Established in 1934, Thammasat University was originally called Thammasat Lae Karn Muang or the University of Moral Science and Politics.
It began life as an open university with 7,094 law and politics students, located at Tha Phra Chan on the Rattanakosin Island on the Bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its guiding philosophy was to teach students to love and cherish democracy and is Thailand’s second oldest university.
Thammasat University was the brainchild of Pridi Banomyong, the father of Thailand's democracy and the interior minister. Under Pridi's leadership, the university became the clandestine headquarters of the Free Thai anti-Japanese underground during the Second World War. The university campus was also an internment camp for Allied civilians, with Thai guards protecting them from the occupying Japanese. The internment camp was where the Multipurpose Building now stands.
Thammasat University has two main campuses in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area - Tha Phra Chan in Phra Nakhon, which was the site of the uprising on 14 October, 1973 and the 6 October massacre in 1976. The second campus, Rangsit is 42 kilometres north of the city in Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani and is where most undergraduates complete their studies. It also has four regional campuses: Lampang, Pattaya, Udon Thani and Narathiwat.
Thammasat University has over 30,000 students (25,000 undergraduates) enrolled in 23 faculties, colleges and institutes. In 1960, the university ended its free-entry policy and became the first in Thailand to require a pass in the national entrance examinations for admission.
Its sports facilities include a multi-purpose stadium, an Aquatic Centre, tennis courts, sports fields and several gymnasiums, all of which were built to host the 1998 Asian Games.
The university's alumni have included Royal Family members, prime ministers and government figures, leading corporate figures and national artists.