The number of international students who choose to study in Turkey has increased significantly in recent years. The number of international students, which was 48 thousand in 2014, has reached 172 thousand today. This development points to the increasing importance of Turkey in higher education.
One of the main reasons international students choose Turkey for higher education is that they receive a relatively cheap and quality education thanks to monthly scholarship opportunities, including accommodation and tuition fees, health insurance, and travel expenses.
Turkey is currently the 10th most popular holiday and tourism destination globally, with around 50 million tourists from all over the world. Turkey wants to spread this popularity to the international student market with a target of 350,000 international students. If you want to study as an international student in Turkey, you can find the best universities in Turkey in the rest of the article.
Universities in Turkey
There are more than 200 universities in Turkey, most of which are managed by the state (YÖK). Most of these institutions have a relatively recent history. While there were only eight state universities in 1970, the first private university (Bilkent University) was established in 1984. Antalya International University (AIU), which welcomes its first students in the 2012/13 academic year, is among the youngest universities in Turkey and aims to take more than half of its students abroad.
Both public and private universities in Turkey comply with the Bologna Agreement, which standardizes undergraduate programs across Europe. Many universities participate in the Erasmus + program that supports international student exchanges. According to the QS Higher Education System Power Ranking, Turkey's higher education system ranks 43rd globally.
What are the best universities in Turkey?
There are ten universities from Turkey in the 2019 issue of the QS World University Rankings (EECA), a ranking of the leading universities of developing countries in Europe and Central Asia, and 45 universities from Turkey in the 2019 issue of the QS University Rankings. Most of the top universities in Turkey are located in Ankara or Istanbul, Turkey's two largest cities. Middle East Technical University, Bilkent University, and Hacettepe University (all ranked among the top 500) are located in Ankara; Istanbul, on the other hand, hosts Boğaziçi University, Koç University, Sabancı University, Istanbul Technical University, and Istanbul University. - All these universities are ranked in the top 30.
Middle East Technical University (METU)
Located in the capital Ankara, Middle East Technical University (METU) ranked eighth in the EECA ranking this year. Specializing in humanities and social sciences, METU was established in 1956 to play a vital role in the development of Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. Today, it has approximately 31 thousand students. Many of these are students who have attended the Erasmus program for a semester or a year. As the demand is so high, METU accepts students from only 1.5 percent of annual applications up to 1.5 million. The language of instruction is English.
Bogazici (Bosphorus) University
Bogazici University, ranked 10th in the 2019 EECA ranking, was established as Robert College in 1863 and became the first American university outside the USA. Bogazici University is located near the historical Rumelihisarı Castle surrounding the Bosphorus and the eastern border of the University's South Campus. As in the Middle East Technical University, the language of instruction is English, and the university establishes strong collaborations with the American higher education system.
Koc University, established as a foundation university in Istanbul in 1993, ranks 12th in the 2019 EECA ranking. It took the surname of Vehbi Koç, who was a founder, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Koç University, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Turkey, offers a world-class learning experience with 22 undergraduate, 32 graduate and 18 doctoral programs, and currently continues to teach approximately 5,500 students. The university defines its mission as “to raise the most competent graduates of Turkey, confident leaders with international qualifications, versatile, creative, independent and objective thinking”.
The name of Bilkent University, which ranks 14th in the 2019 EECA ranking, is derived from the words "science" and "city". Bilkent University, founded by Turkish academic İhsan Doğramacı in 1984, is the first non-profit organization in Turkey. Bilkent University, which has the most extensive academic library in Turkey, is one of the leading research universities in Turkey, and currently has approximately 13,000 students enrolled in nine faculties, most of them international students.
Sabanci University, another foundation university in Istanbul, ranked 18th in the 2019 EECA ranking, becoming the fifth highest-ranked university in Turkey. Another young university started teaching in the fall of 1999 and currently has around 4,000 students. Sabanci University offers a wide range of disciplines to its students at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 42 percent of its students receive scholarships.