Nazarbayev University

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Nazarbayev University
Kazakh: Назарбаев Университеті
Russian: Назарбаев Университет
NU Building.jpg
Type Public
Established 2010
President Shigeo Katsu
Students 4017
Location Astana, Kazakhstan
Nazarbayev University Logo.png

Nazarbayev University (NU) is an autonomous research university in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Founded as a result of the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2010,[1] it is an English-medium institution, with an international faculty and staff. The acceptance rate for undergraduate programs is 1:8.5. All undergraduate students attend free of charge, and students in good standing receive a stipend. The faculty-to-student class ratio is 1:9.

Nazarbayev University aims to become the national brand of Kazakhstan higher education, combining the advantages of the national education system and the world's best scientific and educational practice. The university management bodies are the Executive Board, Board of Trustees and the Supreme Board of Trustees. The Chairman of the Supreme Board of Trustees is the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.[2]


On October 17, 2009, the strategy for the 2010-2012 university development was approved, during the first meeting of the New University of Astana’s Board of Directors, chaired by Prime Minister Karim Masimov.[3]

In June 2010, in accordance with government decree, the university changed its name to “Nazarbayev University”.

In Fall 2010, admission to Nazarbayev University’s Foundation Program began.

On December 22, 2010, Majilis approved a bill on “Nazarbayev University’s” status.

On January 19, 2011, the President of Kazakhstan signed the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on “Nazarbayev University’s status”, “Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools”, and “Nazarbayev Fund”.

On June 15, 2011, Nazarbayev University changed its legal status and was renamed “Autonomous organization of education “Nazarbayev University”. The university uses its own educational standards, and is not administered by the Ministry of Education and Science of RK. The activity of the university is regulated by the special Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on “Nazarbayev University’s status”, “Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools” and “Nazarbayev Fund”.

In 2012, the new international university was presented within the two-day workshop in Astana. Among the participants of the workshop were: Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov, Minister of Education and Science; Ann Lonsdale, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University; Jeffrey Wachtel, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University; Michael Wharton Vice-Provost of University College London, and professors of National University of Singapore and other universities. By the end of the workshop, the recommendations on the formation of a Board of Trustees and Advisory Board, as well as the signing of cooperation agreements between universities of a number of countries had been developed.[4]

In 2013, Nazarbayev University began admission to Master’s and PhD programs of the Graduate School of Business, and Graduate School of Education.

On August 20, 2014, Nazarbayev University had its first cohort of master's degree graduates.

46 graduates of Nazarbayev University in Management of Education, with the specialization in higher and secondary education, became the first Master’s Program graduates.

In November 2014, the ceremony of awarding certificates of completion for the Executive МВА program, with conferring of a “Master of Business Administration” degree, took place at the Graduate School of Business.

In June 2015, Nazarbayev University celebrated its first graduation ceremony. 380 Bachelor’s Degree graduates, and 142 Master’s Degree graduates received Nazarbayev University diplomas.[5]

In September 2015, the Nazarbayev University School of Medicine opened with the first admission of students to its M.D. program.

In December 24, 2015, in accordance with Article 3 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated February 18, 2011, "On Science", the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated December 7, 2010 № 1118 "On approval of the State of Kazakhstan education development program for 2011 – 2020," the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan autonomous organization education "Nazarbayev University" was awarded the research university status. Additionally, the university research development program autonomous organization of education "Nazarbayev University" for 2016 – 2020 years was approved.

In June 2016, Nazarbayev University celebrated its second graduation ceremony. 443 Bachelor’s Degree graduates and 178 Master’s Degree graduates received Nazarbayev University diplomas.


