UCA Quick Facts

One University, Three Schools

  • The University of Central Asia (UCA) is a world class centre for knowledge and learning, connecting isolated rural communities with the global community and building the human capital needed for modern economies and stable governance.
  • UCA was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an International Treaty signed by the Presidents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan; ratified by their respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of the University and His Highness is the Chancellor.
  • UCA is distinguished by its three schools: the undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Development and the School of Professional and Continuing Education. The University also includes the Central Asian Faculty Development Programme, and the Aga Khan Humanities Project. In response to the needs of rural mountain communities.
  • UCA has established its three Campuses away from major urban centres, in Naryn (Kyrgyzstan), Khorog (Tajikistan), and Tekeli (Kazakhstan). They are on the historic Silk Road, and UCA hopes to be at the heart of the economic and intellectual transformation taking place in the region. As a University, it is uniquely positioned to bring together emerging leaders in business, civil society, and public service, and also brings with it the broader commitment and partnership of the Aga Khan Development Network.

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 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.

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. The Aga Khan Development Network has contributed a total of US$254 million towards the University of Central Asia from 2000-2018. International donor agencies, governments, foundations, corporations and individuals are also 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 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 2022. When fully operational, the campuses will serve 3,600 students, 1,200 per campus.

Phase I of the Naryn and Khorog campuses feature 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 also hosts indoor athletics year-round.


As is the case with most universities, UCA's programmes are heavily subsidised to make quality education accessible and affordable. The generosity of donors and alumni play a vitally important role in securing UCA's long-term sustainability, and ability to respond to the needs and challenges of Central Asian countries – particularly its mountain communities.

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.

UCA's Central Asian Faculty Development Programme also has on-going partnerships with Cambridge Trust of the University of Cambridge (UK), and the University of Alberta (Canada).


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 in Numbers

UCA Undergraduate Student Profile

students at UCA's Naryn and Khorog campuses

countries represented

Central Asian Countries



Russia, Iran, Syria, Kenya


From small towns and rural areas

Key Stats *

learners (53% women) trained by the School of Professional and Continuing Education across 14 locations in Central Asia and Afghanistan

graduates across 87 affiliated universities and colleges were taught humanities through the Aga Khan Humanities Project

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

* Updated April 2020

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