Study in Turkey: the ultimate guide for a PhD in 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Studying in Turkey in 2024

Browse all PhD programmes in Turkey

  • Sep-Jun Academic Year
  • 12 Listed Institutes
  • 185,000 Int. Students
  • 7,976,000 Students
  • 85,040,000 Population

Study in Turkey

Former home to one of the mightiest empires in history, Turkey today has one of the most intriguing histories and cultural characters. Because of its interesting, transcontinental location, Turkey has a unique ethnic and cultural blend when it comes to food, art, language, and history.

Students searching for a degree in Turkey will find a mix of education choices, blending Eastern and Western traditions in a dynamic environment. What a place to learn and explore! You’ll even find yourself near not one, but two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Temple of Artemis, and the Mausoleum in Halicarnassus.

If you’re looking for a place to pursue your Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, you’ll find no place more fascinating to study in than Turkey. Take your courses during the week, and then take a weekend trip to the Archaeological Site of Troy or Rock Sites of Cappadocia! 

Why study in Turkey?

1. Tuition fees are affordable

Public universities in Turkey are very affordable; international students pay tuition fees between 100 and 4,000 EUR per academic year. This is well below the average tuition in countries like the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, or China.

2. Costs of living are low

From accommodation to food and groceries, from transport to fun and travel, all these living costs are surprisingly low in Turkey. You can live comfortably with a monthly budget of 400–600 EUR.

3. Numerous scholarships are available

If you enjoyed reading about low tuition and living costs, don't open the champagne yet. There's even more good news! A wide range of scholarships are available for internationals who want to enrol at a Turkish university.

4. Study where the European and Asian cultures meet

Due to its geographic location, Turkey acts as a bridge between Europe and Asia. This unique aspect has led to the creation of a multicultural environment with mixed traditions, cuisines, and habits. If you want to experience the best of both worlds, Turkey is the place to go.

5. Explore ancient history and iconic monuments

For those passionate about history and old civilizations, living and studying in Turkey will feel like a dream. There are so many ancient monuments and places worth visiting, places that have kept an aura of mystery and the resilience to withstand the test of time.

Some of the top attractions are the mighty ruin of Ephesus, the valleys of Cappadocia, the Topkapi Palace, the Sumela Monastery, Mount Nemrut, the Roman theatre of Aspendos, etc.

Which universities and colleges to attend in Turkey?

Turkey has plenty of universities to choose from, each offering English-taught programmes for students all over the world. Furthermore, many of their universities enjoy a high ranking and a great reputation for producing some of the most intelligent people.

Here is a list of some great universities to keep in mind:

What is it like to study in Turkey?

International students in Turkey enjoy a welcoming environment, surrounded by brilliant professors and fellow students who are eager to help you thrive. Classrooms welcome open discussion and students are encouraged to come up with their own projects, work in groups, and join organisations outside of their courses.

Furthermore, if you’re a student in Turkey, you’ll be able to join internships and apprenticeships with some of the nearby companies, giving you that extra boost you need to find the career of your dreams.

What to study in Turkey?

In Turkey, you can gain expertise in a variety of fields and subjects. Throughout history, Turkey has always had unique contributions to Science, Art, and Architecture. Even today, with their tech development centres popping up in all of the major universities, students everywhere can find the subjects that appeal to them most.

Where to study in Turkey?

Because of its unique geographical location, there are loads of diverse cities in Turkey, each with their own unique character and charm. Take a look at all of the major cities in Turkey that students can choose from.

How to apply

Each university in Turkey has its own system on their website that allows future students to apply for and enrol in their degree programmes. So, once you select the university of your choice, you can go through their application and submit your materials there.

Here are some of the basic requirements you’ll need for every university application in Turkey:

  • A scan of your diploma (high school or Bachelor’s degree)
  • A transcript/record of your previous courses
  • A scan of your passport and/or birth certificate
  • Your CV
  • Testing scores
  • Evidence of scholarship or funding
  • Letters of recommendation (between 2-3)
  • Portfolio and/or writing samples

Helpful ways to make sure you qualify for a Turkish university

Take Preparation Courses

These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.

Try a pre-M.B.A., pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.

Improve your English through an English-language prep course

If you’re attending a degree programme in Turkey you will need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.

English-language tests

To apply to study in Turkey, you’ll need to provide proof you have a diploma for your English proficiency.

The certificates generally accepted by the universities in Turkey are:

Still, you should always check your university’s website, just to be sure what the exact requirements are.

Living in Turkey

Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Turkey:

Tuition fees for universities in Turkey

Like most countries around the world, Turkey also has public and private universities, and, as a result, a wide range of tuition fees. Depending on your education level or chosen institution, you’ll find that tuition fees can vary dramatically.

