University of Yangon

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Yangon University
ရန်ကုန် တက္ကသိုလ်
IPA: [jàɴɡòʊɴ tɛʔkəθò]
Seal of Yangon University
Motto နိတ္ထိ သမံ ဝိဇ္ဇာ မိတ္ထံ
Motto in English
With Truth and Loyalty
Established 1878
Type Public
Rector Dr. Aung Thu
Academic staff
Undergraduates 13,500
Postgraduates 1,000
Location Kamayut 11041, Yangon, Yangon Division, Myanmar
Campus Urban
Affiliations ASEAN University Network (AUN), ASAIHL

Yangon University (also the University of Yangon; Burmese: ရန်ကုန် တက္ကသိုလ်, pronounced: [jàɴɡòʊɴ tɛʔkəθò]; formerly Rangoon College, Rangoon University and Rangoon Arts and Sciences University), located in Kamayut, Yangon, is the oldest and most well-known university in Myanmar. The university offers mainly graduate degree (master's, post-graduate diploma and doctorate) programmes in liberal arts, sciences and law. Full-time bachelor's degree have not been offered at the university's main campus since the student protests of 1996.

Yangon University is the progenitor of most major universities in the country. Until 1958 when Mandalay University became an independent university, all institutions of higher education in Myanmar were under Yangon University. After the University Education Act of 1964, all professional colleges and institutes of the university such as the Institute of Medicine 1, Rangoon Institute of Technology and Yangon Institute of Economics all became independent universities, leaving the university with liberal arts, sciences and law.

From the beginning, Yangon University has been at the centre of civil discontent throughout its history. All three nationwide strikes against the British (1920, 1936 and 1938) began at then Rangoon University. Anti-colonial movement's leaders like Aung San, U Nu, Ne Win and U Thant were all alumni of the university. The tradition of student protest at the university continued in the post-colonial era—in 1962, 1974, 1988 and most recently in 1996.[1]


Rangoon College in the early 1900s, before the merger with Judson College.

Established in 1878 as an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta, the Rangoon College was operated and managed by the Education Syndicate set up by the British colonial administration.[2] The college was renamed Government College in 1904, and University College in 1920. Rangoon University was founded in 1920, when University College (secular) and Judson College (Baptist-affiliated) were merged. The American Baptist Mission decided to recognise Judson College (formerly Baptist College) as a separate institution within Rangoon University.[2] Rangoon University modelled itself after University of Cambridge and University of Oxford.[3] All subsequent institutions of higher learning founded by the British were placed under Rangoon University's administration: Mandalay College in Mandalay in 1925, Teachers Training College and Medical College in Yangon in 1930, and Agriculture College in Mandalay in 1938.[4]

Although it was attended only by the elites of the day, the university nonetheless was at the center of anti-colonial movement. All three nationwide strikes against the British colonial government (1920, 1936 and 1938) began at the university. By the 1930s, the university was the hotbed of Burmese nationalism, producing a number of future senior Burmese politicians, including Aung San, U Nu, Ba Maw, Kyaw Nyein, Ba Swe, U Thant and Thein Pe Myint, etc.

Rangoon University suffered damage during World War II.
Mesua ferrea is a sign flower of the university

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Rangoon University was the most prestigious university in Southeast Asia and one of the top universities in Asia, attracting students from across the region.[3][5][6]

After the military coup of 1962 under Gen. Ne Win and the Burmese Way to Socialism, Rangoon University was put directly under the control of the Directorate of Higher Education, a central government agency, whereas previously it was run by a council of professors, scholars and government officials.[3] In addition, the medium of instruction was changed to Burmese, a radical departure from English, which had been the University's medium of instruction since its founding. Educational standards began to decline markedly and international bodies stopped recognizing degrees issued or obtained at the University.[3] The university was also renamed the Rangoon Arts and Sciences University (abbreviated RASU), after certain departments and faculties (medicine, economics, education, etc.) were separated from the University in 1964.

Rangoon University students staged a peaceful demonstration and protest on campus against 'unjust university rules' on 7 July 1962. Ne Win sent his troops to disperse the students which led to dozens of students being shot dead and the historic Rangoon University Student Union (RUSU) building being dynamited to rubble the next morning.

