UCA Quick Facts

One University, Three Schools

  • UCA is a residential mountain university providing an international standard of higher education to create knowledgeable, skilled and creative graduates who will contribute leadership, ideas and innovations to the region.
  • UCA is the first internationally chartered university in the world and Central Asia's first regional university with fully residential campuses in three countries.
  • The University was founded in 2000 through an International Treaty and Charter and ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations.
  • The Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan are the Patrons of the University and His Highness the Aga Khan is the Chancellor.
  • UCA programmes focus on key social and economic issues facing the region, particularly its mountain communities.

Socio-economic Mission & Impact

UCA's mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, while helping the different peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural traditions and heritages as assets for the future.

UCA seeks to contribute leadership, ideas, and innovations to the transitioning economies and communities of the region through educational and vigorous research programmes that produce knowledgeable, skilled, and creative graduates.

Undergraduate Education, Continuing Education & Research

UCA provides rigorous and relevant educational programmes through the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE).

UCA's School of Arts and Sciences benefits from regional and international faculty, including scholars from its Research Institutes, established under the Graduate School of Development.

The University provides additional initiatives to build teaching and scholarly capacity in the region through:

Not-for-Profit University

UCA is an expensive endeavour, requiring the support of many. The Governments of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have all contributed land and extended various fiscal benefits. They will continue to support UCA's fund-raising efforts over time. His Highness the Aga Khan has already contributed a total of $15 million for an endowment fund which will be expanded. International donor agencies, governments, foundations, corporations and individuals are supporting UCA through material and intellectual resources.

Alongside a $64.4 million commitment from the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), including $7.5 million from the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States Government's development finance institution has extended $30 million to complete Phase I construction of UCA’s Khorog campus. This support marks OPIC's second partnership with AKDN, following financing to expand the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi, Pakistan.

Secular-based Education

UCA is a secular institution of higher education embracing no religion or creed and open to men and women of all faiths and traditions, or no religious beliefs, purely based on merit.

UCA operates within a framework of values that espouses academic excellence, individual rights and security, responsibility to community and public service, and ethical and transparent operations of government and business.

Fully Residential Campuses

UCA’s undergraduate programmes are located at its residential campuses in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, and Khorog, Tajikistan. The Tekeli campus in Kazakhstan is expected to start classes in 2021/2022. When fully operational, the campuses will serve 3,600 students, 1,200 per campus.

Phase I of the Naryn campus accommodates 150 students featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, a library, laboratories and faculty and staff residences. Secure, modular student dormitories create comfortable living and learning spaces. UCA's athletic facilities, including football pitches and tennis courts, are open to the public, encouraging student-community interaction. The sports dome will host indoor athletics year-round.


UCA is an international endeavour built on partnerships that promote the exchange of information and resources, the creation of opportunities, and the promotion of excellence in higher education within and beyond Central Asia. UCA partnerships cross political borders and sectors. Generous financial support from the region's governments, the international donor community, philanthropists, and His Highness the Aga Khan and have enabled the University to undertake this most unique aim.

UCA designed its first year Preparatory Programme in partnership with Seneca College in Canada. UCA's undergraduate curriculum is developed in partnership with the University of Toronto (Computer Science), the University of British Columbia (Earth and Environmental Sciences), the National Research University’s Higher School of Economics, the Stockholm School of Economics, Riga (Economics) and the University of Technology Sydney (Communications and Media). UCA has also partnered with the University of Victoria to develop an innovative Cooperative Education Programme.


The University of Central Asia is governed by the Board of Trustees, appointed by the Chancellor and Patrons of the University. The Trustees bring a wealth of expertise and experience, and include prominent individuals with distinguished backgrounds in academia, government, development, and civil society.

UCA Undergraduate Student Breakdown

Central Asian Countries

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria


From small towns and rural areas

Key Stats*

learners trained by the School of Professional and Continuing Education across 11 locations in Central Asia and Afghanistan

students across 87 universities / colleges were taught humanities by 112 instructors through the Aga Khan Humanities Project (2018)

publications produced by the Mountain Societies Research Institute, Institute of Public Policy and Administration and the Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit

civil servants trained in governance and public policy in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan

* Updated January 2019

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