Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Coordinates: 50°26′30.85″N 30°30′40.73″E / 50.4419028°N 30.5113139°E / 50.4419028; 30.5113139
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50°26′30.85″N 30°30′40.73″E / 50.4419028°N 30.5113139°E / 50.4419028; 30.5113139

Taras Shevchenko
National University of Kyiv
Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка
Latin: Universitas Kioviensis
Motto"Utilitas honor et gloria" (Latin)
Motto in English
Utility Honor and Glory
EstablishedNovember 8, 1833; 190 years ago (1833-11-08)
RectorVolodymyr Bugrov [uk][1]
AffiliationsIAU, EUA

The Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка; also known as Kyiv University, Shevchenko University, or KNU) is a public university in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The university is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and the University of Kharkiv. Its structure consists of 15 faculties and five institutes. The university was founded in 1834 by Nicholas I of Russia[3] as the Saint Vladimir Imperial University of Kiev; it has since changed its name several times. During the Soviet Union era, Kiev State University was one of the top-three universities in the USSR, along with Moscow State University and Leningrad State University. It is ranked as the best university in Ukraine in many rankings. Its alumni include Mykola Lysenko, Nikolay Bunge, Mykhailo Drahomanov, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Nikolai Berdyaev, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Schmalhausen, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Viacheslav Chornovil, and Leonid Kravchuk. The university is named after Taras Shevchenko, who was banned from educational activities for political reasons, but worked for the university as a field researcher.

The university today[edit]

Taras Shevchenko University is named after Taras Shevchenko, a major figure in Ukrainian literature and art. The university trains specialists in many fields of knowledge and carries out research. It is considered the most prestigious university in Ukraine[4] and a major centre of advanced learning and progressive thinking.[5] It consists of more faculties and departments, and trains specialists in a greater number of academic fields, than any other Ukrainian educational institution.[citation needed]

The university is a major centre of learning and research and an important cultural centre. Student numbers total about 30,000 students.[2]


Saint Vladimir Imperial University of Kyiv[edit]

An early 20th-century Russian postcard picturing Saint Vladimir University in Kyiv.

Saint Vladimir Imperial University of Kyiv was founded in 1834 by Nicholas I of Russia (r. 1825–1855), and was named after Vladimir the Great, the 10/11th century ruler of Kievan Rus'. The university's name was chosen by the authorities of the Russian Empire, where the role of Orthodox Christianity was immense; the choice of name was a reflection of Kyiv as the cradle of Eastern Christianity for the Empire.

The university benefited from assets transferred from Vilnius University, which was closed in the aftermath of the November Uprising of 1831.[6] The first 62 students started their studies at the university in 1834, in its one faculty, the Faculty of Philosophy, which had two departments: the Department of History and Philology and the Department of Physics and Mathematics. There were new additions to the original department in 1835 and 1847: the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Medicine. Later on, the original Faculty of Philosophy was divided into two separate units: the Faculty of History and Philology and the Faculty of Natural Sciences. There were no more additions to the number of departments until the 1920s.

The walls of the main building are painted in red while the tops and bottoms of its columns are painted black. Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych's Shchedryk was premiered at the Kyiv University on December 26, 1916, by the university's choir directed by Oleksandr Koshyts.[7]

Mykhailo Drahomanov University (1920–1932)[edit]

In 1920, Saint Vladimir University was renamed as Mykhailo Drahomanov University.

Taras Shevchenko University (from 1939)[edit]

Taras Shevchenko's self portrait, 1840/1841

In 1939, Saint Vladimir University was renamed after Ukrainian national bard Taras Shevchenko, who had also been briefly employed by the university between 1845 and 1846.

During the German-Soviet war, the university was evacuated to the city of Kizilord in Kazakhstan, where it merged with the National University of Kharkiv to form the United Ukrainian State University. After the liberation of Kyiv in 1943, the university returned to Kyiv. Students and lecturers rebuilt the Humanities and Chemistry buildings and by 15 January 1944, classes resumed for senior undergraduates and for first-years on 1 February.[8]

Since 1960, when the first international students were admitted, over 20,000 highly qualified specialists have been trained at Taras Shevchenko University for 120 countries. The first foreign students of the Taras Shevchenko University came from Cuba, Guinea, Indonesia, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Zanzibar, Yemen, Algeria, and Afghanistan. They continued on to become doctors, engineers, agriculturists, diplomats, economists, and statesmen in their respective countries.[9]

During the Soviet period, the Taras Shevchenko University received one Order of Lenin (1959) and one Order of the October Revolution (1984). Additionally, in 2002 the asteroid 4868 Knushevia was named in honour of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University.

