Study in Turkey

Posted by InfoBook on April 03, 2020

The number of international students choosing to study in Turkey has witnessed a significant upsurge from the 2015-16 academic year. Currently, there are around 650,000 foreign students in Turkey, signalling the country’s growing importance as a higher education destination. 

Motivations for study in Turkey include the opportunity to gain a relatively inexpensive and good quality education, with opportunities for scholarships that also pay a monthly allowance, covering accommodation and tuition fees, health insurance and travel expenses.

Turkey is already a firmly established tourist destination, with nearly 40 million tourists visiting from all over the world in 2017 according to Invest in Turkey, making it the 10th most popular holiday destination. The Turkish government is keen to extend this popularity into the international student market, with a target of 350,000 international students.

If you’d like to study in Turkey, read more below to find out about top universities in Turkey, popular cities for students, how much you’ll need to budget, and how to get a student visa.

Universities in Turkey

There are over 200 universities in Turkey, the majority of which are run by the state. Most of these institutions are relatively young; as recently as 1970, there were only eight state institutions, and the first private university (Bilkent University), was not established until 1984. Among the youngest universities in Turkey is Antalya International University (AIU), which welcomed its first students in the 2012/13 academic year, and aims to recruit more than half of its students from outside Turkey.

Both public and private universities in Turkey conform to the Bologna Agreement, which standardizes degree programs across Europe, and many Turkish universities are participants in the Erasmus+ program, which supports international student exchanges. In the latest edition of the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings, Turkey’s higher education system was ranked 43rd in the world. 

Top universities in Turkey 
There are 10 Turkish universities featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2019, and 45 Turkish universities in the 2019 edition of the QS University Rankings: EECA, a ranking of the leading universities in Emerging Europe and Central Asia. The majority of these top universities in Turkey are located in either Ankara or Istanbul, Turkey’s two largest cities. In Ankara, you’ll find Middle East Technical University, Bilkent University and Hacettepe University (all ranked in the top 50), while Istanbul is home to Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, Koç University, Sabancı University, Istanbul Technical University and Istanbul University – all of which are ranked within the top 30.

Living in Turkey 

As a student living in Turkey – especially if you are based in one of the larger cities – you certainly won’t find yourself short of places to explore and things to do. Music lovers will find plenty of variety, from folk to techno, classical to pop, and hip hop to jazz – plus everything in between. The cities are full of lively venues, and Turkey hosts a number of international music festivals each year. Meanwhile film fans may already be aware of the country’s growing domestic film industry, and will find themselves in good company; cinema-going is a popular activity in Turkey, and the latest Hollywood blockbusters are widely screened.

In terms of daily life, you may find yourself becoming adept at spotting a good quality doner kebab, haggling over prices at the souk, preparing (or at least appreciating) a real Turkish coffee, and perhaps even taking on the locals at tavla, or backgammon, which is popularly played in cafes and parks.


When we talk about studying in Turkey, most of the time the question arises: Why should one study in Turkey? What are the benefits of studying in Turkey?

Turkey is an ideal place to live. A land where different cultures, religions, different people and different lifestyles meet.

Turkey is one of the cheapest countries to live and study. Studying in Turkey is relatively cheap compared to other countries with the same level of education.

It can be said that the monthly spending cuts in half.

Housing costs and food are cheaper.

Since 2001, Turkey has been an active part of European Higher Education. Which means that students which graduate in Turkey have a globally respected diploma. Through the „Bolognia-Process“ the diplomas obtained in Turkey are valid all over the world.

With a degree in Turkey you will have good job opportunities in international companies in or outside of Turkey because of your internationally valid diploma.

Applications, Fees & Visas

How to apply for a Turkish university

The application process to Turkish universities is quite straightforward, and will usually require international applicants to either have a high school diploma (to apply for an undergraduate degree) or a four-year degree from a university (to apply for a master’s degree), or the equivalent qualification in their home country. The admissions process is indeed unique to whichever degree you’re choosing, however, there are some general conditions you must take into consideration – for the average undergraduate student, these will include:

A fully-completed application form
Academic transcript/proof of graduation
An English language proficiency score, if studying in English
A personal statement
Proof of funds
Proof of application fee payment (usually between US$35-100)
Applications and any supporting documents must be submitted before the deadline, which is usually August 1.

Tuition fees in Turkey

Tuition fees for international students are fairly affordable and vary depending on the program. Public universities are much cheaper than private institutions in Turkey, as a postgraduate degree at a public university could cost you as little as US$300-800 for a postgraduate qualification. Private universities set their own fees and charge up to $20,000.

At public universities, tuition fees are generally more expensive for study programs in English, ranging from $600-1500 per year, while the same courses in Turkish are around $240-750.

Living Costs

Turkey is one of the cheapest countries to live and study. In comparison with Germany, the rental costs in Turkey are cheaper. Food is also usually cheaper than for example in Germany and Europe.

Turkey offers several accommodation options: As a foreign student, in most cases, living on the campus of the university’s own dormitories is the most chosen method. It is also possible to join a community. (Rental costs of about 500.00 TL – which are converted to the 120.00 €). Many of the students benefit from the part-time job opportunities during the training. Speaking a foreign language like English or German is of great advantage.

How long does studying generally take in Turkey?

Standard period of study, as in all other countries of the world, is 4 years in most Bachelor’s programs.

Dentistry: 5 years

Human medicine: 6 years.

Veterinary medicine:5 years.

Law: 4 years.

All programs of engeneering: 4 years


Most of the international students in Turkey worry about the language. Most universities have a bilingual curriculum.

The first scientific language is Turkish. the second scientific language in Turkey is English. In many cases, German or French is also offered as a scientific language.

If the desired teaching institution requires a language preparation year, it may be extended by one year.

Students who pass the language exams in the second language skip the language preparation year. In Turkish this year is called “hazirlik yili”.

You can check the subjects and universities you are interested in to see if such a year is required of you. In most cases, students will skip this year.

There is a proffiency exam for foreign students or students whose language of education is not Turkish. Applicants who pass these exams also skip the language preparation year. In most cases, students will skip this year

Turkish student visa requirements

In order to study in Turkey, you'll first need to be accepted onto a course at a Turkish university, and then apply for a student visa at your nearest Turkish consulate. In order to be granted a Turkish student visa, you will need:

A copy of your letter of acceptance from a Turkish university
A completed Turkish student visa application form (obtained from the consulate)
A valid passport, with an expiry date beyond the end of your planned stay in Turkey
A processing fee, which varies depending on your nationality
Passport-sized photographs of yourself

It generally takes around eight weeks from the time you submit your application until you receive your visa. After arriving in Turkey, you should also apply for a residence permit, within one month of arrival. This can be done at the nearest police headquarters, and requires you to show proof that you are enrolled at a Turkish university, your passport and Turkish student visa, photographs and a fee.