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Education System in Turkey


Education System in Turkey

The education system in Turkey has improved significantly. And Turkey has become a center of attraction for students from all over the world. By 2016 the number of students in Turkey has increased up to 6689185 while only international students are 87816. Following this increase of the students the number of academics has gone up to 149008.

Turkish education system is under the supervision of the government (the Ministry of National Education; Turkish Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı). And the university system in Turkey is governed by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK: Yükseköğretim Kurulu Başkanlığı). Turkish universities are Republican institutions which follow Atatürk’s principles. Now by 2016 there are more than 184 universities in Turkey.

There are 3 types of Higher Education Institutions in Turkey:

  1. Public/State Universities (Devlet Universiteleri)

There are 112 state universities in Turkey. They vary in their education quality, medium of instruction and every tuition fees. This is why it is advised to contact the university itself or search for it here for more information.

The tuition fees for international students is ranging from USD 1250 – 2500 while it is completely free for Turkish students.


  1. Private or Foundation Universities (Özel / Vakif Universiteleri)

Foundation universities are non-profit in nature. There are 63 private/foundation universities in Turkey. Private foundations obtained the right in 1984 to establish and develop universities. The language of instruction is English in most of them.

The tuition fees in the private universities is much higher than the state ones; its ranges from USD 6,000-25,000.

It is also worth mentioning that private universities which do not have a very high quality of education do not require the admission exams (YÖS, SAT…) like the state universities do


  1. Higher Vocational Schools (Meslek Yüksek Okulları)(Ön lisans)

There are 7 higher vocational schools in Turkey. They offer 2 years of undergraduate study after high school and in order for them to transfer to university they must take the national Vertical Transfer Test (Dikey Geçiş Sınavı) and have a high GPA to be able to apply to 4-year schools.

The Academic Year

The academic year in Turkish education institutions generally starts in the middle if September or early October and finishes in May or early June. There is also 2 or 3 weeks winter break in February.

The Quality of Education

The quality of education differs greatly between one university and another. Some Turkish universities are well known internationally and in the world top universities’ list such as Bogazici University, Koc university, Sabanci university, Istanbul Technical University and much more.  These universities attract many of the highest scoring students and it is known by its competitive faculties, institutions, and both undergraduate and graduate programs; therefore it is sort of hard to get in these kinds of universities.

The Medium of Instruction

The medium of instruction in most universities is Turkish but many universities’ instruction language especially private ones is English and other universities offer some programs in English and some in Turkish. In case a student got accepted to a university which he doesn’t know its language of instruction, the student is considered to take one year of language foundation to gain proficiency in the medium of instruction mostly provided by the university or some other courses (click here)

The Admission Program

It is important to mention that the admission program is a competitive one; every university sets its own admission requirements and decides which applicants to accept but it depends greatly on the applicant’s exam results and high school GPAs. In another meaning, meeting the application requirements does not guarantee admission.


In addition to that quotas for international student are determined by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). There are limited quotas for international applicants and the faculties have the right to not fulfill the quotas. Here are the quotas determined by YÖK for every major in every university for 2016 attached with another file for the special requirements and explanation of every major.




Before deciding to Study in Turkey it is recommended to check if the university or the program you wish to attend is valid and recognized in your country. The National Higher Education Institution of your country can assist you with working out the validity of qualification or you can click here to see our list of recognized universities by some countries.

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