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Graduate Application Processes

Graduate Application Processes

Postgraduate Education 

Postgraduate education, which is one of the most significant stages of academic careers following undergraduate studies, is a form of higher education where students conduct specialized studies in their desired field, emphasizing research and culminating in a scientific research output such as a thesis or project.

Benefits of Postgraduate Education

In today's world, postgraduate education has become more of a necessity for students rather than merely specializing in their fields or acquiring certain qualifications. Every year, numerous students seek universities for master's education. Additionally, it is among the most sought-after qualities for employers when evaluating candidates.

Application Requirements for Postgraduate Programs 

The required documents for applying to master's and doctoral programs may vary depending on the country and the level of the degree. Also, the necessary exams, GPA requirements, language proficiency, etc., can differ based on the chosen subject and university options.

Thesis-Based Master's

The thesis-based master's program focuses on conducting scientific research, accessing information, evaluating knowledge, and gaining the ability to interpret data. If you aim to become an academician, this path should be your preference. This program typically lasts for four semesters and can be completed within a maximum of six semesters. The first year includes courses, while the second year focuses on the thesis writing process. For pursuing a thesis-based master's within the country, you generally need to take ALES (Academic Personnel and Postgraduate Education Entrance Exam) and achieve a sufficient score. However, the required ALES score can vary according to the criteria set by universities. Additionally, regardless of your ALES score, you must meet the conditions of the program you are applying to. After applying with the necessary documents, your application will be evaluated, and if qualified, you will be invited to an interview. The final decision on acceptance will be communicated after the interview.

Non-Thesis Master's Degree

The non-thesis master's degree is a system designed to implement academic knowledge in your field of study or in a different area. The duration of this program is typically two or three semesters. Unlike the thesis master's program, the non-thesis option does not require the ALES (Academic Personnel and Postgraduate Education Entrance Exam) score. In this program, instead of writing a thesis, you are required to prepare a final project. Upon completion of the project, the student's performance is evaluated as either successful or unsuccessful. During the semester in which the student decides to pursue the final project, they are expected to register for it and submit a written report at the end of that semester. Some universities may also conduct a proficiency exam at the end of the program, and upon successful completion, the students are awarded a Master's Degree.

What is a Doctoral Education?

A doctorate is an advanced academic degree completed based on comprehensive and original research in a chosen field. The purpose of this education is to provide students with the skills to conduct independent research and interpret scientific phenomena with a broad and deep perspective. After completing a doctorate degree, individuals are awarded the title of Ph.D.

Do I Need a Master's Degree to Pursue a Doctorate?

Most institutions abroad and in Turkey require a master's degree for doctoral applications. However, some universities allow students to proceed from undergraduate to doctoral programs directly.

How Many Years is a Doctoral Education Abroad?

A full-time doctoral program typically takes 3 to 4 years if you already have a master's degree. If you pursue an integrated doctoral program that covers both master's and doctoral studies, the duration can range from 4 to 8 years.

How Many Years is Doctoral Education in Turkey?

The doctoral program consists of eight semesters, excluding the period spent in scientific preparation, for those admitted with a thesis-based master's degree, starting from the semester in which the courses related to the registered program are offered, regardless of whether they have registered for each semester or not. The maximum completion period for this group is twelve semesters. For those admitted with a bachelor's degree, the program consists of ten semesters, and the maximum completion period is fourteen semesters.

The maximum period to successfully complete the required credit courses for the doctoral program is four semesters for those admitted with a thesis-based master's degree and six semesters for those admitted with a bachelor's degree. If a student fails to successfully complete their credit courses within this period or fails to achieve a minimum general grade point average of 75, as prescribed by the Higher Education Council (YÖK), their affiliation with the higher education institution is terminated.

1. Postgraduate Application Process in Turkey

Graduate applications are generally made twice a year in Turkey for both Fall and Spring semesters. The application dates vary among universities, but generally, the Fall semester applications are open from June to August, and the Spring semester applications are open from December to February.

You should first apply with your documents within the date range specified by the university. Then, if the program requires it, you need to take the language exam. If you pass the language exam, the interview dates are announced. These dates may vary depending on the university, as well as different institutes and programs within the same university. The most accurate and up-to-date information can be found on the relevant institutes' websites.

