The predecessor of NaUKMA is one of the oldest academic and theological schools among Orthodox Christian East European countries. The Academy was first opened in 1615 as the school of the Kyiv bratstvo ("brotherhood"). In 1632 the Kiev Pechersk Lavra school and Kiev Brotherhood School merged into the Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium (Latin: Collegium Kiyovense Mohileanum). The Collegium was named Mohylańska (as of Mohyla after Petro Mohyla), the proponent of Western educational standards at the institution. In 1658 under the terms of the Treaty of Hadiach the Collegium obtained the status of an Academy, similar to Kraków Academy (Poland), and in 1694 was recognized as an Academy by the Russian Tzar Ivan V of Russia, then in 1701 reaffirmed by his brother, Tzar Peter I of Russia (Peter the Great).
The Academy educated Russian and Ukrainian political and intellectual elite in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was highly acclaimed throughout Eastern Europe with the students from modern day Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Belarus, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. The admissions were open to all social classes. Due to the exceptional quality of the language program its students often continued their education abroad, which at the time required many of them to convert their religion from the Orthodox Christian to a Roman Catholicism. However, upon their return to Ukraine, they were turning back to their Orthodox roots, which also was necessary in order to attain positions in the clergy or Academia. By keep sending the students abroad for education the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy played a very important role in obtaining from Western Europe the knowelege of the Renaissance and adopting it by Ukraine and Russia. The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy also supported a number of other colleges built on its model, such as the Vasilian College in Moldavia.
Hetmans – military leaders of the Zaporozhian Cossacks – were close to the monarch and actively supported the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The school flourished under the term of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, an alumnus.
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was closed in 1817 by Tzar Alexander I of Russia. In response alumni of the Academy made a numerous unsuccessful petitions to the monarch regarding to turning Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kievo-Mohylyans'ka Academy) into a University. Instead, in 1819 Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kyivo-Mohylyans'ka Academy) was turned into Kiev Theological Academy- a purely clerical institution. On comparable terms to its predecessors admissions became open only to the children of the existing clergy. The key positions were held mostly by the alumni of the Saint Petersburg Seminary.
In years the need of a new type of the higher educational institution in the Capital of Ukraine Kiev has-been realized certainly. The psychological pressure of the mass upon the higher authorities for allowing an establishment of such a school was growing, but it took a long time before the actual event have happened. Thereby Saint Vladimir University, as the first European type secular (modern) University of Kiev, was established in 1834 by the Tzar Nicholas I of Russia.
During the Soviet Union (USSR) era Kiev Theological Academy was closed, its library plundered and the main church of the school -Bogoyavlenskiy Cathedral- was destroyed.
The premises of the disbanded Academy were used for a new Soviet military education facility, the Kiev Higher Naval Political School (Russian: Киевское Высшее Военно-Морское Политическое Училище) - the only naval academy that was training specialist Comissars (political indoctrination officers) for the Soviet Navy. As of today the University building outside wall still bears mosaic portraying a military ship and the quotes by Vladimir Lenin as a remembrance of the school's totalitarian past.
Following the Perestroika and fall of the USSR in 1991 as a result, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was reestablished with the assistance of Vyacheslav Bryukhovetskiy, who became the first president of the NaUKMA – National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The reestablished institution was structured and modelled on the basic concepts of the North America post secondary educational system, Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees are offered according to the requirements of an academic credit system . In 1992, 24 August – the first celebration of the National Independence Day of Ukraine, the first students were matriculated into the classes of NaUKMA. As of June 1995 there were first six new graduates of NaUKMA. The Research Center named "Legacy of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" was founded to establish continuity of the old academy in the newly recreated academy after the two-century-long gap of its existence. The NaUKMA also initiated the revival of another historical Ukrainian educational institution, the Ostroh Academy. The NaUKMA widely got to be known for being the first university of which students and professors (among the other parties of the Orange Revolution in Kyiv) openly protested against the massive electoral selection fraud during the Ukrainian presidential election in 2004. After those events a museum dedicated to the Orange Revolution (Pomarancheva Revolyuziya-ukr.) was opened at the NaUKMA.
Besides NaUKMA, there are two modern theological schools, which also claim the continuity of the old Kyiv-Mohyla Academy academic tradition. These are Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and Kiev Orthodox Theological Academy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate).
NaUKMA -National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy – claims to be the oldest institution of tertiary education in Ukraine. Currently, Lviv University founded in 1661 is the oldest continuously operating university in Ukraine. It is disputed whether Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (established in 1834) or NaUKMA is the oldest higher education institution in Kyiv since NaUKMA formally exists as a university only from 1991 and has had a long break of 174 years in its history.
NaUKMA holds the highest accreditation level given by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and is organized similarly to North American post-secondary institutions. The academic year runs on a trimester system with the longer fall and spring trimesters and a short summer trimester. Fall and spring terms include an extra week of independent study which is aimed to assist students needing to catch up with their coursework and prepare for exams. During undergraduate study students have an academic major and can choose either a minor or electives. Each course is assigned a number of credits based on credit hours and grading is done on a 100-point scale.
