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March, 4

The Korea Air Force Academy (공군사관학교)

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The Korea Air Force Academy (KAFA) is the cradle of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), where the future leaders of the sky are nurtured and trained. Korea Air Force Academy is one of the most prestigious military academies in South Korea. It is a renowned academic institution that offers various majors and programs in engineering, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. KAFA is committed to producing well-rounded officers who can excel in both military and civilian sectors and contribute to national defense and global peace.

Brief History of The Korea Air Force Academy

KAFA was established on October 1, 1949, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, as the first military academy in Korea. The first class of 51 cadets graduated in 1951 and joined the war effort as pilots and aircrew. Since then, the Korea Air Force Academy has produced over 10,000 graduates who have served the ROKAF and the nation with honor and distinction.

The Korea Air Force Academy has undergone several changes and developments, such as relocating from Seoul to Cheongju in 1961, expanding its curriculum and facilities, and establishing partnerships with other domestic and foreign universities and organizations. KAFA has also faced various challenges and difficulties, such as the tragic plane crash in 1982 that killed 18 cadets and instructors and the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted the normal operations and activities of the academy.

Despite the hardships and obstacles, Korea Air Force Academy has maintained its tradition of excellence and innovation and has continued to uphold its motto of “Loyalty, Honor, Courage”. Korea Air Force Academy has also celebrated many achievements and milestones, including the first female cadet graduation in 1999, the first astronaut selection in 2006, and the 70th anniversary in 2019.

Getting Admission Into The Korea Air Force Academy

Gaining admission into KAFA is not easy, as it requires high academic performance, physical fitness, leadership potential, and moral character. The Korea Air Force Academy is one of Korea’s most selective and competitive institutions, with an acceptance rate of around 5%.

The admission process consists of several stages: the preliminary screening, the written examination, the physical examination, the interview, and the final selection. One of the most important and unique requirements for Korea Air Force Academy applicants is the nomination by a member of the National Assembly or a high-ranking military officer. This ensures that the candidates have the support and recommendation of the people who represent the nation and the armed forces.

Prospective cadets who wish to apply for Korea Air Force Academy should prepare well by studying hard, exercising regularly, developing their leadership skills, and participating in various extracurricular activities. They should also familiarize themselves with the history, mission, and vision of the Korea Air Force Academy and the ROKAF and demonstrate their passion and commitment to the Air Force career.

Tuition Fees

The Korea Air Force Academy is a fully funded institution, meaning cadets do not have to pay tuition fees or other educational and training expenses. They receive a monthly stipend of about 300,000 won (around 250 USD) for personal use. KAFA provides cadets with free accommodation, meals, uniforms, books, and equipment.

However, this does not mean cadets have an easy life at Korea Air Force Academy. They have to follow a strict schedule, abide by the rules and regulations, and fulfill their duties and responsibilities as military personnel. They also have to repay their debt to the nation by serving in the ROKAF for at least 10 years after graduation.

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2024 Korea Air Force Academy Rankings

Korea Air Force Academy is widely recognized as one of the best military academies in the world and one of the top universities in Korea. KAFA has consistently ranked high in various national and international rankings, such as the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the JoongAng Ilbo University Rankings.

According to the 2020 QS World University Rankings, Korea Air Force Academy ranked 37th in the world, 2nd in Korea for engineering and technology, 51st in the world, and 3rd in Korea for natural sciences. KAFA also ranked 1st in Korea for employer reputation, which reflects the high regard and demand for Korea Air Force Academy graduates in the job market.

According to the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, KAFA ranked 201-250 in the world and 6th in Korea for engineering and technology, and 251-300 in the world and 7th in Korea for physical sciences. Korea Air Force Academy also ranked 4th in Korea for industry income, which measures innovation and collaboration with the private sector.

According to the 2020 JoongAng Ilbo University Rankings, KAFA ranked 3rd in Korea for comprehensive evaluation, considering various factors such as research, education, reputation, and social contribution. Korea Air Force Academy also ranked 1st in Korea for student performance, which measures the student’s academic achievements and career outcomes.

Academic Programs

Korea Air Force Academy offers four-year bachelor’s degree programs in various majors and minors and master’s and doctoral programs in selected fields. KAFA also offers special programs, such as the honors program, the dual degree program, the exchange program, and the astronaut program.

The majors and minors that Korea Air Force Academy offers are as follows:

  • Engineering: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Information and Communication Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering, and Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: English Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, Russian Language and Culture, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations, Public Administration, Economics, Business Administration, and Law.
  • Natural Sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth System Science, and Astronomy.

The master’s and doctoral degree programs that Korea Air Force Academy offers are as follows:

  • Engineering: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Information and Communication Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering, and Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: English Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, Russian Language and Culture, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations, Public Administration, Economics, Business Administration, and Law.
  • Natural Sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth System Science, and Astronomy.
  • Interdisciplinary: Aerospace and Defense Technology, Military Strategy and Security, and Military Education and Leadership.

