Turkey is a melting pot of both Europe and Asian continents. The country is rich in cultural and historical diversity that helps develop its education system. Not to mention, Turkey is one of the cities with a low cost of living and affordable tuition fees. That is why it is hard not to consider taking a medicine program in this majestic country, which holds the two of the Ancient Wonders of the World. Let us dig dip into the medical education Turkey has to offer. In this article, we will be looking at the best medical schools in Turkey.
Can International Students Enroll in Medical Schools in Turkey?
Yes, Turkey’s medical education is open to international students, which they even teach in English. However, the students will still need to learn Turkish, which is necessary for their clinical clerkships as most of their patients are Turkish. Some schools offer the Turkish language course, usually in the first years, which the students should pass to be eligible for clinical practice. Aside from the English and Turkish language proficiency, most medical schools in Turkey also require the following:
- A high school diploma that proves twelve years of education.
- Transcript of Records and Letter of Recommendation from the previous school
- Scanned copy of your valid passport or birth certificate
- A high GPA and excellent grades in hard sciences
- A passing/high grade from the placement/admission exam
- Proof of Income or Scholarship to attest that you can afford to live in Turkey
All medical schools in Turkey accept overseas students, and the few who also teach them in English are Hacettepe University, Istanbul University, and Ankara Üniversitesi, to name some.
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What Is the Medical Curriculum Like in Medical Schools in Turkey?
Like most countries in Asia and Europe, Turkey’s medical schools also offer an accelerated program to become a physician, which only lasts for six years, and without taking a pre-medicine course. The following is the sample curriculum from Hacettepe University:
The medical system is divided into six phases corresponding to each year. The first phase contains the introduction to medical-related communication and professional behavior, and where basic sciences are re-visited. In the second phase, a few clinical subjects are taught, such as human biology and microbiology. Discussion of pathology, pharmacology, physiopathology, and other more complex core subjects is in Phase III. And in between these three phases, a Subject Committee Examination will be given consisting of written and practical tests.
Phase IV and V will focus on clinical clerkship in outpatient clinics, which will also have an assessment at the end. The sixth and last phase will be a paid internship where the students will provide actual patient care under supervision. After graduation, the students can only receive their diploma after a two-year mandatory local work.
Learn About: How to Study in Turkey for Free
Best Medical Schools in Turkey
1. Hacettepe University
The founding of Hacettepe University’s Faculty of Medicine, in 1963, was preceded by the establishment of the Department of Child in Ankara. What made their Faculty of Medicine stand out among competitors is that they integrate the scope of many fields in one subject, which shortens their pre-clinical and clinical years. As a result, Hacettepe University is the best medical school in Turkey. They also offer 30% of their program in English, which makes their medical program foreign-friendly.
2. Istanbul University
Istanbul University’s Faculty of Medicine is considered Turkey’s first medical school dated back to 1453, but it was un-established until 1827. As the first medical school in Turkey, it is the frontier of Turkey’s medical education that offers modern medical science with the latest technologies.
In 1967, due to administration and education conflicts, the Faculty of Medicine separated into two: the İstanbul Faculty of Medicine and the Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine. The Cerrahpaşa Journal of Medicine is one of the leading platforms for medical publications in Turkey. They offer their medical programs in both English and Turkish.
3. Ankara Üniversitesi
After Turkey became a Republic, there was an increase in medical students that the Istanbul Faculty of Medicine can no longer accommodate. The need for another medical school was great, which resulted in the founding of the Ankara School of Medicine in 1945. And so Istanbul University’s School of Medicine is the first medical school in Turkey, but Ankara University is the first medical school built in the Republic of Turkey.
And after only a few years, it quickly emerged as one of Turkey’s best medical schools. In 2018, they launched a medical program taught entirely in English for their graduates to be able to work internationally and to attract international students as well.
4. Ege University
Opposite to the previous three universities, Ege University’s medical program only uses Turkish as the language for instruction. Their approach in medical education uses the Vertical Integration Program that is organ-based. Ege University is also one of the first medical schools in Turkey accredited by the National Medical Education Accreditation Board (TEBDAD). It is equipped with medical infrastructures and programs to provide excellent medical education such as simulated patient laboratories, specific study modules, research training programs, and more.
They are always open to international students; their first academic year in 1955 even included 20 foreign out of 90 students. However, they require non-Turkish students to pass the Turkish Language Proficiency test. A failing grade would mean that the students will have to undergo a preparatory program based on their language capacity.
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5. Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi
Ege University grew into a massive institution with many facilities and schools in different provinces. In accordance, during 1982, Ege University was divided through the Higher Education Institutes Foundation Law no. 41. Some of its facilities served as the foundation of many universities, including Dokuz Eylül University. Dokuz Eylül University is a mosaic of many facilities from Ege University, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Fast-forward to the present, Dokuz Eylül university is now one of the best medical schools in Turkey, on par with Ege University. And just like Ege University, they accept international students but only use Turkish as an instruction medium.
6. Koç University
If you are interested in enrolling at Koç University, be prepared to attend their multiple campuses as they teach the first three years of the medical program in their Rumeli Feneri Campus. While the clinical clerkship at Koç University’s Training and Research Hospital is based in Topkapi. Their medical education is in English and follows a Doric order with professionalism on its dome, the anatomically-based syllabus on supporting columns, and research and public health programs at its base. This top medical school in Turkey aims to use this model in producing excellent and well-rounded doctors capable of addressing health issues of the 21st century.
