Thammasat University (มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์), formerly known as the University of Moral and Political Science (มหาวิทยาลัยวิชาธรรมศาสตร์และการเมือง), is Thailand's second oldest university. Ranking Web of World Universities (July '08 ed.) ranks Thammasat as 7th of 44 Thai, 84th of 100 Asian, and 850th of 4,000 world universities. More than 70 years since its establishment in 1934, the University has produced more than 240,000 undergraduate and graduate students who have greatly contributed to the development and progress of the society and the country. The University's alumni include [Prime Minister]]s, top-level politicians and officers, Bank of Thailand governors, as well as most of the city's governors.
Origins and developments
Thammasat University was established on June 27
, under the University of Moral and Political Science Act of 1933. The Act was drafted by Pridi Banomyong
, one of the leaders of the People's Party
(Khana Ratsadon คณะราษฎร
) and Interior Minister. With an ambitious vision to create a higher public institution to educate a fledgling democracy on law and political science, Pridi founded the University and served as its first rector. During its infancy, the University was run as an open academic institution
, operating independently without funding from the government but, instead, relying partly on tuition fees. The University was also dependent on interest paid by the Bank of Asia
, of which the University held 80% of the shares and of which Pridi was a co-founder.
The University began by initially offering four major fields of study: law, commerce and accountancy, political science, and economics. These were later expanded to other disciplines such as social work, journalism, and liberal arts, with the last being the oldest of its kind in the country.
Under Pridi's leadership, the University became the clandestine arsenal of the Free Thai anti-Japanese movement during the Second World War. Ironically, the University campus also functioned as an interment camp for Allies civilians, with Thai guards more or less protecting them from abuses by the Japanese. After Thailand's brief postwar foray into democracy was interrupted by the 1948 coup that brought back Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkram, the military-led government removed the term "Political Science" from the University's name and banned students from political activities. The University's shares were sold out and its operations became entirely dependent on funding from the government.
The history of political development in Thailand cannot be understood in isolation from the significant role that Thammasat University and its students have played. For example, on more than one occasion, mass demonstrations in the Tha Phrachan campus and its neighbourhood triggered events that eventually led to landmark changes in democracy in Thailand, such as those leading to the brutal massacre on October 6, 1976.
Thammasat University is a member of Links to Asia by Organizing Traineeship and Student Exchange (LAOTSE), an international network of leading universities in Europe and Asia. It also cooperates with some of the top universities around the globe as well. A regional cooperation is maintained with the Greater Mekong Sub-region Academic and Research Network.
represents the centrepiece of the Democracy Monument, Bangkok
, which in turn represents the Thai Constitution of 1932. This is superimposed on a Dharmacakra
, or Wheel of Law
; this represent Dharmaśāstra
, the university's name rendered in Pali
. This seal is the centrepiece of the reverse of a 10-baht commemorative
coin; the surrounding ring bears the name of the university, "70 years", and the date 27 June 2547 BE
2004). The obverse depicts King Bhumibol Adulyadej
as a young man attired as a student.
The university has six campuses across the country, but the main campus is still at Tha Phrachan, where all the Social Science fields remain.
- Tha Phrachan Centre is near the Chao Phraya River inside Bangkok's historic Rattanakosin Island. The land was purchased entirely with money raised by private donations. Tha Phrachan is a compact area with a richly storied past. Tha Prachan campus was the centre spot of the 1976 Thammasat student uprising in which about 300 students protesting against the return to Thailand of former military dictator Thanom Kittikachorn were massacred by the military, police, and right-wing activists. Tha Phrachan campus also witnessed another mass rally against the unpopular Suchinda Kraprayoon in May 1992 after he had been elected premier by the house of parliament. Today, the Tha Phrachan campus is a potent symbol for Thai human rights, free speech, and democratic society.
