Universities in Turkey for international students offer lots of different career options. Here is how the education system of Turkey works

Universities in Turkey are getting increasingly popular among international students. There are several reasons for this. Studying in a university in Turkey is considerably advantageous for international students. With quality higher education and diverse programs, studying in Turkey offers many opportunities.


For the international students consider applying to universities in Turkey, here is a basic breakdown of how the education system in Turkey works:

General Structure of Universities in Turkey for International Students

Pre-primary School Education

It involves the education of children between the age of 3-5. For the children who have not reached the age of primary education, this is optional.

Primary Education

It involves the education and training of children between the age of 6-10. Primary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free at the State schools and lasts four years.

Elemantary Education

It involves the education and training of children between the ages of 10-14. Elemantary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free at the State schools and lasts four years. At the end of the elementary school, students take a test named LGS -Liselere Geçiş Sınavı- (The High School Transition System) in order to be placed in general, vocational and technical high schools and the kinds of employment they prepare for.

Secondary Education

It consists of high schools of a general or vocational and/or technical four-year courses for the ages between 14-18. Secondary education is compulsory for all citizens and is free at the State schools.

Higher Education

After graduating from high school, students can enroll in higher education through taking a test named YKS -Yüseköğretim Kurumları Sınavı (Exam for Higher Education Institutions), which is compatible with the Bologna three-cycle system.

Higher Education System for Universities in Turkey for International Students

Faculty (College)

A division conducting higher education, scholarly research and publication. Various departments and programmes  may  be  connected  to it. Students earn a Bachelor’s degree at the end of an educational programme that lasts for at least four years.

Graduate School

An institution in universities concerned with graduate education, scholarly research and applications. Graduate schools award MA, MSc or PhD degrees.

Post-Secondary Vocational School

An institution of higher education that is aimed at training human capacity in specific professions and provides instruction lasting four semesters.


Associate’s degree

Awarded on completion of a two-year study program. The associate degree programs are offered by universities and foundation postsecondary vocational schools.

Bachelor’s degree

Awarded after the completion of a four-year course and 240 ECTS  of study. The duration of study for dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacy is five years and that of medicine is six years. The qualifications in these four fields are equivalent of a Master’s degree.

Master’s degree program

Two-year program leading to the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Sciences (MS). There are two kinds of Master’s programs, with or without a thesis. The Master’s with thesis program is a two-year program generally consisting courses with a minimum of 120 ECTS followed by submission of a thesis. Non-thesis programs are to be completed in one or one and a half years and call for the completion of graduate courses of a minimum 90 credits and a term project.

Doctoral degree program

Usually an eight-semester program leading to the PhD degree. It consists of courses, with 180-240 ECTS, a proficiency exam, a dissertation proposal, a dissertation and its oral defense. After successful completion of the course work and the proficiency exam, students must submit the dissertation and defend it orally before an examining committee.