Turkey is a nation bordered by eight countries and three seas. Due to its significant position, it has developed an advanced economy with a rich cultural heritage. Turkey is an ideal blend of European and Oriental culture, and this gives locals and visitors an exceptional experience.

Besides a myriad of beguiling landscapes, Turkey has seen countless civilizations throughout history. It has become a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs due to its strategic location. Because of this diversity, you will find Turkish people respectful of each other, and of course, welcoming to international students. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in Turkey for international students.

Is Turkey a Good Place to Study for International Students?

Turkey is among the countries in the world with the highest access rate to tertiary education. Its higher education system follows the European Bologna Process, so a degree you earn in a university in Turkey is recognized in all of Europe. Aside from Erasmus+, Turkey participates in other exchange programs like the Mevlana and Farabi exchange programs.

International students can choose from over 60,000 different programs at 207 universities. What’s more, universities in Turkey have a generous offering of English-taught programs, especially at the master’s and doctorate levels. They are highly regarded in many academic disciplines, including business, engineering, and medicine. Furthermore, tuition fees in Turkish universities are significantly lower than in other European countries.

Living in Turkey is comparatively more affordable than in other cities abroad. You can meet your necessities such as accommodation, food, transportation, etc., with around 400 – 500 USD per month. There is at least one university per city which makes the whole country a student-friendly nation. University events are often deliberated with the entire community too.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can International Students Work in Turkey While Studying?

A recently implemented labor law in Turkey allows international students to work part-time, given they apply for a student-work permit. Undergraduate students must finish their first year of studies before working up to 24 hours a week. Moreover, students in the master’s or Ph.D. programs may work full-time or as researchers in their institution.

The Turkish government is dedicated to becoming a top international study destination. Besides several scholarships and partnerships with universities abroad, they believe working permissions will increase the country’s attractiveness to students worldwide.

Can International Students Stay in Turkey After Graduation?

Upon completing their degrees, international students can apply for a work permit since their student visas will expire. Unlike in previous years, you won’t have to return to your home country and re-apply back to Turkey. You will be provided a temporary residence permit that allows you to look for employment right after graduation. Your employer will be the one to process your work permit with The Ministry of Labor once hired. There exist three kinds of work permits for foreigners: short-term work, perpetual work, or independent work.

Top Universities in Turkey for International Students

1. Cankaya University

Çankaya University is a young and privately owned university located in Ankara. This top university in Turkey for international students comprises a comprehensive set of disciplines, including architecture, engineering, economics, arts and sciences, and law. Degree programs at Çankaya University are predominantly in English so that international students can make the most out of their teaching and research. For those learning the international language, the university has a dedicated Preparatory School of English. Research in Çankaya presently focuses on entrepreneurship and women’s studies, to name a few.

Besides high-quality programs in all degree levels, what sets this university apart from others is its award-winning campus opened in 2011. It includes a modern library, first-class science laboratories, a dedicated sports center, and direct buses to the city center.

2. Koç University

Koç University, one of the best universities in Turkey for international students, traces its humble beginnings to factory buildings converted into classrooms. Today, it holds several first-rate programs on an impressive campus designed by the prominent architect Mozhan Khadem. This conducive campus houses the faculties of Social Science & Humanities, Economics, Nursing & Medicine, Administrative Sciences, and Engineering.

Koç University is the leading recipient of national research awards and grants. With 132 research laboratories, they contribute to the scientific, social, and economic development of Turkey.

Classes at Koç University are taught in English, with a few exceptions in nursing and law programs. The university also collaborates with universities abroad, such as the University of California, Cornell University, Georgetown University, and many others.

3. Hacettepe University

Hacettepe University is a highly-regarded public institution, especially when it comes to medicine and life sciences. The main campus in the old town of Ankara houses its world-renowned medical school. It also includes faculties of Dentistry and Pharmacy, biomedical centers, and several health institutes. On the Beytepe campus, you can find the faculties in Economics, Education, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Fine Arts, Letters, and Sports Sciences. Furthermore, it has one conservatory, five vocational schools, and 104 research centers.

Courses in Hacettepe are taught in either Turkish, English, German, and French. The university supports internationalization at any degree level and has over 500 bilateral agreements with universities across the globe.

