Sungkyunkwan University

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Sungkyunkwan University
Sungkyunkwan University seal.svg
Motto in English
Humanity, Righteousness, Propriety, Wisdom[2]
Established1398; 625 years ago (1398). Reformed as a modern school in 1895. Promoted as a college in 1946.[3]
PresidentShin Dong-ryeol
Academic staff
Seoul (Humanities and Social Sciences Campus), Suwon (Natural Sciences Campus)
South Korea

37°35′14″N 126°59′39″E / 37.58722°N 126.99417°E / 37.58722; 126.99417Coordinates: 37°35′14″N 126°59′39″E / 37.58722°N 126.99417°E / 37.58722; 126.99417
  •   Lime Green
  •   Blue
  •   Orange
Sungkyunkwan University logo.svg
Korean name
Revised RomanizationSeonggyungwan Daehakgyo
McCune–ReischauerSŏnggyun’gwan Taehakkyo

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU or simply Seongdae, Hangul: 성균관대학교; Hanja: 成均館大學校) is a private comprehensive research university in South Korea. The institution traces its origins to the historic Sungkyunkwan, founded in 1398 and located in central Seoul.[5] As the foremost educational institution of the Joseon Dynasty, it was governed by the great code of the state administration[6] with royal assent.[7] It was restructured as a comprehensive university in the late 19th century, and has since greatly expanded its course offerings.

The university spends heavily on research and development, mostly sponsored by Samsung, Hyundai, and government agencies, producing high-end research scientists including chemical engineering professor Park Nam-Gyu, who was named a Clarivate Citation Laureate in 2017 by Clarivate Analytics,[8] and physics professor Lee Young-hee, director of the Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics in the Institute for Basic Science. Both scientists frequently appear in Nature.[9]


The university's Humanities and Social Sciences Campus, also housing arts departments, is in central Seoul on the same hill as Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung (two of the royal palaces of Joseon). It is near Hyehwa-dong and Daehangno. The nearest subway station is Hyehwa Station on Seoul Subway Line 4.

The Natural Sciences Campus, housing natural science, engineering, medicine, and sports departments, is within walking distance of Sungkyunkwan University Station in the northwest of Suwon. The 101-hectare campus, 45 km south of Seoul, was established in 1978.



Myeongnyundang (明倫堂)
600th Anniversary Building

Sungkyunkwan was established in 1398 as the Joseon Dynasty's highest educational institution. Its name means, "Sung (成, to make), Kyun (均, harmonious society), Kwan (館, institute)." It focused on an in-depth study of the Chinese Classics, Confucian canon, and literature of the era, and how to apply the knowledge to governing the nation and understanding the nature of humanity. It also served as a shrine (see Munmyo) to the Confucian sages where rituals were held regularly to honor them and their teachings.

It was located within the city walls of Hanseong (modern-day Seoul), the capital during the Joseon period. It followed the example of the Goryeo-period Gukjagam, which in its latter years was also known by the name "Sungkyunkwan".

Numerous Korean historical figures, including Yi Hwang and Yi I, studied at and graduated from Sungkyunkwan. A considerable amount of Korean literature and works of hanja calligraphy were created and archived by Sungkyunkwan scholars over the centuries.

Ancient University Period (1398-1894)[edit]

The history of Sungkyunkwan University can be divided into the ancient university period, the modern university period, and the contemporary university period. The ancient university period was from 1398 to 1894. During this period, traditional Korean Confucianism education was practiced, and institutional operation was also ancient.

The ancient university period can be divided into three periods as follows.

The first period is the period of establishment, from 1398 to 1494, that is, from the establishment of Sungkyunkwan during the reign of King Taejo of Joseon to the time of King Seongjong of Joseon. During this period, buildings were constructed, systems were established, and operating policies were established, and the system of the top national university was completed.