- Rangsit Centre, the largest campus, is in Pathum Thani Province, north of Bangkok. It is next to the Asian Institute of Technology and Thailand Science Park, an area known as the "Technology Cluster of Northern Bangkok." Realising the significant impact of science and technology on the country's economic growth, Thammasat University initiated degree programmes in engineering, technologies, physical sciences, and medicine at its Rangsit Centre in the 1980s and 1990s. Although originally established for science and technology-related faculties, the centre is now rapidly expanding to cover a variety of disciplines. All Bachelor's degrees (Except some of International Program in Social science field) have taught at here since 2006. The campus is also home to the Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, an international academic institute attached to the university emphasising engineering and technology-related research and education. All freshmen are supposed to spend their first two years in the Rangsit Campus.
- Pattaya Centre (Tavorn-Usa Pornprapa Centre) in Pattaya, Chonburi Province
- Lampang Centre in Lampang Province, north Thailand
- A campus in Narathiwat Province
- A campus in Udon Thani Province
Colleges and Faculties
The university has 18 faculties/education units, namely: the Faculty of Law
, Political Science
, Social Administration
, Liberal Arts
and Mass Communication
, Allied Health Science
and Applied Arts
, Public Health
, the Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology
, and the College of Innovative Education
The Faculty of Law was one of the founding faculties of the university. It has its roots in the law school of the Ministry of Justice, instituted under the reign of King Chulalongkorn
by Gustave Rolin-Jaequemyns
. Former Deans of the Faculty have included Phraya Nitisat Phaisan
, Sanya Dharmasakti
, and Preedee Kasemsup
. The Faculty has programmes up to the doctorate level, as well as several certificate programmes in business law and public law.
Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy
Established in November 23
, the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy is the oldest business school
. It offers a broad range of programmes including business administration
, human resource management
, real estate management
and management information system
, from diploma to doctoral degree. The faculty also offers international programmes in which English is the medium language of instruction.
The faculty is recognised internationally. In 2005, a team of students from the Master's of Sciences Degree Programme in Marketing (MIM) of Thammasat Business School won, for the second time, the world’s renowned Global Moot Corp, a venue for business plan competition, held at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin.
Faculty of Political Science
The faculty of Political Science at Thammasat University was established in 1949.
Former deans include Direk Chaiyanam
a member of the Khana Ratsadon
(People's Party) and a former foreign minister.
Faculty of Economics
The Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University was established in 1949. The Faculty offers a broad range of academic programmes and other training opportunities. Under the leadership of Dr. Puey Ungpakorn
, a former Bank of Thailand
governor who took charge concurrently as the dean of the faculty, there were many significant developments within the Economics faculty. Dr. Puey secured funding from Rockefeller Foundation
and brought faculty members from a number of American universities.
The first big step toward internationalisation was the introduction, in 1969, a Master of Economics programme degree taught in English. Since then, a Bachelor's programme and a Ph.D. programme taught in English have been added to the curriculum.
The Faculty boasts a strong teaching staff that today totals 82, including 44 faculty members with doctoral degree and 7 on study leave to pursue doctoral degrees. It is considered to be one of the strongest programmes in Thailand. Its graduates have normally attended the prestigious departments of Economics such as Harvard, Chicago, UC Berkeley,Cornell, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE.
Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication
The Department of Journalism was established in 1954 and is Thailand's first institute of higher education in journalism. It was granted a faculty status in 1979 and has been known since as the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication. Today the faculty offers undergraduate programsme in newspaper and print media, radio and television broadcasting, cinematography, advertising, public relations, and communications management. It also offers several programmes at master's level as well as a doctoral degree in mass communication.
There also the international course for the Faculty in Bachelor of Arts Programme in Journalism and Mass Media studies (BJM Programme).
Faculty of Engineering
The Faculty of Engineeering was founded on August 19
as the 10th faculty of the university. Originally formed as a response to governmental initiative to promote the study of science and its related field. It originally started teaching electrical and industrial engineering in 1990, then expanded its offerings to civil engineering (1992), chemical engineering (1994), and mechanical engineering (1996).
The faculty also has an international department which taught in English and very often mistaken as SIIT (see below) by outsiders. This special programme is divided into two distinct parts, Twinning Engineering Programme (TEP), established in 1997, and the Thammasat English Engineering Programme (TEPE), established in 2000. The TEP programme is a sandwich programme, two years in Thammasat and two years in a foreign university (currently either the University of Nottingham or University of New South Wales).
