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Turkey education system - understand how it works​

Turkey is widely recognized for its quality education. Let 's find out why.

With a schooling record of 94.2 percent, Turkey is the second country in the world to have access to higher education. Turkey ‘s involvement in the European Higher Education Region perfectly executes the Bologna Process; our Bologna Report is 5 out of 5. So, in all European countries, the diploma you earn from a university in Turkey is accepted.

As a credit scheme for classes, ECTS is implemented in compliance with European standards and all students earn a Diploma Supplement. Moreover, Turkey is one of the most active countries participating in the Erasmus + exchange programs. In addition to Erasmus, there are several exchange programs in Turkey that support the mobility of students and lecturers, such as Mevlana and Farabi.

With a population of 82 million, there are 207 universities in Turkey. The number of pupils is equivalent to eight million. With this number of students, Turkey is the first country in the European Higher Education Region that has the most students. At 207 colleges, there are almost 60.000 separate programs. You will undoubtedly find a university and curriculum for yourself in such a selection.


Fifty-three state universities, including two higher technical institutes, and 24 foundations (private universities) provide higher education. The Council of Higher Education (YÖK), which is an entirely independent national board of trustees without any political or government affiliation, is the sole authority for governing higher education.

The Interuniversity Council consists of all university rectors and one member chosen by each university’s Senate. Universities, faculties, institutes and four-year schools are founded by statute, while the Council of Higher Education creates two-year vocational schools, departments and divisions. The universities of the Foundation are under the oversight of the Council of Higher Education, and their programmes must be approved regularly. Some colleges use English, French, and German for one prior year as the language of instruction.

There are no post-secondary studies at the non-university level in the Turkish higher education system. Higher post-secondary technical and vocational courses last for four years in higher education institutions and two years in vocational higher education institutions affiliated with universities. They give professional training in different professions and grant the Önlisans Diploma after completion of two years of university studies and the Lisans Diploma after completion of four years of university studies.


The Turkish Qualifications Framework (TQF) has been designed as a single integrated system for Turkish qualifications to be listed to accommodate all quality-assured qualifications obtained in all education and training programmes, as well as primary, secondary and higher education.

TQF mainly covers qualifications awarded under the mandate of the Ministry of National Education (MoNE), qualifications under the mandate of the Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA), higher education qualifications awarded under the coordination and supervision of the Higher Education Council (CoHE); in time, other certificates granted under the authority of such responsible bodies will be included.

TQF will cover several vocational qualifications that are available and will be required in the Turkish labour market. The TQF consists of the MoNE and VQA qualification frameworks, as well as the Turkish Higher Education Qualifications Framework (TQFHE).


Turkey is a very cost-effective location where you can perform your research. Istanbul, its most populated city, slips to number 376 in terms of the world’s most expensive towns. In particular, when it comes to studying, students are accepted at a similarly low cost of tuition across most of the country’s universities with a number over 180. 

So, with a budget in mind for students and a desire to learn in a foreign culture that offers a wide range of experiences and possibilities at a renowned university, it is evident that Turkey may be the perfect destination for you. However, even with the relatively low cost of studying, tuition rates will differ, so students should also be familiar with the decisions they make that will influence their tuition costs.


There are various scholarship opportunities for students who want to study in Turkey, including scholarships given by the Republic of Turkey, scholarships granted by student states, scholarships provided by various national and foreign institutions and organizations, university scholarships. The possibilities and sums given by the scholarship institutions differ. Some of these organizations also protect the cost of transport from your nation to Turkey. The number of monthly scholarships also varies according to international students’ level of education.

CoHE Scholarship for International Students

It is targeted at foreign undergraduate and graduate students in countries which have signed protocols with the Council on Higher Education. If students admitted to Turkish higher education programs do not have a Turkish Proficiency Certificate, students are given one year of language training.

Türkiye Scholarship

The Türkiye Scholarships allow, in addition to providing financial support, international students to be placed in their intended application program at the university. It is different from other scholarship programs in the world with this element.

The goal of the Türkiye Scholarships is to ensure that students benefit from social and cultural events, as well as university education, during their time in Turkey. This Scholarship Program also addresses students ‘ needs during the educational cycle, such as housing and health insurance.


In 1981, the administration of higher education in Turkey was comprehensively restructured in line with the current Higher Education Law (No. 2547). The structure thus became centralized, with the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) tied to all higher education institutions.

All institutions of higher education were built as universities, after this restructuring. Higher education growth across the country has been accomplished, application to higher education has been standardized, and a central university review and placement has been implemented.


Students can enroll in higher education after graduating from high school, which is consistent with the three-cycle Bologna scheme. There are six types of higher education institutions and academic units as follow:

A department that conducts higher education, academic research and publishing. Different departments and programmes can be related to it. After a training programme that lasts for at least four years, students receive a Bachelor’s degree.
An institution dealing with graduate education, scholarly study and applications at universities. MA, MSc or PhD degrees are awarded by graduate schools.
A higher education institution that is predominantly concerned with offering instruction for a particular occupation. It has a length of 8 semesters.
A higher education institution in which music and the performing arts are educated by artists. It has a length of eight semesters.
A higher education institution where artists are  educated in music and the performing arts, and the length is eight semesters.
An institution of higher education that carries out research and applied studies to meet the needs of applied courses. It does so in different fields and to provide preparatory and support activities in various professional areas to promote education in higher education institutions.


