How to begin studying in Turkey?

Turkey is a country that borders Greece and Bulgaria on the West and Georgia, Armenia and Iran to the East, serving as a pathway between the Mediterranean sea and the Black Sea.

The country's capital is Ankara, though many might argue that the most critical city is Istanbul. Other popular cities include Bodrum, Antalya, Gaziantep and İzmir.

Turkish cities, and Ankara and Istanbul in particular, house many fantastic schools for students to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies at.

They offer students a diverse array of study programs in both English and Turkish, depending on your language of choice. In this guide to start studying in Turkey, we cover critical information so you can have the best study abroad experience there possible!

Why should you study in Turkey?

Let's kick the guide to start studying in Turkey off by talking about why you should even study there! Here are some of the reasons you should take into consideration when deciding whether to study in Turkey or not!

1. Reasonable tuition fees

The reasonable tuition fees are one of the reasons why many people consider studying in Turkey. Tuition fees in public universities are cheap and even tuition in private universities is reasonable when compared with other distinguished study destinations like the UK, Canada, the USA and China.

2. Affordable living costs

Living costs in the major Turkish academic cities are considered affordable. This includes costs like accomodation, transport, food and drink. It also includes costs for entertainment and fun. If you want a number, you can live comfortably with a budget of around 600 dollars per month.

3. Experience both Europe and Asia

Turkey has the unique multicultural quality of allowing international students to experience both the European and Asian cultures. Many consider it a bridge between Europe and Asia. Students in Turkey get to enjoy many cultural cuisines and experience mixed cultural traditions, as well as many other multicultural experiences.

4. Perfect for history lovers

Students with a passion for history will also enjoy studying in Turkey, especially those interested in Ancient civilizations. Students can find many old artefacts to visit, making it a top choice for those who want to study history or architecture. Some of the mentionable attractions to visit are the valleys of Cappadocia, the Sumela Monastery, Mount Nemrut and the mighty ruins of Ephesus. 

5.Many scholarships available for international students

One of the advantages of studying in Turkey is the many scholarships available for international students. Turkish universities want international students to join so they make it easy for excellent students to get a scholarship and study at their universities! Talk about a major plus to study in Turkey if you want to save some major bucks and get a great education.

Turkish public universities

A student guide to studying in Turkey must also cover the different types of universities in Turkey. In the Turkish higher education system, there are two types of universities available for students to choose from. The first kind are public, "devlet" in Turkish,  universities that most students head to, as they have no or minimal tuition fees.

Boğaziçi University

Bosphorus university is one of the best public universities in Turkey, ranking first among them. Many international students choose to study there due to the fact that it offers many excellent programs.

Ankara University

Ankara university is one of the top public universities in Turkey, ranking in the top 5. It was the first university  established in Turkey after the formation of the Turkish republic in the year 1923. The school currently has 40 vocational programs, 120 undergraduate programs and 110 graduate programs.

Istanbul University

Istanbul university is the oldest university in Turkey and ranks top in the public universities in Turkey. It's also considered one of the best universities in Europe. It includes a great faculty of law, medicine, literature and science, among other faculties for students to choose from.

Private universities in Turkiye

The second kind of universities in Turkey are the private universities, in Turkish named "özel" or "vakıf". Private universities are usually established by businessmen or foundations and are more expensive than public universities. Thankfully, they offer many international students good scholarships that cover tuition and living costs. 

Istanbul Okan University

One of the top private universities to consider is Istanbul Okan University. Founded in 1999, the school is one of Turkey's youngest private universities, offering a diverse number of degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Nişantaşı University

Nişantaşı University is a private, non-profit university that was founded in 2012 in Istanbul. Offering many excellent academic degrees, the university is funded by the Nişantaşı Education and Culture Foundation.

İstinye Üniversity

İstinye Üniversity is a private university in Istanbul, Turkey that was founded in 2015. The university is funded by the MLP Care Group, considered the biggest healthcare company in Turkey. The school offers many programs in the English language, making it a great choice for international students.

Biruni University

Biruni University, located in the European part of Istanbul, is another excellent private institution in Turkey. It was founded in 2014 and has more than 6,000 students studying there across 6 faculties.

Medipol University

Istanbul Medipol University is a private university in Istanbul founded in 2009 by the Turkey Education Health and Research Foundation. The school is made up of 12 faculties, 5 research institutes and 4 vocational colleges, with around 40,000 students currently studying there.

The most specializations of study in Turkey

Here are some of the best specializations you can choose to study in Turkey:

Business administration

Business is one of the most prominent subjects to study due to Turkey's location between Europe and Asia, giving students an advantage as Turkey attracts many foreign investors, offering students many opportunities.

The government also provides small businesses with a lot of support so if you want to start your own business after graduation, it's a great choice for you! These advantages include tax exemptions, benefits and incentives to grow their operations.

Computer Science and Engineering

Another great field to study in Turkey is computer science and engineering. Worldwide, students have turned to this major as it's the future of businesses and communication. In Turkey, students will have many career opportunities as internships and student jobs. Many Turkish institutions offer excellent computer science and engineering programs so students can graduate with top tier educations in the field.

Fashion design

If you have a passion for fashion, we have good news for you! Turkey has a rich history in the textile and clothing industry, allowing the clothing industry to contribute greatly to Turkey's economy. It's one of the leading global textile exporters with many fashion fanatics heading to Turkey to buy the high-quality and cutting edge clothing offered.

This makes it a great choice for a specialisation if you want to study in Turkey.

