V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. It was founded in November 1804, on the initiative of the prominent educator V.N. Karazin and in accordance with the charter of Tsar Alexander I.
The history of Kharkiv National University is part and parcel of the intellectual, cultural and spiritual history of Ukraine. The names of many world famous researchers, scholars and educators are associated with Kharkiv University, among them are P. Hulak-Artemovskyi, O. Lyapunov, M. Kostomarov, M. Barabashov, M. Beketov, D. Bahaliy, A. Krasnov, M. Ostrogradskyi, V. Steklov, O. Potebnya, O. Pogorelov and many others.
Kharkiv University is the only university in Ukraine that has trained and employed three Nobel Prize laureates: the biologist I. Mechnikov, the economist S. Kuznets, and the physicist L. Landau.
At different times titles of Kharkiv University Honorary Members and Doctors were conferred on outstanding scholars and public figures of many countries, including J.W. Goethe and A. Humboldt, I. Franko and L. Tolstoy, P. Semenov-Tyanshanskiy, and others.
The title of Honorary Doctor of Kharkiv University was conferred on the first President of Ukraine Mykhailo Hrushevskyi
Kharkiv University is associated with the first Ukrainian newspapers and journals and the first scientific societies.
Since its foundation, the University has graduated over 130,000 students. The names of the University graduates are commemorated in geographical names, names of space objects, plants and minerals, laws and formulae. Almost 60 University graduates have become academicians and corresponding members of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences (UNAS).
The activities of the University have developed Kharkiv into a major industrial, scientific and cultural center. Many Kharkiv streets are named after professors, researches and alumni of the University. The University has initiated the whole system of higher education of the Kharkiv Region. Its offspring are the National Academy of Law, the National Pharmaceutical Academy, Kharkiv Medical University, Kharkiv Pedagogical University, the Kharkiv Veterinary Academy, the Kharkiv Academy of Culture, Kharkiv Economic University and other institutions of higher education. Today Kharkiv National University is organized into 18 Schools: the School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Physics and Technology, the School of Radio Physics, the School of Physics, the School of Computer Sciences, the School of Biology, the School of Philosophy, the School of Geology and Geography, the School of Economics, the School of Foreign Languages, the School of History, the School of Philology, the School of Fundamental Medicine, the School of Chemistry, the School of Sociology, the School of Psychology, the School of Further Education and Retraining, and the School of Physics and Energy. The latter was organized together with the UNAS Institute of Machine Building.
The total University enrollment, including the students of the Center for Training International Students and the Center for Presessional Education, amounts to about 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 400 postgraduate students. The University employs up to 1,500 faculty and research staff, including more than 200 doctors of sciences, full professors, and almost 800 candidates of sciences, associate professors.
Kharkiv National University offers 115 major opportunities and specializations, covering the whole scope of modern classical university education. About 30% of the University's annual enrollment are school medal winners, another 10% are winners of the third and fourth rounds of Ukrainian school students academic competitions.
The University is one of the largest research centers in Ukraine. It covers virtually all spheres of modern fundamental research and incorporates the Research Institutes of Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy, the Institute of Physics and Engineering, and the Institute of High Technologies.
The University's faculty include 21 academicians and corresponding members of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and specialized academies of Ukraine, and 50 winners of the State Award. The University has about 20 world famous scientific schools committed to intensive research, 11 specialized councils for conferring doctor's degrees and 5 councils for conferring candidate's degrees. The University's researchers annually publish 60 to 65 monographs, collections of research papers, over 2,000 articles and abstracts, and hold 20 to 25 international conferences.
The University is the leading research organization of several space programs. Within the framework of international programs its researchers co-operate with scientists from the USA, Canada, Russia, Germany, Turkey, China, Japan, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Great Britain and other countries.
Since 1808 the University has had its own Astronomical Observatory which is one of the leading astronomical centers of Ukraine involved in fundamental and applied research in the physics of the Sun, the planets, asteroids, comets and satellites. The University's Botanical Garden was founded in 1804 and is the oldest botanical garden in Ukraine. It is a state preserve with a unique collection of plants representing various botanical and geographic zones of the world.
The University's Natural History Museum was founded in 1807 and is one of the oldest university museums in the world. Every year it opens its doors to 22,000 visitors. The total area of the Museum exhibition facilities is 2,000 square meters, and its 23 halls feature about 250,000 exhibits organized into the following sections: the Origin of Man, Darwinism, Zoology, and Geology. The University also has the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography of Slobidska Ukraine with about 150,000 exhibits.
The University's Central Scientific Library was founded on January 30, 1805. In 1987, the decree of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine established it as an institution of special social importance. It numbers 3,500,000 units, including 50,000 unique editions (17 incunabula, over 1,000 manuscripts, 300 palaeotypes, and books by classical writers and scholars published in their lifetime).
In October 1999, according to the decree of the President of Ukraine, Kharkiv State University gained the status of a national university and was named in honor of its founder, V.N. Karazin.
In 2003, following the decree of the President of Ukraine, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University obtained the highest status of a self-governing (autonomous) state university. V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University is involved in extensive international cooperation and is an active member of the international community of the leading European and world universities. It cooperates with 61 partners in 25 countries of the world.
Together with other major European universities, in 1988 Kharkiv National University signed the Great University Charter that initiated the Bologna Process.
The University is a co-founder of the Eurasian University Association and is a member the World and the European University Associations.
In November 2004 Kharkiv University celebrated 200 years since the day of signing the Foundation Charter, and in January 2005 it marked the 200th anniversary of its foundation.
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