Rankings and partnerships[edit]

University rankings[edit]

University rankings
Global – Overall
QS World[2]601-650
THE World[10]1001+
Regional – Overall
QS Emerging Europe and Central Asia[11]35 (2022)

Between 2014 and 2017 the university was ranked within top 650 universities in the world according to QS World University Rankings.[12] In 2009, Delovoy magazine ranked Taras Shevchenko University as the best university in Ukraine, being nationally the strongest in the greatest number of academic fields.[13] According to the independent ranking of 228 universities in Ukraine performed by Compas, Taras Shevchenko University was ranked the first best position in Ukraine regarding the adequacy of alumni to the labor market of Ukraine.[14] According to Scopus (2009), Taras Shevchenko University has the highest research paper output of any Ukrainian university, and is also the top research producer (as assessed by total paper citation count).[15][16] The university features in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (2010) at 1,110 out of 8,000 in the world,[17] at 63 out of top 100 universities of the Central and Eastern Europe,[18] and a leading academic institution in Ukraine.[19]

Foreign partner universities[edit]

The university has over 400 partner universities, currently maintains relations and, in some cases, student exchange programs with universities of forty countries;[20] a figure which includes a number of former republics of the Soviet Union and other countries which Ukraine traditionally, over the past 70 years prior to independence in 1991, did not have official bilateral relations with. A small selection of partner universities is displayed below.

Country University Country University
 Armenia Yerevan State University  Greece National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

 Azerbaijan Baku State University  Italy University of Florence

University of Macerata

 Belarus Belarusian State University  Japan Ryukoku University

Aoyama Gakuin University

 Belgium University of Liège  Korea Wonkwang University
 Canada University of Manitoba  Poland University of Warsaw
 China Peking University

Wuhan University

 Russia Moscow State University
 Czech Republic Charles University in Prague

Masaryk University

 Spain University of Valencia
 France Panthéon-Assas University  UK University of Leeds
 Germany Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Free University of Berlin

 United States Rutgers University

University of Pittsburgh

And others like Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, ADA University etc...

Organisation and administration[edit]

Schools / Faculties[edit]

These are the 14 faculties and 6 institutes into which the university is divided:

  • Faculty of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Computer Science and Cybernetics
  • Faculty of Geography
  • Institute of Geology
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Information Technologies
  • Faculty of History
  • Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Physics
  • Faculty of Radio Physics, Electronics and Computer Systems
  • Faculty of Psychology
  • Faculty of Sociology
  • Preparation Faculty
  • Institute of Law[21]
  • Institute of Philology
  • Institute of Journalism
  • Institute of International Relations
  • Military Institute
  • Institute of Postgraduate Education
  • Institute of High Technologies
  • Institute of Biology and Medicine

Other institutes[edit]

The cybernetics faculty of KNU, located at the Vystavkovyi Tsentr.
  • Astronomical Observatory of the Taras Shevchenko University[22] (in Ukrainian)
  • Ukrainian Humanitarian Lyceum[23] (in Ukrainian)
  • Center of Ukrainian Studies[24]
  • Information & Computer Centre of the Taras Shevchenko University[25] (in Ukrainian)
  • Kaniv Natural Reserved Park of the Taras Shevchenko University[26] (in Ukrainian)
  • KNU Open University – Online study programs [27]
  • Maksymovych Scientific Library[28]
  • Regional Cisco Networking Academy[29] (in Ukrainian)
  • Science Park Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv[30]
  • Scientific and Research Department of the Taras Shevchenko University[31] (in Ukrainian)
  • Ukrainian Physico-Mathematical Lyceum[32] (in Ukrainian)
  • University Botanic Garden named after Academic O. Fomin
  • Dnipro Choir


After its initial establishment the university was located in private rooms in Pechersk, and was named for St. Vladimir. Now the main building (built 1837–42 by architect V I Beretti) can be found at 60 Volodymyrska Street, whilst a number of humanities departments are located at 14 Shevchenko Boulevard 14 (formerly the First Kyiv Gymnasium). Furthermore, there are departments located on Akademika Hlushkova Avenue (building 6, built 1954–70) and Vasylkivska Street (Library is located in building No. 90, built in 1939). The university's administration is housed in buildings 58–64 on Volodymyrska Street.

