Move to content body Move to content menus


  • home
  • sitemap
  • korean




1980 - 1994 Democracy

With Korea’s economic development, higher education population increased rapidly. SNU expanded its campus, number of students and faculty, and research fund, especially in science and engineering. University administration set the goal to become a research university, while majority of students were highly engaged in political issues and often participated in demonstrations.

  • Apr. - May 1980 Seoul Spring
    The SNU community experienced a brief period of democracy after the dictator had gone.
    The administration decided to abolish or amend undemocratic systems
    - The Student National Defense Corps was abolished and replaced by an elected student council
    - The administrative division for student monitoring was abolished and replaced by welfare division
    - Faculty Council was empowered.
  • Apr. 19, 1980A grand memorial ceremony was held for the April 19th Revolution. 10,000 students participated in the SNU Democratization Meeting in front of the student center on May 2, 1980.
  • May 17, 1980 Army General CHUN Doo-hwan succeeded in a coup d'état, and subsequently issued a state of emergency. The university closed for 118 days.
  • May 18, 1980 May 18th Democratic Uprising in Gwangju
    People in Gwangju passionately protested against the new military government. The government responsible for the coup dispatched troops to Gwangju to suppress peaceful demonstrations led by university students and citizens. After random assaults on people, soldiers opened fire against civilians, which led to killing of hundreds of people in 10 days. Subsequently, the government misled the public by arguing that the people killed in Gwangju were North Korean dissidents infiltrating the South Korean society. The tragic event was re-evaluated years after and registered by UNESCO as Human Rights Documentary Heritage Archives.
  • 1980 - 1984 The student movement became popular among SNU students. Students' major demands were the revelation of the truth of Gwangju Uprising, and bringing justice to those responsible for the massacre. Anti-Americanism spread widely, as the US government was considered responsible for the Gwangju massacre.
  • July 30, 1980 The government announced July 30 Education Reform:
    - Universities' own undergraduate entrance exams abolished
    - High School applicants take the national entrance exams, and apply after they got the exam results. Previously, students applied first and took the exam later.
    - Graduation Quota System introduced
  • Sept. 29, 1980 Graduation Quota System established, according to which the undergraduate admission quota should be 30% higher than graduation quota.
    - Admission quota in 1981: 6,530
    - Graduate quota in 1984: 5,020
  • Sept. 29, 1980 The Student National Defense Corps revived by the government.
  • 1981 - 1982
    Tuition fees rapidly increasing
    (Unit: KRW)
    1980 1981 1982
    Undergraduate -
    humanities/social studies
    130,000 374,900 (188% increase) 448,000 (19%)
    Undergraduate -
    Natural Sciences
    149,000 416,600 (179%) 497,500 (19%)
    Graduate 155,000 422,800 (172%) 466,300 (10%)
  • 1981 Special admissions for international students offered. Four months visiting student program introduced for foreign students
  • Feb. 28, 1981 Department of National Ethics established in the College of Education
  • Mar. 1, 1981 Course registration and school record management fully computerized
  • Mar. 6, 1981 Dr. LEE Ho Wang published his research in the journal Science “Korean Hemorrhagic Fever: Propagation of the Etiologic Agent in a Cell Line of Human Origin"
  • Feb. 15 1982 Korea Air & Correspondence College separated from SNU
  • May 1982 College of Education's departments divided
    - Department of Foreign Language Education divided into three: Departments of English Education, German Education, and French Education.
    - Department of Social Studies Education divided into three: Departments of Social Studies Education, History Education, and Geography Education
    - Department of Science Education divided into four: Departments of Physics Education, Chemistry Education, Biology Education, and Earth Science Education
  • May 1982 The school festival was renamed Daedongje, Great Union Festival
  • Aug. 9, 1982 University library installed a book theft detection system
  • Mar. 1, 1983 Dormitory for female students opened
  • Mar. 1983 College of Engineering's Department of Ceramic Engineering renamed as Department of Inorganic Materials Engineering
  • 1983 Department of Public Health in the Graduate School of Public Health divided into Departments of Public Health and Environmental Health
  • Apr. 4, 1983 SNU's official insignia designated as Zelkova tree and Crane
  • May 24, 1983 About 1,000 students joined a memorial ceremony for Gwangju Democratic Uprising, among 465 were arrested by police
  • Sept. 1983 Department of Russian Language and Literature, and Department of Spanish Language and Literature established in the College of Humanities
  • Nov. 1983 Department of Painting divided into Department of Oriental Painting and Department of Painting
    Department of Applied Arts divided into Department of Craft Design and Department of Industrial Arts
  • Nov. 1983 Interdisciplinary Program in History and Philosophy of Science established
  • Dec. 3, 1983 Law Library constructed by a donation of Kuksan KIM Taek Suh
  • Dec. 30, 1983 Early Graduation System introduced
  • Jan. 1984 Undergraduate students were recruited by department from 1984. The recruitment by fields which introduced in 1974 was abolished.
