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Study in Turkey

Country flag: Turkey

One of the most popular places in the world for tourism, Turkey is now establishing itself as a destination for higher education

The Turkish education system

Universities in Turkey are normally either state governed or privately run. There are nearly 200 universities in Turkey, and as universities go, most of them are considered relative newcomers. This makes sense when you consider the country was formed less than 100 years ago in 1923.

Two of the more popular institutions in Turkey are:

  • Bilkent University - found in the capital city Ankara, is a highly-ranked institution and the country's first private university, established in 1985. Due to the university's international outlook, the main language used on campus is English.
  • Boğaziçi University - ranked in the world's top 200 institutions, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14. Found in Istanbul, its one of the oldest institutions in Turkey. The university was the first American college founded outside the USA in 1863.

The academic year begins in late September and lasts until the following June. To study a Masters will take two years; a PhD is normally three to five years.

Entry requirements

Turkish institutions require candidates to have completed an undergraduate degree before applying, usually demanding a 2:1 qualification.

Each university will have different entry specifications so it is worth contacting them individually.

International students are required to pass exams before they can study at a Turkish university, know as the Central Entrance Examination for Foreign Students. There are two tests which are normally sat in June - one is a Basic Learning Skills Test and the other is a Turkish Language Proficiency Test.

Although some institutions teach in English, French and German, it's advisable to learn the language before applying to a Turkish university.

Course fees

Private universities can charge thousands of pounds for a course while it can cost a lot less to study in a state institution. For example, foreign students studying in a state university can expect to pay anything from £180 - £560 for a year of postgraduate study.

Fees will vary so contact universities individually to check costs.

Funding to study in Turkey

The Turkish government is actively seeking to increase the number of foreign students that attend higher education institutions. However, scholarships and initiatives are aimed mainly at countries in Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

It can be difficult for students from other areas to obtain funding, but that's not to say it doesn't exist. Individual universities may offer tailored scholarships and you can search for these on websites such as Study Abroad - Turkey .

Turkish exchanges and placements

Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+ . The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of students. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in Turkey. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.

It isn't necessary to speak the language of your host country, but if you want to, you can arrange intensive language courses before you go.

Student visas

According to the European Union's official website, Turkey is 'on the road to EU membership', but is not an official member, as yet. This means that for EU nationals a visa is necessary to study in the country.

After being accepted onto a course at a Turkish university you need to apply for a student visa at your nearest Turkish consulate. The Turkish Embassy in London responds to emails and phone calls regarding visa enquiries.

To be granted a Turkish student visa you will need:

  • a letter of acceptance from a Turkish university;
  • the completed Turkish student visa form;
  • a valid passport;
  • a processing fee;
  • and a passport photo.

On arrival in the country you have 90 days to apply for a residence permit, which can be done at the nearest police headquarters.

To find out more about visas, visit Turkish Consulate London - Information for visa applicants .


Further information

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
October 2013

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