Studying in Turkey

Life at a Turkish university

Studying in Turkey

Most Turkish university students work toward four-year degrees that will be familiar to most foreign students. Nonetheless, there are some variations, and professors´ teaching methods may strike foreign students as backward.

Turkish students usually take two or four years to complete their undergraduate degrees. Length of studies varies by university and subject. Graduate degrees require additional years of study – two for a Master´s degree and more for a doctorate.

Male students are allowed to pursue their studies without delays caused by compulsory military service. These students perform their military service after they complete their degrees, and their service requirements are reduced to 6 months as an army private or 12 months as a reserve officer (from the standard 15 months as an army private).

Since most university courses are taught in English, however, many Turkish students (male and female) delay their studies for a year to improve their English skills. If you are not a native English speaker, you, too might want to brush up on your English in addition to your Turkish.

Turkish university structure

Western students will be surprised by the rigid structure of most university courses. Original thinking is discouraged in favour of simple memorization, and even the best Turkish universities place little emphasis on student participation. If you do not do well studying in a lecture-based environment, you may want to consider a Turkish language program instead of a term at a university.

As in other Turkish schools, female students are not allowed to wear the hijab (headscarf) on university grounds. Similarly, male students are not allowed to grow beards. Both are seen as promoting fundamentalism in Turkey´s secular institutions. In recent years, these rules have been challenged legally with increasing frequency, though presently without success.

Further reading

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