
Times[23] 52
QS[24] 51
ARWU[25] 24-35
Times[26] 8
QS (World version)[4]
QS (Asian version)[5]

In 2013/14 QS World University Rankings ranked KAIST 60th overall in the world and 12th within Asia, coming 16th in Material Sciences and 24th in Engineering and Technology.[27] In the 2009 THE-QS World University Rankings (in 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings parted ways to produce separate rankings) for Engineering & IT, the University was placed 21st in the world and 1st in Korea[28] and was placed 69th overall.[29] KAIST was again recognized as a number one University in Korea by JoongAng Ilbo Review. In the year of 2009, KAIST's department of industrial design has also been listed in the top 30 Design Schools by Business Week.[30] KAIST ranked the best university in Republic of Korea and the 7th university in Asia in the Top 100 Asian Universities list, the first regional ranking issued by THE-QS World Rankings.[31][verification needed]

Times Higher Education ranked KAIST the third best university in the world under the age of 50 years in its 2014 league table.[7]

Notable faculty and staff[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


Science and technology[edit]


Notes and references[edit]

  • The Times-QS World University Rankings 2009 - KAIST 69th overall, 21st in the field of Engineering/Technology
  1. ^ a b c d e f g "KAIST Facts & Figures". KAIST Official Website. KAIST. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "KAIST General Information". KAIST Official Website. KAIST. Retrieved January 22, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Park, Geunhong (21 April 2011). "The Advance of a Korean Institute: A Brief History of KAIST". herald.kaist.ac.kr. KAIST Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings (extracting Asian universities from the list for counting this position)". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.topuniversities.com/institution/kaist-korea-advanced-institute-science-technology
  7. ^ a b "Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 2014". timeshighereducation.co.uk. Thomson Reuters. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Carnegie Mellon and KAIST To Launch Dual Degree Program in Civil and Environmental Engineering". cmu.edu. Carnegie Mellon University. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "GT-ECE/KAIST-EE Dual BS and MS Program". gatech.edu. Georgia Institute of Technology. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Agreement on Dual Degree Master Program Between KAIST Department of Computer Science and Technische Universitat Berlin Fakultat fur Elektrotechnik und Informatik (Fakultat IV)". eecs.tu-berlin.de. Technische Universitat Berlin. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "KAIST Goals and Strategies". KAIST.edu. KAIST. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Inflation Calculator". Westegg.com. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "KAIST's history and vision". KAIST.edu. KAIST. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  14. ^ 'KAIST' Decides Not to Use Original Full Name, KAIST announcement, January 10, 2008.
  15. ^ http://www.kaist.ac.kr/html/en/kaist/kaist_01020601.html
  16. ^ "About KAIST". www.kaist.edu. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.kaist.ac.kr/html/en/research/research_0406.html
  18. ^ "Introducing INNOPOLIS-Statistics". dd.innopolis.or.kr. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  19. ^ KAIST Institute (KI)
  20. ^ Park, Soo Bin (2012-06-05). "South Korea surrenders to creationist demands". Nature 486 (7401): 14. doi:10.1038/486014a. PMID 22678257. Retrieved 2012-06-19.  edit
  21. ^ Gizmag.com
  22. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  23. ^ "World University Rankings 2014-2015". Times Higher Education. 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  24. ^ "QS World University Rankings (2014/15)". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Asia University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  27. ^ "QS World University Rankings (2013/14)". 
  28. ^ "The Times - QS World University Rankings 2007 - Technology". Archived from the original on 2008-01-26. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  29. ^ "The Times-QS World University Rankings 2008". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  30. ^ "D-Schools: The Global List". Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  31. ^ In the Top 100 Asian Universities List, HKU won the first, KAIST 7th, SNU 8th(2009 아시아 대학평가 홍콩대 1위, 카이스트 7위, 서울대 8위) Chosun Ilbo 2009.5.12. (조선일보 5월 12일)
  32. ^ "QS World University Rankings: KAIST Rankings". QS World University Rankings. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  33. ^ http://physics.kaist.ac.kr/xe/nam_chang_hee

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°22′19″N 127°21′47″E / 36.372°N 127.363°E / 36.372; 127.363