Thammasat University was inaugurated on June 27, 1934. The original name of the University, as given by Professor Dr. Pridi Banomyong, was the University of Moral and Political Sciences. Professor Dr. Banomyong wished to establish a university to educate Thai people of democracy introduced to the nation for the first time two years earlier.

          The philosophy of the University was marked after the speech of Professor Dr. Pridi Banomyong delivered before His Majesty the King's Regent as follow:

“..... A university is, figuratively, an oasis that quenches the thirst of those who are in pursuit of knowledge. The opportunity to acquire higher education rightly belong to every citizen under the principle of freedom of education…..”

          True to the ideas of Professor Dr. Banomyong, the University of Moral and Political Sciences quickly became an open university that accepted everyone with a high school diploma and working people in general. No entrance examination was required, while tuition fee was minimal and textbooks were inexpensive.  As the first open university in Thailand, students were not required to attend classes every day, but to take final examination to assess their progress. In the first year, 7,094 students applied to attend the University, mostly from working - class families. At that time, only two programs were offered---Moral Science and Accountancy degree programs.

          The coup d’tat on November 8, 1947 had a dramatic effect on the University. Soon after, the University’s name was changed to Thammasat University  (TU), and the open university system was abandoned, with four new degree programs being introduced-- Law, Political Science, Economics, and Commerce and Accountancy. Thammasat University Act of 2495 B.E. mandated that each program offer its own degree.

          Echoing student unrest and a global push for a new era of freedom, Thammasat University became the center of student uprising in October 1973, with the demand for a new constitution and a parliamentary government.

          His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej appointed Thammasat’s then rector Professor Sanya Dharmasakti as the new Prime Minister during this time of crisis. Thammasat University continued to play a key role in changes and development of democracy and politics in Thailand.

          In 1975, Professor Dr. Puey Ungpakorn, then rector of Thammasat University, realized that moving the country forward would depend on increasing focus on science and technology. Given such vision, he then set out to expand science and technology degree programs alongside with establishment of a new campus in Rangsit to relieve the crowded Taprachan campus. After contacting the Industrial Estates of the Ministry of Industry, Thammasat acquired 972 acres for expanding the University to Rangsit Campus, and since then development there has continued well until the present.

          More development came in 1994, when Thammasat University launched another regional campus by developing land around Chonburi-Rayong Road, Bang Lamung District, Pong Sub-District, Chonburi Province. This became the home of the Thammasat University Pattaya Campus, dedicated to teaching, learning and research in technology and industrial development. The fortuitous choice worked well for this mission, as Chonburi was already a highly industrialized area.

          More changes came on December 20, 2004 when Thammasat University continued its development in Pattaya with the launch of Pattaya Learning Resort to provide greater educational opportunities to the Thai people of Eastern Thailand. Today, bachelor degree programs in automotive engineering and software engineering are offered at Pattaya Campus as part of the University’s long-term endeavor to establish the Campus as prime educational center of science and technology to cater for the growing industrial economy in the Eastern part of the country. Also central to the strategic plan is a long-term effort to achieve sustainable development and make Thammasat Pattaya a truly “Green Campus.” 

          In Northern Thailand, Thammasat again responded to rapid demands of young people for quality higher-level education. With the establishment of the Lampang Campus on July 8, 1996, students from the Northern part of Thailand no longer had to study far away from their home, but could enjoy the strengths of Thammasat University Lampang Campus community.

          The first lecture class at Lampang Campus was held in 1998, with the School of Social Administration being the first to be introduced. The Lampang Campus later expanded to include other curricula, including bachelor’s degree programs in law, social administration, fine applied arts, interdisciplinary studies, public health and sciences and technology with all degree programs adhering to the same rigorous academic standards practiced at Thammasat University main campus in Bangkok.

          In 2011, Bangkok and nearby areas were hit with one of the worst floods in the history of Thailand. The Rangsit campus of Thammasat University rose to the occasion, providing temporary shelter to serve the people who lived nearby and were left without food and shelter by the devastation. More than 8,000 people volunteered to give away food, medicine and survival bags to the people from Patumthani and other nearby provinces, showing Thammasat University’s true spirit. Thammasat’s goal of guiding students to the highest standards of ethics and community services remained true, as they came together to serve the society in times of need – giving truth to the motto, “I love Thammasat because Thammasat teaches me to love the people.”

          Amidst rapid changes in the world, Thammasat University, therefore, must adjust its learning and teaching pattern and develop the “Active Learning” approach of education. Thammasat University has grown into a fully comprehensive institution offering programs and courses in all areas encompassing social sciences, humanities, health, and sciences and technology. International programs are also available at faculties and international colleges to cater to the growing needs of global citizens for diverse fields of knowledge.

