Context of Higher Education

  • Typical Academic Year: Fall Semester (September to January), Spring Semester (February to June), Summer Semester (July to August). Universities decide upon their own academic calendars; however, the academic year generally starts in September and ends in June. There are winter and summer breaks.
  • Typical student demographics and/or trends: In the 2015-2016 academic year, there were approximately 6.5 million higher education students in Turkey. A majority of students (approximately 5.4 million) attend state universities, while the rest of students attend foundation (non-profit private) universities. The share of graduate students is 6 percent. “About 39 percent of these students were undertaking their studies via distance education, mostly in Open Education Faculties, and 61 percent via face-to-face education. Besides, with over 80,000 outgoing international students, Turkey is one of the top sending countries in the world” (OECD, 2013).
  • Common language(s) of instruction: The main language of instruction is Turkish in most of the higher education institutions, but some universities use English, German or French as the language of instruction preceded by one year language preparatory classes. Additionally, some universities have programs in which about 30 percent of the courses use English as the language of instruction. In recent years, the number of universities which use English as a medium of instruction has significantly increased. In addition, most of the universities which use Turkish as a medium of instruction now also offer courses in English in at least several programs.