Red University Building[edit]

It was constructed from 1837 to 1843 and was built in the late Russian Classicism style, by a Russian architect of Italian descent, Vincent I. Beretti. The building forms an enormous square enclosing a courtyard; the length of the main façade is 145.68m. The walls of the building are painted blood red and the capitals and bases of the portico's columns are painted black, corresponding to the colours of the ribbon of the Order of St. Vladimir (founded in 1782), as Kyiv University used to bear the name of this Order. The motto of the Order, "Benefit, honor and glory" (Pol'za Chest' i Slava) also, subsequently, became the motto of Kyiv University. Local tour guides sometime state that Tsar Nicholas I ordered the entire main building painted red in response to student conscription protests during World War I to remind students of blood spilled by Ukrainian soldiers. The legend does not reflect the historical fact, as the building was painted red before World War I, in 1842. Nicholas I of Russia (1825–1855) died long before World War I (1914–1918). Built at the top of a hill, this building has significantly influenced Kyiv's architectural layout in the 19th century.

Botanical Gardens[edit]

The botanical garden's greenhouse.

The university's A.V. Fomin Botanical Garden (named after Academician Aleksandr V. Fomin, 1869–1935) was founded in 1839 and planned by architect V. Beretti and botanist R. E. Trautfetterom. The total area covered by the garden is around 5.22 hectares; it has a collection of over 10 000 species, forms and varieties of plants. The garden's greenhouse's height, after reconstruction in 1977, is about 33 meters and is the largest in the world. The university's first orangerie was built in 1846-49 for its collection of tropical and subtropical plants; a collection which has now over two thousand items and is one of the largest in Europe. The gardens are located at the city centre campus, to the rear of the red building; the nearest metro station is Universytet.

Yellow Building and Maksymovych Library[edit]

The university library, part of the city centre campus

The Humanities Building or "Yellow" building of the university is located at 14 Shevchenko boulevard. Built in 1850–1852, it was designed in the classical style by the architect Alexander Vikentiyovych Beretti (1816–95), son of V. Beretti, the architect of by the main ("red") building. The building initially belonged to the First Gymnasium (a grammar school, in which M. Berlin and M. Kostomarov taught, and where students included the artists Nikolai Ge and V. Levandovskyy, historian M. Zakrevskii, economist M. Bunge, poet M. Herbel, sculptor P. Isabella, writers Bulgakov and K. Paustovsky, and future academics E. Tarle, A. Bogomolets, and A. Lunacharsky). In 1919 the academic Vernadsky, first president of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, took up residence in part of the building. Since 1959, the building has been part of the Kyiv National University.

The Maksymovych Library (58 Volodymyrska Street), built in 1939–1940, is a neo-classical building designed by architects V. A. Osmaka and P. Alyoshin as the university's Humanities building. Currently the library holds around 3.5 million books, making it currently the largest research library in Ukraine. The Maksymovych library – along with the No.1 branch of the National Library of Ukraine (62 Volodymyrska Street), designed by the same architects in 1929–1930, and the main ("red") building of the university – forms part of an important and impressive architectural ensemble which is today considered one of Kyiv's key collective architectural monuments.


In the 1960s it became imperative that the Kyiv National University acquire more space for its greatly expanded number of departments. It was with this in mind that the building of a complex of new buildings for the university started on the southwestern outskirts of Kyiv (opposite the National Exhibition Centre of Ukraine). The authors of the final project were architects V. I. Ladnyi, M. P. Budylovskyi, V. I. Kolomiets and engineer V. Y. Drizo.

