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Royal University of Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, Cambodia


University description (as per official university website)


The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is Cambodia’s oldest and largest university. It hosts more than 12000 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 vocational courses in fields such as information technology, electronics, psychology and tourism. RUPP also provides Cambodia’s foremost degree-level language programs through the Institute of Foreign Languages. Due to its many achievements, RUPP is the first university in Cambodia with full membership of the ASEAN University Network (AUN).

RUPP has over 420 full-time staff. All of its 294 academic staff hold tertiary qualifications, including 15 PhDs and 132 Masters degrees. They are supported by 140 administrative and maintenance staff. In addition, the university maintains vast linkage networks with Cambodian and international NGOs, 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.


The Royal University of Phnom Penh is committed to its further development as the leading university in Cambodia in the fields of science, social sciences and humanities. It is committed to maintaining excellence in all its missions, creating and extending knowledge, morality and wisdom for the sustainable development of both individuals and society and for the cultural diversity within the regional community.

The Royal University of Phnom Penh strives to preserve and promote Khmer culture and identity and support the development of Cambodia through education, research and community service.

The dissemination of knowledge, critical thinking, cultural and environmental awareness, and the teaching of ethical and peaceful values to students and staff enriches the Cambodian people’s quality of life and enables them to respond efficiently to the demands and needs of a changing society.

In particular, RUPP prepares students to become effective members of Cambodian society, with the professional capability to apply, develop and enrich the sciences, technology and the arts.


The Royal University of Phnom Penh has a five-fold mission:
1. The training and production of qualified graduates with relevant abilities and skills;
2. The promotion of research for academic advancement and national development;
3. The extension of knowledge and technological transfer and development towards national self-reliance;
4. Academic service to the public and private sectors, and community development; and
5. The promotion of cultural preservation, exchange and development.


• To develop courses that give graduates the appropriate knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of private, government and non-government sectors within Cambodia.
• To develop the skills and abilities of university staff by encouraging research capabilities, teaching competence and confidence through further training.
• To develop more NGO, government and industry partnerships to provide graduates with employment opportunities and university staff with the opportunity to conduct further valuable research.
• To achieve greater self-sufficiency and sustainability by independently managing the university’s budget.


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 staff 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 civil war which followed the immediate toppling of 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 has begun to develop postgraduate degrees at a Masters level since 2001.

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