In 1981, Turkey's higher education system in accordance with the new Higher Education Act 2547, was restructured in a comprehensive manner. Thus, all higher education institutions were connected to the Higher Education Council (YÖK) and the system became centralized. After this restructuring, all higher education institutions were designed as universities. Higher education has become widespread throughout the country, the application to higher education has been centralized and a central university exam and placement system has been implemented. Besides the state universities, the first profit in 1986, Turkey began to offer training to non-profit private university students.
Since 2012 compulsory education in Turkey lasts 12 years and is divided into three stages (primary, secondary and high school).
Preschool Education: It is education that has not reached the age of compulsory primary education and covers children between the ages of 3 and 5; is optional.
Primary Education: Refers to the education and training of children between the ages of 6 and 10. Primary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free in public schools and lasts four years (first, second, third and fourth grades).
Secondary Education: It includes the education and training of children in the age group of 10 to 14. Basic secondary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free in public schools and lasts four years (fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades). Before the completion of basic secondary education, students are informed about both general and vocational high schools and technical high schools for vocational vocations to be acquired at the end of secondary education.
High School: It includes general high schools or vocational and/or technical high schools (ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth grades) providing four-year education for children aged 14-17. High school education is compulsory for all citizens and is free in public schools.
Higher Education: After graduating from high school, students can switch to higher education, which is compatible with the three-stage Bologna system.
Higher Education Institution Types and Academic Units
Faculty: It is the unit where higher education, scientific research and publications are made. Various departments and programs can be within the faculty. Students earn a bachelor's degree at the end of an education program lasting at least four years.
Institute: It is the unit where postgraduate education is given in universities, scientific research and publication is carried out. Graduate or doctorate degrees are awarded at the institutes.
School: It is the unit that focuses on education and training for a certain profession. It takes eight semesters.
Conservatory: It is the unit where artists are trained in music and performing arts. It takes eight semesters.
Vocational School After High School: It is the unit that aims to raise qualified manpower for certain professions and is awarded an associate degree at the end of the four-semester education period.
Research and Application Center: It is the unit where education, practice, and research are carried out for the application needs of various fields and preparation and support activities of some professions in order to support education in higher education institutions.
Associate Degree: The degree awarded after the completion of the two-year training program. Some distance education programs are also available. Associate degree programs may require training for a while.
Undergraduate: Awarded after a four-year and 240 ECTS training is completed. The training period for Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, and Pharmacy is five years and for Medicine six years. Qualifications gained in these four areas are considered equivalent to the master's degree.
Master's: It is a two-year program with a degree in Social Sciences (MA) or Science (MS). There are two types of master’s programs, with and without thesis. The master's program with thesis is a two-year program, usually consisting of courses with at least 120 ECTS credits followed by a thesis. Non-thesis programs are programs that are completed in one or a half year and include the completion of at least 90 credits of courses and a term project.
Doctorate (Ph.D.): It is a program consisting of eight semesters, generally given a Ph.D. degree. It covers 180-240 ECTS credits, a proficiency exam, a thesis presentation, thesis oral defense. After successfully completing their courses and proficiency exam, students must first submit their thesis to a thesis committee and verbally defend it.
Medicine Specialization: It is equivalent to PhD programs and is conducted in medical schools, university hospitals, and research and education hospitals. For specialization in medicine, there is a competitive choice examination in various medical branches for graduates of medical schools. Expert candidates are required to submit a thesis and defend it before a review committee. In addition, a certain level of foreign language knowledge is sought.
Proficiency in Art: It is a master's degree program in visual arts and performing arts for at least six semesters and is equivalent to a doctorate. It requires the presentation of original artwork or superior, creative performance (in music and performing arts).