The Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon (KAA) is a prestigious military institution that trains and educates future leaders of the Republic of Korea Army. Founded in 1946, the KAA has a rich history and tradition of producing outstanding officers who have served the nation with honor and excellence. The Korea Army Academy is a place of academic learning and a crucible of character development, where cadets are challenged to uphold the values of loyalty, courage, and integrity.
This is one of the top military academies in South Korea.
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Brief History of The Korea Army Academy
The Korea Army Academy traces its roots to the Korean Liberation Army Academy, established in 1941 in Yan’an, China, by Korean independence fighters who fought against Japanese colonial rule. After Korea’s liberation in 1945, the academy relocated to Seoul and was renamed the Korea Military Academy. 1951, during the Korean War, the academy moved to Busan and then to Jinhae, where it operated until 1968. In 1969, the academy relocated to its current location in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and adopted its current name. Since then, the Korea Army Academy has undergone several expansions and renovations to improve its facilities and curriculum.
Admission to the Korea Army Academy is highly competitive and selective, as only the best and brightest students can qualify for the rigorous four-year program. Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be a Korean citizen with no dual nationality
- Be a high school graduate or equivalent
- Be physically and mentally fit for military service
- Pass the national college entrance exam and the KAA entrance exam
- Obtain a nomination from a member of the National Assembly, a high-ranking military officer, or a KAA alumni association
The KAA entrance exam consists of written tests on Korean, English, mathematics, general knowledge, physical fitness tests, and interviews. The exam is held twice a year, in June and November, and the results are announced in July and December. The KAA admits about 300 cadets yearly, with a male-to-female ratio of 9:1.
Prospective cadets who wish to apply for the Korea Army Academy should prepare well in advance, as the admission process is very competitive and demanding. They should study hard for the national college entrance and Korea Army Academy entrance exams and practice their physical fitness and communication skills. They should also research the KAA’s history, mission, and values and be ready to demonstrate their passion and commitment to becoming a military officer.
Tuition Fees at Korea Army Academy
The Korea Army Academy is a public institution funded by the government, so cadets do not have to pay tuition fees or other expenses. However, they are required to sign a contract that obliges them to serve in the army for at least 10 years after graduation. Cadets who fail to complete the program or breach the contract may face penalties or reimbursements.
The Korea Army Academy is widely recognized as one of the world’s top military academies and one of Korea’s best universities. According to the 2023 QS World University Rankings, the KAA ranked 501-510th globally and 16th in Korea. The Korea Army Academy also ranked 4th in the world and 1st in Korea in the field of military sciences, according to the 2023 ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.
The Korea Army Academy has also received various awards and honors for its academic excellence and social contribution, such as the Presidential Award for Education, the Minister of National Defense Award for Research, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Social Service.
Academic Programs Offered at Korea Army Academy
The Korea Army Academy offers a bachelor’s degree in military science, which covers various disciplines such as military strategy, tactics, leadership, management, ethics, law, history, and culture. The curriculum is designed to equip cadets with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for becoming competent and ethical military officers.
The KAA also offers a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in military science, which are open to qualified graduates of the Korea Army Academy or other military academies and civilian scholars and experts. The graduate programs aim to foster advanced research and innovation in the field of military science and promote academic exchange and cooperation with other institutions.
The KAA has a faculty of about 200 professors, most of whom are retired or active-duty military officers with extensive experience and expertise in their respective fields. The Korea Army Academy also invites distinguished guest lecturers from other universities, research institutes, government agencies, and international organizations to enrich the academic environment and broaden the perspectives of the cadets.
Campus life at the Korea Army Academy is not easy but rewarding. Cadets are expected to follow a strict schedule and discipline and participate in various military training and activities. The daily routine of a cadet typically consists of the following:
- 06:00: Wake up and morning exercise
- 07:00: Breakfast and personal hygiene
- 08:00: Morning assembly and flag ceremony
- 08:30: Classes
- 12:00: Lunch
- 13:00: Classes
- 17:00: Afternoon assembly and flag ceremony
- 17:30: Dinner
- 18:30: Self-study or club activities
- 22:00: Lights out and sleep
Military training at the Korea Army Academy includes basic combat skills, weapons handling, field exercises, survival skills, and physical fitness. Cadets also learn about the history and traditions of the Korean army, as well as the current security issues and challenges facing the nation and the world. Military training is not only a means of enhancing the physical and mental capabilities of the cadets, but also a way of instilling the spirit of loyalty, courage, and integrity in them.
Besides military training, cadets can also engage in various extracurricular activities, such as clubs, sports, arts, and volunteer work. The Korea Army Academy has over 50 clubs and organizations catering to the cadets’ diverse interests and talents, such as music, dance, drama, photography, literature, debate, chess, martial arts, and more. Cadets can also join sports teams and compete in various tournaments and events, such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, tennis, golf, swimming, and more. Cadets can also express their artistic and creative sides by participating in cultural festivals and performances, such as the Korea Army Academy Music Festival, the KAA Drama Festival, and the KAA Art Exhibition. Cadets can also serve the community and society by volunteering in various social service programs, such as tutoring, mentoring, cleaning, and donating.