Postgraduate Application Requirements and Necessary Documents: 

To apply for a postgraduate program, you must have a bachelor's diploma. Although the required documents may vary among universities, the basic documents required are as follows:

  • ALES (Academic Personnel and Postgraduate Education Entrance Exam) Result
  • Bachelor's Diploma
  • CV/Resume
  • Photograph
  • Language Proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or others)
  • Recommendation Letter
  • Copy of ID Card
  • Military Status Document (for male candidates)

The university you are applying to may require all or some of these documents, and some may ask for additional documents based on the chosen field and the specific program.


Points to Consider: 


a. Bachelor's Diploma

 You need to have both notarized copies and original copies of your diploma or provisional graduation certificate. During the application process, they may ask to see the original copies as well. In some universities, if you have the original copy with you, a notarized copy may not be necessary. If you are not a graduate at the time of application but will be eligible for graduation before the first semester of the program, you can apply with a document indicating your eligibility for graduation. However, you cannot complete the definitive registration until you submit your graduation certificate.

b. Transcript (Grade Status Chart)

Some universities may want to see the grade point average converted to their own grading system. For example, if the university evaluates the grade point average in the hundredth system, the graduation average should be stated on the transcript by converting it to the hundredth system.

If you are not a graduate, you can apply with your current transcript grades. Some universities require a transcript with a picture. In order not to waste time and effort, be sure exactly which documents are requested in which format before going to the application. Some institutes publish sample application forms on their websites and require them to be filled.

2. Abroad Graduate Application Processes 

The dates and required documents for applying to universities abroad vary depending on the university you are applying to.

Requirements and Necessary Documents for Graduate Applications Abroad: Generally, the required documents for international students who want to pursue a master's degree abroad are as follows:

  • Bachelor's Degree for Master's Programs
  • GPA (Grade Point Average) Score
  • IELTS or TOEFL Test Results if English is not the Native Language
  • If the language of instruction is a language other than English, the university to which you will apply for the proficiency certificate may apply its own exam or request a language certificate.
  • GMAT or GRE test scores depending on the chosen field for Master's Programs
  • Application Form
  • 2-3 Recommendation Letters Depending on the Master's and Ph.D. Degrees
  • A letter of intent to be addressed to the university to which you will apply for a master's degree.
  • Past work experience, if any, which may be mandatory for some programmes.

Points to Consider:

 a. How to choose the right program for graduate studies abroad?

One of the most important aspects for international students applying to study abroad is choosing the right program. It is crucial to carefully evaluate the university and the field of study where you will pursue your graduate education after completing your undergraduate studies in your chosen areas. While most students consider pursuing postgraduate education in their fields for academic career advancement, some may choose different programs that offer high earnings and promising future prospects in managerial positions. 

Apart from program selection, the choice of country and university is also significant. Factors such as the climate, culture, and living standards of the selected region should be taken into account. The university's admission requirements, tuition fees, scholarship opportunities, and accommodation facilities are also critical criteria to be considered during this process.

b. Why are the application deadlines important?

  International students who have the opportunity to study abroad in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Korea, or Germany may fall into the misconception that university applications are made at the same time everywhere. However, each country has different education systems, and each university or degree program you choose may have a different application deadline and admission process. Therefore, it is advisable to start preparations for the application dates and durations at least a semester or even a year in advance. If you plan to start your master's program in the fall, which is September, you should have completed your applications between January and March.

 Another crucial point related to deadlines is the recommendation letter. Academicians who are requested to write a recommendation letter should be informed well in advance. Writing a recommendation letter in a hurry and close to the application deadline will not make the process easy for both the academician and the student. Request a recommendation letter from an academician who knows you well, is aware of your abilities and career plans. It also enhances the impact of the recommendation letter if the academician is a recognized figure in the academic community.

Your CV should be prepared carefully and academically. It should highlight your achievements and should not exceed 2-3 pages. It should include education, certifications, awards, publications, conference participation, work experience, community service, artistic and sports achievements, and membership in professional organizations.

Typically, documents and recommendation letters need to be uploaded between September and February. During this process, final checks should be made to ensure that no documents are missing. At least one week before the application deadline, the application fee should be paid, and the documents should be completed to avoid possible disruptions.

c. Post-Acceptance Procedures 

Before going abroad, you must apply for a passport, prepare the necessary documents for the visa and apply for a visa on time. You should also keep track of course enrollments, tuition fees and accommodation arrangements before you go abroad.

 There are three types of scholarships you can get financial support from during this process: government scholarships, private institution scholarships, and university scholarships.

1. Government Scholarships 

Some European states offer scholarships to international students.

