An effort to bring a U.S. accredited university to Ukraine has reached fruition with an announcement on Jan. 13 that the American University-Kyiv (AUK) in partnership with Arizona State University will open its doors as soon as March.

AUK has received Government of Ukraine licensing and accreditation and will begin a full undergraduate program with an expected 400 students at the start of the September 2022 school year. AUK will also begin accepting graduate students for its Global Business Management School in March. A School of Digital Technologies will open in the fall of 2022 and a School of Engineering is expected to start its work in 2023. Plans for a School of Medicine are underway with a start-up expected a couple of years down the road.

AUK Managing Partner Kurt Volker, the former United States Ambassador to NATO and U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations on the Donbas region, who is on the board of directors of Arizona State University, has driven the effort to open an American university in Kyiv.


During a webinar organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council announcing the creation of AUK, Volker noted the importance of Ukraine’s newest institution of higher education for Ukraine’s future.

This is an investment in the young people of Ukraine. This will bring an American-style university to Ukraine and provide students with world-class studies. It will make a serious contribution to the development of Ukraine

Volker said.

The new president of the AUK, Rick Shangraw, who served for 15 years in management at Arizona State University, added that the university will serve to spur the quality of higher education in Ukraine forward.

He said that the AUK will partner with the Ukrainian government, business, and other universities to provide its students with world-class opportunities during their studies and after graduation.

“The American University in Kyiv will transform higher education in Ukraine by serving as an example for other education institutions in Ukraine,” Shangraw explained.

That transformation will take place at the university’s unique location on the banks of the Dnipro River in what used to be the historic River Port facility below Kontraktova Ploshcha.


AUK Rector Roman Sheremeta explained that the university’s location is significant in that it carries “much historic significance” and ties Ukraine’s past to its future. The location is currently undergoing extensive renovation.

Sheremeta underscored that the AUK’s added value was in the opportunity it provided Ukrainian students to obtain a dual degree through the partnership with Arizona State University.

“A student studies for three years at the Kyiv campus and then goes to Phoenix [Arizona] for a year and obtains the degree there,” explained Sheremeta. “The three years of study in Kyiv will be fully transferable due to our partnership.”

Sheremeta said that AUK will have an international faculty and has already retained the services of academics from The Netherlands, Germany, the United States, and Ukraine. Courses will be taught in English, but students with poor English language skills who meet all the other admissions requirements will be provided support services.

Current admissions requirements are in line with Ukraine’s general requirements for university admissions, including successfully passing Ukraine’s standard admissions test.

The AUK is set up as a for-profit venture, which AUK President Shangraw explained was a decision made to assure the school’s quality and sustainability by providing built-in accountability. Annual undergraduate tuition is currently pegged at between $7,000-$8,000.


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