The special programs that Korea Air Force Academy offers are as follows:

  • Honors Program: This is a selective and intensive program for the top 10% of the cadets, who can take advanced courses and conduct independent research projects under the guidance of the faculty members.
  • Dual Degree Program: This is a cooperative program with other domestic and foreign universities, such as Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Oxford, where the cadets can earn two bachelor’s degrees in four years.
  • Exchange Program: This is a cultural and academic program with other military academies and universities around the world, such as the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy, the Royal Military College of Canada, the National Defense Academy of Japan, the National University of Singapore, and the University of Cambridge, where the cadets can study abroad for one or two semesters.
  • Astronaut Program: This is a special program for cadets who aspire to become astronauts, where they can receive specialized training and education and have the opportunity to participate in the International Space Station program.
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Campus Life at The Korea Air Force Academy

Being a cadet at Korea Air Force Academy is not a walk in the park but a roller coaster ride of challenges and opportunities, joys and sorrows, and failures and successes. The cadets have to balance their academic, military, and personal lives while also developing their physical, mental, and moral capacities.

The daily routine of the cadets is as follows:

  • 06:00: Wake up and get ready
  • 06:30: Morning roll call and physical training
  • 07:30: Breakfast
  • 08:30: Classes
  • Noon: Lunch
  • 13:00: Classes
  • 17:00: Dinner
  • 18:00: Self-study or club activities
  • 22:00: Evening roll call and lights out

The cadets must also participate in various military training and exercises, such as basic combat skills, survival skills, weapons handling, flight training, and joint operations. The cadets must also undergo periodic evaluations and inspections, such as the academic, physical, leadership, and honor code tests.

The cadets also have the chance to enjoy various extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, art, drama, debate, volunteerism, and religious activities. The cadets can join various clubs and organizations, such as the soccer club, the choir club, the painting club, the drama club, the debate club, the volunteer club, and the chapel club. The cadets can also participate in various events and festivals, such as the sports day, the music festival, the art exhibition, the drama festival, the debate competition, the volunteer festival, and the chapel festival.

The cadets also have the opportunity to interact with other cadets and officers from different countries and cultures through various exchange and cooperation programs, such as the International Cadet Exchange Program, the International Military Education and Training Program, and the International Air Force Symposium.

The cadets also have the privilege of receiving guidance and mentorship from faculty and staff members, experts, and professionals in their respective fields, as well as alumni and senior officers, who are role models and leaders in the ROKAF and society.

Athletics

KAFA values physical fitness and athletic excellence, as they are essential for cadets’ and officers’ health and performance. KAFA offers various sports facilities and programs for the cadets, such as the gymnasium, the swimming pool, the tennis court, the soccer field, the basketball court, the volleyball court, the badminton court, the table tennis court, the golf course, the archery range, the shooting range, the taekwondo hall, the judo hall, the fencing hall, and the aerobics hall.

KAFA also has various sports teams and clubs, such as the soccer team, the basketball team, the volleyball team, the badminton team, the table tennis team, the golf team, the archery team, the shooting team, the taekwondo team, the judo team, the fencing team, the aerobics team, the cheerleading team, the marathon team, the triathlon team, the cycling team, the skiing team, the skating team, and the flying team.

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Korea Air Force Academy also participates in various sports competitions and events, such as the President’s Cup, the National Sports Festival, the Military Academy Sports Festival, the Military Sports Festival, the International Military Sports Council, and the World Military Games.

Notable Alumni of The Korea Air Force Academy

The Korea Air Force Academy has produced many notable alumni who have made significant contributions and achievements in the ROKAF and the society, such as:

  • General Lee Seong-yong: He was the first graduate of KAFA and the first chief of staff of the ROKAF. He played a vital role in the establishment and development of the ROKAF, as well as the defense and security of the nation.
  • General Paik Sun-yup: He was the first four-star general of the ROKAF and the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was a hero of the Korean War, who led the successful defense of the Pusan Perimeter and the breakthrough of the 38th Parallel.
  • General Park Chung-hee was the third president of the Republic of Korea and the founder of the Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement). He led the rapid economic and social development of the nation, as well as the modernization and expansion of the ROKAF.
  • General Chun Doo-hwan was the fifth president of the Republic of Korea and the leader of the Fifth Republic. He implemented various reforms and policies, including the 1980 Constitution, the 1987 Direct Presidential Election, and the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
  • General Roh Tae-woo: He was the sixth president of the Republic of Korea and the leader of the Sixth Republic. He initiated the democratization and liberalization of the nation, as well as the reconciliation and cooperation with the neighboring countries, such as the 1991 Basic Treaty with Japan and the 1992 Joint Declaration with North Korea.
  • General Lee Myung-bak: He was the tenth president of the Republic of Korea and the leader of the Grand National Party. He pursued the vision of the “Global Korea”, which aimed to enhance the international status and influence of the nation, as well as the “Green Growth”, which aimed to promote the environmental sustainability and economic growth of the nation.
  • General Yi So-yeon: She was the first Korean and the second Asian woman to go to space. She participated in the 18th expedition to the International Space Station as a payload specialist, conducting various scientific experiments and cultural activities.
  • General Kim Yu-shin: He was the commander of the Unified Silla army and the conqueror of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He mastered strategy and tactics, leading successful campaigns against Baekje and Goguryeo and the defense against Tang China.

Conclusion

The Korea Air Force Academy is more than just a school; it is a way of life. KAFA is a place where the dreams of the sky are born and realized, the future challenges are faced and overcome, and the nation’s values are learned and practiced. Korea Air Force Academy is a place where the cadets become officers, the officers become leaders, and the leaders become legends.

The Korea Air Force Academy is the pride of the ROKAF, the pride of the nation, and the pride of the world.

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