The Institute of Humanities at Seoul National University was founded on September 15, 1979 for the purpose of providing multifaceted and comprehensive support for research in the humanities, and has been focusing on support activities for research centers within the College of Humanities.

In August 2001, in order to counter the growing walls between fields, to gain a wider perspective, and to facilitate productive communication between disciplines, various research institutes under the College of Humanities were combined and reorganized to form the Institute of Humanities, officially established on February 26, 2002. The aim of the Institute was to overcome issues faced by the Korean humanities field due to excessive specialization and the resulting lack of interdisciplinary work and communication.

The Institute was also founded with an eye to training able professionals and boosting the quality of humanities research carried out within the University, so that the College of Humanities would grow as a thriving locus of humanities research in both the national and international scene. To this end, the Institute runs various aid programs to support research in each department of the humanities, and publishes research monographs and commentaries on major classic texts. Our researcher support programs also provide fertile ground for nurturing future generations of scholars.

The Institute aims to knit together various disciplines and fields within the College of Humanities, along with its human resources and academic productions; to encourage a new spirit of humanities research; and to flourish as a strong academic base leading scholarship in the humanities, both within the nation and worldwide.

1979. 09. 15. “College of Humanities Center for Human Sciences” founded as an organization under Seoul National University.
1992. 03. 06. Promoted to “Seoul National University Center for Human Sciences”.
1994. 08. 01. Change of title to “Center for Humanities”.
2001. 08. 31. Expanded to “Institute of Humanities Seoul National Univeristy”, merging nine existing research centers within the College of Humanities.
2002. 02. 26. Regulations announced for Seoul National University’s Institute of Humanities.
2003. 06. 11. Regulations revised to establish four new research centers: Center for Korean Literature, Center for Chinese Language & Literature, Center for Linguistics, and Center for Cultural Heritage.
2006. 04. 12. Regulations revised to establish one new research center: Center for Korean Language.
2007. 07. 23. Regulations revised to establish one new research center: Institute of Central Eurasian Studies.
2008. 02. 19.
Regulations revised to establish one new research center: Institute of Greco-Roman Studies.
2009. 08. 07.
Regulations revised to establish three new research centers: Center for Korean Language & Literature, Institute of Altaic Studies, and Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

* Below is a list of past Heads of the Institute, in chronological order.
Name Affiliation Period of office
尹明老 교수 철학과 1980.01 - 1982.12
黃燦鎬 교수 영어영문학과 1983.01 - 1985.12
池明烈 교수 독어독문학과 1986.01 - 1989.12
趙炳泰 교수 영어영문학과 1990.01 - 1991.12
元潤洙 교수 불어불문학과 1992.01 - 1995.12
安秉禧 교수 국어국문학과 1996.01 - 1997.12
오인석 교수 서양사학과 1998.01 - 1999.12
김효명 교수 철학과 2000.01 - 2001.12
권영민 교수 국어국문학과 2002.01 - 2003.12
이태수 교수 철학과 2004.01 - 2004.08
신정현 교수 영어영문학과 2004.09 - 2005.08
권재일 교수 언어학과 2005.09 - 2007.11
김남두 교수 철학과 2007.12 - 2009.11
송용준 교수 중어중문학과   2009.12 - 2013.08  
백종현 교수 철학과 2013.09  - 2015.08
김주원 교수 언어학과 2015.09  - 현재