The faculty is also known for its teaching excellence and strong research links although their works are not often known. The faculty has strong ties with both NECTEC and MTEC located in Thailand Science Park. The faculty also has strong researching ties with Japan particularly and more recently with the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. Its current dean is Associate Professor Dr. Uruya Weesakul.
Faculty of Architecture and Planning
The university had proposed the establishment of a Faculty of Architecture under the Eighth National Higher Education Plan (1997 - 2001) of the Ministry of University Affairs (now Office of the Commission on Higher Education under the Ministry of Education). However, a Cabinet meeting on February 3
decided to restrict the establishment of all new departments. The university then created an Architecture Programme to be autonomous under the Thammasat University Council by its resolution of May 6
The programme was approved to be the Faculty of Architecture by a resolution of the Thammasat University Council on October 29, 2001. Professor Dr. Vimolsiddhi Horayangkura, who had been the programme's director since 1999, was appointed to be the first dean of the Faculty of Architecture. The faculty offered two more new undergraduate programmes, Interior Architecture and Urban Environmental Planning and Management Program, in the 2002 academic year.
Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology
The Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, located in the university's Rangsit Centre, Pathum Thani Province, is a semi-autonomous institute of technology established in 1992. It offers a range of science, technology and engineering education, as well as related management programmes. All of them are international programmes, with English language as a medium of instructions. Although it is an academic unit of the university, and graduates of the institute receive Thammasat University degrees, the institute is self-administered and financed. The institute enjoys strong links with Thailand National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand Science Park, national graduate schools (such as JGSEE, TGIST, and TAIST) and many international universities, notably its neighbour Asian Institute of Technology, and a group of Japanese and European universities.
Being a research-led academic institution in nature, from the most recent performance evaluation (Academic Year 2003) by the university, the institute has the highest number of research publications (both in raw quantity and per graduate student heads), compare to other academic units in the university, and when compare to other universities, each SIIT faculty member produces twice the highest value of national range for international journal publications (0.74 vs 0-0.41, academic year 2004). In 2007, the Thailand Research Fund assessed research outcomes of universities in Thailand, and SIIT ranked as "Very Good" for all three indicators, make it the only engineering school in the country that can achieved this.
The institute is also one of a very small numbers of universities which can secure numbers of Thailand Research Fund's Royal Golden Jubilee grants, considered to be the country's most prestigious research grants for PhD students, for every single year since the programme began in 1998 — one of the only three which can secure Engineering discipline grants for every single year.
Prominent faculty members
Former and current prominent faculty members include:
- Pridi Phanomyong, Senior Statesman, former Regent and Prime Minister of Thailand, leader of the Free Thai underground movement, and founder of the university
- Puey Ungpakorn, former Governor of the Bank of Thailand, former Rector, and former Dean of the Faculty of Economics
- Noranit Setabutr, current Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Assembly, former Senator, and former Rector
- Jermsak Pinthong, current member of the Constitutional Drafting Committee, former Senator, and former Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics
- Theerayut Boonmee, former student activist, social critic and lecturer at the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology
- Ammar Siamwalla, current member of the National Legislative Assembly, former president of Thailand Development Research Institute, and former professor at the Faculty of Economics
- Rangsan Thanapornpan, columnist and professor at the Faculty of Economics
- Likhit Dhiravegin, current leader of the Phalang Thai Party, current member of the Royal Institute, social critic, and former Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political Science
- Abhisit Vejjajiva, current leader of the Democrat Party and former lecturer at the Faculty of Economics
- Somchai Wongsawat, Prime Minister of Thailand
- Chuan Leekpai, former Prime Minister of Thailand
- Samak Sundaravej, former Prime Minister of Thailand, former Governor of Bangkok
- Somkid Jatusripitak, former Minister of Commerce and Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
- Wissanu Krea-Ngam, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
- Pridiyathorn Devakula, former Governor of the Bank of Thailand
- Banyat Bantadan, former Deputy Prime Minister and former leader of the Democrat Party
- Sukum Nuansakul, former Dean of Ramkhamhaeng University
- Chaiwat Satha-Anand, The National Award for the Distinguished Researcher
- Jaran Ditapichai, former Member of National Human Rights Commission