Following the efforts of prominent Ukrainian intellectual Vasily Karazin, after whom the university is named, the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University was founded in November 1804 as the Kharkiv University. It is one of the oldest higher educational institutions in eastern Europe and the second oldest in Ukraine after the University of Lviv.
Today the university has 125 departments in 20 schools, as well as an Institute of High Technologies which is comprised of the School of Physics and Technology, the School of Computer Science and the School of Energy Physics.
The V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University is comprised of the Main building, the Northern Building, the Central Scientific Building and the Students’ Campus. The university also runs three research institutes, a botanical garden, as well as the University History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.
It is the only university in Ukraine that has trained and employed three Nobel Prize winners. Elie Mechnikov was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1908 and during his time at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, he completed his four-year degree in just two years. Lev Landau was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1962 and lectured at the university between 1932 and 1937. The final Nobel Prize winner who studied at the university was Simon Kuznets, who was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
In 2004, the university marked the 200th anniversary of its foundation with large-scale celebrations, even minting a commemorative coin!