In November 1974 the former UN Secretary General U Thant died, and on the day of his funeral on 5 December 1974, Rangoon University students snatched his coffin on display at the Kyaikkasan Race Course, and erected a makeshift mausoleum on the grounds of the RUSU in protest against the government for not honouring their famous countryman with a state funeral. The military stormed the campus on 11 December killing some of the students, recovered the coffin, and buried U Thant at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda.

In 1989, after the military junta had changed place names throughout Myanmar, the University was renamed Yangon University. The University was closed for most of the 1990s, because of fears of a repeat of the 8888 Uprising, in order to prevent student activists from assembling. To this day, the university is shut down at irregular intervals by the government. To prevent students from congregating, the government has dispersed the existing institutions and departments that make up Yangon University into separate learning institutions scattered throughout the city. Today, only graduate studies, certain professional courses, and a few diploma courses are conducted at the University's main campus. Newer universities such as Dagon University, University of East Yangon and University of West Yangon are designated for undergraduates.

Yangon University celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in a week-long celebration, which began on 1 December 1995. The Jubilee marked the school's formal establishment of 75 years. For its commemoration, the government built the Diamond Jubilee Hall, a four-storied building in the University's grounds, which cost K 630,000,000, and a new set of postage stamps was also produced.[7] Once-affiliated institutes and departments (e.g., the Institute of Economics, Yangon which began life as a department at Yangon University), which had already separated, also celebrated.


Judson Church at sunrise
Judson Tower in 2012
Dhamma Hall
Convocation Hall - Rehearsal Day
Inya Hall
Arts building
Mandalay Hall houses the Department of English
Universities Central Library
Recreation centre which hosts all major indoor sports games and shops
Yadana Hall
Entrance from Pyay Road via Judson Tower
Thiri Hall (female dorm)
Entrance signboard from the University Avenue via Adipati street
Mandalay Hall, now the Department of English
Pinya Hall
Marla Hall, now renamed the National Centre for the English Language

Yangon University is located in Yangon, along the southwestern bank of Inya Lake, the largest lake in the city. It is on the corner of Pyay Road and University Avenue Road in Kamayut Township, north of downtown Yangon. The modern campus of Yangon University completed construction in 1920. There are two campuses, namely Main Campus and Hlaing Campus, the former being the most well-known. Judson Church, inside the main campus of the University, is a Baptist church, and like Judson College, named after Adoniram Judson, a 19th-century American missionary who compiled the first Burmese-English dictionary. The main campus also contains a convocation hall.


The accommodation in Burma is not mixed and the availability is limited. Women's halls have limited rules whilst men's have none.

* Amara Hall (Department of philosophy)
  • Bago Hall
  • Bagan Hall (women's)
  • Dagon Hall
  • Inwa Hall
  • Inya Hall (women's)
  • Marla Hall (women's)
  • Nawaday Hall
  • Pinya Hall
  • Pyay Hall (women's)
  • Ramanya Hall( Department of psychology)
  • Sagaing Hall
  • Shwebo Hall
  • Taungoo Hall (Department of Myanmar and English). * Visual Hall ( Departments of History, Archeology and International relations )
  • Tagaung Hall (women's)
  • Thahton Hall
  • Thiri Hall (women's)
  • Yadana Hall (women's)

Other important buildings[edit]

  • Arts Building
  • Convocation Hall
  • Recreation Centre
  • Science Building
  • University Dhamma Hall
  • University Sanatorium
  • University Diamond Jubilee Hall
  • University Hospital
  • University Post Office. Painting Hall


  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Industrial Chemistry
  • Department of Zoology
  • Department of Botany
  • Department of Law
  • Department of English
  • Department of Burmese
  • Department of History
  • Department of International Relations
  • Department of Library and Information Studies
  • Department of Geology
  • Department of Oriental Studies
  • Department of Computer Studies
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Archaeology
  • Department of Anthropology


Yangon University offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. The undergraduate programmes are subdivided into three categories: Arts (B.A.), Sciences (B.Sc.), and Law(LL.B). The choice of different fields of learning takes place in upper secondary school where students choose particular subjects directed towards their tertiary education. Postgraduate degrees are separated into three groups: Doctorates, Master's, and diplomas. Since the uprising of 1996, YU no longer offers any full-time undergraduate programmes. In addition, the authorities no longer allow undergraduate students on campus.