          In 2017, Thammasat University has prepared to grow along side with Thailand by designating five-year strategic initiatives to position Thammasat as premier institution that seeks to build young leaders through world-class research and education. The five goals of the strategic plan include 1) equipping graduates with the so-called “GREATS” qualities, with entrepreneurship skills and proficiency of at least three languages, 2) generating high-quality research and innovations that help solve social and world issues, 3) building a far-reaching network through national and international collaboration, 4) leveraging quality of Thammasat’s academic and health services to achieve international standards, and 5) incorporating modern, cutting – edge management systems into the entire operation of the organization.

          Entering into the 84th year after its establishment, Thammasat University recognizes all the changes that have occurred in this age and is aware that our duty is not only to produce graduates but also to groom “Next-Generation leaders for Thailand and international communities” with a goal to make Thammasat more well known among international communities.

          Thammasat University community remains true to its founder Professor Dr. Banomyong and the ideals that led him to found this great learning institution and cultural icon, which has grown to be Thailand’s intellectual, moral and spiritual center. Thammasat continues to instill in each and every student the desire to serve the country and its people, and move Thailand forward proudly as a shining beacon to the entire world. When a student graduates from Thammasat, it means that student is not just ready to get a job – it means he or she has a sense of community and social responsibility – and a burning desire to use knowledge for the good of all. Thammasat University today has changed from its humble beginnings as a small pond of knowledge-seekers, to its status today as a river of wisdom for all.

University’s Emblems

       Wheel of Dharma Emblem depicts a Wheel of Dharma in gold on a red background. The wheel has 12 spokes, and the red and yellow Constitution Tray features in its center. The felloe of the Wheel of Dharma is inscribed with “Thammasat University” or “T.U.” in Thai on the top and in English on the bottom separated by a Thai floral pattern.

“Wheel of Dharma” means this institute persists in Buddhist doctrines as its main guiding principle and practice.

       Symbolic Colors are red and yellow. The reason behind the choice is not clear; we only know that Mr. Pridi Banomyong made that choice, possibly based the idea that yellow represents religion, in line with the Wheel of Dharma, and a rich shade of red represents blood, as depicted in Khun Wichitmatra’s song: “our yellow is the dharma in the heart, our red is the blood we devote”.

       Symbolic Tree is the flame tree or royal poinciana. On the occasion of his visit to Thammasat’s Main Auditorium to perform in a concert on 9 February 1963, HM King Bhumibol planted 5 “flame trees” in front of the main auditorium, as requested by Mr. Wittaya Sukdamrong, a student at the time. The flame tree has become the university’s symbolic tree as its color corresponds with the university’s colors, red and yellow.


            Dome Building is the inaugural building of the University of Moral and Political Science, designed by Chitrasen (Mew) Apaiwongs following the University’s elders’ suggestions. It is remodeled from 4 existing buildings belonging previously to the 4th Infantry Division which was joined together to make one complex. A three-story building, with a symbolic “Dome” in the middle, is added to the complex. It was later explained that the design of the Dome was taken from a sharpened octagonal pencil tip motif to illustrate the high wisdom in education management, according to Professor Doctor Pridi Banomyong’s inception.

 In the Dome Building, on the second floor, the first room from the main staircase is Prof. Dr. Pridi Banomyong’s office. During the Second World War, this room was the headquarters for the Free Thai Movement led by Pridi Banomyong in collaboration with the Free Thai Movement in the UK and the US.

The Dome Building has become an important symbol of the University, as its students through the ages have often called themselves “children of Mother Dome”. Plueng Wannasri, one of the children of Mother Dome, penned in a 1952 poem:

Without Dome…Chao Phraya…Tha Phrachan is without symbolic dharma guardians.”

          Main Auditorium is used for the University’s various events, such as Wai Khru Ceremony, Commencement, and as a lecture hall for core subjects with over a thousand students, and importantly as a venue for political activities. Especially after the events of 14 October 1973, the Main Auditorium has become an opinion platform on social and political situations through a great number of discussions and exhibitions hosted in the auditorium. Moreover, the Main Auditorium served as a protective front from the political villains and attacks on students and civilians on 6 October 1976.

            Pridi Plaza and Pridi Banomyong Memorial was constructed in memory of Mr. Pridi Banomyong, an elder statesmen, leader of the Free Thai Movement and an important figure in the University of Moral and Political Science, after his peaceful passing on 2 May 1983 in France.

Mr. Pridi Banomyong, son of a farmer, was born on 11 May 1900 in Ayutthaya. He graduated from the Ministry of Juctice’s Law School and got a scholarship to study for a doctorate degree in Law from University of Paris. He also obtained advanced diploma in Economics.