Campus life at the Korea Army Academy is not only a challenge but also a privilege. Cadets can enjoy the state-of-the-art facilities and resources the KAA provides, such as the library, the museum, the auditorium, the gymnasium, the stadium, the cafeteria, the dormitory, and more. Cadets can also form lifelong friendships and bonds with their fellow cadets, who share the same dreams and goals of becoming military officers. Cadets can also receive guidance and support from their seniors, juniors, and professors, who are always ready to help and advise them.
The KAA has a strong tradition and reputation for excellence in athletics, as it has produced many outstanding athletes and coaches who have represented the nation and the army in various competitions and events. The Korea Army Academy has 12 varsity sports teams, which are:
- Track and field
- Cross country
The Korea Army Academy sports teams compete in the National Military Academy Athletic Association (NMAAA), composed of the Korea Army Academy and the other three military academies in Korea: the Korea Naval Academy, the Korea Air Force Academy, and the Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy. The NMAAA holds annual championships and tournaments in various sports, as well as friendly matches and exchanges. The KAA sports teams also compete in the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NIAA), composed of civilian and military universities in Korea. The NIAA holds national championships and tournaments in various sports and regional and divisional competitions.
The Korea Army Academy sports teams have won numerous trophies and medals in the NMAAA and the NIAA, as well as in other domestic and international competitions and events. Some of the notable achievements of the KAA sports teams are:
- Soccer: 12-time NMAAA champions, 3-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions, 1-time World Military Games champions
- Basketball: 11-time NMAAA champions, 2-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions, 1-time World Military Games champions
- Volleyball: 10-time NMAAA champions, 2-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions, 1-time World Military Games champions
- Baseball: 9-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Tennis: 8-time NMAAA champions, 2-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Golf: 7-time NMAAA champions, 2-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Swimming: 6-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Track and field: 5-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Cross country: 4-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Taekwondo: 3-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Judo: 2-time NMAAA champions, 1-time NIAA champions, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
- Shooting: 1-time NMAAA champion, 1-time NIAA champion, 1-time Asian Military Games champions
The Korea Army Academy sports teams are a source of pride and glory for the academy and foster teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship among the cadets. The Korea Army Academy sports teams also serve as ambassadors of goodwill and friendship as they interact and compete with other athletes from different countries and cultures.
Notable Alumni of The Korea Army Academy
The Korea Army Academy has produced over 20,000 graduates, many of whom have become prominent figures in the military, politics, business, academia, and society. Some of the notable alumni of the KAA are:
- Park Chung-hee: The 3rd president of South Korea (1963-1979) and the leader of the military coup that overthrew the Second Republic in 1961. He is credited with spearheading the rapid economic development and modernization of South Korea, as well as suppressing the democratic movement and human rights.
- Chun Doo-hwan: The 5th president of South Korea (1980-1988) and the leader of the military coup that seized power after Park’s assassination in 1979. He is blamed for the Gwangju Massacre, where the military killed hundreds of civilians for protesting against his regime, as well as for the corruption and authoritarianism that marked his rule.
- Roh Tae-woo: The 6th president of South Korea (1988-1993) and the successor of Chun. He is praised for initiating the democratic transition and the peaceful transfer of power and for improving relations with North Korea and the Soviet Union.
- Lee Sang-hoon: The 37th chief of staff of the Republic of Korea Army (2011-2013) and the commander of the Combined Forces Command (2013-2015). He is respected for his leadership, professionalism, and contribution to the alliance and cooperation with the United States.
- Kim Young-sam: The 7th president of South Korea (1993-1998) and the first civilian president after three decades of military rule. He is admired for his anti-corruption campaign, his economic reforms, and his role in the peaceful reunification of Germany.
- Lee Myung-bak: The 10th president of South Korea (2008-2013) and the former CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction. He is known for his pro-business and pro-US policies and controversial projects, such as the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project and the Grand Canal Project.
- Park Geun-hye: The 11th and first female president of South Korea (2013-2017) and the daughter of Park Chung-hee. She is infamous for her involvement in the 2016-2017 corruption scandal that led to her impeachment and imprisonment, as well as for her hardline stance against North Korea and China.
- Moon Jae-in: The 12th and current president of South Korea (2017-present) and the former human rights lawyer and chief of staff of Roh Moo-hyun. He is popular for his progressive and conciliatory approach to North Korea and China and his social welfare and environmental policies.
The Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon is more than just a military academy. It is where young men and women are transformed into leaders of the army and the nation, ready to face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. The KAA is a place where cadets learn the art and science of war and the values and virtues of peace. The KAA is a place where cadets experience the hardships and sacrifices of military life and the joys and rewards of camaraderie and service. The Korea Army Academy is where cadets dream of personal glory, success, and national security and prosperity.