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Structure of Educational System
Pre-higher Education System
Higher Education System
Administrative structure of higher education  
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition


Types of higher education institutions:

Üniversite (University)

Teknik Üniversite (Technical University)

Meslek Yüksekokulu (Vocational Schools)

Enstitü (Institute)

Yüksek Teknoloji Enstitüsü (Higher Institute of Technology)


School leaving and higher education credentials:

Lise Diplomasi

Önlisans Diplomasi

Diş Hekimligi Diplomasi

Lisans Diplomasi

Tip Doktorlugu Diplomasi

Veteriner Hekim Diplomasi

Bilim Uzmanligi Diplomasi

Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi

Bilim Doktorlugu Diplomasi

Doktora Diplomasi

Sanatta Yeterlik Diplomasi

Tipta Uzmanlik Belgesi






Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 6

Age of exit: 13

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Basic Education School

Length of program in years: 8

Age level from: 6 to: 14

Certificate/diploma awarded: Ilköğretim Diplomasi (Basic Education Diploma)


Type of school providing this education: Genel Lise, Meslek Lisesi, Teknik Lise (General, Vocational and Technical High Schools)

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 14 to: 17

Certificate/diploma awarded: Lise Diplomasi

School education:

The age of entry to school is six or seven. Since 1997, secondary education follows eight years of basic education and covers general, vocational and technical high schools that provide three or four years of education. General high schools do not prepare students for a specific profession but rather for higher education. The following institutions are considered to fall within general secondary education: high schools; high schools with intensive foreign language teaching; Anatolian high schools where a foreign language - English, French or German - is taught during the preparatory year and the teaching of certain subjects is provided in that language in upper grades; science high schools; teacher training high schools; Anatolian fine arts schools; multi-curricula high schools; evening high schools; and private high schools. In general high schools, the average number of weekly periods of teaching in each grade varies from a minimum of 33 to a maximum of 41. In their second year, students in high schools where the general programme is applied may choose to attend branches which specialize in the natural sciences, literature and mathematics, the social sciences, foreign languages, art or physical education.Vocational high schools provide three-year secondary education, train qualified people for various professions and also prepare students for higher education. Technical high schools offer a four-year programme. Subjects offered in the first year are the same as in the vocational high schools. Secondary education students obtain the Lise Diplomasi which is the prerequisite for entry to higher education. Admission to university is centralized and based on the Student Selection Examination (ÖSS). As of June 2003, candidates have to obtain a minimum of 160,000 points (previously 105,000 points) to be eligible to enrol in two-year vocational higher education and open/distance education programmes and a minimum of 185,000 points (previously 120,000 points) for all four-year undergraduate programmes in the Student Selection Examination (ÖSS). 185,000 and 160,000 points respectively correspond to 120 and 105 of the previous ÖSS score types. The maximum ÖSS score will be 300 as from 2003.

Higher education:

Higher education is provided by 53 state universities, including 2 higher institutes of technology, and 24 foundations (private universities). The supreme authority for the regulation of higher education is the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), which is a fully autonomous national board of trustees without any political or government affiliation. The Interuniversity Council consists of the rectors of all the universities and one member elected by the Senate of each university. Universities, faculties, institutes and four-year schools are founded by law, while the two-year vocational schools, departments and divisions are established by the Council of Higher Education. The foundation universities are under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education and their programmes must be regularly accredited.In the universities, the medium of instruction is Turkish. Some universities use English, French and German as the language of instruction with one preparatory year.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Law No. 1739 on National Education Year: 1973

Decree: Law No. 2547 on Higher Education Year: 1984

Concerns: Foundation universities

Decree: Law No. 2547 on Higher Education Year: 1981

Decree: Law No. 4306 on National Education Year: 1997

Decree: Law No. 4702 on access to the two-year higher education programmes without university entrance examination for vocational/technical high school graduates Year: 2001

Decree: Law No. 625 on Private Education Year: 1995

Academic year:

Classes from: Oct to: Jun

Languages of instruction: English, French, German, Turkish

Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

There are no non-university level post-secondary studies in the Turkish higher education system. Higher technical and vocational post-secondary studies last for four years in higher schools and for two years in vocational higher schools affiliated to the universities. They offer vocational training in various professions and confer an Önlisans Diploma following completion of  two-year university studies and a Lisans Diploma on completion of four-year university studies.