4. Sabanci University

Sabanci University is a young and distinctive university designed with an interdisciplinary approach to education. The Sabanci Foundation established it in 1995 after an extensive process of examining the best educational systems across the globe. Their teaching style involves two phases. First, students complete a foundation development year that provides a comprehensive headstart. They will then move forward to university courses that prepare them for a variety of careers. There are three faculties at Sabanci University: Engineering and Natural Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, and Management.

Sabanci University has been named the most entrepreneurial and innovative university in Turkey in various rankings. The titles remain true as their research works are focused on all areas of societal development, including policy development, manufacturing technologies, and conflict resolution.

5. Bilkent University

Bilkent University is one of the best universities in Turkey for international students. The name “Bilkent” is short for bilim kenti, which translates to “city of science,” and can be seen from its broad range of disciplines. It comprises nine faculties: education, business administration, humanities & letters, engineering, and law. Programs in these faculties are all taught in English. It has an international faculty from over 40 countries worldwide and a growing number of international students.

The broad academic disciplines of Bilkent University balance out with the several clubs and activities it hosts. Students can get involved with dedicated sports clubs, frequent conferences and lectures, art and cultural exhibitions, and the annual Mayfest or a weeklong music event.

6. Boğaziçi University

Boğaziçi University was initially established as Robert College, an American university by philanthropists and missionaries in Turkey in 1863. Today, it is entirely under the Turkish administration but maintains strong relations with the American academic system. Boğaziçi University has the highest number of applicants in national entrance examinations. At this top university in Turkey, students can pursue well-known programs, such as computer engineering, industrial engineering, and electrical & electronics engineering. Besides engineering, social science and education are also sought-after study fields by many local and international students.

Boğaziçi University’s student life is filled with recreational and cultural events such as the Tasoda Music Festival and an international sports festival every spring. Students reside in any of the ten dormitories, ranging from historical buildings to modern ones that incorporate sustainable means such as solar panels and wastewater collection.

7. Ozyegin University

Ozyegin University, one of the best Turkish universities for international students, is a young university founded by the Turk billionaire Husnu Ozyegin to create an affordable entrepreneurial research university. Modeled after Cambridge and MIT, it has a vision for a transformative student experience. The university faculties include architecture and design, engineering, business, social science, and law. It also has schools that provide professional flight programs, gastronomy and culinary arts, and modern languages.

The mission of Ozyegin University is to apply students’ learning in the service of society. International students will experience a multidimensional approach to academics and their environment in general. Claiming to be a financially accessible institution, Ozyegin University provides adequate credit and scholarship systems for students.

8. Bahçeşehir University

Bahçeşehir University (BAU) is considered one of the best private universities and among the top universities for international students in Turkey. Since BAU is a global institution, it is also one of the few universities in Turkey that require its students to have a high level of English proficiency. The university consists of eight faculties, three schools, and four institutes specializing in postgraduate education. BAU also has seven campuses across North America, Europe, and Asia. With more than 193 partnerships and cooperations with various global academic institutions, the most famous being Harvard University.

There are also 17,000 students across four campuses in Istanbul currently studying at the university, with over 5,000 international students from over 120 countries in admission. Students can enjoy accommodations like the university library, campus cafeterias, and restaurants.

9. Ankara University

Ankara University is regarded as one of Turkey’s leading universities regarding the number of international students in admission, global academic employment, and exchange mobility. As a participant of the EU’s Erasmus+ Program, the university is more competitive in science and technology. It is often one of the greatest choices for students who value quality education. Currently, the university offers its students highly specialized undergraduate and double degree programs.

The university has 68,000 students and around 4,700 international students from 128 countries. Ankara University also has over one hundred cooperations and partnerships with several universities and institutions from various countries.

10. Yildiz Teknik University

Yildiz Technical University is Turkey’s third oldest university, which spans back to 1911. It is famous for being one of the seven public universities in Istanbul and is regarded as one of the best technical universities in the country. Incidentally, it is also one of the top universities in Turkey for international students. The university’s mission is to become a world-leading university manifested through its dedication to developing the knowledge of its students. Today, it is now an institution that produces specialists that are competent and globally acknowledged.

The university has 11 faculties, 2 graduate schools, and 3 vocational schools ready for use. The university also has facilities and accommodations, with libraries, medical and technical centers, student clubs, and dormitories available for its 30,000+ strong student body.