In the change from absolute monarchy to democracy in 24 June 1932, he had an important role as a civilian leader of Khana Ratsadon and various roles in the transfer period, particularly in the drafting of constitution, establishment of parliament, amendments of unequal treaties with foreign countries and founding of the University of Morality and Political Science to plant the seeds of knowledge on politics and democracy for people with the thirst for new political knowledge.

Mr. Pridi Banomyong had an outstanding career during the Second World War. He found the Free Thai Movement to protest Thailand’s alliance with Japan. After the Second World War, he earned the title “elder statesman” and became a prime minister from March to August 1945. Nevertheless, the abrupt political change of 8 November 1947 forced him to seek exile in China and later in France, where he resided for 36 years until his death.

          Bhodi Court became symbolic of democratic struggle of Thammasat and the Thai society after the events of 14 October 1674 when students and civilians gathered to demand constitution and democracy.

In the early hours of the morning of 8 October 1973, students gathered in Bhodi Court to demand that the government release of 13 activists who demand constitution. Ten of thousands later joined the gathering, which expanded to Thammasat’s football field. Hundreds of thousands protesters started their rally from Thammasat University at 12.00 on 13 October 1973, and the events of 14 October 1973 were set in motion.

Bhodi Court was also a stage for students’ political satire on 4 October 1976. The images from that satire made first page of Dao Sayam newspaper while Yan Kraw radio station and its network heralded that the students committed lese majeste. The gathering of Village Scouts and other forces led to the violent attacks on students and civilians on the morning of 6 October 1976.

In 1991 Bhodi Court returned to political stage when military leaders staged a coup d’etat and drafted a constitution that granted power to themselves. Students and civilians used Bhodi Court to as a meeting point to protest that draft of constitution. Bhodi Court was, therefore, revived in its role in protest for democracy. And in the aftermath of the election in early 1992, Bhodi Court was used as a stage for protesting against passing of power among military leaders, leading to the events of May 1992 which ultimately drew the curtains on the role of the military in Thai politics.  

The students’ and civilians’ protest in 1973 led to the political change from military dictatorship to democracy and brought about awareness in the people’s rights. It was the age of social and economic change, which led to freer economy, establishment of new political parties, the notion of decentralization of power to the people, and songs for life.

The events of October 1973 resulted in 77 deaths and 857 injuries. Those events initiated such concrete and wide-spread democratic spirits and political culture in the Thai society that it has become an accepted fact that the modern development of Thai democracy is a consequence of the heroic struggles of those involved in the event. If tales and stories of modern Thai politics cannot leave out the events of 14 October 1973, comprehensive stories of the development of Thai democracy cannot leave out the historic gathering on Bhodi Court.

            Wang Na Wall The office of Phra Rajawang Bovorn Sathan Mongkol or Wang Na (Front Palace) has originated in the Ayutthaya period and lasted until the reign of King Rama V of the Rattanakosin period. In the Rattanakosin period, Front Palace is the residence of the Uparaja or Viceroy. When the new royal palace was constructed in the reign of King Rama I, Somdet Phra Bawornrajchao Maha Sura Singhanat, Krom Phra Rajawang Bovorn Sathan Mongkol, also constructed the Front Palace to the north of the royal palace on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

The history of the Front Palace seems to have escaped the community’s memory until Thammasat University constructed the new Multi-Purpose Building 2. The exhibits from the excavation illustrated the outline of the Front Palace wall and made clear to students and the public that the area used to be the location of the Front Palace.

Nevertheless, some of the students and alumni believe that the University occupies the space of the Front Palace, which means that the place inherits the spirit of supporting power institution and at the same time consistently balances and monitors how the supreme leaders exercise their power.

Throughout the history, both in times of prosperity and political tension, adjacent to the Front Palace Wall stands the Faculty of Political Science, administering master’s and doctorate degrees since the time of the University’s commencement.

            Football Field The area where the Multi-Purpose Building currently stands, in the early years of the University of Moral and Political Science, was the location of a lecture building and accommodation of Pre-College, the University of Moral and Political Science, from 1938 to 1945.

The rationale of Pre-College is to enrol high-school students and provide full-time education. The University intended it to have a significance in improving the education of the University of Moral and Political Science as a knowledge market. That is; the University will enrol students from other secondary schools as well as those from the Pre-College.

Pre-College, the University of Moral and Political Science, became a legend of the University because the Pre-College alumni who later graduated from Thammasat were exalted and famous for their works in education and politics, public administration, and public works. Some of these are Prof. Dr. Puey Ungphakorn, Prof. Marut Bunnag, Prof. Prapas Uaichai and Prof. Saneh Jamarick, to name a few. The area of Football Field near the Dome Building is part of a legend as it served as a platform and the center of the big gathering on 10-14 October 1973.