Seoul National University is undoubtedly the most prestigious school in South Korea. It has numerous agreements with programs in other countries, which allows students to course dual master’s degrees in specific subjects. In addition, it’s considered one of the most innovative universities in the world. We’ve compiled some notable alumni that have graced the halls of such a well-regarded institution.

List of Seoul National University (SNU) Alumni

1. Ha-Joon Chang

Ha-Joon Chang is one of the most important economists on the planet. His focus on institutional economics has made him a valuable asset to numerous institutions. These include the World Bank, various agencies in the United Nations, and the European Investment Bank. He’s a published book author and many consider him one of the world’s greatest thinkers.


2. Suh Yoo-hun

Suh Yoo-hun is the current president of the Korean Brain Research Institute. A medical doctor, he has focused his research on degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Thanks to his investigations of this notable alumni of Seoul National University, greater knowledge regarding the genetics and possible treatment goals regarding this disease have emerged. He has also made great contributions to the subject of possible treatment options for Parkinson’s disease. His focus on neurodegenerative diseases has allowed him to register seven patents for discoveries made in the area.


3. Ahn Cheol-soo

Ahn Cheol-soo is the founder of the antivirus software company AhnLab. In 2012, he decided to get involved in politics and he has been a presidential candidate on two occasions. He was also a candidate for the Seoul mayorship in 2018. Before dedicating himself to politics, Ahn was the dean at one of Seoul National University’s colleges.


4. Ban Ki-moon

Next notable alumni at the Seoul National University is Ban Ki-moon, who served as the eighth Secretary General of the United Nations. He managed to promote numerous peacekeeping agreements during his tenure. Furthermore, he became a strong advocate against global warming. One of his greatest achievements was giving legal status to the Paris agreement. After the end of his post, he founded the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens.


5. Hyun Ki-young

Hyun Ki-young has been dedicated most of his career to investigating the history of Jeju island. He has also served as President of the Korean Arts & Culture Foundation. Hyun’s main focus has been the Jejun massacre of 1948. His work and coverage of this horrific incident have been recognized, and he has been awarded numerous prizes.


6. Jihoon Kim

Jihoon Kim is one of the most successful South Korean opera singers. He has performed all over the country and in Europe. He’s currently part of The Royal Opera, in the United Kingdom, where he has a Principal role. As an operatic bass, he has starred in La Traviata, Rigoletto, and Un Ballo in Maschera, to name a few.


7. Park Jong-sei

Next on our list of notable alumni at SNU is Park Jong-sei . He is a chemist and he served as head of the Korean Food and Drug Administration. He rose to international fame for his role in detecting the use of steroids during the 1988 Summer Olympics. After his work for the government, he founded a laboratory specialized in protein micro-array. It’s called Lab Frontier.


8. Kah Kyung Cho

Kah Kyung Cho is a philosopher, who has been uniting Eastern and Western philosophical trends during the past decades. He got his doctorate at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He has focused on phenomenology and contemporary German philosophy throughout his decades-long career. He’s currently a professor at the State University of New York, although he has taught special lectures in other institutions.


9. V. Narry Kim

Our next candidate for the notable alumni at Seoul National University is Narry Kim. She is an accomplished biochemist who has focused most of her research on micro-RNA. She currently holds four patents related to her work, including a gene delivery vector based on HIV. She has made major discoveries that have shown promise for the treatment of cancer. One of these is a new technology that allows deleting specific microRNAs. Her research has also focused on stem cells, and promising treatments with the use of these cells. Kim has received numerous awards for her job, including a UNESCO recognition.


10. Bong-Ho Son

Bong-Ho Son is a theologist that has served as the president of Dongduk Women’s University. He was also the president of Hansung University. He has dedicated his life to academia, and he has published numerous works on theology. His field of study is focused on Christian Ethics. In addition, he founded the Sharing National Movement.


11. Kim Seung-ok

During his time in university, novelist Kim Seung-ok founded a journal titled The Age of Prose, where he began to publish his own writings. He later wrote, “Seoul, Winter,1964”, which many consider one of his greatest works. Another of his writings, “Trip to Mujin” was turned into a film named Mist. For his work, Kim has won literary awards.


12. Junggeun Oh

Junggeun Oh is a painter that began his career in South Korea before moving to Berlin. This notable alumni at Seoul National University has been living there since 2004, and his mixture of minimalism with realism has garnered him great recognition in the country. He designed a piece for the South Korean embassy.


13. Unsuk Chin

Unsuk Chin is a virtuous classical music composer. Chin taught herself how to play the piano, showing her talent from a very young age. She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Arnold Schönberg prize. More recently, in 2019, she received the Bach Prize by the city of Hamburg. She has been living in Germany for the past few years.


14. Kim Young-sam

Kin Young-sam was the first civilian president in South Korea after 30 years of military domain. During his five years as president, he strongly fought corruption and he had to oversee the arrest of two of the prior presidents. He also tried to internationalize South Korea’s economy.


15. Joomyeong Kim

Our final candidate on our list of notable alumni at Seoul National University is Joomyeong Kim. He is a biologist who is currently a professor at the University of Louisiana in the United States. He has focused his research on genomic imprinting and epigenetics. He leads a team of scientists focused on understanding genetic transcription regulation. In the past, Kim also researched the subject of tumorigenesis, which studies the origin of tumors.


I hope that this article on notable alumni at the Seoul National University was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.