Turkey is an exceptional destination for international students to live and study. Not only is studying in Turkey eminently feasible because many universities deliver their programs in English, but it is also rewarding for students who want to experience a multitude of cultures, traditions, and ethnicities all in one place.
With its unique geographical location extending between Asia and Europe, Turkey has an unparalleled richness of culture and history. In this article, we will discuss how international students can study in Turkey.
Studying in Turkey for International Students
In order for international students to study in Turkey, you should do the following:
- Know the cost of studying in Turkey and plan on meeting the cost financially. There are ways of doing this, so make sure to plan ahead.
- Then, you will need to be able to meet the application requirements. This takes time too, so plan ahead. We will list these requirements in the later section.
- Once you have met the requirements, you should apply! We will go over the application process in this article too.
- Then, once you get accepted, you need to apply for a student visa.
1. Know the Cost of Studying in Turkey
From $1,000/year for a public university to $20,000/year for a private institution, students from all over the world can receive a high-quality education at an incredibly affordable price. On top of that, the cost of living in Turkey is extremely reasonable. An international student would need less than $600 a month on average to cover his/her living expenses, such as accommodation, meals, transportation, books, entertainment, and others.
2. Know the General Application Requirements for Studying in Turkey as an International Student
While some universities offer their courses in Turkish, a large number of universities in Turkey use English as the medium of instruction in their undergraduate and graduate programs. Students who wish to attend these universities or programs must, therefore, possess a certain level of proficiency in English.
For most universities, your admission to an undergraduate program will not be determined based on your English (or Turkish) language skills. Even if you do not meet the benchmarks set by the university, your application will still be considered, and you will be placed in an English or Turkish preparatory program for a year before you begin your undergraduate studies.
However, the requirements are usually stricter for students applying to a graduate program. Failure to demonstrate the necessary level of language proficiency will likely result in rejection of admission.
General English Requirements (Undergraduate)
To study in Turkey for international students whose native language is not English will need to produce an English proficiency test score of either 65 in TOELF iBT, 6.0 in IELTS, or 55 in PTE as these are the minimum requirements universities seek. Applicants without any of the language proficiency certificates that are acknowledged by the university can assess their level of understanding through the university’s English proficiency test.
For example, you should have at least one of these – 65 in TOEFL iBT, 55 in PTE, or 60 in the university’s English proficiency test – to be exempted from a one-year English preparatory program at Istanbul Technical University.
Middle East Technical University (METU) requires their undergraduate program applicants to have at least a minimum score of 75 in TOEFL iBT, 6.0 in IELTS, 55 in PTE, or 60 in METU English Proficiency Exam (EPE).
General English Requirements (Graduate)
The requirements are higher for students pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D., and applicants must achieve the language test scores determined by the university to be considered for admission. Most universities expect a minimum score of 79 in TOELF iBT, 6.5 in IELTS, or an equivalent in the university’s English proficiency test for their graduate program admission.
For instance, to gain admission into METU, applicants must have at least a score of 79 in TOEFL iBT, 6.5 in IELTS, 62 in PTE, or 65 in METU EPE.
Meanwhile, you will need at least an 87 in TOEFL iBT, 6.5 in IELTS, or C in Bilkent English Proficiency Exam to attend Bilkent University’s Graduate School of Engineering and Science.
Even within the same university, different graduate schools may impose different language proficiency requirements, so it is best to check the prerequisites before you apply.
Application Requirements (Undergraduate)
Below are the typical application documents required by universities in Turkey. The materials (either in Turkish or English) can be submitted online through the university’s application system. To be able to study in Turkey for international students, you need to have the following materials in general:
- Application form
- Passport-sized photograph
- Passport copy
- Certificate of graduation
- Official transcript of high school courses and grades
- English language proficiency score
- Letter of recommendation
Some universities, such as METU and Ankara University, do not have any application fees. To find out if you need to pay for an application fee, please check the application requirements of the university.
Application Requirements (Graduate)
It is common for different graduate schools of a university to require different sets of documents. In general, these are the documents you would need to provide to universities in Turkey. The list of materials below is from the website of Sabancı University’s Graduate School of Social Sciences:
- Application form and a passport-sized photograph
- Passport copy
- Certificate of degree
- University transcripts
- Proof of English proficiency
- Statement of purpose
- Recommendation letters
- A CV to describe your education and work experience
Please read through the university’s application information to make sure you have all the essential materials required for your application.
3. Application Procedure in Turkish Universities
While the application process may be similar, the number of intakes and application periods for undergraduate and graduate programs can vary drastically across different universities in Turkey. This is one of the most critical step of studying in Turkey for international students, so it is vital that you get the correct information from the university website.
We will look at Ankara University here as an example to understand the typical application procedure.
Ankara University has only one intake for its undergraduate programs each year. Students who want to apply to this university can register and log in to the university’s application system at the start of the application period, which is usually at the beginning of June.
After filling in the application form, you must upload all the required documents online before the end of the application period, which is mid-July.
The university will then evaluate your application and announce the admission results at the end of August. If you are offered a place in the program, you must bring your original documents with you for verification during registration at the university.
The application process for graduate programs will be identical to that of undergraduate programs, but it is advisable to confirm the application instructions on the university’s website so that your application can go smoothly.
4. After you get accepted, you’ll need to get a student visa
Most international students, except for citizens from certain countries, would need a student visa to study in Turkey. This is the easiest part for international students planning on studying in Turkey.
Once you receive a confirmation of admission from your university, we recommend starting your visa application immediately as the process may take a long time. Before heading down to the Turkish embassy or consulate in your country, you should complete your online application, schedule an appointment, and gather these necessary documents:
- Printed and signed application form
- Two passport-sized photos
- Passport or valid travel document
- Letter of Admission from your university
- Proof of medical insurance
- Proof of financial means such as bank statements
To avoid a wasted trip to the Turkish embassy or consulate, you may want to contact the embassy/consulate in advance to confirm if you have all the required documents.
Depending on your nationality, the cost of a student visa application will vary from $15 to $60.
Book your flight and get ready to begin your academic journey in Turkey! Upon your arrival in the country, you would need to apply for a Residence Permit (also known as Ikamet Tezkeresi) so that you are allowed to stay in Turkey past 90 days.
You should be able to receive guidance from your university on when and how you can apply for it. Universities will usually assist their students in the submission of documents to the Immigration Office and collection of residence permits on the students’ behalf once they are ready.
For more information, visit the official website of the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management.
I hope that this article on studying in Turkey for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Asia Category!