  • Public universities: 100–4,000 EUR per year
  • Private universities: up to and sometimes over 20,000 EUR per year

Living costs in Turkey

Turkey is quite a large country, with several big and small cities. The price of living there can be dramatically different depending on where it is located, how big the city is, and how much demand there is for living space.

Students want to know which places provide a good balance of cheap prices and an exciting student life, especially in a large historical city like Istanbul. On average, the monthly living costs range from 400 to 600 EUR/month.

Here is a breakdown of some of the standard living costs:

  • Renting (university or state dormitory): 30–100 EUR/month
  • Renting (private apartment): 70–300 EUR/month
  • 3-course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant: 12 EUR
  • Milk: 0.57 EUR
  • Bread: 0.30 EUR
  • Monthly transportation pass (train, bus, metro): 27 EUR
  • Cappuccino: 1.40 EUR

About Turkey

Turkey is the cradle of cultures and civilizations connecting Europe and Asia. It's also the capital of civilizations that have reined the lands of Anatolia for centuries.

Since the beginning of history, Anatolia, well known as one the earliest settlements, has continued to flourish with the migration of various tribes, and accumulated a large cultural heritage through a line of succeeding empires and civilizations. Many empires ranging from the Sumerians to the Hittites, the Lydians to the Byzantines and the Seljuks to the Ottomans have once thrived and expired within the borders of Turkey.

Interesting facts about Turkey
  • Western Turkey is the place where the famous Trojan Wars took place, and it’s here where the Trojan horse still sits.
  • It is Turkey (not the Netherlands) where Tulips were originally sold from.
  • St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, is actually from Turkey, and was born in Patara.
  • In Turkey, they have over 130 mountain peaks that reach over 3,000 meters.
  • Around 75 percent of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in Turkey.

Interested in scholarships for Turkey? Check out our scholarship search page.

How to Apply to a Master's in Turkey

If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Turkey, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.

What documents do I need to provide to apply in Turkey?

You'll be asked to present supporting documents including:

  • application form;
  • Bachelor's diploma;
  • academic transcripts;
  • statement of purpose;
  • reference letters from professors and employers;
  • language proficiency score;
  • proof of funds.

If a document/statement is not written in English/Turkish a translation may be required, from a recognised translator – confirmed by an official stamp. In some cases, universities admission requires that you also attend an exam or an interview. To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your evidence with plenty of time in advance.

Prove your English skills

To show that you have the right language skills for an English-taught degree in Turkey, you'll have to present a IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificate. If you don't have such a certificate, you might be able to take a language test upon arrival at the university.

Additional test scores

Depending on the Master's you want to go to, you might also be asked to provide an additional test such as GRE or GMAT.

Application deadlines for Turkey

The deadlines for applying to a Master's in Turkey are usually during the spring (end of May), or in winter (end of December).

Interesting programmes for you

Find PhDs Degrees in Turkey

Recent international policies promote international university cooperation and student exchange between countries worldwide. High-quality study and PhD degrees are made more available to students in order to create a global educational network, achievable through student and staff mobility. Career and research oriented programmes support international student development.

University cooperation enables students study worldwide, for instance in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States and provides ways of recognizing previous degrees. Different study options offer appropriate alternatives to students, depending on their preferred mode of study.

Many study programmes in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America are English-taught. The most popular international student destinations include the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States, and more. However, these are not the only countries offering English-taught education. The rest of the world is full of endless study choices, from highly ranked to smaller, more specialized, universities.

PhD (postgraduate) Degrees

If you want further education beyond the undergraduate level or if you want more personal development or a career in academia, you could obtain a PhD degree. PhD degrees are postgraduate programmes that usually follow a Master's, MPhil or MRes, but there might be additional requirements depending on the university. Students are required to do their own research in a chosen topic. With the help of a supervisor, you develop knowledge and analytical skills in a specific or multidisciplinary field and you carry out independent research. The duration of a PhD degree differs per country and institution. Sometimes your own research is accompanied by work for the department such as giving seminars or small group teaching.

PhD students are required to study on campus under close supervision, but there are universities that accept students enrolled into a part-time distance education PhD degree. Studying on campus can also be full-time as well as part-time, in which case the part-time variant is normally twice as long as the full-time study.

Discover other countries

The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Greece is the cradle of European civilization and the birthplace of philosophy. Greek universities and colleges have a long history in academics, attracting international students from all over the world. Classes are not typically formal, so you can expect open discussions between students and professors, in line with the classical philosophical debate tradition. EU/EEA students don’t pay any tuition at public universities, while non-EU/EEA citizens pay low fees. In Greece, you’ll also enjoy the well-known local hospitality and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. There are many landmarks and monuments waiting to be explored, including the Acropolis, Delphi, the Parthenon, and many others.
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.


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