The graduate program in Political Science at Sabancı University provides integrated training at MA and Ph.D. levels. The program offers a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the major fields of Political Science and provides the students with a rigorous conceptual framework, basic analytical tools, and sound methodological training in the discipline. The program covers the major fields of Political Science (Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory) and offers a rich set of specialization possibilities. With a thematic concentration on Turkish Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, and European Politics, the program stands out among its competitors in Turkey by its courses and faculty members specializing in formal theory and the production and analysis of quantitative evidence.

While some graduates of the MA program choose to pursue their careers in business, public administration or other professions, others enroll in Ph.D. programs abroad or they move up to our integrated Ph.D. program. The admission decisions concerning MA students are made by a committee consisting of the members of the graduate program in Political Science. The committee makes its decisions taking into account (a) the applicant's performance in the "Ph.D. gateway exam", and (b) the applicant's general performance in the courses in the field.

Ph.D. Gateway Exam

The applicants to the Ph.D. program in Political Science at Sabancı University must pass (in their first attempt) an anonymous and written "gateway" exam which is offered twice during the academic year. This exam assesses the applicants' ability to write coherent and meaningful essays reflecting their grasp of the basic methodologies and debates in political science. This exam also aims at giving the applicants a chance to synthesize the disciplinary essentials they have been exposed to and articulate their own views. The results of the exam are evaluated by a committee made up of the members of the graduate program in Political Science.

Ph.D. students must write and present a research paper in a faculty seminar with the participation of thesis committee, faculty members, and students before their thesis defense in order to meet the graduation requirement besides fulfilling other program requirements.

Program Requirements may vary according to the year of first enrollment.

Program objectives

M.A. in political science aims to prepare students for further graduate study or for careers in government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. The program provides the students with a rigorous conceptual framework, basic analytical tools, and methodological training in the discipline. Along with major fields of Political Science, concentrations are offered in Turkish, Middle Eastern and European Politics as well as Normative Political Theory, Formal Analysis and Public Policy.

Program outcomes

  1. Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning.
  2. Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life.
  3. Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs.
  4. Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments.
  5. Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English.
  6. Independently reach and acquire information, and develop an appreciation of the need for continuous learning and updating.
  7. Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis.
  8. Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level.
  9. Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses.
  10. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics.


All applicants to the graduate programs in Political Science at Sabanci University must take the admission exam and, if invited, come to the interview. Regarding applications from abroad, there may be some flexibility as to the timing of the admission exam and the interview.


Students applying to the programme preferably should have a background in social sciences. Academic as well as professional experience in European related fields will be welcomed but not required. Graduates from humanities, sciences and engineering departments may also apply to our program, however, these may be required to take some additional preparatory courses before they complete the degree requirements.

Applications for graduate programs are evaluated by the Admissions Committee of the relevant program. Admission is finalized by the approval of the related Graduate School Board upon the recommendation of the Admissions Committee and announced to the applicant.

Applications by international applicants studying abroad are valid only after the approval and recognition of the last graduated higher education institution and the course of study by the Turkish Higher Education Council. Verification will be done by the University.

Turkish candidates graduated from a higher institution abroad should submit a certificate of equivalence by the Turkish Higher Education Council.

Application Documents and Requirements:

  1. Online Application Form: Candidates can apply to more than one program via the online system. A separate application form should be filled out for each program to which a candidate wishes to apply.
  2. Official Transcript: A sealed official transcript issued by the Student Affairs unit of the applicant's previous university should be submitted. This document should indicate the courses taken, and grades received by the applicant.
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation: These should be either submitted online or posted in a sealed envelope. Sample letter.
  4. One Photograph: One photo is needed. If a photo has already been attached to the online application, this is not necessary.
  5. Statement of Purpose: Applicants are expected to present a statement of purpose referring to the program they are applying to. Applications for Conflict Analysis and Resolutions, Cultural Studies, European Studies, and Political Science will not be taken into consideration without the statement of purpose.
  6. Result for Graduate Program Entrance Exam: The applicant must submit one of the following exam’s result during application. Applications without a valid exam result will not be taken into consideration. Photocopies of the scores are accepted for application, but original copies should be submitted upon admission and enrollment.
  7. English Proficiency Exam Result Certificate: As the language of instruction at Sabancı University is English, the applicant is required to submit the score of one of the English proficiency assessment exams. Recognized exams and the minimum score required: TOEFL IBT - 87; KPDS/ ÜDS/ e-YDS / YDS -73; PTE Academic -73; CAE - B; CPE - C. Photocopies of the documents are accepted for application; however originals will be requested upon registration in the case of admission. After the test date, TOEFL IBT scores are valid for 2 years; PTE Academic scores are valid for two years; CAE and CPE scores are valid for 3 years; e-YDS, YDS, KPDS and ÜDS scores are valid for 5 years.
Program taught in:
  • English

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2 years
18,000 USD
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Sabanci University Political Science MA and PHD Program