Higher education in Turkey

Unlike Dutch higher education, Turkish higher education is not divided into and . Turkish higher education institutions can offer both types of education. This often means that for each diploma we have to determine whether it is HBO or WO. Below, we describe the diplomas that we often see.

Entrance exams

The Yükseköğretim Kurumları Sınavı (YKS) is a system of exams for admission to higher education in Turkey. Since the 2017-2018 academic year, it consists of the following 3 central exams:

  • TYT: Temel Yeterlilik Testi (Basic Proficiency Test). The TYT constitutes 40% of the higher education admission score and includes 120 questions:
    • 40 on Turkish language;
    • 40 on mathematics;
    • 20 on social sciences (history, geography, philosophy, religion); and
    • 20 on natural sciences (physics, chemistry and biology).
  • AYT: Alan Yeterlilik Testleri (Field Proficiency Test). The AYT constitutes 60% of the higher education admission score and includes 160 questions:
    • 40 on Turkish language and literature;
    • 40 on social sciences (history, geography, philosophy and religion);
    • 40 on mathematics; and
    • 40 on natural sciences (physics, chemistry and biology).
  • YDT: Yabancı Dil Testi (Foreign Language Test). The YDT is a language exam that is only compulsory for candidates who want to be admitted to language studies. The exam is available in English, French, German, Arabic and Russian. The YDT includes 80 questions.

The Ögrenci Seçme ve Yerlestirme Merkezi (ÖSYM) organises and administers these entrance exams. The ÖSYM is the student selection and placement centre and is affiliated with the YÖK.

Point system

Admission to higher education works on a point system. Based on the score obtained in the above exams (TYT, AYT and YDT), candidates can apply for studies. A minimum score is required for each study programme. Educational institutions determine the minimum requirements for admission to a particular study programme.

Ön Lisans Diploması

Higher professional education institution (meslek yüksekokulu) offer study programmes for an Ön Lisans Diploması (associate degree). Such institutions are generally part of a university.

  • : 2 years.
  • : 120 ECTS.
  • Content: higher professional education. Subjects are often based on the first 2 years of the Lisans (bachelor’s) programme for a similar specialisation.
  • Admission requirements: one of the following diplomas:
  • Function of the diploma: work. Students may also sit a transition exam for a Lisans programme, the Dikey Geçiş Sinavi. If they pass this exam, they may progress to year 3 of a Lisans programme.
  • Diploma: Ön Lisans Diploması.

We compare an Ön Lisans Diploması to an associate degree or to 2 years of HBO.

Lisans Diploması

  • Duration: 4 years. Students must complete the programme within 7 years.
  • Study load: 240 ECTS.
  • Content: research-oriented education or profession-oriented education, depending on the specialisation. May be concluded with a thesis or project.
  • Admission requirements: one of the following diplomas:
  • Function of the diploma: access to master programmes (Yüksek Lisans Diploması) or work. Sometimes (in case of exceptionally good study results) students have access to PhD programmes (Doktora Diploması).
  • Diploma: Lisans Diploması. The name of the diploma may be combined with a title of a profession, for example:
    • Lisans Diploması ve Mimar Ünvanı (architect); or
    • Lisans Diploması ve Mühendis Ünvanı (engineer).
      The Pharmacology programme leads to the Eczacilik Lisans Diploması.

We compare a Lisans Diploması to an HBO or a WO bachelor's degree. This depends on the content of the study programme.

Medical degrees

Medical degree programmes have a duration of either 5 or 6 years.

  • Duration: 5 years (300 ECTS, veterinary medicine and dentistry), 6 years (360 ECTS, medicine).
  • Content: academic education preparing for a profession as a doctor, veterinarian or dentist.
  • Admission requirements: one of the following diplomas:
  • Diploma: one of the following diplomas:
    • Dişhekimliği Lisans Diploması (dentistry);
    • Tip Doktorluğu Diploması (medicine);
    • Veterinerlik Yüksek Lisans Diploması (veterinary medicine).

These medical degrees are equivalent to a Yüksek Lisans Diploması (master's degree).

Yüksek Lisans Diploması

Students pursuing the Yüksek Lisans Diploması (master's degree), can do so by choosing a master's programme that may or may not be concluded with a thesis.

  • Duration: 1½ years (90 ECTS, no thesis) or 2 years (120 ECTS, including thesis).
  • Content: academic education, concluding with a thesis in the case of the 2-year programme.
  • Admission requirements: a Lisans Diploması. Other than that, institutions decide for themselves which students they admit, depending on the average mark obtained for the Lisans programme, the results of the Academic Staff and Graduate Education Entrance Exam (Akademik Personel ve Lisansüstü Eğitimi Giriş Sınavı – ALES) and the results of a personal interview.
  • Function of the diploma: access to PhD programmes (Doktora Diploması) or work.
  • Diploma: Yüksek Lisans Diploması.

We compare a Yüksek Lisans Diploması to an HBO or a WO master’s degree. This depends on the content of the study programme.

Doktora Diploması

Students who successfully complete a PhD programme, get a Doktora Diploması (PhD).

  • Duration: 2 to 5 years.
  • Study load: at least 180 ECTS.
  • Content: academic education, a qualification exam and the writing and defence of a dissertation.
  • Admission requirements: a Yüksek Lisans Diploması possibly with additional requirements, and sometimes a Lisans Diploması (in case of exceptionally good study results). This is conditional on them taking compulsory additional preparatory courses.
  • Diploma: Doktora Diploması (PhD).