President Nazarbayev and Shigeo Katsu at Nazarbayev University       President Nazarbayev at Nazarbayev University       President Nazarbayev at Nazarbayev University

Nazarbayev University, established on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2010, is the country’s flagship academic institution with aspirations to become a global-level research university. This is the first university in Kazakhstan which is guided by the principles of autonomy and academic freedom. The University’s autonomous status was granted by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 19 January, 2011 “On the status of “Nazarbayev University”, “Nazarbayev Intellectual schools” and “Nazarbayev Fund””.

A brief history of the University:

2006President of Kazakhstan first announced the idea of creating a world class university during the annual address to the nation
2007The beginning of the construction of the university
2009Appointment of the new project team for establishing the university. Creation of JSC “New University of Astana”
June The opening ceremony of Nazarbayev University
SeptemberStart of the Foundation program   
OctoberThe opening of Research Centers – Center for Energy Research and Center for Life Sciences
DecemberAppointment of the first founding President of Nazarbayev University    
DecemberPresident of Kazakhstan delivered a lecture to the students of Nazarbayev University
DecemberNational Analytical Center became a subsidiary of  Nazarbayev University
JanuaryThe Law “On the status of “Nazarbayev University, “Nazarbayev Intellectual schools” and “Nazarbayev Fund” signed
March The first Student Government was formed  
June The first meeting of the Supreme Board of Trustees was held under the Chairmanship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Main Strategic Directions for 2012-2020 were approved. The Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev University was formed
AugustThe opening of undergraduate schools
September Assignment of the National Medical Holding and its hospital system to the University to create an integrated academic healthcare system

First research publication under Nazarbayev University name
First medical research conference at Nazarbayev University

NovemberFirst international higher education conference “Modern Trends in Education” organized by the Center for Educational Policy


MarchFirst JCI accreditation obtained by a National Medical Holding hospital
September The first cohort of direct admits to undergraduate programs
September- DecemberOpening of the Graduate School of Business, the Graduate School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Education
April The Republican Research Center for Neurosurgery was accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI)
April Strategy of Nazarbayev University for 2013-2020 and the Charter was approved by the Supreme Board of Trustees.
AprilThe new executive body of the university – Managing Council was formed by the decision of the Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev Uiversity
September Opening of the Master’s and PhD programs 
MayFirst Oxford University Press publication by NU “Kazakhstan-2050”
JulyOpening of the Pilot Technopark
September Graduate programs launched in the undergraduate schools
November Opening of the new building of Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Public Policy
March Establishment of the National Laboratory Astana
June The first Graduation Ceremony with the participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev
August Opening of the Doctor of Medicine program at Nazarbayev University School of Medicine 
September Launch of Nazarbayev University’s own Foundation Program
September-NovemberEstablishment of the University Medical Center from three of the former National Medical Holding hospitals
December “Research University” status was granted to Nazarbayev University
June The second Graduation Ceremony of Nazarbayev University
SeptemberLaunch of the ABC Quick Start Acceleration Program
OctoberFirst PhD Defense (Graduate School of Education)
OctoberLaunch of the institutional self-evaluation exercise
January Opening of the new building of Nazarbayev University School of Medicine with participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev
AprilLaunch of the Asian University Alliance
May The third Graduation Ceremony with participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev. Commencement of the first PhD graduates
AugustEUA’s independent external evaluation of NU is published

Opening of School of the Mining and Geosciences
Opening of GSPP’s PhD program in Public Policy
Opening of the Zero Year program for graduate students


The Strategy of Nazarbayev University defined the main strategic goals and directions for the development of the University toward the goal of becoming a leading model of higher education, which would establish a benchmark for all higher education institutions of the country. The Strategy set out the mission, vision, strategic goals, stages of development and the results of the joint efforts by administrative staff, faculty, students, and researchers of the University for 2018-2030.


Here you can download a full version of Nazarbayev University strategy 2013-2020

Here you can download a full version of Nazarbayev University strategy 2018-2030