11. İzmir Yüksek Teknoloji Enstitüsü

Izmir Yuksek Technology Institute is regarded as one of the country’s best and most developed technological institutions, making it a desirable choice for local and international students. The university offers 18 undergraduate and 44 graduate programs to its 5,500+ strong student population from 48 nationalities. IZTECH also has 13 research and application centers that various national and international institutions fund. Notable ones include the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey and the European Union.

IZTECH is located in the Urla district near the city of Izmir. There are also dorms near the campus that can take 1,500 students. IZTECH also offers essential services on campus grounds, with various medical centers and campus cafeterias accommodating up to 5000 people.

12. Middle East Technical University

Located in Ankara, Middle East Technical University (METU) is a distinguished research university. METU is most famous for its top-rated education through its programs affiliated with engineering and applied sciences. The university’s goal to become a university with international acclaim is shown through its mission to uphold excellence in research and education and be a breeding ground for innovation and leadership for its students.

Today, METU offers its 28,000 students a total of 220 degree programs in various departments. The university also teaches in English, which makes it very popular for its 1,500 international students in admission, thus, making the university among the top universities in Turkey for international students.

13. Istanbul Technical University

Istanbul Technical University is the first technical university in Turkey and is famous for being one of the oldest technological universities in the world, having been around since 1773. The university plays a leading role in science and technology in the country, specializing in the fields of engineering and architectural education

Today, the university aims to create an international structure that prioritizes international collaborations and delivers quality research and education to its 3,000 international students in admission. The university also has facilities set up. Accommodations include transportation, libraries, health and sports centers, banks and post offices, and many cafeterias and shops for its 25,000 students on and off campus grounds.

14. Istanbul Aydin University

Established under the guidance of the Anatolia Education and Culture Foundation, Istanbul Aydin University (IAU) is one of the youngest and most engaging universities in Turkey. IAU is a top choice for Turkish and international students simply because of its teaching competence and quality of education, with a focus on becoming a significant contributor to the areas of science and technology in the country.

Students can utilize internship opportunities and the excellent facilities provided by its campuses, with engineering and health science laboratories, classrooms, and libraries equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology. Outside the campus, the city of Istanbul is also home to many social and cultural events which students can enjoy.

15. Istanbul Bilgi University

Istanbul Bilgi University (BILGI) is one of the leading international universities in Turkey that aggressively upholds its school motto of “Learning not for school, but life.” The university focuses on providing its students with a fully engaging campus life across its four campuses, and over 100 student clubs cover a wide range of interests.

The university has various learning facilities, such as the legal clinic, architecture workshops, libraries, and engineering and healthcare labs. BILGI also provides its students with internship opportunities and educational programs through its partnerships with more than 250 institutions in 43 countries abroad. For these, it’s no secret that BILGI is among the best Turkey universities for international students.

16. TOBB Ekonomi ve Teknoloji University

Founded by Turkey’s Commerce Union, TOBB University of Economics and Technology (TOBB ETU) is a widely acclaimed institution famous for its high-quality programs and dynamic education that teaches its students to produce knowledge.

The university offers 24 competitive degree programs taught by Turkish professors studying abroad, supported by excellent research centers and top-of-the-line laboratories. TOBB ETU also provides its students with job and internship opportunities through its Cooperative Education Program, which aims to nurture industry-ready graduates.

The main campus is located in Ankara, which is known for being one of the largest student cities in the world. There, local and international students can enjoy accommodation, dining facilities, sports centers, clubs, and recreational facilities on and off campus grounds.

17. Çukurova University

Founded in 1973, Çukurova University is a public university near Adana, Turkey’s city center. Today, the university is a well-known implementer of the Erasmus mobility program, establishing nearly 350 Erasmus agreements with around 250 European universities. The university coordinates with 128 academic institutions from 11 partner countries, with Germany being the most prominent coordinator.

Çukurova University has built 19 faculties, two colleges, 11 vocational schools, five state institutions, and 38 research and application centers. The university also has accommodations for its 40,000-strong students, such as modernized classrooms and halls, medico-social units, social facilities, guest houses and dorms, sports centers, cafeterias and restaurants, and a central library.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Turkey for international students was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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