The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is Cambodia’s oldest and one of the largest public universities. It hosts more than 12,000 scholarship and full-fee paying students, across a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. It is unique in Cambodia for offering specialist degrees in fields including the sciences, humanities and social sciences, as well as professional degrees in fields such as information technology, electronics, psychology, social work, and tourism. RUPP also provides Cambodia’s foremost degree-level language programs through the Institute of Foreign Languages. Due to its many achievements, RUPP has full membership of the ASEAN University Network (AUN).
RUPP has over 450 full-time staff. All of its 335 academic staff members hold tertiary qualifications, including 15 PhDs and 280 Masters degrees. They are supported by over 120 administrative and maintenance staff. In addition, the university maintains links with Cambodian and international NGOs, local and international universities and government ministries. As a result, various international and non-government organizations and government offices regularly contribute adjunct faculty members to help expand RUPP’s capacity.
RUPP is located on three spacious campuses. The main campus lies roughly five kilometers from the center of Phnom Penh. Adjoining the main campus is the Institute of Foreign Languages, which boasts peaceful landscaping features alongside its modern architecture. Roughly one kilometer further from town lies RUPP Campus II, in which the departments of History, Sociology and Philosophy reside.
To become Cambodia’s flagship university in teaching, research and community services.
In order to succeed in transforming the current RUPP into the flagship university of Cambodia, the Mission points are as follows:
Building competency (knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes) for students in all education and training programs and equipping them with entrepreneurship skills, innovation skills, cross-cultural competence, and employability skills;
Becoming a center of excellence for language learning and information and communication technology (ICT);
Becoming a leading institution for Social Science and Humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education;
Enhancing research and development in all graduate programs;
Becoming the leading institution for the provision of high-quality research, consultancy and community service;
Becoming a center of good governance in which all administrative and financial services will be accountable, transparent, and participatory to students, staff members and stakeholders.
In order to achieve the Mission laid out in the preceding statements, the ten goals of the University are as follows:
Enhance teaching staff and middle-level administrative staff to hold at least master’s degrees with both English and ICT competence;
Be an established center for high-quality research and publications;
Increase graduate programs and enhance academic freedom;
Increase the number of international students in all types of courses;
Enhance student and faculty exchange with universities in the ASEAN University Network (AUN) and other partner universities, including services provided to development partners and civil society organizations;
Promote integrity and a sense of belonging and ownership among students, faculty and staff;
Ensure a safe and sound teaching and learning environment;
Provide free information technology (IT) support and internet access to all students and staff;
Become a resource center for teaching/learning, research and community service;
Mainstream quality assurance and evaluation mechanisms in all departments and programs.
The Royal University of Phnom Penh first opened its doors as the Royal Khmer University on January 13, 1960, with a National Institute of Judicial and Economic Studies, a Royal School of Medicine, a National School of Commerce, a National Pedagogical Institute, a Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, and a Faculty of Science and Technology. The language of instruction during this period was French.
With the establishment of the Khmer Republic, the Royal Khmer University became the Phnom Penh University. Between 1965 and 1975 the university consisted of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Faculties of Letters and Humanities, Science, Pharmacy, Law and Economics, Medicine and Dentistry, Commerce, Pedagogy and the Language Institute.
Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime forced the cessation of formal education. Schools and universities were closed and destroyed, and teaching services decimated. Along with all other educational institutions in Cambodia, Phnom Penh University ceased to function during this time. The Khmer Rouge targeted the educated, and many of the University’s faculty members were killed. Of the educated people who survived the regime, few chose to remain in Cambodia once its borders reopened. Deserted for almost five years, the campus became another victim of the grim period during the Pol Pot regime.
In 1980, the Ecole Normale Supérieure reopened, again teaching predominantly in French. The following year saw the opening of the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), initially training students to become Vietnamese and Russian language teachers. Both colleges focused on training students to become teachers, thus rebuilding the education system within Cambodia.
In 1988, the Ecole Normale Supérieure merged with the IFL to create Phnom Penh University. In 1996, the university underwent its final change of name, becoming the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
During the past decade, the University has continued to grow and now includes the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Institute of Foreign Languages. New departments and degree programs are developed regularly to keep up with the changing needs of Cambodian society. In keeping with its commitment to higher education, RUPP began to develop postgraduate degrees at a Masters level since 2001.