Turkish Education System

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Educational System in Türkiye

In 1981, Turkey underwent a comprehensive restructuring of its higher education system, resulting in centralization. This restructuring centralized higher education institutions under the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) and redefined them as universities. The expansion of higher education across the country was achieved, and a centralized university entrance exam was introduced. Since then, Turkey has seen significant developments in its education system.

Compulsory Education Stages in Turkey

Compulsory education in Turkey spans 12 years and is divided into three stages:

Pre-primary School Education: Optional education for children aged 3 to 5 who have not reached the age of compulsory primary education.

Primary Education: Compulsory education for children aged 6 to 10, lasting four years (1st to 4th grades) and provided free of charge at state schools.

 Elementary Education:Compulsory education for children aged 10 to 14, lasting four years (5th to 8th grades) and also offered free of charge at state schools. Towards the end of elementary school, students receive information about various high school options and potential career paths.

Secondary Education: Comprises general and vocational high schools, offering four-year courses to students aged 14 to 17 (9th to 12th grades). Secondary education is compulsory for all citizens and is provided free of charge at state schools.

Higher Education in Turkey

After graduating from high school, students have the opportunity to pursue higher education, which follows the Bologna three-cycle system.

Types of Higher Education Institutions and Academic Units

Faculty (College): Offers higher education, conducts scholarly research, and includes various departments and programs. Students can earn a Bachelor’s degree after completing a program lasting at least four years.

Graduate School: Concentrates on graduate education, scholarly research, and applications. Graduate schools award MA, MSc, or PhD degrees.

4-year School: Provides instruction for specific professions and typically lasts for eight semesters.

Conservatory: Trains artists in music and the performing arts over eight semesters.

Post-Secondary Vocational School: Offers training for specific professions, with programs lasting four semesters.

Research and Application Center: Conducts research and applied studies in various fields, supporting education in higher education institutions.

Degrees in Turkey

  1. Associate’s Degree (Short Cycle): Awarded upon completing a two-year program, offered by universities and foundation post-secondary vocational schools.
  2. Bachelor’s Degree (1st Cycle): Awarded after a four-year program with 240 ECTS of study. Specific fields like dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and medicine require longer study periods.
  3. Master’s Degree (2nd Cycle): A two-year program leading to an MA or MS, with the option of thesis or non-thesis tracks.
  4. Doctoral Degree (3rd Cycle): Typically an eight-semester program leading to a PhD, including coursework, a proficiency exam, a dissertation proposal, and an oral defense.

Specialization in Medicine Programs: Equivalent to doctoral programs, offered in faculties of medicine, university hospitals, and research and training hospitals.

Proficiency in Art: A post-Master’s program in visual and performing art branches, equivalent to a Doctorate, involving the presentation of an original work of art or superior performance.

International Student Admissions

International students seeking undergraduate studies in Turkey must have completed their secondary education in an institution equivalent to a Turkish high school. They can apply directly to the university of their choice, and the university makes the selection. Graduate/postgraduate admissions vary by university and may have specific requirements. Scholarships are available for some international students.

Tuition Fees in Turkey

Tuition fees differ between public and non-profit foundation universities. Public university tuition fees are determined by a Presidential Decree, considering the field of study. Foundation university tuition fees are decided by the university’s Board of Trustees. Scholarships, including full or partial tuition waivers, merit-based awards, and support scholarships, are available for a percentage of students in both public and foundation universities. Some scholarships may cover academic materials, accommodation, food, and allowances. Student assistantships and research fellowships offer additional financial support during studies.

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