The second period is the period of recession, from 1495 to 1724, that is, from Yeonsan-gun to Gyeongjong. During this period, due to the tyranny of Yeonsangun of Joseon, it was reduced to a place where Sungkyunkwan held a feast. It was only restored to its original state after King Jungjong of Joseon's accession. Also, during the reign of King Seonjo of Joseon, Sungkyunkwan was burnt down during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), and it was rebuilt.

The third period is the period of revival, from 1725 to 1894, that is, from the reign of Yeongjo of Joseon to the time of Gabo Reform. During this period, the education of Sungkyunkwan became lively amid the political and academic revival, and the theory of reformation of the education system was actively developed by Silhak scholars.

Modern university period (1895~1945)[edit]

The modern university period can also be roughly divided into three periods.

The first period was the Enlightenment period from 1895 to 1910, that is, from the time Sungkyunkwan was founded as a modern university to Japanese annexation of Korea. In 1895, a three-year department of Chinese Classics (Korean: 경학과; Hanja: 經學科; RR:gyeonghakkwa) was established in Sungkyunkwan, and various courses such as history, geography, and mathematics were opened. At the same time, the professor appointment system, admission examination system, and graduation examination system were implemented, a semester system was introduced, and modern institutional reforms were carried out, such as setting the number of teaching days per year and the number of lecture hours per week. As a result, Sungkyunkwan was transformed from an ancient university to a modern university.

The second period, the period of ordeal, is Korea under Japanese rule. Sungkyunkwan lost its educational function as the highest school in Joseon.

Contemporary University Period (1945~Present)[edit]

The period of development, the third period of the modern university period, means the contemporary university period.

In 1945, the Japanese Empire was defeated. In November of the same year, Kim Chang-sook led the Sungkyunkwan University preparatory association. Sungkyunkwan University was established by collecting some of the property of the Hyanggyo and collecting donations from Confucian scholars.

After the Korean War, as the nation modernized and underwent social, political, and economic reforms, SKKU played an important role in academic freedom in higher education and also kept traditional ethics and morality alive in Korean society.

Partnership with Samsung[edit]

Samsung partnered with SKKU in the period of 1965–1977 and renewed the partnership in 1996. The partnership has helped SKKU realize its vision in pursuit of globalization and fostering talented graduates.[11] Through the partnership, SKKU has developed high-quality research infrastructure and achieved excellent human resource management. The partnership also enabled SKKU to develop world-leading academic programs in software development, mobile communications engineering, energy engineering, nanotechnology, business, medicine, and law.[12]

Through the Samsung Global Scholarship Program (GSP), each year 15–25 students are selected for Seoul National University's engineering program or SKKU's Graduate School of Business (SKK GSB). Selected GSP students currently study for three semesters. Previously, it was four semesters, including a possibility of spending a semester at one of SKK GSB's top partner universities in the United States (MIT Sloan School of Management, Columbia University, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business or Indiana University's Kelley School of Business).

Rankings and reputation[edit]

University rankings
QS National[13]General 4
ARWU National[14]General 2
USNWR National[15]General 2
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version)[16]
General 15
THE Asia[17]General 10
USNWR Asia[18]General 22
THE World[19]General 89
QS World[20]General 88
USNWR World[21]General 188
ARWU World[22]Research 151-200

According to the ranking of South Korean universities annually published by national daily newspaper JoongAng Daily, Sungkyunkwan University is ranked nationally as the second best university in South Korea after Seoul National University.[23] For several years, U.S. News & World Report ranked Sungkyunkwan University second university in South Korea after SNU.[24]

Internationally, SKKU is ranked 88th in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) world university rankings 2021.[25] In the Times Higher Education 2019 world university rankings, SKKU is ranked 82nd.[26]

In the QS Asia rankings, SKKU is ranked 15th.[27] The reputation of the university stems from SKKU's international engagement including short-term study abroad programs and dual-degree programs, as well as its industrial partnerships, and its graduate reputation as evidenced in the high employment rate of SKKU graduates.

