Pohang University of Science and Technology

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Pohang University of Science and Technology
POSTECH emblem.svg
Motto성실, 창의, 진취
Motto in English
Integrity, Creativity, and Aspiration
PresidentDoh-Yeon Kim
Academic staff
283 (2018)[1]
Students3,581 (2018)[1]
Undergraduates1,422 (2018)[1]
Postgraduates2,159 (2018)[1]
Location, ,
MascotPostech Ponix (Phoenix)
POSTECH logo.svg
Pohang University of Science and Technology
浦項工科大學校 (or) 포스텍
Revised RomanizationPohang Gonggwa Daehakgyo (or) Poseutek
McCune–ReischauerP'ohang Konggwa Taehakkyo (or) P'osŭt'ek

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is a private research university in Pohang, South Korea dedicated to research and education in science and technology.

In 2012–2014, the Times Higher Education ranked POSTECH 1st in its "100 Under 50 Young Universities" rankings. Since its establishment, POSTECH has been maintaining its prestige and reputation as one of the most prominent young research universities in the world, being 83rd overall in the QS World University Rankings 2019[2] and 12th best in QS Asia University Ranking 2017–2018.[3]



POSTECH was established in 1986 in Pohang, Korea by POSCO, one of the world's leading steel companies, for the purpose of providing advanced education for budding engineers and laying the groundwork for future technological development.[4]

The founder of POSCO and the founding chairman of POSTECH, Park Tae-joon realized the need for Korea to educate their youth in science and technology to ensure Korea's position in the high technology arena. Park wanted to use the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as a model for POSTECH and visited the university on a business trip to Los Angeles in 1985. He noted characteristics of Caltech and requested to the POSTECH founding team to establish a contemporary research university that had: a low student-faculty ratio, a greater proportion of graduate students to undergraduates, a low net education cost, student on-campus housing, and a high-quality campus environment. These features represented a drastic departure from the Korean universities of the 1980s.[4]

POSCO organized a task force on February 21, 1984 made up of POSCO employees selected by the company. The American engineering firm, Burns and Roe, had a branch office in Seoul and was asked to help design this new University. Burns and Roe, had an architectural branch office, Roe/Eliseo, in Manhattan. Paul Balev was the architect at Roe/Eliseo who designed the new University now known as POSTECH. Four Korean architectural firms were engaged to develop the design and construction documents with the help of design criteria books produced by Roe/Eliseo. Construction work began on August 17, 1985. On May 4, 1986, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited POSTECH and donated an Inmos transputer, one of the leading edge computer parts at the time. The first matriculation ceremony was held on March 5, 1987. A group of 249 freshmen were selected from the top one percent of all graduating seniors in Korea to be taught by an international faculty recruited by POSTECH founding president Hogil Kim and POSTECH task force head manager Dai Kong Lee. The first degree awarding ceremony was on February 20, 1991. Diplomas were awarded to 146 graduating seniors, 123 (84%) of whom went on to pursue graduate studies. The remaining 23 graduates were employed by the nation's major corporations including POSCO, Samsung, LG, and Hyundai.[5]

To facilitate translational research and active academia-industry collaboration, POSTECH hosted POSCO's Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST) on campus. In 1994, POSTECH set up the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL), a 3rd-generation synchrotron light source and now a national facility. PAL-XFEL, a 4th-generation light source X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) was completed in 2016 at the cost of US$390 million, the third of its kind in the world, and will open up new frontiers and research areas in life sciences, materials, chemistry, and physics.[6]

Margaret Thatcher visits POSTECH
Margaret Thatcher with POSTECH president Hogil Kim in May 1986


Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology
The Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology is the world's only fully accredited institute in the field of steel science and technology.
December 3, 1986 POSTECH founded by Founding Chairman Tae-joon Park and First President Hogil Kim
March 5, 1987 First matriculation ceremony
March 1, 1989 Department of Life Sciences established
February 7, 1990 First commencement for M.S. candidates
February 20, 1991 Conferment of first B.S. degrees
December 7, 1994 Completion of Pohang Light Source
May 15, 1998 Ranked 1st among Asian science and technology universities by Asiaweek Magazine
February 28, 2000 Pohang Techno Park established jointly with the City of Pohang and POSCO
August 23, 2001 Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics relocates to POSTECH
August 17, 2002 Selected as an "Excellent University for Educational Reform" for the seventh consecutive year by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development
April 25, 2003 Tae-joon Park Digital Library opens
September 9, 2005 Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) established
May 30, 2007 National Institute for Nanomaterials Technology established
March 2, 2010 Bilingual campus declared
June 14, 2010 Agreement with Max Planck Society to establish Max Planck POSTECH/Korea Research Initiative
September 16, 2010 Ranked 28th in the World University Rankings by Times Higher Education
July 6, 2011 Department of Creative IT Engineering established
August 20, 2012 Graduate School of Engineering Mastership established
December 1, 2012 Selected as one of the 2012 Top 100 Global Innovators by Thomson Reuters
February 15, 2013 Tae-joon Park Institute opened
May 9, 2013 Groundbreaking of PAL-XFEL
June 13, 2013 Four research centers of Institute for Basic Science established
June 20, 2013 Ranked 1st among the top 100 universities under 50 years old by Times Higher Education
October 7, 2013 Ranked 1st in Joong Ang Ilbo Korean University Rankings 2013
May 2, 2014 Ranked 1st among the top 100 universities under 50 years old by Times Higher Education (three consecutive years)
September 15, 2014 POSTECH Entrepreneurship Center opened (supported by Small & Medium Business Administration)
September 19, 2014 APGC-Lab and a new start-up company (exBrain) opened
October 6, 2014 Ranked 1st in Joongang Ilbo Korean University Rankings (two consecutive years)
December 17, 2014 The Pohang Center for Creative Economy & Innovation opened (5th floor of C5)
June 4, 2016 PAL-XFEL achieved first light


Number Name Years in office
1 Hogil Kim 1985-1994
2 Sooyoung Chang 1994-1998
3 Sungkee Chang 1998-2002
4 Chanmo Park 2003-2007
5 Sunggi Baik 2007-2011
6 Yongmin Kim 2011–2015
7 Doh-Yeon Kim 2015–2019
8 Moo Hwan Kim 2019–Present

University rankings[edit]

University rankings
QS National[7]General 6
ARWU National[8]General 9-10
USNWR National[9]General 6
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version)[10]
General 24
THE Asia[11]General 16
USNWR Asia[12]General 40
THE World[13]General 146
QS World[14]General 87
USNWR World[15]General 322
ARWU World[16]Research 401-500
THE World (Young)[17]General/Young 8
QS World (50 Under 50)[18]General/Young 7

In 1998, POSTECH was ranked by Asiaweek as the best science and technology university in Asia.[19] From 2002 to 2006, one of Korea's most circulated daily newspapers, JoongAng Ilbo, ranked POSTECH as the leading university in Korea. In 2010, the Times Higher Education ranked POSTECH 28th in the world.[20] In 2011, the Times Higher Education[21] ranked the university as the 53rd best university in the world, the 6th best in Asia, and the best in South Korea. In 2017–2018, QS World University Rankings ranked POSTECH 71st overall in the world. It remains third best ranked in Korea, after Seoul National University and KAIST, in the QS Asian University Rankings.[22] However, in the Times Higher Education rankings, it scored highly after compilers placed less emphasis on "reputation and heritage" and gave more weight to objective measures including the influence of universities' research, placing 53rd.[23] In 2012 and 2013, the Times Higher Education ranked POSTECH 1st in its "100 Under 50 Young Universities" rankings.[24] The New York Times[25] and the International Herald Tribune[26] cited POSTECH's rapid ascent as a young university to top the world rankings in less than 50 years.


POSTECH is a 400-acre campus located twenty minutes by car from downtown Pohang, an hour by bus from Busan, and approximately two and half hours by train (KTX) from Seoul.

Traditional Korean performance at Tae-Joon Park Library

Tae-Joon Park Digital Library[edit]

Completed in 2003, the Tae-Joon Park Library is 24,420 square meters with 352,977 volumes and 8,324 digital and paper journals. As of 2005, the library collection consists of approximately 320,000 books, 3,500 journals, 7,000 e-journals 25 databases, and 4,400 multimedia materials. The Library shares materials with industrial-educational-research cooperation and is part of an intercollegiate data exchange program with approximately 150 other research and educational institutions throughout the nation.[27]

Smart campus[edit]

POSTECH operates a Smart Campus where the scientific and technological information of the world is accessible anywhere on campus using different types of smart phones and mobile devices as well as laptops. In 2010, for the first time among Korean universities, POSTECH implemented a Desktop Cloud Service, providing a convenient and secure computing environment. However, many of the previously implemented technological services (e.g. campus smartphone applications, university website, university online portal, etc.) are defective as they have not been since updated. [28]

On-campus dormitories and family housing[edit]

POSTECH offers students living on-campus in affordable dormitories and apartments for married graduate students. The student housing complex is composed of 23 five-story student dormitories, one 13-story undergraduate student dormitory, and 4 graduate student apartments. All POSTECH undergraduate students are required to live in one of the on-campus dormitories and many graduate students prefer to stay on campus, either in the student dormitories or in one of the four high-rise graduate student apartments.