Study costs in Turkiye in English

For costs of living, you can set aside a range between 450 to 700 dollars per month. This is considered highly affordable if you look at costs of living at other study destinations.

Here's a breakdown of some of the costs you might be looking at:

  • Monthly rent in a one bedroom apartment can cost you around 200 dollars a month. If you want to rent a room in a university dormitory, costs vary based on the university you've chosen and the different facilities offered there.

  • If you want to rent in state dormitories, you'll pay somewhere between 30 and 50 dollars a month
  • Utilities will cost you around 70 dollars a month.
  • A monthly public transportation pass will cost you around 40 dollars a month.

 Tuition fees in Turkiye in Turkish

If you want to study in Turkey, tuition fees will vary greatly, depending on whether you study at a public or private university. In general, you’ll pay around 450 to 1,500 USD per academic year if you study in English for your bachelor’s degree.

If you study a bachelor’s degree in Turkish, you’ll pay a range between 240 and 750 USD dollars per academic year.

When it comes to master’s degrees, if you study in English, you’ll pay from 600 to 900 USD per year. If you study in Turkish, you’ll pay a little less: between 300 and 600 USD per year.

How to start studying in Turkiye 2023?

The first thing you'll do is start researching the major of your choice. Once you've chosen a subject, you can start looking at the Turkish programs offered and choose a university to study at.

 Compare between the programs and see which one is the best for you!

To know how to apply to each of the Turkish universities, you'll probably need to look at each of their websites separately to check the application process. However, there are some basic requirements you'll need to fulfil, no matter which school or degree program you choose:

  • A scan of your high school or bachelor's degree diploma
  • A transcript of previous grades
  • A scan of your passport or any other form of identification
  • A copy of your CV
  • Any relevant test scores
  • Letter of proof of scholarship or funding (if you are receiving one)
  • Portfolio or writing samples (optional)

Students will also need to show proof of English language proficiency in the form of tests like

  1. PTE Academic
  2.  IELTS
  3. TOEFL or C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency.

 Be sure to attach a copy of your test scores to your application so it doesn't get disregarded!

Disadvantages of studying in Turkey

Like any study destination, there are some disadvantages to studying in Turkey. Here are some of the ones you should consider:

Language barrier

Although Turkish universities have many English programs, the Turkish language can be a major language barrier cause many people, even in big cities like Istanbul, don't speak or understand English. In order to be able to interact well, students might need to learn a bit of Turkish. You might also not find the program of your dreams in English so that could be an issue.

Unstable political situation

Another disadvantage of studying in Turkey is the unstable political situation, as Turkey has a bit of a history of being politically unstable. Changes in the political landscape and system can easily escalate and cause instability in the country. Turkey has also been facing some security threats at the borders so this could cause students to feel a bit uneasy.

Cultural differences

Cultural differences might also be an issue for some students, making it a disadvantage. Turkey has a unique culture, customs and traditions that may be different from what Western students are used to. They might find it hard to adapt to this culture, especially if they come from a background that is highly different.

How to get a Turkish study visa?

In any study abroad in Turkey guide, you'll want to know how to get a Turkish study visa, as you'll probably need one! The exact visa process differs based on your country of origin so you'll want to ask at your local Turkish embassy or consulate.

However, you can expect to present the following documents when applying for a Turkish study visa:

  •   A valid passport
  •  The completed visa application form
  • Two passport format photos
  • The letter of acceptance from the program of your choice at a Turkish university
  •  Documents proving you have travel insurance for the duration of your study period
  •  Documents proving you have health insurance, covering the duration of your stay
  •  Documents proving you have a flight confirmation
  •  Proof of payment for visa processing
  •  Proof you can financially sustain yourself during your stay in Turkey 
  • Proof of accomodation like a rent contract
  •  Any previous education diplomas and transcripts

Keep in mind that if these documents aren't in the Turkish language, you'll need to translate them at an approved translation centre.

How can StudyFans help you apply to Turkish universities?

StudyFans can help students apply and study in Turkish universities by doing the following:

  • Helping students apply to and get accepted to private universities
  •  Offering pickup from the airport and a three day stay at Holiday Inn for international students until they get settled in.
  • Giving students 5 choices for accomodation to choose from, if they need help finding somewhere to stay in Turkey.
  •   Helping students get their Turkish living permit
  •  Helping students open a Turkish bank account and get a phone number during the time of their stay in Turkey
  • Offering notarized translation for documents not in Turkish language

Frequently asked questions

Can I study in Turkey for free?

Yes, the Turkish government offers international students fully-funded scholarships to encourage them to study in the country. These scholarships  cover costs like tuition fees, health insurance, accomodation costs, flight tickets and monthly pocket money!

Can I live in Turkey after study?

International students who have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in the country are eligible to apply for short-term residence visas. However, they should apply for them within 6 months of graduation to get a one year living permit.

Can I study in Turkey without knowing Turkish?

The short answer is yes! Many universities offer programs in the English language, especially at the master's level.

Keep in mind that most programs are in Turkish, so you'll need to search well to find a good English program, though they do exist! You might need to learn a bit of Turkish to get around as many locals don't speak or understand English.

In conclusion of this guide to start studying in Turkey, Turkey might be considered one of the best study destinations worldwide. You can get a world-class education at an affordable cost and reasonable costs of living!

You'll also live in the midst of two unique cultures: the Asian and European cultures, so you'll have a unique study experience.

All you need to do is pick the school of your choice and start applying, ensuring you fulfil the eligibility criteria.

If you need some help with the application process or deciding on which Turkish university is the one for you, Studyfans can help you out!


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