In the Financial Times, SKK GSB's MBA is ranked 35th worldwide, seventh in Asia, and first in Korea.[28]

SKKU's School of Medicine is affiliated with Samsung Medical Center, the top research hospital in Korea.


SKKU's motto, "Humanity, Righteousness, Propriety, and Wisdom" (仁, 義, 禮, 智), reflects the basic spirit of Confucianism. These four cardinal virtues express humankind's four inherent elements of spirit, action, conscience, and intellect. Humanity abides in the heart that loves, righteousness abides in the heart that knows right from wrong, propriety abides in the heart that knows forbearance, and wisdom abides in the heart that perceives. Confucian philosophy attests to man's innate goodness, and at the same time recognizes that this quality must nevertheless be awakened and nurtured. These four principles, which comprise SKKU's educational philosophy, are the basis for higher education's goals of the search for truth and the establishment of social justice, which are, in turn, based on humanity.[5]

University symbol[edit]

The university's symbol—the ginkgo leaf—is derived from the giant ginkgo trees (Natural Monument No. 59) at Myeongnyundang. Both trees are male, and thus do not bear fruit. They are believed to have been planted in 1519 by Yun Tak, a former chief scholar of Sungkyunkwan.


Humanities and Social Sciences Campus[edit]

The Humanities and Social Sciences Campus is located behind Sungkyunkwan. The campus includes the 600th Anniversary Building, Student Center, Central Library, Faculty Hall, International Hall, Business School, Hoam Hall, Dasan Hall of Economics, Toegye Hall of Humanities, Suseon Hall, Law School and more.

Natural Sciences Campus[edit]

Samsung Library[edit]

The library is equipped with state-of-the art digital media room where students can have recreational activity like watching movies. The library also offers several CD player stations for amusements, open cafe and sleeping arena where students can take nap if tired.[29]

Learning Factory[edit]

SKKU Learning Factory is a student facility at Natural Sciences campus in Suwon where creative ideas can be made into a prototype product using 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC router, and Arduino. It has been established by the Fusion Based Creative Informatics Human Resources Development Team, and it serves as a place where students can realize their ideas and build human connections.

Student housing and dormitories[edit]

Sungkyunkwan University offers on-campus dormitories to its students on the campuses which are known as SKKU dorms. Humanities and Social Sciences campus in Seoul offers ten dormitories and housing facilities namely, E-house, G-house, K-house, C-house, I-house, M-house, Crownville A, Crownville C, Victory House, and LWG House whereas, the Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon offers five dormitories namely, In-Gwan, Ui-Gwan, Ye-gwan, Shin-Gwan and Ji-Gwan.[30] Dorm culture of the university is vibrant, owing to frequent recreational events such as free pizza parties, outdoor trips, painting competitions, Yoga classes, and so on, targeting its international students. The dorm entrances are secured with automatic RFID key-tag doors which ensure only the students can have legal entry inside. Routine fire-safety and earthquake-safety simulations in the dorms are performed every semester to ensure the safety of the students.


The dormitories house both male and female students but floors are designated for a specific gender.[30] SKKU dorms provide variety of room types depending on the need, fee and academic results. Students can be offered single/two/four person rooms. Apartment-type facilities are also offered where more than four students live in separate rooms in an apartment. All the rooms are equipped with furniture, air-conditioner and free wifi. Special single rooms are reserved for disabled students in Shin-gwan dorm.

Research institutes[edit]

Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology[edit]

Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology

Sungkyunkwan Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology (SAINT) was founded on 1 March 2005 as one of the four core programs of Sungkyunkwan University's VISION2010+ plan to be ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. With financial support from Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, its goal is to become one of the world's top 5 nanotechnology-related institutes. The current director of SAINT is Michael Grätzel.



N-Center is the home of the Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics in the Institute for Basic Science and the Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research (CNIR).[31] Professor Lee Young-hee, an internationally renowned physicist engaged in nanotechnology research,[9] is the director.

