About Us

General Information

Welcome to a new way of thinking.

NU is a modern, English-speaking research university located in Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan’s capital and the heart of Eurasia. Admission and progression are entirely merit-based and integrate professor-led teaching and research starting on day one as a freshman.

We’re more than a novelty. NU is providing a higher education that prepares graduates for success in an age of globalization and technological disruption. Our graduates receive world-class degrees in earth sciences, digital sciences, public administration, educational leadership, engineering, medicine, and more.

In 2006, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the First President of Kazakhstan, announced the purpose to create an internationally renowned university. On June 28, 2010, NU celebrated its Grand Opening Ceremony with the participation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Established on the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev it 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 “NU”, “Nazarbayev Intellectual schools” and “Nazarbayev Fund”.

On September 25, 2009, Aslan Sarinzhipov had been appointed as the President of JSC 'New University of Astana' (the former name of NU), in accordance with the decree issued by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. On November 28, 2010, the appointment of Mr. Aslan Sarinzhipov as the Chairman of the Executive Council was approved by the Head of the Prime Minister's Office.

Following the protocol of the Supreme Board of Trustees of NU AOE dated June 16, 2011, Mr. Katsu was appointed as President of NU.

On June 15, 2015, the first-ever graduation ceremony for university students took place. A total of 446 students, from both undergraduate and graduate programs, celebrated their academic achievements on this memorable day.

NU has achieved a notable milestone, debuting in the top 30 percent of international research universities according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024. Released on September 28, 2023, the rankings evaluated 1904 universities across approximately 100 countries, with NU securing a commendable position within the range of 501-600.

NU comprises eight schools offering both undergraduate and graduate programs: School of Engineering and Digital Sciences; School of Sciences and Humanities; School of Medicine; School of Mining and Geosciences; Graduate School of Business; Graduate School of Education; Graduate School of Public Policy; Center for Preparatory Studies. 

All schools are supported by strategic partnerships selected from the world’s leading institutions, research institutes, and laboratories. These include the Colorado School of Mines (USA), Duke University (USA), National University of Singapore (Singapore), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Pennsylvania (USA), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (USA), University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA), and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).



To give Kazakhstan and the world the scientists, academics, managers, and entrepreneurs needed to prosper and develop.


To be a model for higher education reform and modern research; to contribute to the establishment of Astana as an international knowledge, innovation, and medical hub; and to prepare students for a world of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.


Here you can download the booklet about NU

Strategic goals

  1. Higher Education Reform Leadership

    To ensure that the lessons of NU's experience are transferred and understood by other universities, schools, and research centers

  2. Academic excellence

    To achieve NU's mission by developing and maintaining academic excellence

  3. Research excellence

    To develop a program of world-class research by partnering with the world's best researchers and research institutions

  4. A model for creating healthcare services

    To establish a healthcare system that will provide a model for healthcare services throughout Kazakhstan

  5. Innovation and translating research into production

    To become Kazakhstan's main driver of innovation, leading the way for Astana to become a regional hub of innovation

Global Partnerships

NU’s global engagement is defined by the meaningful, mutually beneficial, and high-impact relationships with universities, research institutes, laboratories, clinical sites, and industry across the world.

These partnerships and networks open up unique global opportunities for our community, enabling our students, faculty, researchers, and staff to thrive in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity and achieve their full potential.


NU scholars conduct research in many fields, and seek to expand human knowledge through innovation, analysis, and collaboration


International publications


Of publications in the top 10% most cited publications worldwide


Research and teaching laboratories


Publications by students


The Strategy of NU 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 NU strategy 2018-2030



Students are the top priority for NU. We strive to attract the most talented students from Kazakhstan and beyond. Merit-based admission and progression policies, academic integrity as DNA, and critical thinking skills have ensured the success of the graduates. NU will continue to grow while, of course, preserving quality. NU intends to increase the student population to 8000 by 2025, having the goal to expand the number of international students to 10%.


Source: NU Office of the Provost, Data Digest 2023-2024 as of September, 2023, link to the website.

*Student that have not yet chosen their study track


Total number 7089

  • 4790 Undergraduate students

  • 1652 Graduate students

  • 647 Foundation students

  • 53% STEM

  • 23% Humanities and social scienties, business, education and public polisy

  • 8% Medicine

  • 7% Undeclared*

  • 9% Foundation program


NU places a high premium on faculty excellence and diversity. We are building an internationally competitive research-active faculty with many winners of awards and members of honorary and professional societies. All professors hold a western type PhD or equivalent highest-level degree in their respective fields. Our diverse faculty hails from 57 countries. NU faculty and teaching community consists of 520 full-time faculty (including 27 postdoctoral scholars) and 48 classroom, teaching assistants.