Nazarbayev University First Year Program (NUFYP)[edit]

One-year intensive foundation course of the NU Center for Preparatory Studies for entering the Nazarbayev University bachelor's degree programs

Undergraduate Programs[edit]

School of Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Civil Engineering

School of Science and Technologies

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Robotics and Mechatronics

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Economics
  • Political Science & International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • World Languages and Literature

Master's and Doctorate Programs[edit]

Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Public Policy

Graduate School of Business

School of Engineering

School of Science and Technologies

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Medicine

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Master of Public Health

Professional development short-time programs[edit]

Executive Education programs for top and mid-level managers

Professional Development Program for Higher Education Leaders of the universities in Kazakhstan

Professional Development Program for public sector professionals


Since opening in the Fall of 2010, The Nazarbayev University Library (NUL) provides access to information, technology, reference help and programing to support the learning, teaching, and research of students, Faculty, and staff.

Access to Information

NUL provides access to a wide range of electronic and printed resources:

  • Print Books and e-books
  • Audiobooks
  • Print periodicals and e-journals
  • DVDs
  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Central Asian newspaper microforms up to 1860’s

The Library supports the language of instruction of the institution by providing a mostly English language collection. To support local culture and interests, the library has growing collection of Kazakh and Russian literature.

The Library develops the collection according to requests from the Nazarbayev University community and Subject Librarians. NUL subscribes to more than 60 databases providing access to hundreds of books, thousands of journals and millions of articles. The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides an Interlibrary Loan service for Faculty to request materials not available through the databases.

Nazarbayev University Repository

Nazarbayev University Repository (NUR) is an institutional electronic archive for long term storage, accumulation and provision for reliable open access to scientific research results and intellectual products of the Nazarbayev University community. NUR is an opportunity for faculty, researchers, and graduate students to increase the web visibility and citation count of articles and thesis.


The Library provides computer workstations, scanners, and assistive learning technologies (Magnifier, JAWS, Braille Translator) to community members with physical and learning disabilities. Also available are E-readers.

Subject and Reference Librarians

Assigned to each School and Research Center is a personal Librarian that acts as a liaison between the community and the Library. Reference Librarians offer workshops, classroom instruction, and LibGuides to promote information literacy, technology, database training, citations, plagiarism, and much more.


Throughout the year, the NUL acts as a consulting and training center for Kazakhstani Librarians by offering workshops, training, seminars, and webinars. The Library holds an annual seminar as a part of Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum (EHELF).The Library is an active member of Kazakhstan Association of University Libraries and promotes professional development for Academic Librarians.


In addition to the research conducted in the schools by faculty, staff and students, Nazarbayev University is home to:

The main goals of NLA is carrying out multidisciplinary basic and/or applied research in the field of life sciences, energy, and other interdisciplinary areas of science, as well as activities to establish a scientific laboratory, experimental bases, centers, institutes for the development and implementation of scientific, scientific and technical, educational programs and training.

The primary purposes of NURIS shall be carrying out activities in the field of science and education, including research (fundamental and applied research), scientific and technological, educational, scientific and service activities, as well as provision with teaching and research laboratory experimental facilities of Nazarbayev University.

Research Laboratories[edit]


In compliance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated January 19, 2011 “On the status of “Nazarbayev University”, “Nazarbayev Intellectual schools” and “Nazarbayev Fund”, the governance bodies of Nazarbayev University are as follows:

• Supreme Board of Trustees

• Board of Trustees of the University

• Executive bodies of the University

The Supreme Board of Trustees is the highest governance body of the University, Intellectual Schools and the Fund, which is headed by the Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The competences of the Supreme Board of Trustees include the approval of a long-term development strategy and charter of the University, Intellectual Schools and the Fund; approval of a procedure for asset management; composing Boards of Trustees of the University, Intellectual Schools and the Fund.

The Board of Trustees of the University is the governance body that is in charge of general management of the University’s activities.

NU governing structure[6]


President - Shigeo Katsu [1]

Board of Trustees of the University [2]

NU Campus infrastructure[edit]

  • Territory 145,7 ha
  • About 6158 people
  • 4017 students, 2141 staff
  • 34 vehicles owned + 620 cars parking
  • Over 20 building in use
  • Over 70 research and teaching labs
  • Technopark


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°05′24″N 71°23′58″E / 51.09000°N 71.39944°E / 51.09000; 71.39944