International programs[edit]

Sungkyunkwan University has a high number of international students, making up over 10% of the total undergraduate student body. In 2011, the population of international students at SKKU surpassed 1,000.[32] There were over 2,700 international students enrolled at SKKU in 2013, and each year more than 2,000 Korean students from SKKU go abroad. SKKU maintains partnerships with over 653 universities in over 73 countries around the world, and has agreements with 21 overseas institutions to offer dual-degree programs.[33]


When Sungkyunkwan University was established in 1946, Jongyeonggak, Bicheondang and Myeongnyundang were used as libraries. After that, a new library was built. A library was opened on the Natural Sciences Campus in 1979, and a Library of Medicine was established in 1998. In 1999, the Law Library was opened. In 2000, Jongyeonggak was newly established. Currently, the Central Library of the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus and the Samsung Library of the Natural Sciences Campus are the core libraries. It has more than 2.15 million books. It has the ninth largest collection of books among university libraries in South Korea.

University Area: 3,593,341 m2

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus: 1,394,154 m² / Natural Sciences Campus: 2,199,187 m²
(including Tobong Varsity Teams Training Center: 61,339 m² / Botanical Gardens: 329,222 m² /
Samchuk Seaside Retreat: 2,390 m²)

Building Area: 344,510 m2

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus: 141,803 m²
Natural Sciences Campus: 202,707 m²

Sports facilities[edit]

Under the College of Sports Science, several student sports clubs at Sungkyunkwan University are active including baseball club, floor ball club, tennis club, basketball club, soccer club, volleyball club, and cricket club. Full-size soccer field, basketball playground and baseball fields are located inside the campus.

Notable alumni[edit]

Politics, diplomacy and public service[edit]



Historical figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abbreviations of Sungkyunkwan University in Korean: 성대(成大; Seongdae). English: SKKU
  2. ^ Mission & Vision Archived 2014-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, Sungkyunkwan University
  3. ^ "History". University of Sungkyunkwan. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b 대학소개>대학현황>현황
  5. ^ [1] SKKU Official Brochure 2013
  6. ^ [2] Gyeongguk Daejeon, the great code
  7. ^ [3] Sungkyunkwan in the code of Gyeongguk Daejeon
  8. ^ "The 2017 Clarivate Citation Laureates - Clarivate".
  9. ^ a b "Always ahead of its time - Nature Index Supplements - Nature Index".
  10. ^ "성균관대학교 | 대학정보 | 성대역사 / 상징 | 성대 623년 | 약사 | 현대 대학시대". (in Korean). Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  11. ^ [4] Archived 2014-03-13 at the Wayback Machine Global leading programs with Samsung
  12. ^ "Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) – Our Organizing Partner". QS-APPLE. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  13. ^ "QS University Rankings 2023". Top Universities. 2023. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  14. ^ World University Rankings - 2019 (2019). "South Korea Universities in Top 500 universities". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  15. ^ U.S.News & World Report (2019). "Search Best Global Universities - US News Education". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  18. ^ U.S.News & World Report (2019). "Best Global Universities in Asia - US News Education". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "THE World University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  20. ^ "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2020. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  21. ^ U.S.News & World Report (2019). "Best Global Universities - US News". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  22. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  23. ^ "SNU tops university rankings again this year". Korea JoongAng Daily. 29 October 2017.
  24. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". 9 September 2019.
  26. ^ "World University Rankings". 31 December 2019.
  27. ^ "QS University Rankings: Asia 2018". 23 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Global MBA Ranking 2019". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  29. ^ Kelly, Toni (14 April 2012). "Exploring Learning Spaces and Libraries in Asia: Sungkyunkwan University - Samsung Library".
  31. ^ Science, ibs,기초과학연구원,ibs Institute for Basic. "Research Centers - Life Sciences -".
  32. ^ Kwon, Jungyun (16 December 2011). "Korea's international students reach out". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  33. ^ Oh, Kyu-wook (9 October 2013). "SKKU on path to become top global university". Korea Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014.

External links[edit]