Gymnasium and sports complex[edit]

POSTECH has a range of sports facilities, from a gymnasium equipped with racquetball, basketball and badminton courts to POSPLEX, a sports center with a swimming pool, a fitness center and an indoor golf driving range, and outdoor sports fields for tennis, futsal, and soccer.

"First bilingual campus in Korea"[edit]

In March 2010, POSTECH declared the initiation of a bilingual campus. However, the vast majority of notices and announcements are made only in Korean. Most major official events (e.g., commencement) are also only run in Korean. While course catalogs list certain courses as taught in English, many students have raised concerns of professors deciding to teach in Korean because international members represent only a minority of the classroom. The rising consensus from international students reveals the difficulty of living and studying as a non-Korean speaker at POSTECH.



POSTECH admits approximately 300 undergraduate students each year. POSTECH received 1,987 applicants for freshman admission and admitted 323 for the 2014 school year. POSTECH provides the highest educational investment and the most per-student scholarship support in Korea, allowing students from all economic backgrounds the opportunity to obtain a POSTECH education.[29]

Graduate admissions[edit]

A growing number of international students attend POSTECH as it expands its recruiting efforts abroad. POSTECH offers full tuition fellowships to excellent graduate students from the following countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. However, the international program still lacks proper care and attention to the well-being and integration of international students into POSTECH, as the university's cultural and social norms are not suited for an international community.

All graduate students receive a small teaching assistant scholarships and the university provides the Tae-Joon Park Graduate Fellowship, which provides the highest level of scholarship (approximately 25 million South Korean won) to about 50 top graduate students each year. The POSCO Fellowship is available for students recommended by a POSTECH departmental committee and then selected by the POSCO TJ Park Foundation.[30] POSTECH offers a one-time settlement grant of approximately US$1,500 to all incoming international graduate students during the first semester of enrollment.

Graduate students have the option of enrolling in the MS-Ph.D. integrated program. Under this program, students can work towards a Ph.D. degree after passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam without going through the MS program. Ph.D. applicants must have earned a master's degree before enrolling at POSTECH.

Undergraduate education[edit]

The undergraduate research program provides students with opportunities to participate in research under the guidance and mentorship of professors. Scholarships are offered to encourage student participation in research. In several departments such as Chemistry and Mathematics, it is mandatory for all students to participate in the undergraduate research program.

Courses and activities on entrepreneurship are available, and efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit and start-up support are being developed including club activities, start-up prep group, training on patents, and leave of absence for creating a new venture.

Through the Science & Technology Core (STC), courses that extend beyond departmental boundaries, students are allowed to take classes in different departments for an interdisciplinary and broad academic foundation.

POSTECH operates the Residential College program for all freshmen and sophomores. Opportunities for personal development, social and cultural experiences, extracurricular group activities, and volunteer opportunities are occasionally available for students to participate in and enhance their undergraduate experience.

Cultural programs[edit]

Music festival at POSTECH

POSTECH's partnership with Korea National University of Arts allows students to take courses on both campuses and organize performances.


Undergraduate departments[edit]

11 undergraduate departments:

Graduate departments[edit]

11 graduate departments, 4 divisions, 5 graduate schools, and 4 specialized graduate schools:


Research institutes and infrastructure[edit]

4th generation light source[edit]

The 4th generation light source (PAL-XFEL), which has been operational since 2015, is 10 billion times brighter than the 3rd generation light source. PAL-XFEL will generate new knowledge and discoveries in almost all technical and scientific disciplines including medicine, pharmaceutics, chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, power engineering and electronics.[31]

Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics[edit]

Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP) is theoretical physics research group with international joint research programs in the Asia-Pacific region. The APCTP was founded in June 1996 as an international non-governmental organizations, with 16 current member states. it is a close-knit, multi-disciplinary research environment that hosts scientists working on challenging problems at the forefront of biophysics, condensed matter, quantum information, astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. The institute also plays a key role in Korea by inviting international scholars, acting as a conduit for collaboration through focus workshops and training young scientists. The center was founded in 1996 by Nobel Laureate Chen-Ning Yang.

C5 (Creative・Collaborative・Cultivating・Convergence・Center)[edit]

C5 plays a pivotal role in catalyzing world-first convergence education and research, and fostering future global leaders with a creative and challenging spirit. C5 was named after Creative, Collaborative, Cultivating, Convergence, and Center. C5 has 7-stories with a size of 16,000 square meters per floor. The construction of C5 came at an investment of 31.5 billion won. Construction began in October 2013 and its inauguration ceremony was held on January 30, 2015.

The first three floors of C5 is filled by the Department of Creative IT Engineering (CiTE) and the POSTECH Future IT Innovation Laboratory (i-Lab). CiTE and i-Lab use interdisciplinary-oriented education and innovative research. The remaining three floors house POSTECH research teams that work for POSTECH's strategic promotion of research areas and subjects with huge growth potential. A modern open-space design allows various research teams to rearrange work areas freely to facilitate and promote dynamic collaboration.