University level studies:

University level first stage: Önlisans Diplomasi/Lisans Diplomasi:

An Önlisans Derecesi or Diplomasi (Associate Degree) is awarded after the successful completion of two-year university studies. Courses leading to the Lisans Diplomasi require a minimum of four years' university study.  Courses last for  five years in Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine and for six years in Medicine. In Veterinary Medicine, the professional qualification of Veteriner Hekim Diplomasi is conferred. In Dentistry, the Dis Hekimligi Diplomasi is conferred upon the completion of five years' study. In Medicine, the professional qualification of Tip Doktorlugu Diplomasi is conferred. The graduates of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry can directly apply to PhD/Doctorate programmes in Turkey. The qualifications in these three fields of study are considered to be the equivalent of a Yuksek Lisans Diplomasi (Master's degree).

University level second stage: Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi/Bilim Uzmanligi Diplomasi:

The Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi (Master's Degree) lasts for two years with thesis and for one-and-a-half years without thesis.

University level third stage: Doktora Diplomasi/Bilim Doktorlugu Diplomasi/Tipta Uzmanlik Belgesi/Sanatta Yeterlik Diplomasi:

Candidates must hold the Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi and sit for an examination. The Doktora Diplomasi is conferred after two years' study and on completion of a doctoral thesis (a total of four years). The Tipta Uzmanlik Belgesi (specialist degree) in Medicine is conferred to recognize a physician's advanced skills and expertise. It is considered to be the equivalent of a Doktora Diplomasi.


Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary school teachers are trained in universities where they must obtain a Lisans Diplomasi.

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers are trained in universities where they must obtain a Lisans Diplomasi.

Training of higher education teachers

According to the Higher Education Law (art. 35), higher education institutions are responsible for the training of their own academic staff, both at home and abroad. There are various criteria for the promotion of teaching staff members.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

Distance education is offered at the Open Education Faculty of Anadolu University. Entry is on a competitive basis through the central national university entrance examination (ÖSS). Courses last for two and four years.

Other forms of non-formal higher education

Non-formal education is offered by a network of training centres supervised by the Ministry of National Education.




Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Milli Egitim Bakanligi (Ministry of National Education)

Head: Hüseyin Çelik, Minister


Tel: +90(312) 418 6417/425 5330

Fax: +90(312) 417 7027




YÖK - Yüksekögretim Kurulu (Council of Higher Education)

Head: Dr Erdogan Teziç, President

Administrative officer: Dr Aybar Ertepinar, Vice-President

06539 Ankara

Tel: +90(312) 266 4725/ 266 4726

Fax: +90(312) 266 5153




Rektörler Komitesi (Turkish University Rectors' Committee)

Head: Dr Erdogan Teziç, President

06539 Ankara

Tel: +90(312) 266 4725

Fax: +90 (312) 266 4759





Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Lise Diplomasi

For entry to: all programmes

Entrance exams required: Since 1999, the entrance examination system has been essentially based on a one-stage examination, namely the ÖSS (The Student Selection Examination) which comprises two tests. One is to measure candidates' verbal ability and the other their quantitative abilities. ÖSS is usually taken in May throughout the country in a single session and at the same time in all centres. ÖSS consists of five parts: Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Turkish, Social Sciences and a foreign language. Admission is based on the composite scores which take into account the ÖSS scores and the high school grade point averages.

