Korea University was founded in 1905 as Bosung College during the final years of the Kingdom of Joseon when Korea was compulsively annexed by Japan. Mr. Hae-Uoung Shin was the first College President. The name changed in 1946 to 'Korea University' when three more colleges were founded and the institution became formalised as a university. The first president of the full university was Sang-Yoon Hyun.
During the current Sixth Republic of South Korea under the influence of civilian presidents, the university has begun reaching out to other academic institutions around the world. A programme to modernise and expand the university has been initiated, involving the construction of Central Plaza in 2002, the largest underground parking facility in South Korea.
The current president is Dr. Han Seung-joo.
Korea University is one of the top three universities in South Korea, one of the so-called "SKY" schools in Korea. The acronym is formed from the first initials of the three most prestigious and highly selective universities in Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University. Admissions into the universities are competitive because a degree from one of the SKY schools is regarded as a ticket to success and honor in Korean society. In 2007, the Korean Ministry of Education, after assessing domestic MBA programs, named Korea University as the top MBA program in Korea.
Korea University was ranked 150th in the world in October 2006 in a survey by The Times Higher Education Supplement, an improvement on the ranking of 184th place in 2005, when the Social Sciences department ranked 66th, and Liberal Arts ranked 89th.
The Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced that Korea university ranked 153rd in the world and 4th in Korea, based on the number of published papers in Science Citation Index journals.
According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, Korea University ranked in the range of 301-400th . The business programs at Korea University also obtained international recognition by acquiring Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) certifications in both undergraduate- and graduate levels and European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) for the first time in Korea, qualifying for what are considered to be two of the world's highest regarded certifications for business educational assessment.
Euh Yoon-dae, the then president of the university, started a scheme in 2003, named the "Global KU Project", which intends to put KU in the world’s top 100 universities. The project involves utilising student exchanges, increasing the amount of courses taught in English to 30%, and building the International Summer Campus.
The rivalry of Korea University and Yonsei University, the top two private institutions in the nation, is nationally renowned. These private universities are proud of and renowned for their spirit, traditions, and the gold balance of academics and athletics. So intense is the rivalry between them that the crimson-attired supporters of Korea University identify the league as the “Ko-Yon Games,” while Yonsei members in blue transpose the two syllables as "Yon-Ko". Five events: (baseball, basketball, hockey, rugby, and soccer) are held every year.
Korea University ranked:
191st in the 2010 QS World University ranking
190th in the 2011 QS World University Ranking