The POSCO Pohang Center for Creative Economy occupies the 5th floor of C5. The Center, led by POSCO, was established to maintain the competitiveness of the steel industry, promote source technology development, and nurture regionally-based "hidden champions" to vitalize venture businesses.

Institute for Basic Science[edit]

The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) is operating four basic science research centers at POSTECH in the fields of life sciences (Academy of Immunology and Microbiology - Charles Surh), mathematics (Center for Geometry and Physics - Oh Yong-Geun), chemistry (Center for Self-assembly and Complexity - Kim Kimoon), and physics (Center for Artificial Low Dimensional Electronic Systems - Yeom Han-woong). Academy of Immunology and Microbiology officially closed on Oct 15, 2019.

Max Planck POSTECH/Korea Research Initiative[edit]

The Max Planck Society of Germany and POSTECH established two Max Planck Centers at POSTECH: the Max Planck-POSTECH Center for Attosecond Science and the Max Planck-POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials. This collaboration is not only a testament to POSTECH's research excellence, and with the introduction of advanced research institute operation and management methods, also lays a foundation for further strengthening Korea's competitiveness in basic science research.

National Institute for Nanomaterials Technology[edit]

The National Institute for Nanomaterials Technology, a core research center for advancement and commercialization of nanotechnology, is developing the next-generation semiconductor and display materials, etc. The Institute provides technical support and assistance to industry, from research and development to commercialization. The Institute also supports and enables POSTECH researchers to actively carry out nanotechnology and other related areas.

POSTECH Biotech Center[edit]

The POSTECH Biotech Center was founded in 2000 with the goal of becoming the hub of biotechnology research and business development (R&BD). The primary goal of the POSTECH Biotech Center is to incubate disruptive technologies in biotechnology areas for the development of immunology, pharmaceuticals, and nanobiotechnology. The Center has been participating actively in academia-industry collaboration both nationally and internationally.

Pohang Light Source (PLS-II)[edit]

The 3rd generation light source at POSTECH is the 5th in the world and the only synchrotron radiation accelerator in Korea. This national research facility enables studies on various structural characteristics of materials using light. The facility is utilized in various basic science to high-tech industrial research. Its performance improvement to PLS-II was successfully completed in 2012. Thousands of users visit yearly to conduct their research using PLS-ll.

Distinguished Faculties and Alumni[edit]

Student life[edit]

Sunrise Festival[edit]

Since 1987, POSTECH has hosted the annual Sunrise Festival to celebrate the spirit of unity and harmony of the POSTECH members and the local community. It is run in mid-May for three days immediately after the midterm of the spring semester. This festival is financially supported by the university, and is prepared by the entire student body and the POSTECH Student Club Association. Participants at the festival can enjoy movies, performances, singing contests, quiz shows, as well as traditional Korean drinks sold at cafes, beer gardens, and food stalls set up by student clubs.

POSTECH-KAIST Science War[edit]

Science War is an event held together by KAIST and Pohang University of Science and Technology every year in the fall. The first tournament was held in 2002 at KAIST. Every year since, both schools held it alternately. The competition name is determined depending by the home university. If held at KAIST, it is called "Pocajeon"; at the Pohang University of Science and Technology, it is called "Kapojeon". Events include football, baseball, basketball, athletics and hacking competitions, League of Legend, and a science quiz.

Hyungsan Academic Festival[edit]

The Hyungsan Academic Festival, organized by the Federation of Student Circles, takes place at the end of October after the midterm of the second semester. Originally designed to provide venues for academic presentations by students' circles and departments, this festival now provides various programs including sports competition, plays and movie festivals, as well as academic conferences.

Annual budget (FY 2015)[edit]

Revenue (total: US$277.5M, US$1=KRW1,105)[edit]

  • Research grants and contracts: $141.9M (51.1%)
  • Endowment income: $54.1M (19.5%)
  • Tuitions: $22.7M (8.2%)
  • Gifts and special grants: $14.9M (5.4%)
  • Others: $43.9M (15.8%)

Expenses (total: US$277.5M, US$1=KRW1,105)[edit]

  • Research expenses: $137.3M (49.4%)
  • Salaries and wages: $50.7M (18.3%)
  • Fixed asset costs: $15.0M (5.4%)
  • Operation and maintenance: $23.4M (8.4%)
  • Student aids and services: $17.9M (6.5%)
  • Others: $33.2M (12.0%)


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°00′39.18″N 129°19′21.61″E / 36.0108833°N 129.3226694°E / 36.0108833; 129.3226694