Dutch Government Scholarship

It is a scholarship given by the Dutch Ministry of Education. It is given only once a year and is worth around EUR 5,000.

For detailed information; 


Danish Government Scholarship

Only graduate students can apply. The scholarship can be awarded for your education or living costs.

For detailed information; https://tr.educations.com/study-guides/europe/study-in-denmark/tuition-fees-13602  

Chevening Scholarship

It is a very prestigious scholarship offered by the UK government to artists, scientists or politicians who are also studying at the master's level. The school covers everything from tuition and living costs to visa fees.

For detailed information; https://www.chevening.org

Italy Government Scholarship

These are the scholarships given by the Italian government within the scope of the 'Invest Your Talent' program.

For detailed information; https://investyourtalentapplication.esteri.it/SitoInvestYourTalentApplication/progetto.asp

2. Private Institution Scholarships

Some institutions in Europe offer private scholarships without government support. These are given to graduate students. In order to have these scholarships, your academic success must be very good.


Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

It is a scholarship given with the support of the European Union. Scholarships are available for many departments.

For detailed information; https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/opportunities/opportunities-for-individuals/students/erasmus-mundus-joint-masters-scholarships

Luigi Eunaudi

It is a scholarship awarded in Italy.

For detailed information; https://www.fondazioneeinaudi.it/en/participate/scholarships 

Henrich Boll 

Scholarship awarded in Germany. German is a must for this scholarship.

For detailed information; http://heinrichboellcottage.com/?page_id=141

3. Universities Scholarships

Perhaps the most convenient application for you is university scholarships. Many of them can be applied for during your university application. As an example, the scholarship information of some universities is as follows, and since the scholarship conditions may change over time, you can find the most reliable information on the relevant university pages.

Leiden University

The university in the Netherlands offers scholarships of EUR 10,000 to EUR 15,000 each year to postgraduate students for some of their departments.

For detailed information;


Dublin Institute of Technology

It offers 1,000 EUR scholarship support to students starting their undergraduate business programs.

For detailed information; https://www.tudublin.ie/study/undergraduate/cao/fees-and-grants/

Radboud University

Every year, it offers scholarships to students with high academic achievement at the graduate level.

For detailed information; https://www.ru.nl/en/education/scholarships/radboud-scholarship-programme

Politecnico di Milano

Provides merit scholarships. 

For detailed information; https://www.polimi.it/en/international-prospective-students/laurea-magistrale-programmes-equivalent-to-master-of-science/scholarships/merit-based-scholarships

Chevening Postgraduate Scholarship

There are many different departments under the scope of the Chevening master's scholarship. Considering its scope in the material context, it can be said that a very advantageous education year is promised.

For detailed information; https://www.britisheducation.com.tr/chevening-burs-programi-yeni-donem-basvurulari-basladi


Accreditation in Higher Education

 Accreditation: It is the evaluation and external quality assurance process that measures whether the academic and field-specific standards predetermined by the Council of Higher Education are met by a higher education program and higher education institution.

Accreditation in higher education is a tool of academic quality, transparency and accountability. 

The objectives of the accreditation system are:

1) To facilitate and accelerate the process of mutual recognition of higher education institutions,

2) To assist in the comparison of diplomas and titles.

Recognition in Higher Education

It is the approval by the Higher Education Council that the foreign higher education institution that issues the diploma and the related program of this institution are authorized to award academic degrees.

While the right of the Council of Higher Education to recognize or not recognize the higher education institutions abroad is reserved and the details are determined in the Regulation on Recognition and Equivalence of Higher Education Diplomas Abroad and the Procedures and Principles Regarding the Recognition of Higher Education Institutions, Programs and Degrees abroad, the following issues should also be taken into consideration. 

The higher education institution and the education program that issued the diploma;

1) First of all, it is recognized as an institution authorized to issue diplomas by the competent authorities of the country in which it operates,

2) Accredited by accreditation or quality assurance bodies; and

3) It must also be recognized by the Council of Higher Education.

Equivalency in Higher Education

It is the determination of the equivalence of undergraduate or graduate diplomas obtained from a foreign higher education institution recognized by the Council of Higher Education with the undergraduate and graduate diplomas given by higher education institutions in Turkey in terms of attainments at the relevant education level.

Equivalence Transactions

It is examined whether the higher education program whose equivalence is requested is equivalent to the Turkish higher education program in terms of education level, the national credits and/or ECTS required for graduation, the knowledge, skills and competence to be acquired.