How to Apply to a University in Turkey in 2020

Intriguing, dazzling, and totally different — just a few words that could describe studying a degree abroad in Turkey. A crossroads between East and West, Turkey remains an iconic destination, be it for studies or holidays. 

The fact that it’s close both to Europe and Asia makes applying for a degree in Turkey a convenient choice for many international students. But in order to attend a Turkish university, there are a few things you should know.

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Popular degree subjects in Turkey

Higher education in Turkey is not that much different from what you’ll find in the European Union (EU) Bologna system. It is organised on 3 levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D.

Regardless of the degree type you are after, you can choose to study at one of the 104 public universities and 62 private ones. Some universities which offer English-taught study programmes are:

Given the wide choice of Turkish universities, there’s no surprise that the study programmes offer is even wider. There are very few subjects you can’t study in Turkey. Here are some popular options you can consider:

What is important to know is that each year the Turkish government establishes a fixed number of places for foreign students for each programme, which you should check to estimate your chances of being accepted (the smaller the number of places, the higher the competition).

how to apply to a Turkish university

University admission requirements and application documents

If you've found your study programme in Turkey, the next step is to check the requirements to apply for that degree. While you should always check the exact criteria on the programme website and see if you meet them, there are also some general conditions you have to fulfil.

Applying for an undergraduate degree in Turkey

If you intend to do a Bachelor’s degree in Turkey, you will need to have graduated from high school or be about to graduate. The next documents should be on your list:

  • Application form
  • High school diploma (or a paper certifying you will graduate)
  • Transcript of records
  • Language proficiency score (TOEFL or a university's proficiency test upon arrival)
  • Motivation letter
  • Proof of application fee payment (35-100 USD)
  • A certificate attesting you had a secondary school exit exam (e.g. SAT 1, International Baccalaureate, National Baccalaureate, etc.)
  • A letter which guarantees you have the financial funds to support yourself during your studies

The general deadline for submitting your application documents is before the 1st of August.

Applying for a graduate degree in Turkey

If you want to pursue a Master's degree or a Ph.D. programme in Turkey, you will also have to check the specific requirements on each programme website. You can surely expect some of the following documents to be listed:

  • Application form
  • Bachelor's or Master's diploma
  • A statement of purpose (presenting your project and motivation)
  • An updated CV
  • Reference letters from professors and employers
  • Transcript of records  
  • Graduate exam scores (depending on the programme: GRE or GMAT)
  • Language proficiency score (TOEFL, or a university's proficiency test upon arrival)
  • Written exams and/or interviews
  • A letter which guarantees you have the financial funds to support yourself during your studies

There are typically two application deadlines for graduate programmes:

  • For the fall semester: end of May
  • For the spring semester: end of December

Application and the university admission response

Once you have all your papers in order, you can submit your application. Note that even if you apply online, you will also have to send the documents via post before the deadline. Also, if you have an entrance exam or interview, you will need to travel to Turkey to attend them.

 If you have these points covered, you’ll just have to wait a bit. Tick-talk, tick-talk … until:

  • Mid-August: if you are applying for a Bachelor’s
  • Mid-September: if you’re applying for a Master’s or Ph.D.

The acceptance letter will also come with info about the next steps you have to take to claim your spot, such as paying tuition fees or applying for a student visa at the nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate.

how to apply to a Turkish university

Applying for the Turkish student visa

Most international students need to apply for a student visa if they go to a university in Turkey. The process for getting a visa is pretty simple and straightforward.

You have to take a copy of your university acceptance later and a filled visa application form to the Turkish embassy or consulate in your country. The visa is issued in about 8 weeks after application, so remember to apply in advance.

Note that citizens from 15 countries are allowed to enter Turkey only with their national IDs. Check if your country is among them and read more details about Turkish visas.

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Tuition fees and living costs in Turkey

Before you jump on that plane, train, or car that will take you to study abroad in Turkey, remember to also check some practical aspects about university tuition fees and costs of living in Turkey. Here’s what tuition fees apply to international students in Turkey:

  • Bachelors in English: 450 – 1,500 USD/academic year
  • Bachelors in Turkish: 240 – 750 USD/academic year
  • Masters in English: 600 – 900 USD/academic year
  • Masters in Turkish: 300 – 600 USD/academic year

Keep in mind that tuition varies from one university to another, and private institutions can have higher fees. Additional costs include:

  • 350-500 USD/month on living expenses
  • an extra 100-150 USD/semester on books and administrative fees
  • between 40-70 USD/year on health insurance

You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies in Turkey.

If you are curious about what's like to study in Turkey from an international student’s perspective, check out Imran’s study experience in Turkey.

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