The Institute of International Relations and Institute of Journalism's joint building at 36 Melnikova Street, developed by Kyivproect architects O Nosenko, I Shpara, Yu Duhovichny, O Klishchuk and Y Vig, was awarded the State Prize of Ukraine in the Field of Architecture in 1995.[33]

Astronomical Observatory[edit]

The astronomical observatory of Kyiv National University is located at 3 Observatorna Street; founded in 1845, it was initially planned to place an observatory in the Main Building of the university (as evidenced by existing architectural designs for the red building), however, it was later decided to build for a separate building to house the observatory. This task was again entrusted Vincenty Beretta, it was built in 1841–1845 and officially opened on February 7, 1845.[22]

Accreditation Of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv[edit]

  • World Health Organization
  • Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
  • Medical Council of India

Notable alumni[edit]

Andriy Kozhemiakin
Vietnam's Le Thi Tuyet Mai

Heads of state, government and international organisations[edit]

State/Government Name Office
 Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk First post-independence President of Ukraine (1991–1994)
 Ukraine Petro Poroshenko President of Ukraine (2014–2019)
 Ukrainian People's Republic Mykhailo Hrushevsky President of the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917–1918)
 Ukrainian People's Republic Volodymyr Vynnychenko First Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917–1918) and first Chairman of the Directorate of Ukraine (1918–1919)
 Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili Twice President of Georgia (2004–2008 and 2008–2013) and Rose Revolution leader
 Lithuania Antanas Merkys Last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania (1939-1940)
 Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Second President of Israel (1952–1963)
 Byelorussian SSR Yakov Gamarnik First Secretary of the Byelorussian Communist Party (1928–1929)
 Ukrainian SSR Valentyna Shevchenko Chairman of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR (1985–1990)
 UN Hennadiy Udovenko President of the United Nations General Assembly (1997–1998)
 Russian Empire Nikolay Bunge Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers (1887–1895)
 Kenya Amina Mohamed Deputy Executive Director of the UNEP, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya (2013–2018)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Структура Власності Компанії: Київський Національний Університет Імені Тараса Шевченка" [Company Ownership Structure: Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko]. Opendatabot (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv".
  3. ^ "To the University's 175th Anniversary". www.univ.kiev.ua. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
  4. ^ "200 of the best higher education schools in Ukraine". Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (in Ukrainian). March 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  5. ^ "Decree of the President of Ukraine about Taras Shevchenko University". Press office of Taras Shevchenko University. 2008-05-05.
  6. ^ Yla, Stasys (Summer 1981). "The Clash of Nationalities at the University of Vilnius". Lituanus. 1 (27). ISSN 0024-5089.
  7. ^ Monthly Newsletter of the Tylchyn Centralized Library System Archived 2011-08-31 at the Wayback Machine (in Ukrainian)
  8. ^ "KNU-history - Open University of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv". knu.edu.eu. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  9. ^ The history of Preparatory Faculty Archived 2011-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv". 10 August 2021.
  11. ^ "QS World University Rankings-Emerging Europe & Central Asia". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  12. ^ "Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv".
  13. ^ "Delovoy from 26.03.2009. University ranking 2009" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  14. ^ "Ranking by Compas" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  15. ^ "Ranking by Scopus" (PDF) (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  16. ^ Yuriy Khalavka (February 4, 2009). Новина тижня: Рейтинг Вищих навчальних закладів України та установ НАНУ (in Ukrainian). Ukrainian Scientists Worldwide. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  17. ^ Top 6000 Universities // Webometrics Ranking of World Universities Archived 2010-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Top Eastern Europe". Ranking Web of World Universities. Archived from the original on 2010-05-08. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  19. ^ University Ranking in Ukraine // Webometrics Ranking of World Universities Archived 2010-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Подготовительное отделение". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Створено Інститут права".
  22. ^ a b "Astronomical Observatory of Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko" Астрономічна обсерваторія Київського національного університету ім. Тараса Шевченка - Main (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Український гуманітарний ліцей". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  24. ^ "ЦЕНТР УКРАИНОВЕДЕНИЯ". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  25. ^ "ICC". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  26. ^ Канівський природний заповідник. "Канівський природний заповідник". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  27. ^ www.univ.kiev.ua. "KNU OU". Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  28. ^ "Maksymovych Scientific Library". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Мережева Академія Cisco :: Новини". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Science Park Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Науково-дослідна частина Київського університету". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Український фізико-математичний ліцей КНУ ім. Т. Шевченка". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  33. ^ Відзнаки та нагороди Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine // Веб-сайт АТ «Київпроект»

External links[edit]