NaUKMA Bachelor's degree holders can continue their studies in any of the Masters programs at the university. Graduate academic programs leading to a Master of Business Administration, Candidate of Science (PhD) and Doctor of Science are also offered at NaUKMA. The university was first in Ukraine to join the reforms of the doctoral education within the Bologna process.
NaUKMA is a bilingual institution with Ukrainian and English being the languages of instruction, although the primary language is Ukrainian. The university offers business courses in English to the general public, in partnership with Grant MacEwan College of Edmonton, Canada. NaUKMA organizes an annual summer school in Ukrainian studies for international students and an English-language term program for international students entitled "Transitional studies: Ukraine and post-soviet space". Recently a Master program "German and European studies" is offered in collaboration with the University of Jena. The program is offered in German.
Similarly to other public universities in Ukraine, students receive modest monthly scholarship payments from the government. The amount varies according to the student's grades in the previous trimester. Additionally, a number of private scholarships are given to the best students on a merit system. Further, students are rewarded scholarship money for their social activities, thus awards are given to those who make the greatest contribution to the revival of NaUKMA or to those who excel in the promotion of Ukrainian language and culture.
NaUKMA is a state university and governed by the Supervising Board appointed by the Government of Ukraine. The highest university official is the President of NaUKMA, who is Prof. Serhiy M. Kvit. Education and research at the university are coordinated by the Scientific Board. Several public bodies consult the management of the university. These include the International Consulting Board, Board of Trustees, Student Council and Arts Board.
Admission to NaUKMA is open to both Ukrainian and international applicants. Admission is granted based on entrance examination scores. Entrance exams are administered as multiple choice tests covering several subjects including Ukrainian, English, law, mathematics, history of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, humanities (literature or history) and natural science, with the tests being machine scored. The admissions procedure was introduced in order to stem alleged corruption in the admission process. Admission tests are considered challenging and cover a broader range of subjects than the typical entrance examinations held at the majority of other universities in Ukraine. Testing the knowledge of history of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is exceptional among Ukrainian universities. It was introduced because of the role of the university in Ukrainian history. The university also has a Department of Preuniversity Training, which organizes test preparation courses for prospective students as well as trial testing sessions.
In 2009 Delovoy magazine ranked NaUKMA as the second best university in Ukraine, being nationally the strongest in humanities, third best in economics and second best in law. According to the independent ranking of 228 universities in Ukraine performed by Compas, NaUKMA was ranked second best in Ukraine regarding the adequacy of alumni to the labor market of Ukraine. In 2007, both the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, a weekly national newspaper ranked NaUKMA in third place among the Ukrainian universities. Likewise, the university's business school has the best reputation in the country. The Delovoy magazine ranked the Kyiv Mohyla Business School as the best business school in Ukraine in 2007. NaUKMA was ranked as number four in the ranking "Top-200 Ukraine" conducted by UNESCO in 2007.
In the international Webometrics Ranking of World Universities the university features at 2,055 out of 8,000 ranked institutions and second best among Ukrainian universities.
NaUKMA often hosts visits of foreign and national politicians. Among the latest visitors were Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Alejandro Toledo, David Kilgour and Jean Chrétien.
NaUKMA in the rankings of universities in Ukraine:
Following its reestablishment, NaUKMA has been active in the revival and founding of institutions sharing a common vision of educational standards. Thus, NaUKMA assisted with the development of the National University of Ostroh Academy, the Taras Shevchenko Pedagogical University of Kremenets, and the Petro Mohyla State University of Mykolayiv until they became separate independent universities. However, these schools still share a common admissions system with NaUKMA. Moreover, NaUKMA is an umbrella institution for a network of high schools throughout Ukraine called the collegiums. The curricula of collegiums aim to prepare the students for the NaUKMA entrance exams.
The university publishing house "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", which specializes in publishing scientific and educational literature in Ukraine, is situated on the NaUKMA campus.
The university maintains relations with a number of partner universities both through formal bilateral agreements and schemes like Erasmus Mundus. Current bilateral agreements are outlined below.
Science at NaUKMA is organized into six faculties, 29 departments and 24 research centers. An annual scientific conference Dni nauky NaUKMA (The Days of Science at NaUKMA) takes place in the last week of January. The main focus of research at the NaUKMA is in the fields of economics, law and humanities. Many faculty members hold permanent positions at the research institutes of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine and NaUKMA students are allowed to use its facilities for scientific and educational purposes.
The library of the old Kyiv Mohyla Academy contained a notable collection of the books. However, the archive was plundered in 1920s when the academy was closed. The university administration focuses on creating a research library equipped to modern standards. In addition to the central undergraduate library there is a number of the departmental libraries as well as reading halls for research and periodicals. Further, several international cultural organizations such as the Goethe-Institute, British Council and, American Library are located on campus premises and are open to the public. Also all the NaUKMA students have an access to the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.