7. Gazi Üniversitesi
Similar to the Dokuz Eylül University, Gazi University is also composed of different facilities from various schools. And for Gazi University, these were from Ankara High Technical Teacher and Ankara Girls Technical Higher Teacher Schools, Ankara Economic and Commercial Sciences Academy, and Ankara State Engineering Architecture Academy.
Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, one of the top medical universities in Turkey, was formerly a portion of Ankara Economic and Commercial Sciences Academy, built out of a former Emergency and Traumatology Hospital in 1979. At its early stage, the Faculty of Medicine suffered due to a lack of facilities and laboratories, which they supplied by converted barracks nearby. After years of property acquisition and educational improvement, Gazi University rises to be one of the leading institutions in medicine and the first state university accredited by the Turkish Quality Standards Institute (TQSI).
8. Marmara University
Established in 1883, and based in Istanbul, the medical school of Marmara University is one of the top leading medical schools for international students. It’s one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Turkey to date.
The University has 14 campuses across the country and provides programs in Turkish, English, French, German, and Arabic languages making it one of the best for both European students and foreign students in general. The university is nationally acknowledged for its top-notch medical education for international students, the first of its kind in the country.
The medical program at the university has an impressive international profile thanks to its facilities and wide range of sub-disciplines. The school’s health and life sciences and clinical medicine research facilities are world-class. The university is also part of an international web of faculties coordinated by the USA. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one of its most notable alumni.
9. Akdeniz University Faculty of Medicine
Located in Turkey’s Western Mediterranean region, in the Antalya province, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Akdeniz is notably one of the best for its curriculum. Their mode of education emphasizes integration and problem-solving and is focused on preparing the student for clinical practice.
Akdeniz University was part of Ankara University until 1981, which is also included in this list. Upon splitting up, the faculty of medicine at this university continued to retain its varied methods of education that involved laboratory applications, amphitheater, skill training, clinical practice, community education, and more.
Programs are taught in the Turkish language except for those that aren’t cited as 100% Turkish. Foreign exchange students have to sit for the Mevlana Foreign Language Examination before being able to reserve their spot at the medical faculty of the university.
10. Erciyes University
Established in 1978, in Kayseri, Turkey, Erciyes University is one of the largest and most recognized higher education schools in the country. It is one of the top 20 universities in the country and is a popular option for international students who are interested in pursuing medicine.
Erciyes University’s Med school is delivered entirely in the Turkish language and therefore, students have to meet the required level of proficiency in the language and must pass their exams by the second year of enrolment. Students aren’t allowed to start their program until they meet the language requirements stipulated by the university. The medical faculty of the university also offers an optional English prep class for its international students. Apart from the language requirements, international students are also expected to take history as a subject prior to starting classes at the university.
In med school, the first three years follow a program that incorporates a mode of integrated studies with lab work and student-centered preparation. In the final two years, students can pursue medical clerkships in General Surgery, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine.
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11. Altinbaş University
Established in recent years, Altinbaş University is a foundation university in Istanbul. A foundation university is an institution owned by individuals or private companies, and therefore, is considered a private institution.
At the University of Altinbaş, programs in medicine are offered in the medium of English, making it one of the popular choices among international students. Today, over 3,700 international students study at Altinbaş University hailing from more than 80 countries. The 5-year medicine program here gains its recognition by being affiliated with the Medical Park Bahcelievler Hospital, where students have the opportunity to engage in clinical practice.
Moreover, by studying at one of the most remarkable medical schools in the country, students will get to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology.
12. Acibadem University
The Acibadem University’s School of Medicine is yet another top private university that provides recognized and accredited qualifications in offering medical programs. It was established in 2007, with limited resources, but today, it has moved to a different building within the capital city and has expanded to multiple research centers. The faculty is accredited by the National Medical Education Accreditation Board of Turkey and is directly affiliated with the Council of Higher Education making education here, nothing different from public universities.
The quality of education at this private university, despite being founded very recently, is in every way equal to older universities. Medicine at Acibadem University doesn’t require any entrance exams. The only prerequisites are high scores on your high-school diploma or equivalent accompanied by an English language certification.
The entire course content is delivered in English, in a curriculum of three phases. Phase 1 of the program involves integrated basic and clinical sciences, phase 2 Clinical Clerkship and phase 3 is internships. Out of the 594 students studying at Acibadem University, 68 are international students.
13. Okan University
The Okan University in Akfirat, Turkey is a private university founded in 1999 by the Okan Culture, Education, and Sports Foundation. It has several programs offered in English, including the English Medical Program. The college curriculum is supervised by the Okan Institute for Culture and Education and is recognized across the country with job opportunities for most graduates.
International students who are planning to enroll in this program are required to have a Turkish (TÖMER) certificate at least at the level of B2. This is to ensure that students who practice in the country after graduation can communicate effectively. It is expected for students in the fourth year to speak, write and understand the Turkish language and clinical practices would be predominantly in Turkish thereon.
Students at Okan University get to practice at their very own Okan University Hospital and Dental facility, accompanied by experts in the field.
The above list demonstrates that not only did the diverse cultures of Europe and Asia converge in Turkey, but also the infrastructure of its many schools. This convergence led to the creation of culturally rich and world-class medical schools that we now have the privilege to enroll in. To get ready for your stay in this wonderful country, check out our guide about the cost of living and studying in Turkey.
I hope that this article on the best medical schools in Turkey was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students!