Uzhhorod National University

Uzhhorod National University (Ужгородський національний університет; Uzhhorodskyi natsionalnyi universytet). A university in Uzhhorod established in 1945. The idea of founding a higher educational institution in Uzhhorod was first proposed by Adolf Dobriansky, a Ruthenian national leader in historical Subcarpathian Ruthenia, in the wake of the Revolution of 1848–9 in the Habsburg monarchy. The authorities of the Habsburg Empire, however, rejected Dobriansky’s proposal. The second attempt was made in 1919, by the ‘autonomous directorate’ of Subcarpathian Ruthenia upon its joining Czechoslovakia. The project called for the opening of a ‘Ruthenian university’ in Uzhhorod consisting of three faculties: philosophy, law, and theology. The authorities in Prague rejected this project because of the lack of financial and human resources needed for such an undertaking. In 1939 the government of the autonomous Carpatho-Ukraine drafted a new project for a university to be opened in Khust since Uzhhorod had been occupied by Hungary from 2 November 1938. According to the project, the university was to consist of four faculties: philosophy, law, economy, and medicine. The curriculum was to include the Ukrainian language and literature, Slavic archeology, psychology, musicology, and the history of Ukraine, among other subjects. On 24 February 1939 Avhustyn Voloshyn, the head of the government, prepared the text of the Law On the Opening of Ukrainian State University in Khust. This project, too, was abandoned because of the occupation of Carpatho-Ukraine by the Hungarian forces.

The founding of a university in Uzhhorod was proclaimed on 19 July 1945 by the local Soviet authorities that announced the opening of the ‘Transcarpathian-Ukrainian University.’ But the People’s Council of Transcarpathian Ukraine proved unable to implement its own decision, and it was the government of the Ukrainian SSR in Kyiv that finally declared the opening of a ‘state university’ in Uzhhorod on 18 October 1945. The university opened its doors on 1 February 1946 and consisted of four faculties: history, philology, biology, and medicine. Most faculty members were invited from other universities of Soviet Ukraine and other republics of the Soviet Union. In 1945 a botanical garden was established at the university, which over time has become one of the most significant research institutions in natural history in Ukraine. In 1946 the university added a new faculty of chemistry, followed in 1950 by a faculty of physics and mathematics. The first graduation ceremony took place in 1951. A teachers' institute was added to the university in 1954. A general technical faculty was opened in 1960, tasked with training engineers to meet the needs of Transcarpathia’s fast developing industries. In 1963 the faculty of philology opened the Hungarian language and literature department that trained teachers for the local Hungarian-language schools. In 1966 a faculty of Roman and Germanic languages was established, while the faculty of physics and mathematics was divided into two separate faculties, which mirrored the academic trends in other Soviet universities. During the 1970s a massive construction of new university facilities took place, including the athletic center, a dormitory for 1,500 students, and the main academic building that also contained research laboratories (opened in 1980). A faculty of economics was added in 1987, along with the Center for Hungarian Studies, the only such center in Soviet Ukraine.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzhhorod University transformed itself into a leading educational center of independent Ukraine, and in particular, of western Ukraine. The 1990s were the time of a dramatic transformation of the university’s curriculum. Several new research and teaching facilities were added, including the Institute of Herbal Therapy, the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Solids, and the Institute of Carpathian Studies. In 1992 the university adopted the Western system and began granting Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In 1994 the university received the highest—fourth—level of state accreditation, which gave the university wider autonomy in a variety of academic matters. The same year the faculty of law was opened. In 2000 the university was granted the national university status. Several new faculties were added in the next decade, such as the faculty of physical education and sport (2001), the faculty of international relations (2004), the faculty of social sciences that included the departments of history, law, pedagogy, and psychology (2006), and the faculty of dentistry (2006). Several new scientific research institutes were opened in 2007–9: the Institute of Ukrainian Studies; the Institute of Brain; the Institute of Slovak Studies; the Institute of Political Regional Studies; the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology of Mucous Membranes, and others. The faculty of humanities and natural sciences with the Hungarian language of instruction was opened in 2008. In 2012 the faculty of international relations and the faculty of economics were reorganized into the Institute of Economics and International Relations. In 2013–15 a few more research facilities were created: the Center for the Study of Central Europe; the Archaeological Museum; the Museum of the History of the University; the Center for Social and Political Studies; the NATO Information Center; the Institute of Comparative Public and International Law; and the Museum of Manuscripts and Incunabula. 2017 saw a new wave of faculty reorganization and the creation of the faculties of history and international relations, international economic relations, and health and physical education. The most prominent faculty members have included physicians Valentyn Khenkin and Oleksandr Kyshko; physicists Otto Shpenyk and Volodymyr Slyvka; chemists Ivan Lenarsky and Ivan Smolanka; historians Mykola Lelekach and Mykola Vegesh; ethnographer Fedir Potushniak; and philologist Yurii Sak.

As of 2021 UzhNU has 20 faculties: history and international relations; social sciences; law; economics; international economic relations; physics; mathematics and digital technologies; chemistry; biology; medicine (two faculties); dentistry; engineering and technology; geography; health and physical education; post-diploma and pre-college education; foreign philology; philology; information technologies; and tourism and international communications. UzhNU also operates several educational and scientific research institutes (such as the Ukrainian-Hungarian Educational and Research Institute and the Educational and Research Institute of Euro-Integration Studies), a college (the Professional College of Humanities and Natural Sciences), and a regional branch (Lviv Educational and Research Center). A number of research institutes, centers, and laboratories are also housed at the university, including the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Solids; the Institute of Carpathian Studies; the Institute of Herbal Therapy; the Institute of Political Regional Studies; the Institute of Ukrainian Studies; the Institute of Brain; the Institute of Instruments of Analytical Techniques; the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies; the All-Ukrainian Center for Slovak Studies; the Research Laboratory of Physical Electronics with the Space Exploration Laboratory; the Research Laboratory of Ecosystem Conservation; Center for Gender Education; and others. The university operates a botanical garden, zoological museum, and the Kolochava Mountainside Biological Research Station. Its library collection consists of approximately 1.7 million volumes, including unique medieval manuscripts and prints (incunabula) and the most comprehensive collection of books and periodicals related to Transcarpathia.

In 2019 there were 14,828 students enrolled at the university (1,615 of them were foreign students). UzhNU has been consistently ranked among Ukraine’s best colleges and universities. For example, in 2020 it was ranked 20 among 240 colleges and universities in the Consolidated Ranking of Ukraine’s colleges and universities conducted by the educational web portal It was also ranked 11 in Top 200 Ukraine, an independent academic ranking. UzhNU has published several scholarly periodicals, chief among them: Naukovyi visnyk Uzhhorods'koho natsional'noho universytetu (since 1994, in several series). Carpatica-Karpatyka is the major periodical devoted to the history, society, and culture of the Carpathian Mountains region (41 vols, 1992–).

Uzhhorods'kyi derzhavnyi universytet. Dovidnyk (Uzhhorod 1970)
Hranchak, I. et al. Oseredok osvity, nauky, kul'tury: Uzhhorods'komu derzhavnomu universytetu – 50 rokiv (Uzhhorod 1995)
Uzhhorods'kyi natsional'nyi universytet na porozi III tysiacholittia (Uzhhorod 2005)
UzhNU official website:

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was written in 2021.]

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