MA in Turkish Studies


Program Description

MATS, the Turkish Studies MA program at Sabancı University, is the first such interdisciplinary graduate program in Turkey with English language instruction. Its primary purpose is to meet the growing international demand for knowledge about and a deeper understanding of Turkey. With a highly flexible curriculum that capitalizes on the intellectual and scholarly resources available at one of Turkey's leading private universities, MATS offers students a broad range of courses in History, Political Science, Economics, Cultural Studies, Conflict Resolution, and Visual Arts. In addition, the curriculum also seeks to meet the needs of those international students who wish to learn or improve their command of the Turkish language. Also available are a number of other language courses, including, for example, Ottoman Turkish, Arabic, Persian or Kurdish.

The program offers several advancement possibilities. Graduates will be competitive candidates for Ph.D. programs in various fields of the Humanities and the Social Sciences, including especially History and Political Science (as already borne out by our still very young alumni placement record). The MA degree in Turkish Studies is also likely to enhance the career prospects of students for positions in the public sector (diplomacy and various bureaucratic careers), the private sector (international business, media, tourism), and international NGOs.

The normal duration of the program is a year and a half (three semesters), while students can be enrolled for a maximum of four semesters. This does not include our seven-week Summer Terms; nor does it cover term-leaves of absence. We have thesis and non-thesis tracks. In the thesis track, students have to take and pass a minimum of 8 credit courses, plus a non-credit Pro-Seminar, as well as an also non-credit MA Thesis course. For further details, see MATS degree requirements (thesis). Within the framework of the said MA Thesis course, they are expected to research and write an MA thesis of around 70 pages on a previously submitted and approved topic. In the non-thesis track, a minimum of 10 credit courses plus an MA Project, are required.

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

Scholarships usually cover the normal program duration (of three semesters). In the thesis track, any student who has successfully completed his/her coursework within three semesters, but who needs additional thesis completion time, may, upon applying to the Social Sciences Institute, be granted a fourth semester without any scholarship, but subject to the payment of a smaller retainer’s fee instead of normal tuition.

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. Have knowledge of a comprehensive and integrated picture of contemporary Turkey, including all its promise and problems.
  11. Have knowledge of an up-to-date grasp of the overall shape and basic outlines of the country's history; the complexity of the multiple and often contradictory strands of its culture; the fundamental structures and emerging dynamics of its economy; and the basic setting, enduring legacies as well as shifting realignments of its politics.
  12. Have a sensitive appreciation of the possible paths and choices it faces early in the 21st century.
  13. Able to Respond to the international demand for knowledge about the history, culture, languages, politics, and economy of Turkey.
  14. Able to Independently formulate critical research questions, and pursue them into a deepening knowledge of the subject.


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.

Applicants may be invited for written exams and/or interviews. All written exams and interviews are held in English. For Turkish and international applicants who are abroad and unable to attend written exams and/or interviews, will be interviewed through Skype.

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. Writing Sample: Applicants are expected to present a writing sample like an essay, article, thesis, etc. Applications for Conflict Analysis and Resolutions, Cultural Studies and European Studies will not be taken into consideration without the writing sample.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
Last updated January 2018

About the School

Sabanci University is a leading university in Turkey which provides a fully English education backed by a world class faculty. One of the top research universities in the region, SU is the place to be ... Read More

Sabanci University is a leading university in Turkey which provides a fully English education backed by a world class faculty. One of the top research universities in the region, SU is the place to be with its strong scholarships, extensive exchange opportunities across the world, and innovative model of education that gives students full freedom in choosing their area of study after enrollment. Read less