Chernivtsi National University was founded on October 4, 1875 by decree Franz Josef, Emperor of Austro-Hungary.
In the beginning there were colleges of theology, philosophy and law. K.Tomashchuk, a renowned scientist and public figure, became the first rector of the University. The scientists with European and world fame taught and conducted their research at the University: economist J.Schumpeter, lawyer G.Gross, historian R.Kaindl, Slavic scholars O.Kaluzhnatsky and S. Smal-Stotsky and composer and writer S.Vorobkevych, and others.
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 and annexation of the Northern Bukovina to the Romanian kingdom, until 1940 the university was one of the Romanian higher educational institutions.
In 1940, after the reunification of Northern Bukovina to Ukraine, the University was reorganized into a state higher educational institution with the instruction in Ukrainian. In 1989 Chernivtsi National University was named after Yuriy Fedkovych, the well-known writer of Bukovina, herald of Ukrainian national Renaissance.
Today the university comprises 13 colleges, namely:
- foreign languages,
- philosophy and theology.
56 departments, 12 thousand students majoring in 49 areas.
Academic and research work is provided by over 700 professors (100 DScs, associate professors, about 500 PhDs), and 4 Specialized Scientific Boards on candidate and doctoral dissertations defence. Basic areas of scientific research are theoretical and applied semiconductors material study; development of new materials technologies, micro-circuits and devices for optical, radio, and microelectronics, semiconducting instrument-making; static optics, holography; technologies of module teaching; molecular-biological bases of heterogeneous plants; ecology, geography; History of Ukraine, linguistics and literary studies. The University is known for its 10 scientific schools. The Research Bukovina Study Center is affiliated with the University, which maintains relations with other centers of Diaspora.
The University together with other institutions in Ukraine founded "Bible and Culture" research center which studies the fundamental problems of humanities and social sciences.
Chernivtsi National University has 14 buildings, the Botanical Gardens, Zoological and Earth Science/Topography Museums, Publishing House, and Library with over 2.5 million books. There is the Department of Military Studies.
The faculty and the students of the University participate in various exchange programs in the USA, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, China, Yugoslavia, and Israel and other countries of the world.
In October, 1999 Chernivtsi National University became the member of the International Universities Organization "Phi Beta Delta" (USA).
By the President's Decree the title of "National University" was awarded to Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi State University on September 11, 2000.