Turkish Ministry of National Education Scholarships: Your Guide to Studying in Turkey

Thinking of studying abroad but not sure where to go? Consider Turkey – with its fascinating culture, strategic location, and affordable costs, Turkey may be the perfect study destination for you. 

An Overview of Higher Education in Turkey

Turkey has a long tradition of providing high-quality university education. The modern Turkish higher education system was established in 1981 under the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). Over the past few decades, Turkey has greatly expanded access to universities, with over 190 higher education institutions today, including over 100 public and 90 private universities.

Some key facts about higher education in Turkey:

  • Students enter university through a national entrance exam called the ÖSS taken after high school graduation. Admission is competitive based on exam scores.
  • The academic year runs from September/October to June, with a winter break in January/February. The semester system is used.
  • The majority of instruction is in Turkish but English-taught programs are becoming more common, especially at the graduate level.
  • Popular fields of study include engineering, business, health sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Vocational higher education is also available.
  • Tuition fees at public universities are low, around $500-1000 per year for Turkish citizens. Private university tuition is higher at $ 3,000-10,000 per year.
  • Degree structures follow the Bologna system – Bachelor’s degrees take four years, Master’s 1-2 years, and PhDs 3-4 years.

With an aim to promote internationalization, the Ministry of National Education offers a number of scholarship programs for international students to study in Turkey. Let’s dive deeper into one of the most popular options.

The Turkish Ministry of National Education Scholarships

The Turkish Ministry of National Education Scholarship Program is one of the largest state-funded scholarship initiatives in the world, providing full or partial financial support to thousands of international students each year to pursue Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD degrees in Turkey.


To be eligible for a Ministry of National Education scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be citizens of eligible countries (most countries outside Turkey are eligible)
  • Have successfully completed secondary/high school education
  • Meet the minimum Turkish language requirement for the program of study
  • Be accepted to a public university in Turkey through the foreign student quota
  • Demonstrate sufficient English language skills if the program of instruction is in English

Types of Scholarships

The Ministry awards two main scholarship types:

Undergraduate Scholarships: These cover tuition, monthly stipend, health insurance, dormitory, and round-trip airfare for Bachelor’s degree programs. Students must commit to one year of work in Turkey after graduation.

Graduate Scholarships: Available for Master’s and PhD studies, graduate scholarships cover tuition and health insurance. A monthly stipend amount depends on the program level and the city of the university. No work commitment is required after graduation.

A limited number of partial scholarships are also available that cover only tuition or partial tuition and stipend.

Application Process

The application deadlines for Ministry scholarships are typically in January-February for the following academic year starting in September. Here are the standard steps:

  1. Select a university and program of study from the list of participating universities on the Turkish Ministry of National Education website.
  2. Prepare required application documents – transcripts, language certificates, CV, and statement of purpose.
  3. Apply online through the Foreign Student Application Portal and upload your documents by the deadline.
  4. If initially accepted, you will receive a pre-acceptance letter conditional on meeting the language requirement.
  5. Pass the required Turkish language exam (YÖKDİL/YÖK-DİL) administered overseas in the spring/summer.
  6. Receive official scholarship placement and acceptance letter by August for enrollment that fall.

It is highly recommended to start preparing documents 6-9 months before the deadline to allow enough time for document translation if needed. Reaching out to your chosen university’s international office can provide helpful application support.

Benefits of Studying in Turkey

Now that we’ve covered the nuts and bolts of the scholarships let’s discuss some of the other advantages of choosing Turkey as your study abroad destination:

Strategic Location

Turkey spans Europe and Asia, with cities like Istanbul situated between East and West. This strategic location makes Turkey an excellent base for discovering diverse cultures in the region through affordable travel. Students gain exposure to both European and Middle Eastern societies and ways of thinking.


With waived tuition, monthly stipends, and housing and healthcare covered by the scholarship, the total cost of studying in Turkey is very reasonable compared to most Western countries. Even with additional living expenses, students can complete a degree for well under $15,000, which is quite a steal for an international education.

High-Quality Education

Turkey’s higher education system has grown significantly in quality and international reputation in recent decades. Several Turkish universities now rank among the top 1000 globally, and quality of teaching is generally on par with European standards. Popular fields like engineering and medicine benefit from experienced faculty and modern facilities.

Cultural Experiences

Turkey offers a blend of ancient traditions and modern influences, from Ottoman palaces to bustling cosmopolitan cities. Students can explore diverse landscapes like beaches, mountains, and historic sites through a mix of European and Middle Eastern cultures. Learning Turkish helps further integrate into local life and make local friends.

Career Opportunities

With the work commitment required for undergraduate scholarships, spending time in Turkey after graduation opens doors to the growing Turkish economy and job market. Multinationals in industries like technology and finance have expanded operations in Turkey, while many companies value multilingual graduates with international experience.