  • Mar. 5, 1984 Office of Planning established
  • Mar. 5, 1984 Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics established
  • May 1984 May Festival held in memory of the Gwangju Democratic Uprising.
  • June 27, 1984 Summer classes first offered.
  • July 1984 Argument writing introduced as part of undergraduate entrance exam criteria for 1986 and 1987 admissions
  • Sept. 26, 1984 SNU student council re-established in four years. The government dismissed the council in 1980.
  • Dec. 1, 1984 Liver Research Institute established
  • 1985 Number of students doubled in ten years: 16,146 students in 1975 to 30,350 in 1985
  • Jan. 1985 The Student National Defense Corpse finally abolished
  • Mar. 1, 1985 Department of International Trade in the College of Social Sciences renamed as Department of International Economics
    Department of Philosophy divided into three departments -- Departments of Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Religious Studies
  • Apr. 8, 1985 University Cultural Center opened
  • May 23, 1985 SNU President LEE Hyun-jae dismissed by the Korean president for failing to discipline students who led anti-American protests, occupying the US Cultural Center.
  • July 12, 1985 Inter-University Semiconductor Research Center established
  • Oct. 29, 1985 26 students of the SNU Democratization Committee arrested
  • Oct. 31 - Nov. 4, 1985 About a thousand students occupied the university administration building
  • Apr. 28 - May 22, 1986 Four SNU students committed suicide during fierce anti-American protests: YI Chae-ho and KIM Se-jin set fire on themselves to protect other students from the police on Apr. 28. LEE Dongsu jumped off the student center while burning on May 20. PARK Hye Jung jumped off Han River bridge on May 22.
  • Sept. 22 - Oct. 2, 1986 1986 Asian Games held in Seoul. Table tennis games played at the SNU Gymnasium on Gwanak campus
  • Oct. 15, 1986 40 Years of SNU History published
  • Nov. 10, 1986 An academic exchange agreement with UCLA signed
  • Jan. 21, 1987 Long-term Plan for the Development of Seoul National University (1987-2001) announced, the aim of which was to make SNU a world-class research university
  • Jan. – Sept. 1987 Leading the June Struggle for Democracy
    An SNU student’s tragic death made Korean public to stand up against dictatorship, which resulted in a constitutional amendment for democratic presidential election.
    - Jan. 20, 1987
    Students held a memorial ceremony for PARK Jong-chul, an undergraduate student in linguistics who had participated in the democratic movement and was tortured to death by police on Jan. 14, 1987
    - Apr. 13, 1987
    Korean President CHUN Doo-hwan announced a special statement to ensure the succession of his presidency to his member without democratic election
    - May 1, 1987
    122 SNU professors issued a protest against President Chun's statement, and after six days, SNU students issued their support to the professors.
    - May 27, 1987
    2,000 SNU students took to the street to demonstrate. One of the students, LEE Han-Yeol 한칸 띄우기 (Yonsei University), was killed by police gas bomb
    - June 10 - 26, 1987
    SNU students joined the June Struggle for Democracy. 5,000 SNU students demonstrated for constitutional amendments and democracy from June 10 to June 26.
    - June 29, 1987
    Roh Tae-woo, the ruling party's presidential candidate, deliver June 29 Declaration, in which he accepted people's request for constitutional amendments and direct presidential elections.
  • Sept. 1987 Democracy on campus
    - Students who had been expelled for participating in the democratic movement were readmitted: 406 in September 1987, 647 in 1988, and 286 in 1989. By 1995, a total of 1,663.
    - The Faculty Council held a meeting on Sept. 4, 1987 for the first time in seven years after the Seoul Spring in 1980.
  • Jan. 1988 The Graduation Quota System was abolished. The quotas for admissions and graduations equalized
  • Feb. 1988 Department of Home Management in the College of Home Economics renamed as Department of Consumer and Child Studies
  • Mar. 9, 1988 Faculty Council announced the Principles of SNU Autonomy
  • Mar. 29, 1988 An SNU student read a letter to college students in North Korea to make a movement for peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula, which triggered a nation-wide student movement for unification
  • Spring 1988 Milk carton footvolley game created, which became the most popular students' game in 1990s. The game slowly disappeared in 2000s.
  • May 14, 1988 Upholding the spirit of Gwangju Democratic Uprising in May 1980, CHO Seong Man, an SNU student in chemistry, disemboweled himself
  • Apr. 11, 1988 Dean of Graduate School of Public Health was appointed by faculty election. This was the first dean election. College of Law, College of Home Economics, and College of Business Administration held dean elections the next month.