Awarded after the completion of a four-year course and 240 ECTS of testing. The dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacy study cycle are five years and the treatment period is six years. In these four fields, the qualifications are considered to be the equivalent of a Master’s degree.

Earning a bachelor’s degree used to be a way for students to stand out from others in a highly competitive job market. Many international students have selected Turkey as their move forward because of increased access to prospective job prospects worldwide.

A bachelor’s degree is granted to students completing an eight-semester course of study. To be eligible for a bachelor’s degree, applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher, on fulfilment of all the terms of the degree. The diploma indicates the department from which the student graduated.

The goal of the faculty is to provide students with a balance of technical education in the selected field and a wide range of courses in various other fields to expand their scope and prepare them for their future lives and jobs; via their career and life centers, several universities offer their services to potential undergraduates with suitable courses. These centres inspire learners to take a step forward in their career.

Students wishing to enroll in Turkey for their undergraduate studies must have completed their studies in Turkey. Equivalent to that of a high school in Turkey, their secondary schooling is in a high school or equal institution where education is located. These students can apply directly to universities. Applications from students abroad will be treated as intentional pupils by universities under their quotas.


The institutes themselves coordinate Graduate-level programmes. It usually takes two years to complete a postgraduate certificate or master’s degree, although this can vary depending on the institution. Universities and institutes of higher learning also offer doctoral degrees.

While completing mandatory course work, one may either perform independent research funded by the university or participate in research for the university. Doctoral programs usually last three to four years. Depending on the amount of course material, some programs take slightly longer or shorter to finish. A significant component of graduate studies, including the writing and defending of a thesis or dissertation, is also the development of the original study.

After graduation, international students can find employment opportunities at universities, especially universities with English-language programs, as researchers or employees. In other fields, there will also be resources available for Turkish students and international students with good Turkish language skills. Non-Turkish people may need to obtain a work permit after they have been granted a job.


There are various paths for international students to higher education, including foundation studies and English language preparation programs. These ensure that the additional support and assistance they need to excel is provided to students.


From September to June, the academic year runs and consists of 2 semesters. Deadlines for applications differ between institutions, but universities open officially in October. Many universities assign places based on the pre-existing credentials of the applicant on a first-come, first-served basis. Consequently, applicants should apply as soon as practicable.

Some less popular courses at specific universities allow applications on a rolling basis. Still, the most popular ones fill up quickly and are characterized by a high degree of competition at the most credible institutions. The website of each university offers information about the start and closing dates for submitting applications.


You may need to show that your language skills are good enough to engage in the courses and understand the lectures if you are attending a degree programme in Turkey. These courses will also train you for some of the exams that universities need in English. You may need to show that your language skills are good enough to engage in the courses and understand the lectures if you are attending a degree programme in Turkey.

These courses will also train you for some of the English-language exams that universities need. You will need to show evidence that you have a diploma for your English proficiency to apply to study in Turkey. PTE Technical, TOEFL, and C1 Advanced (C1 Proficiency) are the qualifications commonly recognised by universities in Turkey.


In particular, to fund their graduate studies, international students enrolled in a Master’s or PhD program in Turkey will serve as researchers on scientific projects relevant to their work. In exchange for this scholarship, several private colleges also welcome graduate students with full scholarships and may have student assistantships. Undergraduate students will also find openings, according to their course schedules, to work in a part-time role.

What you need to remember first, if you have a desire to work in your student life, is that your student residence permit does not protect the work permit alone. Therefore, you would first need to obtain a work permit if you intend to work during your studies. Various forms of work permits exist, such as short-term, permanent, independent work, which is issued by the Directorate-General for Foreign Labour.


If you want to work in Turkey after graduation, do not miss the job fairs held on university campuses. Human resources officials at these fairs come from several significant businesses in Turkey. They provide details on their career and internship opportunities while gathering resumes from alumni applicants as well. For business and internship opportunities, these fairs are a perfect opportunity.

Furthermore, several university career centres offer a range of consulting services to students, including the announcement of work openings for post-graduation career measures, simulation of interviews and production of resumes.


A compulsory or elective internship activity can be a higher education program where you are enrolled in Turkey. During the summer term, this type of internship activities, which are often seen in undergraduate programs, are typically carried out. In this situation, you do not need to obtain a work visa, and you will find internship opportunities for several private businesses, government agencies, foreign organizations or NGOs in Turkey with the help of your university.

Additionally, you can find an internship for 2-12 months in a European country under the Erasmus + programme, Which is available during your studies in Turkey or immediately after graduation to participants from around the world. It is important to note that you are exempted from the work permit under certain circumstances if you are a student studying at a university abroad and are preparing to come to Turkey for an internship.

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