Program Bachelor's Master's Doctorate
Burmese BA MA PhD
Computer Science BA MA PhD
English BA MA PhD
Geology BSc MSc PhD
History BA MA PhD
Philosophy BA MA PhD
Psychology BA MA PhD
Botany BSc MSc PhD
Chemistry BSc MSc PhD
Mathematics BSc MSc PhD
Physics BSc MSc PhD
Zoology BSc MSc PhD
Industrial Chemistry BSc MSc PhD

Notable alumni[edit]


  • Aung San: National independence hero, revolutionary and founder of the Tatmadaw, the modern Burmese armed forces
  • Ba Cho: Minister of Information 1946–1947
  • Ba Maw: Premier of Burma from 1937–1939 and Prime Minister 1943-1945 (period under Japanese Occupation)
  • Ba Swe: Prime Minister of Burma 1956-1957


  • Hla Pe: Professor of Burmese at the University of London
  • John Furnivall: Scholar on Burma studies and civil servant
  • Nyi Nyi: Deputy Minister of Education (1965–1974), geology professor[8]
  • Pessie Madan: Indian leader of the high-technology research and development sector
  • Pe Maung Tin: Scholar on Pali and Buddhism
  • Pho Kyar: Novelist and education reformist
  • Ronald Findlay: Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics at Columbia University.
  • Taw Sein Ko: Archaeologist and Director of the Burma Archaeological Service
  • Than Tun: Historian
  • Tha Hla: Founder of the Geology department, Professor of Geology, then Rector of Rangoon University before being ousted by General Ne Win after the military coup in 1962 and put into the role of 'Advisor to the Ministry of Mines'. Went on to UNESCO and UNDP for the rest of his career.
  • U Myint: Economist[9]
  • Khin Maung Sein: A Malaysia-based international law scholar and the Deputy Dean (Research and Postgraduate) of Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia.[10]

Arts and literature[edit]


  1. ^ Zin Linn (November 20, 2012). "President Obama rejuvenates Rangoon University of Burma" (News & blogging). Asian Correspondent (Bristol, England: Hybrid News Limited). Retrieved November 20, 2012. People of Burma ... satisfied with the choice of a venue made by the U.S. President ... the convocation hall of the University of Rangoon.... 
  2. ^ a b James, Helen (2005). Governance And Civil Society In Myanmar: Education, Health, and Environment. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-35558-3. 
  3. ^ a b c d Khin Maung Kyi (2000). Economic Development of Burma: a Vision and a Strategy. SUP. p. 150. ISBN 91-88836-16-9. 
  4. ^ Ko Yin Aung (1999-12-23). "Prospects of education in Myanmar". The New Light of Myanmar. 
  5. ^ Rothenberg, Daniel (Fall 2002). "Towards a New Modern Developed Nation". The Journal of the International Institute. Retrieved 22 May 2006. [dead link]
  6. ^ Szep, Jason; Raju Gopalakrishnan and Ron Popeski (27 November 2011). "Yangon: From stately city to crumbling symbol of isolation". Reuters. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Myanmar Philately". Tharaphi. 
  8. ^ Zar Ni. "5". Knowledge, Control and Power: The Politics of Education under Burma's Military Dictatorship (1962-88) (Ph.D. thesis). University of Wisconsin - Madison. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  9. ^ Ba Kaung (27 April 2011). "Thein Sein Appoints Presidential Advisors". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Professor Dr. Abdul Ghafur Hamid @ Khin Maung Sein". International Islamic University Malaysia. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  11. ^ "Burmese Literary Pioneer". The Irrawaddy. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 16°49′47.95″N 96°8′7.61″E / 16.8299861°N 96.1354472°E / 16.8299861; 96.1354472