  • Sept. 1988 SNU Student Council campaigned for co-hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympics with North Korea
  • Sept. 17 - Oct. 2, 1988 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul. Table tennis games played at the SNU Gymnasium
  • Oct. 22, 1988 Automation and Systems Research Institute established
  • Feb. 1989 Decision to abolish military training course from 1990
  • Feb. 28, 1989 Department of Industry Arts renamed as Department of Industrial Design
  • May 1989 Students created Decathlon for Unification of Korean Peninsula at the spring festival, which later became the most representative game of SNU
  • July 3, 1989 Institute of Advanced Machines and Design established
  • Sept. 27, 1989 An academic exchange agreement with the University of Sydney signed
  • Oct. 1989 General Education curricula reformed. Colleges allowed to have their own general education curricula.
  • Oct. 5, 1989 Institute of Computer Technology established
  • Oct. 28, 1989 Office of Research Affairs established with Divisions of Research Promotion and Research Support
  • Nov. 21, 1989 Female Faculty Council first organized
  • Jan. 3, 1990 Korea's major opposite party merged into the ruling party. SNU students took to street for protest on 9 May 1990 in the largest scale after June 1987
  • Jan. 5, 1990 Institute for Korean Regional Studies, Research Institute of Mathematics, and Center for Theoretical Physics established
  • Jan. 29, 1990 Department of Electronic Calculation Engineering in the College of Engineering renamed as Department of Computer Engineering.
    Department of Sericulture in the College of Agriculture renamed as Department of Natural Fibers
  • May 25, 1990 Seoul National University Foundation established
  • June 1990 Kyujanggak building construction completed.
  • July 4, 1990 Research Institute of Advanced Materials established
  • Aug. 17, 1990 An academic exchange agreement with the University of Tokyo signed
  • Oct. 4, 1990 Private YUN Seok Yang disclosed classified military documents which proved that military headquarters had been conducting illegal civilian inspections over 313 SNU student activists (93 in humanities, 125 in social sciences, 48 in engineering, 29 in education, and 18 in natural sciences)
  • Sept. 21, 1991 Third Preference on undergraduate admission applications abolished from 1991
  • 1991 Integrated Master's and Doctoral Program implemented, allowing distinguished MA students to enter a doctoral program without test.
  • Mar. 1, 1991 Department names of College of Natural Sciences changed: Departments of Plant Science and Animal Science renamed as Departments of Biology and Molecular Biology respectively.
  • June 1, 1991 SNU Alumni Association in the USA organized
  • June 17, 1991 Institute of New Media and Communications established
  • Aug. 8, 1991 Library checkout system computerized
  • Aug. 14, 1991 Professor KIM Chong-un elected as SNU's president. It was the first direct election involving all faculty members
  • Nov. 25, 1991 Research Institute of Energy and Resources established
  • Feb. 1992 New Faculty Orientation first offered
  • Mar. 1992 SNU Education Center for Overseas Koreans became independent, and changed the name as National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED)
  • Mar. 1992 Kyujanggak Archives became an independent institution affiliated to the university. Previously the archives had been a part of university library.
  • Mar. 3, 1992 College of Agriculture renamed as College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, proclaiming the new slogan “The 21st century is Era of Life and Environment"
  • Mar. 6, 1992 The Department of Nursing in the College of Medicine became College of Nursing.
  • Apr. 3, 1992 The SNU administration announced subjects of the 1994 entrance exam: Korean, English, Math, and 2nd Foreign Language (all languages taught in Korean high school except Japanese)
  • Sept. 30, 1992 One of the three old bookstores in the campus vicinity, favored by students in political movements, closed due to decrease of interest in political issues
  • Mar. 3, 1993 Changes in research grant management: faculty members' research grants, previously managed individually, would subsequently be managed by university's central administrative system. The university charged fixed overheads as 15-20% of research grants
  • Nov. 1, 1993 An academic exchange agreement with Peking University signed
  • Dec. 10, 1993 Research Institute of Marine Systems Engineering established
  • Dec. 22, 1993 Business Library, a branch of the University Library, opened
  • Jan. 6-7, 1994 SNU implemented its own entrance exam for undergraduate admission for the first time in 13 years
  • July 19, 1994 An academic exchange agreement with the University of Oxford signed
  • Aug. 20, 1994 Faculty evaluation system implemented to enhance faculty members' research competitiveness
  • Sept. 8, 1994 University regulations on faculty appointment and promotion revised: three year contract employment introduced
  • Oct. 26, 1994 An academic exchange agreement with Free University of Berlin signed
  • Nov. 11, 1994 Decision to introduce Endowed Professor positions from 1995. Endowed professor contracts with the university that lasts for three years or less, during which the university provides compensation with donated fund
  • Feb. 10, 1995 Undergraduate students banned from driving and parking on campus due to the rapid increase of students' driving from 260 in 1990 to 2,500 in 1995
  • Feb. 16, 1995 Social Sciences Library and Dentistry Library, branch libraries of the University Library, opened
  • Feb. 21, 1995 SOLARS (SeOul Library Automation Research System) launched
Last updated in 2016