    Associate professors


    Assistant professors




    Teaching fellows



History of University

NU was announced in 2006 by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and founded in 2010 as the country’s flagship institution for academics and researchers to collaborate. We’re also the country’s first global-level, autonomous research university, granted by law on 19 January, 2011 “On the status of ‘NU,’ ‘Nazarbayev Intellectual schools’ and ‘Nazarbayev Fund.’” 


    • Announcement by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the intent to create a world class university


    • Appointment of a project team to establish the university and the creation of the "New University of Astana" JSC in accordance with the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated June 20, 2009, No. 957, regarding the establishment of the non-profit JSC “New University of Astana.”

    • By the decree of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan issued on September 25, 2009, Aslan Sarinzhipov was appointed as the President of JSC "New University of Astana."



    • Opening ceremony of NU




    • Start Foudation program

    • Opening of Research Centres — Center of Energy Research and Center for Life Sciences


    Order from the Head of the Prime Minister's Office dated November 28, 2010, regarding the election of Mr. Aslan Sarinzhipov as the Chairman of the Executive Council.



    • A law was enacted based on the principles of academic freedom, autonomy, self-governance, and collegial decision-making regarding the status of "NU," "Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools," and "Nazarbayev Foundation."

    • The adoption of the law on the status of "NU," "Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools," and "Nazarbayev Foundation" dated January 19, 2011, which served as the basis for the establishment of a managing council.


    By Protocol No. 1 of the Supreme Board of Trustees of NU AOE dated June 16, 2011, Mr. Katsu was appointed as NU President.



    • Opening of undergraduate schools.


    • First research publication under NU name;
    • First medical research conference at NU.


    • First JCI accreditation of a National Medical Holding hospital


    • The Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum launched at NU



    • Opening of the Graduate School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Education


    • Launch of Executive MBA program at the Graduate School of Business

    • Approval of NU Strategy for 2013-2020 by the Supreme Board of Trustees


    • The Second Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum held at NU



    • First Oxford University Press publication by NU "Kazakhstan -2050"


    • Opening of the Pilot Technopark


    • III Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum “Successful university: how to build one” held at NU



    • Establishment of the National Laboratory Astana


    • First Graduate Ceremony with participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan


    • Opening of the School of Medicine


    • Establishment of the University Medical Center with three of the former National Medical Holding hospitals



    • V Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum 2016



    • Launch of the ABC Quick Start Acceleration Program


    • First PhD Defense (GSE)
    • Launch of the institutional self-evalution exercise


    • Launch of the Asian Universities Alliance


    • EUA's independent external evaluation of NU is published


    • Commencement of the first PhD graduates


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


    • VII Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum 2018 took place at NU


    • Introduction of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum Framework (UCCF)


    • Opening of Laboratory complex C4
    • Approval of NU Strategy for 2018-2030 by the Supreme Board of Trustees


    • Announcement of NU transformation 



    • Opening of the Athletic Center
    • Fifth Graduation Ceremony (Commencement)
    • First Doctors of Medicine and Bachelors in Applied Nursing


    • Restructuring of School of Engineering, School of Sciences and Tehcnology, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences into two schools: School of Engineering and Digital Sciences and School of Sciences and Humanities


    • The Graduate School of Public Policy (GSPP) Masters programs are fully accredited by the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation (EAPAA)


    • CPS’ program English for Academic Purposes received accreditation from BALEAP


    • 1st Digital Graduation Ceremony


    • Asian Universities Alliance’s Executive Presidency for 2020-2021


    • NU professors were ranked among the top 2% of the highly-cited scientists of the world


    • Rationalization Exercise.
      The rationalization exercise introduced changes to the organizational structure of the University leveraging the effectiveness of NU’s human and financial assets. 



    • NU team won the gold medal in the worldwide iGEM competition
    • NU team won the International Olympiad in Electrochemical Materials Science



    • NU included in the CWUR prestigious academic ranking of the world's top universities


    • SDSN Kazakhstan hosted by NU



    • Scientists from NU were recognized as the best researchers 

    • NU scientists are included in the list of the top 2% of scientists in the world based on the impact of their publications in their respective fields in 2021



    • Launch of The Academic Leadership Institute. 100 heads of Kazakhstani universities have been trained under the Academic Leadership Institute program at NU.



    • Provost Ilesanmi Adesida was appointed as the NU Acting President 
    • Hosting AUA Summit 2023
    • Hosting Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) hybrid Conference



    • NU GSPP Master’s Programs Achieve Accreditation by NASPAA



    • NU has debuted in the top 30 percent of international research universities in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024



    • NU GSB Earns Prestigious AMBA & BGA Accreditation, Marking New Era of Excellence



    • The Ministry of Science and Higher Education awarded the "Best Scientist" accolade for 2023 to 11 NU researchers


NU History