The university occupies the grounds of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in the Podil neighborhood, from Kontraktova Square to the Dnieper River. The campus of NaUKMA is composed of a number of buildings constructed in the times of its predecessor institutions. The oldest buildings date from the 17th century, and include the Halshka Hulevychivna house and the old academic building also called the Mazepa building in honor of its financier Hetman Ivan Mazepa. The Mazepa building contains the congregation hall for ceremonial events, the Center for Contemporary Art and the research library.
In the same neighborhood is the historical museum complex of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, although the building is undergoing renovation. The complex contains a sundial and the house of Halshka Hulevychivna, which was the first building of the Kiev Brotherhood School. Another historical building called the bursa faces the Dnieper River and was used as a student dormitory during the time of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The Blahovishchenska (Annunciation) Сhurch built in 1740 for students is also on the NaUKMA campus. Most other buildings were constructed during the time of Kiev Theological Academy with some additions made during the Soviet era. The dormitories are situated outside the main campus.
An environmentally friendly office called the Green Office was recently opened at the Department of Environmental Studies at NaUKMA and uses modern energy saving and environmentally friendly technologies. The project was largely the initiative of students and is the first example of an office based on sustainable development in a Ukrainian educational institution.
Following reestablishment, the NaKUMA academic community has attempted to restore the traditions of its predecessor. However, during NaKUMA's reincarnation, several new traditions have been founded. Every year on 15 October the school celebrates Academy day and NaUKMA students wash the monument of the noted Kyiv-Mohyla alumnus philosopher Hryhorii Skovoroda. This action is called clean Skovoroda. The monument of Skovoroda in front of the university is also decorated with a mortarboard during the annual graduation ceremony held on 28 June. Another tradition during the ceremony is to carry the university turtle named Alma around the new graduates who make wishes while touching her shell. A student tradition connecting the old Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and NaUKMA is theatrical performances called verteps. Verteps possibly were introduced by the students of the old Academy. They are performed during different festive events. Lastly, it is a tradition to open each academic year with a welcome event for the new students, followed by a lecture by a renowned scientist, who is given an honorary professorship at the University. The ceremony of new NaUKMA student initiation includes taking a traditional student oath. During the first term at NaUKMA, students of all faculties introduce themselves to the academic community during the acquaintance ball.
Despite the relatively small number of NaUKMA students (about 3000 in 2006) there are a number of extracurricular activities on campus. NaUKMA students are also known for their activism, which is also supported by the university administration. Notable among the student organizations on campus are: the Student Council, the Christian Students Union, Mohyla Intellectual Club, the Student Brotherhood, the ecological club Zelena Hvylya, and the Youth Center for Humanities. The NaUKMA student portal Bo.Net.Ua is an online platform for student and alumni communication.
Sports courses are compulsory for NaUKMA students in their two years of study. These courses include elements of calisthenics, sport (soccer, basketball, volleyball and swimming) and fitness exercises. Additionally, there are a number of student sport groups ranging from Combat Hopak to Go.
Arts and music at NaUKMA are represented by the Center of Culture and Art and the Center for Contemporary Art.
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is mentioned in a number of novels. The main characters of Nikolai Gogol's novel Taras Bulba Ostap and Andriy Bulba were alumni of the old Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium is mentioned in several novels by Pavlo Zahrebelnyi including Southern Comfort and I, Bohdan. Kyiv Theological Academy is mentioned in Nikolai Leskov's Pecherskie antiki.
To note the importance of the university in Ukraine's history, a postage stamp dedicated to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and its revival was issued in 1992. Moreover, a building of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is portrayed on the 500 hryven' banknote.
Alumni of the old Kyiv-Mohyla Academy have played an important role in Ukrainian professional life. Many hetmans of Zaporozhian Cossacks, political leaders of Ukraine in the 17th and 18th centuries, were educated here. These include Ivan Mazepa, Pylyp Orlyk, Pavlo Polubotok, Ivan Skoropadsky and Ivan Samoylovych. The Grand Chancellor of Russia Alexander Bezborodko was of Ukrainian origin and an alumnus. The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was a religious school of note in the Orthodox world and archbishops of the Russian Empire such as Stephen Yavorsky and Feofan Prokopovich as well as the metropolitan bishop of Rostov Dimitry of Rostov were all alumni.
More recently, several generations of writers, artists and scholars have been schooled at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Examples include writer Simeon of Polotsk, architect Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi, and composer Artemy Vedel. Ukrainian philosopher Hryhori Skovoroda was another alumnus of the university. Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian scientist and founder of Moscow University was briefly a student at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
After 1819, when the university was turned into a purely religious institution, it still upheld its international reputation and has been an alma mater for the Moldavian poet Alexei Mateevici and metropolitan bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church Visarion Puiu.
Alumni of NaUKMA are employed by national and international companies, research and governmental institutions and many graduates continue their studies abroad. Journalist and politician Andriy Shevchenko and the contemporary Ukrainian writer Maryna Sokolyan studied at NaUKMA.