International Education

Higher Education in Turkey

Turkey's higher education institutions include respected public and private universities, vocationally oriented schools and a large distance-learning sector which is referred to as the Open Education System. Higher education is overseen by the Council for Higher Education which is an autonomous public body that is responsible for the planning, coordination, governance and supervision of higher education. Admission to public institutions are processed though the centralized Student Selection and Placement Center. Admittance is based national examination scores which, along with student preferences, are used to place students into a specific program and school. Due to limited availability, only about one in four students who apply to a public university are accepted into a program. Private institutions set their own admissions policies. Public institutions are funded primarily by the government so students are charged low tuition fees. Private institutions are very expensive, reaching the levels of many US schools. Types of Schools and DegreesTurkey has over 100 public universities and about 50 private, non-profit universities, which are referred to as foundation universities. An additional 20 or so higher education institutions are vocational in nature or are military or police schools. Although Turkish universities do not typically rank within the top 100 in the world, a number of schools rank in the top 500 including Istanbul University, Koc University, Middle East Technical University and Bilkent University. Turkish technology and engineering schools are often considered to provide an equivalent education to schools in the US. Turkey conforms to the Bologna Agreement which standardized degree programs across Europe. Bachelor's degrees can be earned in four years, master's degrees in two years and doctoral degrees in a minimum of four years. In addition, vocational associate's degrees can be earned in two years. International StudentsOver 19, 000 foreign students attended a higher education institution in Turkey in 2007, coming primarily from Europe and central Asia. Students can attend Turkish universities as full-degree students or as exchange students through their current school or through an independent organization. Universities set their own admissions requirements with some choosing to accept foreign exam scores while others require students to take the standard International Student Examination. At some universities, which are primarily private, all courses are taught in English. A number of public universities teach some courses and some entire programs in English. Tuition at public universities is low for foreigners while at private universities, it is on par with tuition at many universities in the US. About TurkeyTurkey is located primarily in Asia with three percent of the country existing in Europe. It is a democratic country which has increasingly become involved with western organizations such as the Council of Europe and NATO. The population of over 76 million people lives primarily in urban areas such as Istanbul which is the largest city with over 12 million residents. Turkish is the official language while some portions of the population speak Kurdish and Zazaki. The economy in Turkey shifted from a government controlled one to a largely market driven one beginning in 1983. Industries such as construction and manufacturing of home appliances, electronics and textiles are significant components of the economy while banking, tourism and agriculture are also important. Turkey ranked 72nd out of 182 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index which combines measurements of life expectancy, income and education. ResourcesTurkish Council on Higher Education
Turkey – A Guide for International Students