Higher Education System in Turkey

In 1981, in accordance with the new Higher Education Law (No. 2547), the administration of higher education in Turkey was comprehensively restructured. The system thereby became centralized, with all higher education institutions tied to the Council of Higher Education (Yükseköğretim Kurulu, or YÖK). After this restructuring, all higher education institutions were designed as universities. Expansion of higher education throughout the country was achieved, application to higher education was centralized, and a central university exam and placement were introduced. In addition to state universities, non-profit foundation universities started to be established since 1984. The Council of Higher Education (CoHE) has twenty-one members: one third of its members are directly appointed by the President of the Republic of Turkey by giving priority to the former rectors and successful professors; one third are selected by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) from among distinguished, high ranking civil servants; one third are selected by the Inter-University Council from among professors who are not members of that Council. The selections of members by the Council of Ministers and the Inter-University Council are subject to approval by the President of the Turkish Republic. Each member is appointed for a renewable term of four years. The President of the Council is appointed by the President of the Republic of Turkey from among the Council members.

Nine members of the Council are elected to an Executive Board to carry out day-to-day functions of the Council. Members of the Executive Board are appointed on a full-time basis. The Inter-University Council is composed of two persons from each university, the rector and one member elected by the Senate of the university. The main duties are to co-ordinate and evaluate teaching, research and publication activities; to propose measures concerning academic staff; and to establish rules and regulations regarding doctoral work and granting of academic titles and degrees. (www.uak.gov.tr)

The higher education system in Turkey is supervised by the Council of Higher Education (CoHE). The CoHE is an autonomous institution which is responsible for the planning, coordination and governance of higher education system in Turkey in accordance with the Turkish Constitution and the Higher Education Laws. Universities decide upon their own academic calendars; however, academic year generally starts in September and ends in June. There are winter and summer breaks. Summer school is also available at some universities.

National Qualifications

For details;

Types of Higher Education Institutions and Academic Units

Higher education institutions can be classified as follows:

Universities, Institutes of High Technology, Post Secondary Vocational Schools, Other Higher Education Institutions (Military and Police Academies). There are two types of universities in Turkey, namely State and Non-profit Foundation Universities.

There are following units in the universities:

• Faculty (College): A division conducting higher education, scholarly research and publication. Various departments and programs may be connected to it. It carries out an educational program of at least four years duration that culminates with the award of a Bachelor’s degree.

• Graduate School: An institution in universities concerned with graduate education, scholarly research and applications. Graduate Schools award MA, MSc or PhD degrees.

• Post-secondary School: An institution of higher education which is mainly concerned with providing instruction for a specific profession. It carries out eight-semester education.

• Conservatory:An institution of higher education in which artists are trained for music and the performing arts. It carries out eight-semester education.

• Post-secondary Vocational School: An institution of higher education that is aimed at training human capacity in specific professions and provides instruction lasting four semesters.

• Research and Application Center: An institution of higher education carrying out research and applied studies to meet the applied study needs of various areas and to provide preparatory and support activities for various professional areas, with the aim of supporting education in institutions of higher education.

Turkish universities offer:

* Associate's degree programs

Bachelor's degree programs

Graduate programs

* Post-graduate programs.

Associate's Degree Programs:

Associate's degree programs take 2 years. Vocational high school graduates can qualify for associate's degree programs without taking any centralized exams.

Bachelor's Degree Programs:

Bachelor's degree programs generally take 4 years. Specialized bachelor's degree programs, such as medicine (6 years), may be longer.

Graduate Programs:

Universities in Turkey offer a wide range of graduate programs. While master's programs take about 2 years (non-thesis master's programs generally take 1½ years), doctoral programs take about 4 years.

Post-graduate Programs:

Post-graduate opportunities are also available in universities in Turkey. Duration depends on the program and university.

The Turkish National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (TYYÇ):

The National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education in Turkey (TYYÇ) developed with reference to the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area and the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning was adopted by the CoHE in 2010. The levels of the TYYÇ with reference to the European overarching qualifications frameworks as well as that to ECTS credits and student workload are shown below.

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