Foreign students admission

Admission requirements: Students who wish to undertake their undergraduate studies in Turkey must have completed their secondary education in a high school or a similar institution in which the education is equivalent to that of a Turkish high school. Secondly, they must take the Entrance Examination for Foreign Studenst (YÖS) which consists of two tests. The first is the "Basic Learning Skills Test" which assesses abstract reasoning. The questions have a minimal dependence on language but explanations are given in English and Turkish. The second test is the "Turkish Language Proficiency Test" which assesses the candidate's comprehension of written Turkish. YÖS is usually taken in June. Foreign students who wish to pursue their graduate/post-graduate studies in Turkey can apply directly to universities.

Entry regulations: A foreign national needs a student visa and a valid passport.

Language requirements: Language courses are organized for those who do not speak Turkish. In some Turkish universities courses are taught in English, French or German.

Application procedures:

Apply to national body for entry to: Higher education programmes that accept foreign students.

Apply to:

The Student Selection and Placement Centre (ÖSYM-YÖS)

Karyagdi Sokak N° 28, Asagiayranci
06538  Ankara

Tel: +90(312) 440 9172

Fax: +90(312) 440 6895


Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

Council of Higher Education

Head: Dr Isa Esme, Board Member

06539 Ankara

Tel: +90(312) 298 7237/ 298 7238

Fax: +90(312) 266 4744



Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University

Services provided & students dealt with: Body responsible for questions relating to the recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees at the associate's, the bachelor's and the master's level (foreign students and native students who studied abroad). It may also set criteria for validation.


Special provisions for recognition:

For the exercise of a profession: A foreign national is allowed to practise his profession in Turkey if he holds a work permit and has the necessary qualifications approved by a diploma validated by YÖK.

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Bologna Declaration

Year of signature: 2001

Name of agreement: Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, Lisbon

Year of signature: 2004

Name of agreement: European Convention on the General Equivalence of Periods of University Study

Year of signature: 1990

Name of agreement: UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Studies and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the Europe Region

Year of signature: 1979

Name of agreement: UNESCO International Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab and European States Bordering on the Mediterranean

Year of signature: 1976

Name of agreement: UNESCO Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific

Year of signature: 1983

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Higher Education for Foreign Students in Turkey

Author: Student Selection and Placement Centre (ÖSYM)

Publisher: ÖSYM

Title: The System of Student Selection and Placement in Higher Education Institutions

Author: Student Selection and Placement Centre (ÖSYM)

Publisher: ÖSYM



Main student services at national level

Office of Information, Student Selection and Placement Centre (ĠSYM)

Karyagdi Sokak 28, Asagiayranci


Category of services provided: Social and welfare services; Academic and career counselling services


Health/social provisions

Foreign student social security provisions: Medical and accident insurance for foreign students is not obligatory, but foreign students are generally advised to take out an insurance in their country before they leave.

Special student travel fares:

By road: Yes

By rail: Yes

By air: Yes

Available to foreign students: Yes

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 52 (Turkish Lira)

Maximum: 431 (Turkish Lira)

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Study Abroad 2004-2005, 32nd Edition

Author: UNESCO

Publisher: UNESCO Publishing

Year of publication: 2003



Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

General Directorate of Higher Education, Ministry of National Education


Tel: +90(312) 418 2189




Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: 0-5. 5=excellent; 4= good; 3= satisfactory; 2 = passing; 1 = failing; 0= failing and not included in general calculation.

Highest on scale: 5

Pass/fail level: 3/2

Lowest on scale: 1

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: Marking systems vary. Many universities use a 1-4, 1-5, 1-10 (maximum) or 1-10 (minimum) scale. Degrees are graded on a 50-100 scale: 85-100 pekiyi; 65-84 iyi; 50-64 orta; 50 geçer; 0-49 geçmez.

Highest on scale: 100

Lowest on scale: 50

Other main grading systems

Some universities use single letters (A-F), others use double letters (AA-FF). Vote of jury examiners



Interuniversity Board is responsible for questions relating to the recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees at the Ph.D level. It may also set criteria concerning validation.


Data for academic year: 2004-2005

Source: Council of Higher Education (YOK), Ankara, 2005

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