Studying in Turkey: Program and University Options

With over 100 participating public universities across Turkey, there are plenty of excellent options that differ in size, focus areas, languages of instruction, and atmosphere. Here are some top university choices to consider based on your academic interests:

Bilkent University (Ankara)

One of Turkey’s top research universities excellent for STEM fields like computer science and engineering with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Known for its English-taught programs and international student body of over 100 nationalities.

Middle East Technical University (Ankara)

Consistently ranked among the best in Turkey, METU is particularly strong in engineering, natural/applied sciences, and international affairs. Features a lovely green campus and multicultural community just outside Turkey’s capital.

Koç University (Istanbul)

A prestigious private research university with programs in social sciences, management, and humanities. High-quality teaching and cutting-edge research facilities in a beautiful campus setting next to the Bosphorus.

Boğaziçi University (Istanbul)

Public university located on the European side of Istanbul with internationally respected departments in natural sciences, computer engineering, and business administration. Turkish and English languages of instruction available.

İzmir Institute of Technology (İzmir)

Modern engineering and natural/applied sciences-focused university near Turkey’s third largest city, İzmir on the Aegean coast. Known for excellence in programs like mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.

Ege University (İzmir)

A large public university in İzmir with a broad selection of bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs across fields such as health sciences, social sciences, education, and fine arts. High research productivity.

Regardless of your chosen city or university, you can feel assured of receiving a quality international education through Turkey’s public university system under the Ministry of National Education scholarship program.

Adapting to Life in Turkey

Making the transition to living and studying in a new country requires some adaptation. Here are a few tips for adjusting smoothly to academic and daily life in Turkey:

Improve your Turkish. Learn basic greetings, courtesy phrases, and numbers while your language skills develop over the first year. Turkish classes are provided by universities. Interacting more with locals helps them immerse in the language.

Explore student communities. Connect with international student clubs and cultural organizations on campus. Meetups and events provide social support and cultural sharing activities with other international students.

Experience Turkish culture. Try local cuisine like kebabs, baklava, and ayran milk drink. Visit historic mosques, bazaars, and palaces. Attend celebrations like iftar during Ramadan. Cultural immersion enriches your experience.

Manage finances carefully. While scholarships cover major expenses, they budget for additional costs like entertainment, travel, and clothing. Sign up for a Turkish bank account. Make payments and bill tracking easier.

Learn about customs. Greet with “Merhaba”, and shake hands with the right hand on introductions. Remove shoes inside homes. Dress modestly, especially at religious sites. Small courtesies go a long way.

Stay up to date on health and safety. Maintain health insurance provided by your scholarship. Monitor political and weather advisories, especially during elections or natural disasters. Use authorized taxis or public transportation.

Making an effort with cultural learning and integration helps you thrive as a global citizen during your time studying abroad. While challenges may arise, focusing on the experiences, relationships, and personal growth will make your Turkish student journey truly rewarding and unforgettable.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses some common questions students have about applying for and receiving Turkish Ministry of National Education Scholarships.

What is the Turkish language requirement?

For undergraduate scholarships, you must achieve level B1 in the Turkish proficiency exam YÖKDİL/YÖK-DİL. For most master’s programs, a B2 level is required, and C1 is required for PhD programs. Language support is provided during your studies.

When are the scholarship application deadlines?

The main deadlines for enrollment are usually in January/February, which starts the following September. However, a limited number of fall semester scholarships may have an earlier deadline in May/June, so it’s best to check the ministry website for up-to-date timelines.

Do I need to take the GRE or GMAT for graduate programs?

No, these standardized graduate exams are not required for Ministry of National Education-funded programs. Admission is based on your prior academic record, statement of purpose, and language certificates already submitted through the online application portal.

How competitive is it to receive a scholarship?

Scholarship awards are limited and competitive based on both your academic qualifications and your choice of university/field of study. On average, acceptance rates are approximately 30% but may be higher for strategic priority fields or less popular universities. Early and complete applications improve chances.

Can I work part-time while studying?

Only undergraduate scholarship recipients can work part-time up to 20 hours per week during semesters with permission from their university administration. Graduate students are not permitted other employment during their studies as the scholarship is considered their funding source.

What happens after I graduate with an undergraduate scholarship?

Undergraduate scholarship recipients are obliged to remain and work in Turkey for one year after graduation. This could involve employment in either the public or private sectors depending on your field. Exemptions are possible in special circumstances with ministry approval.


By providing high-quality university education and diverse scholarship opportunities for international students, Turkey aims to enrich multicultural exchange and global talent mobility. For students wanting an affordable yet rewarding study abroad experience in a strategic location, Turkish Ministry of National Education Scholarships offer an excellent choice. By doing thorough research upfront into eligibility requirements, university options, language training needs, and other practical details, your transition to student life in Turkey can go smoothly. With perseverance and cultural curiosity, your time there will surely develop your global mindset and result in lasting memories.

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