A Brief History of the Establishment of PUST

In March 2001, the Ministry of Education of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) authorized the establishment of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) by the Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC), a South Korean non-profit organization. NAFEC previously established China’s first foreign university, the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST), in Yanji City, a major Korean-Chinese population center, in Northeast China. Since its opening in 1992, YUST has grown rapidly to become one of the top 100 universities in China.

Due to YUST’s success, the DPRK requested in 2001 that Dr. James Chin-Kyung Kim, the founder of YUST, create a similar institution in the DPRK. The construction of the PUST buildings for Phase 1 was completed in 2010, and the university began classes in October 2010 with 50 graduate students.

When establishing PUST, the DPRK’s Ministry of Education agreed to the following requirements:

  • To appoint Dr. James Chin-Kyung Kim, a U.S. citizen, as the founding president of PUST, thereby ensuring that all aspects of construction and operation are managed by independent outside organizations and individuals.
  • To guarantee the use of the land upon which the university will be built (by decision of the Cabinet of the State Council).

PUST Timeline

2001/05 PUST establishment agreement with Ministry of Education, DPRK
2001/06 Approval by Ministry of Unification, South Korea
2001/09 University design service contract with Jung-Lim Architecture, Inc.
2002/06 Groundbreaking ceremony in Pyongyang
2002/11 Consignment of construction equipment to Pyongyang
2003/10 Road construction
2003/11 First academic meeting (Yanji, China)
2004/04 Building construction commencement
2004/12 Completion of main administration building frame
2005/02 Second academic meeting (Yanji, China)
2005/12 Completion of 10 more building frames
2005/12 PUST Founding Committee Co-Chairmen Inauguration
2006/01 Third academic meeting (Pyongyang)
2007/01 Agreement for Digital Campus establishment
2008/12 Construction of 17 buildings completed 98%
2009/09 PUST Co-Operations President Inauguration & Grand Opening
2010/04 Fifth academic meeting (Yanji, China)
2010/06 First Graduate Students Admission
2010/10 Official opening
2014/03 Graduation of first 50 graduate students
2014/11 Graduation of the first 100 undergraduate students
2015/03 Graduation of 37 graduate students
2015/04 First 10 female students welcomed as undergraduate students
2015/10 First 3 Dental students began classes in Division of Medical Sciences (DMS)
2016/02 Two more Dental students began classes in DMS
2016/03 Graduation of 12 graduate students and the second set of undergraduate 100 students