Yonsei University started life in the late 1800s, and founded by Horace Grant Underwood, a Christian missionary. It had many identities before becoming Yonhi University in 1946, taking on its current name in the late 1950s.
Nowadays, Yonsei is regarded as South Korea’s top private university. It is one member of ‘SKY’ universities, a term for the three institutions widely regarded as the most prestigious in the country.
The university was founded on Christian principles and this is still a prominent part of its mission, which states its dedication to “educate future leaders of our society in the spirit of Christianity, fostering a strong and lasting commitment to the principles of truth and freedom.” Yonsei has a strong research ethic, and has affiliations with 120 research institutes including 40 of its own.
Spread over three sites situated in Sinchon, Wonju and its state-of-the-art international campus in Songdo, Yonsei consists of just 30,000 undergraduate and around 12,000 postgraduate students. Despite the traditional campus experience, Yonsei’s ‘Smart Campus’ aims to revolutionise the student experience through diversification of content and IT technology. Using the concept of Open Campus Experience (OCX), aims to manage and provide all the information created within the campus to students via technology.
Through its varied courses, Yonsei has produced numerous noted alumni from all areas of society. Its political alumni include Han Seung-su, former prime minister of South Korea, who also served as the president of the United Nations General Assembly. Professional golfer Ryu So-yeon won the United States Women’s Open Championship, while a student at Yonsei.
The university holds an historic, friendly rivalry with its nearby neighbour Korea University. The Yonsei-Korea University Goodwill League event has come to strengthen the bonds of the two universities.
From 2018 onwards, Yonsei University has featured in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as Yonsei University (Seoul campus).