Universities in Turkey

Through rigorous academic training and research-driven innovation, universities in Turkey play a key role in moving the country closer to its ambition of development.

The World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report ranked Turkey 55th in terms of higher education and training, while its 69.4 per cent tertiary education enrolment rate ranked 27th in the world. Higher education in Turkey is overseen by the Council of Higher Education, the body tasked with administering the university entrance exam through the Student Selection and Placement Centre.

Despite the public higher education sector’s struggle to keep up with demand, Turkey continues to produce highly qualified graduates. In 2014 there were 5.47 million students enrolled at institutions of higher education, 2.977 million of whom were undergraduates, while 1.625 million were in Open University, and a further 1.5 million in vocational training schools. There were also 265,000 Master’s students and 67,157 students in Doctorate programmes.

At 2.964 million male students, men remain in the majority in higher education compared to the 2.508 million women. As of 2014 there were 175 universities in Turkey, over 100 of which are public universities while more than 60 are private universities, which have grown in number consistently since the 1980s.

Entering into university in Turkey is a gruelling process, as two million hopeful undergraduates sit the exam every year. This largely explains the success of the country’s Open University system, which accepts roughly 260,000 new students every year. With such a large offering, Turkey’s higher learning institutions have had to differentiate themselves via adjunct vocational programmes, developing research, and internationalisation.

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Turkey’s leading universities include Boğaziçi University, Middle East Technical University, Istanbul University, Sabancı University, Istanbul Technical University, Bilkent University, and Koç University. There were 72,000 international students in Turkey as of 2015, and that figure is projected to reach 100,000 by 2018.

Turkey’s top higher-education institutions continue to occupy a crucial role in supporting the Turkish economy by providing high-quality education and forming global partnerships, which together have catalysed technological innovation and economic development. Its most renowned universities form a central pillar in improving Turkey’s competitiveness and its capacity for innovation.

Through developing world-class research, empowering students, promoting gender inclusion, establishing institutional partnerships, and fostering entrepreneurship and technological innovation, Turkey’s leading universities are promoting the education sector and ensuring the country’s future prosperity.