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Academic Excellence : Istanbul’s Top 7 Public Universities

Academic Excellence : Istanbul’s Top 7 Public Universities


Choosing Istanbul for your studies is a unique opportunity to combine academic excellence with a cultural experience. With renowned universities like Istanbul University and Boğaziçi University, students can access diverse programs and cutting-edge research. Beyond academics, Istanbul offers rich history, beautiful arts scene, and globally rich lifestyle. In this article, explore top seven public universities, each contributing uniquely to the city’s educational landscape. From the historic Istanbul University, established in 1453, to the modern and innovative Istanbul Bilgi University

Istanbul University (İstanbul Üniversitesi):

  • Public UniversitiesThe university was established on May 30, 1453, by Mehmed II following the conquest of Constantinople. Moreover Istanbul University, also known as the University of Istanbul, underwent a significant transformation in 1846 to become the first Ottoman institution of higher education based on European traditions.
  • Istanbul University has 64,032 students studying in 33 academic units across 10 campuses, with its main campus located in Fatih, on the European side near Beyazıt Square. It offers a variety of study programs, including aerospace engineering, civil engineering, computer science, and other disciplines, meeting both global and local educational needs.
  • Its main campus is situated in Fatih, on the European side near Beyazıt Square, featuring historical landmarks such as the Beyazıt Tower and remnants of the Ottoman-era Eski Saray.
  • Istanbul University has a teaching staff of 2,000 professors and associates, with more than 60,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students annually.
  • Lastly, In the QS World University Rankings 2024, Istanbul University is globally ranked at 711–720th, with specific rankings in various subject areas. Notably, it is ranked 281st in “Arts and Humanities” and 309th in “Life Sciences and Medicine.

Boğaziçi University

  • Boğaziçi University, or Bosphorus University, is a major research institution in Istanbul, Turkey, located on the European side of the Bosphorus strait.
  • Established in 1863 as Robert College, it was the first American higher education institution founded outside the United States and maintains ties to the American educational system under Turkish administration.
  • The university has six faculties and two schools for undergraduate degrees, along with six institutes for graduate degrees. English is the traditional language of instruction.
  • Boğaziçi University consistently ranks as Turkey’s top and most selective university, with a global reputation. Internationally, it ranks 197th according to the U.S. News & World Report 2021, and shares the fifth rank among Turkish universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.
  • Lastly, The faculties cover a range of disciplines, including Arts and Sciences, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Education, and Engineering, while the School of Foreign Languages offers programs in Advanced English and Modern Languages Unit.

Marmara University

Public Universities

  • Marmara University, founded in 1982, traces its origins back to 1883 as Hamidiye Ticaret Mekteb-i Âlisi in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Named after the Sea of Marmara, the university offers courses in Turkish, English, German, French, and Arabic, making it the only multilingual university in Turkey. Marmara University has 57,000 students, including 44,661 undergraduates and 7,406 graduates, with 1,354 foreign students from 73 countries.
  • The university has 13 campuses, 11 institutes, 8 colleges, and 28 research centers, providing a comprehensive educational environment.
  • With over 3,000 faculty members and a student body of 60,000 across several campuses in Istanbul, Marmara University has been a leading institution of higher education in Turkey for 124 years.
  • Lastly, The university comprises faculties such as Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Law, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Divinity, Communication, Engineering, Technology, Medicine, and Health Education, among others.

Galatasaray University

Public Universities

  • Galatasaray University, established in 1992 in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a prestigious institution with strong ties to Galatasaray High School and Galatasaray Sports Club.
  • The university comprises five faculties: Economic and Administrative Sciences, Law, Communications, Natural Sciences and Literature, and Engineering and Technology.
  • It also includes two institutes: Social Sciences and Applied Sciences, with a total of 200 teachers and 2,500 students.
  • Galatasaray University is a participant in European exchange programs such as Erasmus and Socrates, hosting around 50 European students, and sending 100 of its students to France annually.
  • Reflecting a secular tradition, courses at Galatasaray University are conducted in three languages: Turkish, French, and English.
  • Lastly, The university, located in Ortaköy, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, occupies the historic Feriye Palace, originally built in 1871 on the Bosphorus.

Istanbul Bilgi University

  • Istanbul Bilgi University (BİLGİ) is a foundation university founded on June 7, 1996, in Istanbul, Turkey. It has campuses in Santralistanbul, Kuştepe, and Dolapdere.
  • The university offers over 150 programs across 8 faculties, 3 institutes, and 3 vocational schools. Vocational schools cover Justice, General Vocational, and Health Services.
  • Faculties include Law, Communication, Management, Architecture, Engineering and Natural Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Institutes encompass Graduate Programs, European Union, and Information Technology and Technology Law.
  • Bilgi University collaborates with the University of London, allowing students to pursue Honors Programs with dual diplomas.
  • The Tatilistanbul campus, spanning 118,000 m², features contemporary art galleries, recognized internationally for architecture awards.
  • Lastly, Awards include the International Architecture Awards in 2010, the DASA Award in 2012 for the Energy Museum, and the 2018 International Architecture Award for the restored boiler room building used by the Faculty of Architecture.

Istanbul Medeniyet University

  • Istanbul Medeniyet University (IMU), established in 2010, is Turkey’s 98th state university. Moreover with a main campus in Üsküdar and Kadıköy districts, hosting 11 faculties, 2 colleges, and 4 institutes.
  • In the 2014 TÜBİTAK Entrepreneurial and Innovative University Index, IMU ranked 40th. It achieved global recognition, listed among the top 1000 universities by Times Higher Education in 2022.
  • IMU stands out with a remarkable 28,000-square-meter library sponsored by Ziraat Bank, intending to house 1 million books.
  • IMU’s diverse campuses, including Göztepe South, Göztepe North, Health, Cevizli, and Orhanlı. Also it hosts various faculties and academic units, offering a comprehensive academic environment.
  • Lastly, Academic units at IMU cover faculties such as Medicine, Health Sciences, Engineering, Literature, Islamic Sciences. Political Sciences, Dentistry, Educational Sciences, Law, Art, Design and Architecture, and Tourism. All with specialized colleges and institutes contributing to the university’s academic prowess

Yildiz Univeristy

  • Yıldız Technical University (YTU) is a state university located in Istanbul, Turkey. The university was founded in 1911 under the name Kondüktör Mekteb-i Âlîsi.
  • The university’s history includes various stages, evolving from Conductor Mekteb-i Âlîsi to Nafia Science School. Istanbul Technical School, Istanbul State Engineering and Architecture Academy, Yıldız University, and finally Yıldız Technical University.
  • YTU has two campuses, Beşiktaş Yıldız and Esenler Davutpaşa, with the Ayazağa campus undergoing reconstruction.
  • Currently, YTU has more than 25,000 undergraduate students, over 9,000 graduate students, and around 1,700 academic staff.
  • The university is divided into 11 faculties, 2 institutes, and 3 colleges, offering a range of programs in Turkish, English, and French.
  • YTU became Turkey’s first fully comprehensive ISO 9001 certified university in May 2012.
  • Academic units include faculties like Electrical and Electronics, Arts and Sciences, Mechanical. Naval Architecture and Maritime, Architecture, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry and Metallurgy.
  • Lastly, The university’s Technopark campus is in İkitelli, and it has social facilities in Rumeli Hisarı and Ankara, along with lodgings in Halkalı.
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